Open Letter to Women Who Do Not Want Children.

From Flickr user Xinem

Dear Woman,

There is nothing wrong with you. You are self-aware and strong and wise. You are making the right choice. You are the only one who should make that choice.

Sex is fun. It is all right to still want to have sex, even if you don’t want to have children. This does not make you a slut, harlot, brazen, whore, or any other. It makes you a mammal.

If, in the course of having sex and fun, you get pregnant, you have some options. You will know what to choose. You must listen to yourself, regardless of what others say.

Only you will have the right answer. Trust your gut, not your head. Do not trust the billboards that you’ve never noticed, the ones that say, “Pregnant? Need Help? Call Catholic Family Charities.” Those people do not have help. They have guilt-inducing dogma and rhetoric.

It is all right to get your tubes tied. If a doctor tells you he won’t, go to another doctor.

It is also all right to change your mind. If you change your mind post tubal, there are other ways to become a mother.

Maybe you know this, it has informed your choice: Children are devastatingly difficult. When you’re a mother, you reinvent yourself. You become Somebody’s Mom. You become the arbiter of another person’s physical, emotional, and mental health. It is the hardest thing, and not everybody should do it.

It’s all right to hate the people a little who shake their heads at you and tsk and say inane shit like, “You’ll change your mind. Being a mother is beautiful.”

It’s all right to not be friends with people who act like you’re some kind of retard because you don’t have kids and don’t want them. The ones who say, “Only a mother can understand.”

It’s all right to cling to your youth, your beautiful, unstretched body. It’s all right not to want to want to be pregnant. It’s all right not to want stretch marks and tits that sag and to be a pod. It’s all right to want tattoos on your torso more than you want babies. This does not make you vain and selfish. This means you have plans.

It is good to have plans. It is all right if your plans do not include children.

If you like to be alone, you’re not strange or a cat lady, a witch, or some kind of progressive weirdo. You’re a person who likes to be alone.

If you want to be married or coupled for the long term, it is all right not to want to have kids, just be sure to pick a partner who also does not want to have kids, and for similar reasons to yours.

Sisters, I am a mother, and I love my child. But I am a mother who is a woman who never wanted kids.

I sometimes say that I’m a little glad that I became a mother in the way I did. That I wouldn’t have made time for it.

But many, many more times, even though my kid is surpassingly cool and funny, and even though I love her more than I love breathing, even though motherhood agrees with me on the whole; I feel good about acknowledging that I’m really sad that I didn’t follow my gut and give my baby up for adoption.

She would have a better life.

I would’ve gotten over it.

Love,
A Mother Who Never Wanted Kids.

Purity Balls, and All They Represent, Are Absurd.

From Flickr User godfreek56 Hmmm.

First: Some facts about me.

1.  I grew up in a Christian home in rural Pennsylvania.  It’s still Christian there, my siblings and parents are Protestant a la Baptist (some more absolutist than others), and I am solidly agnostic.  Sometimes I attend church when I visit them, I do this because I know it makes them happy and gives them hope, but I find it to be incredibly uncomfortable.    Like how I feel in nursing homes: a little sick inside and powerless to help the people there’s illnesses.

2.  When I was fifteen or sixteen, I was given a “promise ring” by my parents.  It was very expensive and pretty, and it was a symbol of my promise to “remain pure” till marriage.  I was totally on board.  I am, now, a little ashamed by my then-zealotry.

3.  I was a virgin until I was in my 20s.

4.  I have a daughter who is six who does not know her biological father.

5.  I think sex is great.

That’s the stuff I thought about when I first heard of Purity Balls.

My friend who keeps me up-to-speed on absurd pop culture stuff asked me the other week if I’d heard of these things called, “Purity Balls.”

“Ha!” I said. “Sounds Oxymoronic!”

She laughed and said, “Oh my.  It’s horrible.  I’ll send you some links.”

So thanks, Brooke, for the research.

Another Unreasonable Thing from the Christians

Purity Balls are silly and creepy, and–more than anything else–another way for young Christian girls to be tutored in their inequality.  Taking a girl’s power over her own sexuality away is another way of saying “you are not to be trusted with this body, you are not to be trusted with this self. Here, let daddy fix it up for you.”

Having some kind of commitment ceremony, signing some kind of compact on fancy paper with her dad is NOT going to stop a young woman from, eventually, wanting to have sex.  And a person should, absolutely, in her late teens and twenties want to have sex.  It’s a biological imperative.  Plus, it’s fun, good exercise, and important to practice.  It gets to be more fun the more one practices.

Dads’ jobs are to

1) Make sure their daughters are informed.
2) Make sure their daughters feel loved.
3) Answer their daughters’ questions without judgement (which has to be incredibly hard, but can be done b/c I’ve seen it).
4) Acknowledge that children, even girl children, become grownups with all the hangups, pleasures, responsibilities of adulthood, and to prepare them for it.
5)Accept Dad’s own fallibility.

Same goes for moms.  And for moms, I add affirming that a woman’s power is nothing to be feared or abhorred by demonstrating assertive, self-actualized womanhood.

