Just Friends

You meet Tal during your first winter in New York at one of those pretentious hit-or-miss Ivy League alumni parties at The Mondrian. You’re trying to make friends with this lawyer girl who’s looking for brunch buddies when he tries to butt in, but you take one look at him and he’s bald and you and Lawyergirl both make faces like no way and keep talking. Later, you end up hitting on this gorgeous Russian banker guy who turns out to be his wingman and ducks out of the picture as soon as he shows up, so that’s how you get sucked in. He’s all smiles and no hair and makes fun of you for using a calculator to figure out your tip. In the end, you give him your number partly because he asks but mostly because it’s been a while since the Ex-Boyfriend, and truth be told, it’s not like you have a whole lot going on.

It takes a while for you to get together, because first he’s in Florida visiting family then you’re in Hawaii visiting family but he calls you every other day, so by the time you meet up it’s like you kind of know each other already. You meet at a burger place near your apartment and talk about all the standard stuff, like work and family and partying in New York. He likes the West Village, wine bar central; you like Meatpacking, home of Kim Kardashian wannabes. His parents still live in Westchester, and he shows you pictures of their fox terriers, Lucky and Rainbow.

The second time you get together, he takes you to a movie that turns out to be kind of shitty, but that’s ok because he smells good and holds your hand the entire time and you almost forget that he has no hair. After the movie, he takes you to his favorite sushi place on the Upper East Side and then to his apartment where he shows you the framed pictures he took of lions and leopards on his last safari, and at that point he turns off the lights and kisses you, and you figure why not.

For date three, you spend the afternoon at the Met, and he cooks dinner, tilapia and asparagus and falafel and hummus. He’s replaced some of his African animal photos with newer ones from his recent trip to London, and after dinner you look at them and at the East River outside his window until he takes your hand and walks you into the bedroom. He takes his time undressing you, and by the time you’re naked he’s kissed you from your toes to the mole on your forehead and you’re warm and wet, and in the dark it doesn’t matter that he’s bald.

You get together almost every weekend for the next few weeks. By now you’re seeing two other guys you met online, and while Tal’s not half the Ex-Boyfriend you start thinking that maybe you can make something out of him. Like not a boyfriend but at least a regular. Something stable. But then, during the week, you get into an argument about what to eat for dinner, and the next morning you get a text from him: Hope you’re having a good day, we should cancel dinner, we argue too much, if you want to be friends, cool, if not then it was good meeting you, and that’s when your confidence starts to unravel. Of course we can be friends, you tell him, and you believe it when you say it, and from the sounds of it so does he.

There are a few false starts, like the time you invite him clubbing with your friends and end up in his bed and the time you go skiing and blow him in the chairlift, but after that you get serious. You limit your texts to once a week, and every month or so you get together for dinner or drinks; when the weather warms up you take walks in the Park. You tell him happy Passover and happy Fourth of July and ask about his parents and Lucky and Rainbow. And after a while, you start feeling like an old family acquaintance or a third cousin, somebody who’s nice and pleasant and always going to be around. At the Ivy alumni parties you now organize, you joke around with his wingman friend and pretend not to notice when he hits on other girls. You tell yourself that every number he gets is not just a point for him but a victory for your friendship; every time he scores, you buy yourself a drink. He tries too. Helps you with your taxes and shows you how to use a financial calculator and doesn’t try to make a move on you once.

Then a whole year goes by. You quit your job and start a new one, half the salary and half the hours. Two of your friends move to China, and four get married. You go to all their weddings. Tal quits his job and goes on a hiking tour around the world. I need a break, he says. On Facebook you see him scaling glaciers and waterfalls and hugging koalas and pandas and shit, and for some reason you realize that you can name pretty much all the girls your other friends banged, but with him you can’t name a single one. Not that you’re keeping score anymore. Between then and now you’ve probably banged and dumped like ten dudes, two of whom were bald, and he’s probably banged just as many girls.