About the promisor.

Asking a girl to make a promise to her father to “be pure” before she’s really able to understand the full implications of such a promise sends the message that her purity, and–by extension–her choices are not her own.  Worse, that they belong to men: first a father, and then a husband.  What?!

Plus, it opens Pandora’s Box of utterly odd expectations for young women (daddies have been cooking a while, they’re typically better at life than fresh-out-of-the-box, young, horny boys), potential family crisis when the promising young person realizes that sex is way more fun than pleasing daddy, and an unnatural amount of authority for daddy over whom daughter will be allowed to date and marry.

I won’t dwell here, but it is not a drastic leap between daddy being surrogate and actual boyfriend.

Daddies, though well-intentioned, and huge assets (if they are good), are not always right.  They need to let their daughters make mistakes.  But if they’ve done their jobs as outlined above, their daughters will make mistakes everybody can live through.

A Journalist from Glamour went to a purity ball, and said that a lot of the young women there are home schooled, and after school, often enter family business.  She said that the girls pledging range in age from 4.  Four! Seriously?!  Some four-year-olds are still in diapers!

And The Promisee.

These moms and dads and daughters think ONLY in the construct of Fundamentalist Christian Philosophy.  Some of them call themselves “thinking people” because they allege to have psychic abilities with “right and wrong” and are able to see the world in “black and white,” thanks to their good buddies the father, son, and holy spirit.

But what they mean is, “I’ve been indoctrinated to believe that my views are marginal and I therefore have to stick up for myself against ‘the world’ which is out to turn me into a ‘pagan/heathen/sinner’ because they don’t know Jesus, which is the only way to a righteous life and/or heaven.”

I’m not going to call this view of the world delusional, but I can’t come up with a better adjective, so this is me not saying that being paranoid about the world around you while talking to Jesus your imaginary friend about how hard your life is, is delusional.

Daddies can’t have too much say.

Picture this: 19-year-old daughter meets a boy wherever, introduces to daddy who’s guardian of daughter’s purity, announces the pending courtship, what does daddy do?

1.  Shoot the bastard.

2.  Tell daughter she is not allowed to date said boy.

3.  Welcome boy with open arms, but menace boy with framed purity contract.

4.  Buy daughter stainless steel locking chastity belt.

5.  Act like a regular person and smile suspiciously and go have “holy cow, my kid’s growing up” moments in private.

Except for in the last option, I can see no potentially positive outcome for any of that.

Look, I’m not saying that parents can’t and shouldn’t weigh in.  I’m just saying the bigger the weigh in, the less likely the teenager/young adult is to listen.  We all remember being there, don’t we?  Hell, my parents were pretty sane and reasonable, and I ran out of their house the earliest moment possible because I felt like they were trying to control me.  I may be particularly willful, but I know plenty of people with similar stories.

And teenagers/young adults who follow all their parents’ advice, allow their parents to pick their spouse, will probably end up one of the following ways:

1. Divorced anyhow (one of the stated benefits of the Purity Ball is that it diminishes the divorce rate, which is bullshit, b/c when people don’t have full access to their frontal lobes–people don’t fully develop this way until into their 20s–they will do something foolhardy like get hitched so they can have sex).

Just a quick little thing from The Dana Foundation: A central tenet of neuroscience, for example, is that the brain continues to develop its “wiring diagram” at least well into a person’s 20s. The frontal lobes, regions critical to high-level cognitive skills such as judgment, executive control, and emotional regulation, are the last to fully develop.

2.  Full of bitterness and regret at like 30.

3.  Parents to 10 children before age 30, and at 50–when said children are reared–lost, alone, confused, stymied, broke, and ill-equipped to handle the world around them.

4.  Going totally wild and wooly but without any smarts about how to do so safely, and winding up a single parent, dead, infected, addicted, or a prostitute.

5.  Sort of normal, but overly devout & dangerously absolutist.  Think Unabomber.

6.  Totally ending their relationship with their parents in order to lead a normal, independent life.

Look, I’m not advocating for total freedom for teenagers.  But I’m advocating for parents–especially Christian parents–to understand that even if God is the way they choose to have impulse control, their teenager may not agree, and their teenager should not be forced to.

I am advocating for parents to respect themselves and their children–who will eventually be adults, and who will need the tools to live their own lives–enough to try to find a place in the middle.  And I’m advocating for people to be real about sex.  There’s no reason to make it taboo or try to control it via indoctrination or fear.

The best way to help your kids about about sex is to give them all the facts, to explain their options to them in clear language, and to encourage them to talk to you about it if they decide to have sex when they’re teenagers.  Which is likely.  The sex part, probably not the talking part.  But I bet if you’re paying attention, you’ll be able to tell.  You’ll have to acknowledge that your kid’s sexy parts have developed though, in order to stave off denial.  I’m not saying this is going to be easy, people.

Also, if you have sons, please–for the love of all that is holy–teach them how to use a condom.  I leave you with this advice: pinch the tip, and use a banana.

And About Marriage?

Really.  Why bother?  All right, all right.  I know.  Pledging in front of god and man, blah blah.  Accountability, snore.  (Sorry, Smellen).

But here’s the thing: aside from that there isn’t a serious economic imperative to have a marriage anymore–sure, it’s easier with two people, but it’s totally not impossible with one–there’s not a social one either.  Marriage–even monogamy–is no longer as much the norm, according to this piece in The Daily Beast.  Read all the linked articles there that provide a less permissive view of monogamy.

For me?  Marriage seems like a pretty crass, complicated bet.  I feel really young.  After all, culturally, 30 is the new 20, according to AARP. I’m growing and changing still.

And if I think of the me at 25, she’s as different from the me at 20 as the me at 30. I’m different now, at 31, than I will be next year this time.  The world is going at warp speed, and it’s unreasonable to expect that there won’t be irreconcilable differences in any relationship I choose for myself at some point along the way.  Why invite the expense and complication of divorce?    Why not just have a messy, sad, difficult, but far cheaper, breakup instead?

So to me, it seems like it’d be a lot more practical for the fundamentalists to invest their time, money, and energy from these Chastity Galas into self-improvement books, college funds, and educational materials about sex, pregnancy, STDs, and monogamy.

And for Christ’s sake, just let your daughter grow up.

How Plath’s Neatly Laid Plan For My Love Life Went Wrong

From Anosmia on Flickr.com, used under CC Attribution License

Spinster

Now this particular girl
During a ceremonious april walk
With her latest suitor
Found herself, of a sudden, intolerably struck
By the birds’ irregular babel
And the leaves’ litter.

By this tumult afflicted, she
Observed her lover’s gestures unbalance the air,
His gait stray uneven
Through a rank wilderness of fern and flower;
She judged petals in disarray,
The whole season, sloven.

How she longed for winter then! —
Scrupulously austere in its order
Of white and black
Ice and rock; each sentiment within border,
And heart’s frosty discipline
Exact as a snowflake.

But here — a burgeoning
Unruly enough to pitch her five queenly wits
Into vulgar motley —
A treason not to be borne; let idiots
Reel giddy in bedlam spring:
She withdrew neatly.

And round her house she set
Such a barricade of barb and check
Against mutinous weather
As no mere insurgent man could hope to break
With curse, fist, threat
Or love, either.

by Sylvia Plath

Here’s a source for more info, if you wish.  Lots of sounding off about readings of this poem in the comments, some of them are grammatically wonky in hilarious ways.

Today is Poem in your Pocket day.  Lucky (or not?) for you, my pocket is on the internet.

A bit of history: Sylvia Plath was married to Ted Hughes, the British poet.  Their Correspondence is on my To Read list.  Plath committed suicide in 1963.

I read this poem when I was about 14.  I learned the following words from it: bedlam, burgeoning.  And, for many years, my internet handle was vulgarmotley.  Because of this poem.

Also, my pubescent mind was totally taken by the notion of spinsterhood, or–as I read the poem in my youth–indulging in romance on my terms, and nearly always being home alone.  Spinsterhood did not mean frigidity, it meant independence, freedom.

I am part of a large-ish family, the oldest of four children. My mom had two babies (who are now simply lovely grownups) when I was old enough to help.  Consequently, I spent about 8 years yearning for solitude until I moved out of my parents house lickety split upon graduating from high school.

I was probably about sixteen when I started envisioning a future for myself in which I would take what I used to call “a string of lovers,” but what I meant was probably closer to “terms of serial monogamy lasting however long was useful spiritually, physically, or emotionally.”

I also used to say that I did not want babies because my mom had enough for both of us.  And I tried to get my tubes tied as a young adult, but was told that I could not.  They’re tied now–obliterated more like–and I’m still totally confused about whether having a baby when I did was a good thing, and whether it remains one.

I loved living alone.  I loved my 20s.  I loved living alone with a baby.  But living alone with a baby is exhausting, and call me short sighted and selfish, sex is a pretty excellent part of adulthood.  Unfortunately, getting laid as a single parent in safe, reasonable circumstances is almost impossible.

Enter my first-time-ever yearning for a romantic partner, a couple-three years of internet dating hijinks (most of which I feel rather stupid over and would prefer to forget), and the super-special Fella with whom I now live, and am proud to announce have been entangled with for nearing four years, and if you count the year for which I made him email me before I would meet him, closer to five.

And while I find the challenges of partnerhood and parenthood to be rewarding, I do miss solitude.  I miss the adventure of fresh lovers.  Some days, I want to stop the ride and change my mind.  I want to wind back time 7 or 8 years and talk myself into that adoption scheme I’d carefully cooked up but abandoned for reasons that made sense at the time.

So today, when I read this poem that used to fill me with hope for the future and certainty that it was all right not to want what all the other girls wanted, I am filled with nostalgia and the irony of the fact that I now have precisely what I never wanted, and I am mostly pleased, and even able to return to the ambition of my solitude.