When he comes back, you invite him to a concert in the Park, a Dvorak piano quartet program you’ve been wanting to hear. It’s nighttime, and even in the dark, you can see that he’s tan and happy and balder than ever. You find good seats, close to the front where you can hear without the microphones and the moon is right there. The air is warm and moist like a dream, and the music takes you to this mental zone where you don’t worry. You’re thinking about how lucky you are to be in New York on a night like this, to listen to this quartet at this time on this night, and that to hear a quartet on a summer night in New York is what people live for, the reason we work and stress and yell and cry. You’re concentrating on the music, and even though you’re sitting next to him, Tal’s the last thing on your mind, but when he slips his hand in yours, your vagina clenches and you stop breathing, and all you can think about is how perfect it is that he’s here. You don’t move for a while because you don’t want him to stop, and when you finally squeeze his hand back, you’re squeezing with your whole heart.

You force yourself to breathe and not sweat, you can barely hear the music, and when you start acting like a normal person again you realize how stupid you were in thinking that the whole distant cousin friends thing was going to work. That it was something you could control, like a prize or a salary, that came to you if you worked and watched and waited.

After the concert, people disperse, and you hold hands as you walk out of the Park. You’re dizzy with joy, and when he kisses your earlobe and jumps into the street to hail a cab, you still feel like an idiot.

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Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

You think you’re over the whole one night stand thing until you meet Zev. He’s cute and smart and has the same name as The Ex-Boyfriend but the party’s more important so you get really drunk and high and pretty much forget about him until it’s time to go home, at which point you jump in a cab with him and invite yourself to his place and that’s how you end up bent over his futon at four in the morning. While he’s banging you from behind you’re talking and saying the most outrageous shit you can think of, like do retards know they’re retarded and do scorpions drink their own poison for fun and he’s laughing and you’re laughing at all of it because you’re that high. Afterward, you find out that he works at the same company as The Ex-Boyfriend, and you wonder if they’ve done any projects together. You want to ask but you don’t, because if they had, that would be awkward.

You don’t expect to see him again, but at your friend’s next party you see him trying to flirt with this nerdy redhead who doesn’t know he exists. You do the whole drinking dancing smoking thing for a few hours, and when the party’s over you ask him if he wants you to mention anything to the redhead, there’s nothing to feel awkward about, but he says, No she’s a lesbian, so the two of you head back to his place and grab some pizza along the way. You want to get Doritos but you’re too high to find them in the store, so you buy cookies instead.

Like The Ex-Boyfriend, he’s obsessed with Game of Thrones and insists on showing you the first episode, which actually turns out to be kind of scary. You end up watching it for a while until the Dothkari, the savages, start murdering and fucking each other in front of the bonfire, which is when Zev grabs your boob, and pretty soon you’re fucking to people fucking on TV, and for a while there’s just a whole lot of fucking. He has a huge dick, just like The Ex-Boyfriend, uncircumcised, that runs straight into your G-spot and fills you up like a pillow. But what you like most is that he makes you come before he comes, and when you tell him that, he makes you come some more.

This time, after you’re done, he tells you about his crazy bipolar ex-girlfriend who was with him for seven years and got into rope bondage behind his back and turned into a prostitute after she dumped him. Like, actual sex in exchange for actual money, with strangers. You say, What? And he says, Yeah, she was an art student and needed money. Supposedly she was on all sorts of depression medication and started going to these rope bondage meetups where she met all these guys who’d tie her up and watch her hang from the ceiling. It’s not sexual, she told him. It’s more like a hobby, like basket weaving. And right after they moved to New York from Chicago, they got in a big fight, the cops got involved, and the next day, while he was at work, she moved her stuff to a friend’s place, and he never heard from her again.

He says, I don’t know why I’m telling you this. You giggle and say it’s the juiciest story you’ve heard all year, which is true. But how do you know she was whoring herself? you ask. Like, did you see the money? No, he says, but I read her emails. You’re quiet for a few minutes. His hand is warm on your body; you feel bad for him. How about therapy? you finally ask, and he says, I have.

His situation is so fucked up that you dream about it and wake up laughing. In the morning, you bang again and he invites you to his friend’s barbecue in Brooklyn, but you have a lunch date.

A couple weeks later it’s Restaurant Week, and you invite him to this steakhouse near Union Square that you’ve wanted to try for a while. He shows up wearing sneakers and a dorky work backpack on both shoulders, just like The Ex-Boyfriend used to do, and apologizes for being late. You sit down and order dinner, lobster bisque and a rare eight-ounce filet. The butter is soft, the steak is great, the wine is great, and the crème brulee is heavenly. He talks about his iOS project, you talk about yours. You show him your favorite cat videos on YouTube and he shows you Facebook pictures of his brother’s dog dressed up as Santa, beard and everything, and you’re laughing and he’s laughing and you both order a second drink.