It also strikes me as significant that Plath killed herself at 31, and I am 31.  This is my Plath year.

What specific passage or poem in literature influenced your thinking when you were developing your sense of yourself?  I’d love to hear your stories.

I’m So Fly Like a G6: On Gyms, Exercise, and the YMCA.

public-domain-image.net is where this public domain image came from.

I looked that up, G6.  Urban Dictionary was enlightening on the topic.

According to the most cogent of the 7-10 definitions, a G6 is a big airplane that rich people get, a particularly hazardous cocktail of drugs and alcohol, or a Pontiac model (duh).

There is, according to Urban Dictionary, some contention about which G6 the Far East Movement song is referring to.  Were I to hazard a guess, it would be the one about drugs.  Why else would they need a euphemism for drunk that’s as wacky as slizzard? Maybe they’re flexing their double entendre & they mean all three G6es…

That I am even aware of this song is a testament to the unusual mental space I inhabit at the YMCA.

When I am not at the YMCA, I can’t even listen to that song.  It makes my ears bleed.  I just tried, and I made it a painful 1 minute and 37 seconds into a 3 minute and 38 second song to which I gleefully shake my booty (by which I mean do standing, pelvis-thrusting crunches) at Zumba.

I am not a jock.  I’m the opposite of jock.  I’m the plastic-rimmed-arty-glasses type.  The type who exercises by riding a vintage bicycle around in a skirt, or by dancing barefoot at a folk festival, or by doing Yoga, or kicking ass at roller derby.

But I love Zumba.  And I love the YMCA.

I love the Y despite all the ways in which it reminds me of high school: the nasty, sweat-soaked, rubber mat smell; the cliques of skinny, popular people talking about stuff that makes no sense to me; the Dudes running around in gym shorts, bare-armed or bare-chested; the general abhorrence of critical thinking.

The Y represents something else to me, too.  It is the sweaty home of my economically diverse community.  I’m pretty sure there’s a meth head (or former meth head) in my Zumba class.  At the Y you’ll find the gamut from low-IQ adults who get bussed over from the group home to doctors, lawyers, and sales executives.

It is–in may ways–exactly like high school.  Only now that I’m a grownup, I am better equipped emotionally and socially to navigate it.  I no longer envy the popular girls.  I now know that I am at least as good as they are, and what differs between us is a life philosophy, rather than some definitive value of our respective lives.

And I love that the YMCA is helping me kind of work out some of my unresolved anger about my high school and middle school years.  So many times I get this eerily familiar feeling and I look around me and am–for a moment–transported back to Old Mr. Shenk’s maroon rubber mat in the Big Spring Middle School‘s gym in 1993.

And newly, the YMCA has enacted a very public high school circa 1994-1999 censorship policy about “sexually suggestive” songs during Zumba classes.

To me, the sexual suggestiveness, booty-shaking, pelvis-thrusting, faux-Latin dance is the WHOLE FUN.  But the buzz around the group exercise room is that the Zumba instructors have been put on “sexually suggestive” Zumba song red alert.  Pooh!

And–maybe it’s like how your taste buds change every seven years–something happened around my 30th birthday (took me a few months to realize), I like to exercise.

I love it when my body is red and splotchy from the inside out, when my pudgy neck is striped with sweat, when my once-dry ponytail is wet like I’ve showered.

I discovered this love first at Roller Derby.  I think I would still prefer to be a derby girl, but the trouble is that I have no health insurance, and I’m old & responsible enough now that I can’t inhabit my carefree, carpe diem way and just say “who cares if I get hurt?,” because that would suck.

Child needs her momma with two working knees.

Is it possible I’ll get hurt at Zumba?  Heck yes, especially since I’m so extra-chubby (but less so than when I first began Zumba, I’m pleased to report).  Is it less likely than at Derby?  Oh yes.

If I ever have health insurance again, will I re-join Derby?  You know it.  I will quit Zumba for skates any day, and not look back either.

But for now, gimmie my YMCA, my in-my-30s-social confidence, my inexorable appetite for observing people in their myriad habitats, and my sweaty cardio.   Boo Yah.

And for those of you who have not yet been exposed to this apocalyptic horror: don’t click unless you’re sure.  You won’t be able to un-see or un-hear.

How do you talk to a six-year-old about grownup stuff? Like So:

My Sugar Bugger.

I know, I know, I promised you I’d write about the YMCA, physical fitness, all of that.  I’ve been making notes on the YMCA post for months.  But it’ll wait.  Because I’ve gotta get this one out.  It’s the kind you like, it’s emotional.  And the Y’s in it.  Sort of.  We had occasion for this conversation because of the Y.

People who know and love us might cry.  I didn’t, but I’ve had six years to deal with the inevitability of this conversation, and I must tell you that it went tons better than I was expecting it to go.

If you’re new to the story or this blog, you can read some of my thoughts about parenthood, some other thoughts about parenthoodChild’s present fake father situation, and the Child: Origins in (lightly) fictionalized form.