Then, somehow, you don’t know who brings it up, but you’re talking about his ex-girlfriend again, and you can tell he’s so not over it. And because you want him to understand that you know exactly where he’s coming from, you mention The Ex-Boyfriend. You’re careful about what to say because this is the first time you’ve talked about him in three years, which is how long the whole thing lasted, and you’re not really sure how to do it. You try to tell Zev that you know how he’s feeling without revealing too much about how you’re feeling, and you’re trying so hard to be delicate about both his feelings and yours, but then he says, No, three years is nothing, totally dismissive. You tell yourself that he’s like this because he’s hurt and you’re like this because you’re hurt, but you can’t let it go, and before you can stop yourself you’re arguing, defending yourself and your dead relationship, yelling at him, your ears and lungs swelling with the sudden anger in your veins. You want to pound him into submission with your heartbeat and if not your heartbeat then your fists, and he’s yelling back saying your relationship is nothing—NOTHING—compared to his, and I’M SORRY, BUT YOU’RE DEAD WRONG, and that’s when you swipe your plate off the table and throw water in his face and the waiter marches over and asks you both to leave. You’re crying so hard you can’t even talk or see your bill, and when the waiter comes back he has to calculate your tip. You don’t even finish your drink.

Outside, in the street, you try to breathe. Zev asks if he can find you a cab, not because he’s sorry but because you look like you’re about to have an aneurysm, and you say, No—gaspI’m going—gaspto the subway. At the corner he turns to you and says, Well, I’m going this way and you say bye and he says bye and he goes his way and you go your way, and that’s the last time you hang out with Zev.

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A Plea for Common Decency

Dear Brian,

I’ve spent the past two days attempting to formulate a response that conveys my feelings about your grammar.

“Horror”, “disgust”, and “the urge to regurgitate” are insufficient and only the beginning, the first slimy nubs in a trail of crushed maggots (leading to a failed colony of crushed maggots) rotting in a pile of cow dung. In the jungle. In the middle of summer.

An Oreo milkshake that turns out, after your first thirsty gulp, to be comprised of horse turds and baby vomit.

A shiturken. Chicken stuffed in turkey stuffed in shit.

Put another way—have you ever been touched by a retard without warning? You’re riding the subway or enjoying an ice cream (and perhaps thinking about the nice sex you had with a girl you’re kind-of-seeing-but-not-enough-to-be-annoying the night before) on a warm, sunny day, when you feel something claw softly at your buttock (incidentally, in the same place you’d cut yourself the night before when, post-sex, you slipped in your bathmat-less shower and fell out of the shower and onto your toilet), not hard enough to hurt, but hard enough to distinguish itself from anything incidental, and with a blundering insistence suggestive of something not entirely human or intentional. Maybe it’s a rabid dog, you think, or an unattended child, nothing terrible (rabies and flu shots are only $50 at the clinic, even without insurance), or a homeless person’s shopping cart—ordinary fare for a Saturday morning in New York. No big deal. You are all savoir faire, all benevolence, all ice-creamy post-coital generosity, when you turn around casually, like a dog post-leak, and find yourself face to face, not with a child, transient, or mythical creature, but a full-grown, stationary, and very real female mongoloid. (The cause of this particular individual’s mongolism happens to be Down Syndrome.)

There is always that moment, upon first eye contact with an unfamiliar female individual, in which you evaluate, however briefly or subconsciously, your likelihood of producing healthy offspring with that individual (or, at the very least, how enjoyable the (re)production process would be). It’s natural and happens all the time in all sorts of places (subways, elevators, restaurants, bars, streets) and all sorts of situations (when you’re lonely, happy, bored, with your girlfriend, your boss, your parents). You look for cognizance, intelligence, reciprocity, and the lack (or perhaps the overwhelming presence, if you’re feeling adventurous) of insanity. Questions zip through your mind: Is she hot? Is she crazy? Is she drunk? Where is she going? Does she want to mate? Or, if you’re in a more introspective mood: Where does she live? What does she do for a living? Can she recite the first 50 (post-decimal) digits of pi?