So last night, on the way home from the Y, Child was talking about her little friend whose house we passed’s father and mom’s boyfriend.

She got this sad look on her face, and she said, “I wish I had a father.”

I am so accustomed to being able to dodge this conversation that I said, “You do!”

She said, “No.  Fella’s my fake dad.  I mean a real dad.”

“You do have a real dad, Child, but Fella’s way more your dad than he is.”

“Really?!” She was legitimately surprised.  There are some real pleasures in observing childhood, of getting to re-live that naivete, that utter faith that nobody around you is trying to mess with you, be dishonest, or dick you over.  Life pre-awareness-of-sex.

“Yeah, really.”

“Who is he?”

“He’s a guy I knew in college for a while.”

“Were you married?”

“No.  We were just friends.”

“Then how’d you get me?”

“Sometimes that happens.  Sometimes friends get babies together on accident.”  (I was not in a financial position to be on whore pills, but we were using lots of birth control)

“I want him to be my dad.”

“Why?”

“Because Fella yells at me all the time.”

“Your biological dad would yell at you all the time, too.  It’s what parents do.”

“I want to meet him.  Can you call him?”

“I don’t have his phone number, Child. I don’t know if you’ll ever get to meet him.”

“Why not?!”

“Because, Child.  He chose not to meet you.  He said he wasn’t ready for you yet.”

“When will he be ready for me?”

“I don’t know, Sugar bugger.  And anyway, what’s so wrong with Fella?  Doesn’t he play with you?”

“Yes.”

“And hug you?”

“Yes.”

“And buy you stuff?”

“Yes.  But can I tell him?  About my real dad?”

“Sure you can.  He already knows.”

So that’s the way it went.

The bit that surprised me was the, “I want to meet him.” She said it with such certitude and finality.

I’ve heard tell that kids who are adopted or who only know one of their birth parents have some kind of psychic off-kilterness. An adopted friend who had two kids of her own and was married happily looked up her birth mother.  She said it was compulsive.

It’s a real thing, the biological magnetism.

And personally?  I’m totally torn.  I’ve always said that when Child wants to meet her father, I’m absolutely going to help her with that.  But I was expecting it to be at least seven years from now.

I know her biological grandparents would dearly like to be in her life, but out of respect for their son’s arrangement with me, they have not.

And my kid is awesome (of course I think so).  She’s sassy and resilient and really good at not taking things personally.  But she’s six.  I mean, is it fair to say, “Ok, we’re going to meet your father, but we’re not going to live with him, and he’s still not going to be in your life.”?

She’s still hopeful and naive and happy about the world.  I don’t want to invite disillusionment.

Because I’ve also said that if he ever craves involvement, I’ll need him to put his money where his mouth is and pony up with some back child support and some kind of legal accountability before I put my sweet girl in emotional harm’s way.

But again, I was expecting that to happen you know, really any time before she’s officially a grown up.  Or even a teenager.

And here’s the thing.  I have great faith that if child’s bio dad wanted to, he’d be a terrific father.  But he has not had the advantage of six years during which his life is literally upside down, and he doesn’t matter much, and people make ridiculous assumptions about him and his character based on his having a kid on his own.

And even if he had, it’s totally different for men.  Men who are single dads are total heroes. They’re like the Don Juans of the playground benches.  Sisters and moms and strangers bring them casseroles and come pick up their laundry to do.  Women who are single moms?  We’re whores. And if we accept welfare, we’re whores who deserve to be poor, and who are trying to trick Uncle Sam into paying for our Lexuses.  (I would like to posit for the record that the brief times during which I have accepted financial assistance from the state, I would have never been able to afford a Lexus, or even a 1997 Ford Aspire. True story.)

Therefore, I imagine Child’s bio dad to be very similar to the way he was when I knew him, that is to say he is still probably not especially responsible.  And probably still doesn’t like himself terribly well.  And probably still drinks too much.

So even IF I could, with a clear conscience, say, “Okay, Child!  Let’s go!  We’ll find your father this summer!” What kind of can of worms would I be opening?  What are the statistical odds that her life would be better after that?  That it would be worse?

My basis for asking Child’s father to make the same choice that I had to make (100% or 0%) was extremely unscientific, but was that the most rogered up people I’ve ever known are the ones who’ve had here-and-gone-again fathers or mothers.  Who’ve had a consistent stream of rejection in their young lives.  (Also, it seemed unfair to me for him to have to be cool with whatever choice I was making, but that’s a post for another day).

So what are we going to do?  I dunno.  But I’ll keep you posted.

I welcome your input and feedback, but if you’re going to be hateful toward me or toward Child’s bio dad, I thank you in advance for keeping your comments to yourself.

10 Things I Miss About Being Totally Alone

this is from public-domain-image.com, and it is also the much more awesome me that exists in my imagination

Faithful Blog Readers,

I have been over-committed for the past several days, and I want you to know that I’m brewing a really cool Weeks to Geek post for tomorrow (I hope).

But since I didn’t post yesterday, here’s a semi-serious list of 10 things I miss from my days before child and partner.

10 Things

1. Pooping Alone

2.  Chick Flicks, Ben & Jerry’s, and weeping concurrently

3.  Only one person’s underwear to wash

4.  Binge Drinking

5.  Dive Bars with Indie Rock

6.  Diminished notion of consequence

7.  Fanstasy lovers + vibrator

8.  Idealizing love

9.  Reading for pleasure

10. No compromise

Stories I Wrote: Vernacular

When I wrote this, I remember specifically that I was experimenting with fully imagining myself as someone else.  This is a difficult thing, and doing it can be a hazard of writing fiction.

I recall that this protagonist was kind of a mashup my best friend’s girlfriend, and one of my other friends, and myself.  She was kind of the best–or what I thought were the best at the time–parts of all of us.  And sassier than any of us can be in real life.

I am kind of embarrassed by this story now, because it seems salacious.  But I’m sharing it today because I’m thinking about how my process is kind of re-evolving as I re-immerse myself in it.  And It’s going faster this time.  And this time, at this stage–this talking through somebody else’s mouth stage–I’m getting better stuff.  Fun stuff.  Stuff that’ll be a joy for you to read in a few weeks.  Stuff that I’ll feel good about sending out into the world.  Stuff that has Bocce in it, and potential to grow into a novel.

Vernacular

We’re inBoston now.  At a seedy little shit-hole club called Vernacular.  They think they’re so clever, they spell beer beah, and bar bah.  They serve yards with “Bahstan Yahd” etched in the glass at the top.  Some wasted Bostonian frat boys were sucking down yards a while ago, until they got kicked out because they tried to start shit with me.  I just screamed and demanded the manager.  I don’t take shit.  I’m with the band.  I sit here, palm my can of Pabst Blue Ribbon, and sip it between verses.  I don’t like the way these skinny girls to my right are looking at Todd.  They’re all giddy and they think they can take these guys home after the show, because it’s a tiny venue.  They think that “Major Tit” (my boyfriend’s band — I know, stupid name, right?) is going to hang out in the crowd after and get loaded with the locals, like we’re on a tour bus.  We’re not.  We’re riding in this full size Dodge van with the back two seats taken out, and all the equipment, dirty pillows, dirty boy smell, suffocating my four little pink duffle bags.  We take turns driving.  I fucking booked their tour, and we have to get toVermonttonight because we have motel reservations.  I shoot Thing 1 and Thing 2 a look, and the trashy looking one closer to me nudges her sidekick and gives her a look like, “What’s her problem?”  I know that shit, though.  I do.  I used to be half of one of those duos, ‘til Todd and I got together, and Monica, my best friend, had to bite it.

I take out a cigarette and light it.  I have only two left.  I remember there was a convenience store on the same block as this stupid club.  A fucking excuse not to listen to this bullshit anymore.  They’re in the middle of this song, “She’s In Me.”  I know all the words, and I mouth along with them out of habit, but they’re shit, so I’ll spare you.  All you need to know is they’re mostly about me.  I wonder what those bitches over there would say if they knew I was this band’s fucking muse.  Todd writes all the songs.  Well, except for the one the drummer wrote called “It’s Alright with Me.”  The drummer’s the coolest one of the four of them.  He’s kind of quiet, and usually doesn’t say much during their Your Mom Fests.  Plus he has kickass hair.  It’s corkscrew curly, and comes complete with enviable eyelashes like so much DNA injustice.  I don’t know any girls with eyelashes or hair like that.  If I ever saw one, I would punch her.  But on him, it is okay, because he’s unassuming, and I’m still a lot cuter than he is.  His girlfriend, Stacy, was gonna come on tour with us, but she had to back out last minute.  And it sucks, because her parents have a conversion van they were gonna let us use.

They finish “She’s In Me,” and I slide out of my chair, shoot Todd an I want you look, and wink.  He nods, and I go out.  I look goddamn adorable today.  I’m wearing three-inch-square-heeled knee-boots from Hot Topic, and a black mini skirt.  A fitted black lace top, and lace-patterned stockings.  It’s June, so it’s comfortable outside when its dark.  There’s a breeze.  I light my next-to-last cig under Vernacular’s awning, and walk like don’t fuck with me, I am hot shit and I know it.  I don’t want anymore frat boy trouble.  I get to the store, and cigs are almost seven dollars.  Fuck that.  I order them, flash the seventeen-year-old clerk when he puts them on the counter, and pull a grab n’ go.  He’s too stupefied by my perfect tits to move much until I am safely back in Vernacular, nonchalantly packing them on the back of my left hand.

Todd is doing the introduction part.  I hate this shit.  I should have waited and gone for cigarettes during this.  He sounds like such a radio-DJ-reject.  He’s trying to be all smooth, and fumbling with the words, and saying extremely unoriginal things, “We’re Major Tit from Annapolis.  Uh, we gotta mailing list.  We got CDs for sale, four bucks.  I wanna’ thank Poppa Smurf and your mom.”  They go right into their heaviest number, “You’re a Shit Head, but I Love You” before the rotten fruit can fly.  I told Todd that he was trying to be Billie Joe from Green Day the first time he played that song for me.  He always acts like I haven’t said anything when I comment on their music.  He’s such a sexist.  Honestly, if I didn’t believe in this guy, I’d split right now.  It’s not like the band’s that great, but he’s dedicated, and he tries really hard.  Their shit’s about as good as the stuff on the rock stations.   And they’re all hot in their own ways, so I figure, by the time I’m twenty-three, they’ll be signed.  I’m twenty-one now.  Todd will be rich, and famous, and if he dumps me, I can sue him because I acted as their manager before they got a real one.  I have documents and everything.  My own fucking letterhead.

They’re done playing, and Todd is next to me in this booth that goes the length of the wall.  There’s a round table in front of us, and Thing 1 and Thing 2 look at me like, oh, we see how it is, and avert their cat eyes.  Todd’s got his arm around me and is cupping my right tit.  I want to sock him and say, “Not ‘tilVermont, ass.”  Instead I shoulder him off me and look away as I take his cig and drag on it.  I think of this one time, right after we got together.  He missed my birthday party, even though he promised he’d come, and so I took home this Kosovian.  His name was Vladmir or something, I don’t honestly remember, and I didn’t say it because I didn’t really know how to pronounce it.  He had a lumpy cock.  Not cancer-lumpy, fat-deposit lumpy.  He kept saying, “Suck my deek.”  I asked him why, because I hate giving blow jobs, and wasn’t so excited about his thick, misshapen wang in my mouth.  I would honestly rather just fuck.  I don’t know how some girls get off on that shit.  It’s like eating a hotdog popsicle that leaves especially aggressive sugar-film in the back of my throat.  Vladmir kept talking about me sucking his dick, he said, “Because I like eet.”  I said, “Well I don’t,” but he was tenacious, so I finally gave in.  I made him wear a condom, but it was his, and it must have had spermicide on it because it was bitter as hell.  I got to feeling sick during from whatever chemical I was eating, plus it gave me cotton-mouth, and before I could finish him off, I had to run to the bathroom and puke.  He was sweaty as hell, but he wouldn’t kiss me, so as punishment, I just lay there, with a burning throat, and let him fuck himself in me.  I was pissed.  Sometimes that shit is exciting, though, but this Don Juan lasted all of twenty seconds, and so it was disappointment all around.  Anyway, later that night, after I sent Mr. Kosovo home, and Todd was blowing up my cell phone, leaving apologetic messages, I showed up at his house.  Shoved him all the way to his room, and fucked him with Vladmir’s stink all over me.  He must not have noticed, or been so glad I came back, that he didn’t say anything.

The other three guys get a pitcher of beer, and join us at my perch.  They talk about the set, and about how cool it is to play shows at bars because of the cheap beer.  I want to ask them how come they don’t thank me for hooking all this glory up for them, but they’re oblivious.  It’s a lost cause, and Todd thanks me often enough.  Usually, after we have sex, he lays with his sweaty head in my armpit, and talks to the ceiling about how lucky he is to have me, and how I make him happier than anyone, and how he’s glad I go to their shows, and all this other sappy shit that I usually fall asleep during, but I recognize that it’s good of him to say.  I just don’t like listening to his bleeding heart.  I wish he were one of those stoic rock-band boys who pour all their sensitive artist shit into their songs, and not into their girlfriends’ eardrums.

Anyway, at least he’s hot.  And at least I booked us two rooms at the motel tonight.  The other three in one room, and Todd and I in the other.  It will be nice to have some solitude.  I want to take a fucking bath.  And I better get some solitude because my ass paid for the motel.  The guys saved up enough to rent the van, and for most of the gas money from their stupid jobs.  They get paid a little bit at some shows, and we all drink free or cheap, but I work full time, and had to use my vacation time to come along.  I don’t think they know that I paid for the motel.

Todd says he loves me.  I think he’s lying.  Not because he doesn’t believe he loves me, but because he doesn’t know what love is.  I know what love is, and this sure as shit isn’t it.  This is warm up.  After Todd makes me well-dressed and “in” with the rock-industry types, I’ll get a real rock star.  This is practical.  He has his head way up his own ass, he pays lip-service to the concept of love, but he loves his guitar, and his stupid bandmates, not me.

The bartender is yelling for everybody to get out, and the guys go load the equipment.  I stand by the front door and smoke.  My ears ring, and the chaos of the bar-exodus is like a buzz, not a ruckus.  I go to the van when I hear the back doors slam, and we get back on I-95.  It’s the bassist’s turn to drive, and I leave him on his own to look for the exit that will take us west to the motel inVermont.  I write down the name and the phone number of the Motel, in case he gets lost.  I give him my cell phone, and the print-out from Mapquest, too.  I pass out, and I expect that I’ll wake up to the ignition switching off.

It is cold, and I am shivering.  My legs goosebump under my stockings, and I jerk alert.  The van is vacant, and we are not in a motel parking lot.  I feel disoriented, and forget my hairstyle, shove my hand in my hair.  It pulls and I wince.  I fumble with the door handle, and slide more than step out of the van.  I rearrange my skirt, and look around me.  We are pulled off the side of a highway.  I walk around to the back of the van, and the guys are there smoking.

“Pull over for a smoke break?” I ask.

“Nah, man,” Todd says, “we’re lost.”

“Fucking shit.  What time is it?”  I say.

“’Round 4.”

How lost are we?”

“Pretty damn lost.  This is New Hampshire.”  He points, and I look at the exit sign just ahead.  It says, “PortsmouthNew Hampshire.”  Fuck it all.  None of the assholes thought to look at the map when they got off the directions from Mapquest.  I seethe and am this close to throwing an absolute tantrum.  Instead, I get back in the van and fish a blanket out of the back.  I start to doze, and the guys are rapping on the windows, saying, “Aren’t you going to help us?”  I pretend to be asleep.  They got us into this, they can get us out.  They’re guys.  They should know how to read a map.

I wake up in the motel parking lot.  The guys are unloading their crap, and I go to see about keys, etc.  It is6 a.m., the sun is rising.  This is fucking bullshit.  I breeze by them without a word, toss the drummer the key to their room, and hightail it to mine.  I let myself in, unlock the door so Todd can get in, and go to the bathroom.  I start up the tub, dump half the bottle of no-brand motel shampoo in for bubble bath, and get naked.  Good water pressure, excellent.  By the time I’m done peeing, the tub is halfway full, and I slide in.  The muscles in my back loosen.  I fart.  I hear Todd come in the room and he shuffles around for the light switch.  I hear his bag thunk onto the floor and the TV switch on.  He knocks on the bathroom door and asks to come in and take a leak.  I shut off the water and shout, “Okay!”

He always takes down his jeans to pee, and this time his underwear, too, because he knows I like his ass.  He yells at me about not helping them get unlost.  I clench my fists under the water and shriek about how fucking ungrateful and whiny he is for at least twenty minutes, until the phone rings, and it’s the motel office telling us to quiet down or they’ll call the cops.  I am in the tub all this time, and even my ass cheeks are starting to prune.  Todd is holding vigil at the open door to the bathroom, and I want to throw things at him, he is so fucking frustrating.  His goddamn arrogant mood, his self-righteous sense of entitlement to everything I have to offer is infuriating.  I tell him to go to bed, and mean it.  He does not budge.  He is in silent protest, I guess.  I slosh out of the tub and leave as much bubbles on me as I can.  I tiptoe up behind Todd, spread bubbles up and down his arms, bear hug him so his clothes are soaked and hoist myself up on him, straddle his lower back and piss on him.  He shrieks, spins around, and throws me off.  He yells and dances around like a grizzly bear.  I am giddy, simply hysterical.  I am on the floor, naked, red-in-the-face, laughing.  He peels his clothes off, and throws himself into my grayish, gassy tub water.  I laugh harder.  He’s calling me a fucking bitch, and he is genuinely pissed, but I can’t stop laughing.  I get on the commode to finish the peeing job I started on Todd, and then dip my ass in the tub water to rinse it off.  He grabs my ass, pinches it hard so my eyes water, and arms me around the throat, pulls me back against him and snags my ear with his eye teeth.  Not a love bite, but it turns me on.

I whip around, sit on his knees in the water, clench his torso with my knees and grab his dick.  “We have twelve hours ‘til your show.  Whaddaya wanna do?”  I ask.  He stands up, grabs my left upper arm so hard I know I’ll have a bruise, and drags me to the stiff bed.  We have angry, hard sex.  We hump and our pelvic bones beat together.  I’ve got both hands on his ass cheeks.  It’s automatic, easy.  For a moment, I can see us outside of myself.  I am floating in the air, just watching.  I smile.  He’s got one hand on my tit, and the middle finger of his other hand on my clit.  He’s rubbing it raw, and I know it’ll feel like sandpaper in my pants tomorrow.  I love day-long reminders of violent coitus.  We are both pooped:  all fucked out.

I get an oversized t-shirt and slide into it.  It sticks to the smear of cum on my belly.  I get back in bed and lie with my back to Todd.  He does this thing he’s never done before: gets close without touching, slides his hand up my shirt and curls it over my shoulder.  Just leaves it there.  It is not sexual.  He just wants to be near, I guess.  I brace myself for whatever love-babble will ensue, but nothing.  Just his breath on my neck.  Just his beautiful body so close that even though we are not touching, I feel him all around me.

I roll toward the bed’s edge, and Todd whimpers.  His grasp on my shoulder tightens.  I can’t stay.

“I have to pee,” I lie.

“Mmmh,” his breath pushes through his nose and he lets go.

I stand for a moment by the bed and look at Todd’s hair string itself out across the pillow.  The tip of his nose bends upward.  I get my purse and the key.  Open the door gently, close it quietly.  I need a cigarette.  I need a manicure.