However, as soon as you recognize that this particular female is 1) incapable of procreation (due to her mongolism) and 2) inscrutable (also due to her mongolism), you undertake a more adversarial line of questioning: What is she doing? What does she want from me? Is she going to hurt me? Or, if you’re in a more introspective mood: What is her name? Why is she here? What does she want from life? You gaze into her half-open, half-sentient eyes. You have no idea what color they are. You have no idea what she’s doing. You no longer remember what you were doing or where you were going or what you were thinking, but you do remember your special ed teacher friend telling you that people with Down Syndrome can be surprisingly strong.

Forget knowing pi. Does she know her own name? Do you know your own name? It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that with her, there is nothing. No pi, no reciprocity, no offspring. In this individual, there is no good to be had. No good and probably a whole lot of bad.

In your confusion-cum-disgust, you think about how disturbing it is that these people—these creatures—are allowed to wander around in public by themselves, bumping into healthy, productive members of society and touching them, perhaps many times a day. You know it’s wrong, but you wonder. You think about how many people they violate on a daily basis—Tens? Hundreds?—in their lumbering stupidity. Perhaps this woman had, just minutes before, stuck her hand wholesale into something disease-saturated—a recently used toilet, say, or a recently used anus (most likely her own)—and smeared her hand across a heretofore unknown wound on your body, and whatever germs that were on her hand are now swimming in your blood, ready to blossom into full-blown lampreys as soon as you leave the subway. In fact, now that you think about it, you’re sure that if you looked, you would be able to see the individual protozoa wiggling and multiplying in your veins. They’re already eating you alive. If you’re lucky, you’ll explode soon. If not, you’ll get to see the lampreys hydra-head their way out of your leg.

It’s fucked up, really, that these people who don’t know their anus from their elbow (or any digits of pi) have the same rights as you do. How does the government let this happen? Why do so many retards exist in the first place? Haven’t people heard of karyotypes? Can’t they exterminate them at birth, or at least round them up and shoot them into outer space? How does nobody else recognize this fatal threat to public health and sanity? When bears and mountain cats invade residential neighborhoods, they’re shot right away, no questions asked.

You examine the victimized area of your buttock. It already feels sore. You’re sure that under your jeans, the disease is spreading like an octopus and that your rage is a symptom of the parasites that will end your life. You try to decide if you want to punch or choke the retard—to punish her for what she has done—before realizing that both options would involve touching her again. You decide that you want to punch her anyway.

But, like a decent New Yorker, you let it pass. You mutter a venomous apology, walk away, and throw what’s left of your ice cream into the trash. Your appetite is gone. All you want now is to erase the experience from your memory. You feel a mild urge to bathe. And, just as you’re getting over your anger, you start feeling the after-shock, the meta-outrage of allowing something so inferior to waste your emotional energy. You think about how this sort of thing has happened in the past, not with mongoloids, but with normal people, a girl or a situation you couldn’t control—the bitchy bus driver in Boston, that job you didn’t get, the time your mom called you a deadbeat. The fact that no matter what you do, some retard will bump into you and spread fecal matter from a thousand anuses into your veins, and nothing—not you, your anger, or anybody else—can stop it.

Brian, this is a small fraction of what I feel every time I read your texts and emails. Every run-on sentence, every malapropism, every dangling modifier grates on me like a diseased retard on a fresh wound. It makes me angry. It makes me want to vomit, choke, and inflict pain on others. Ultimately, it makes me helpless.

I demand little of you. I do not expect food, wine of a respectable temperature, or first-world bathing conditions when I visit your home. I do not even expect you to flush the toilet after you defecate. I bring my own clothes, venereal diseases, and drugs. When I am not eating, you are allowed to eat. When I am not sleeping, you are allowed to sleep. But, in our written communication, I deserve better than to feel as if I am being groped by an individual with an unfortunate number of chromosomes. I’m not asking for an Olympic athlete, a Nobel Laureate, or Miss America. I just want 23 pairs of homologous chromosomes. No more, no less.

It’s the least you can do.


Awesome Bitch
January 10, 2014

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Jerry Sandusky Question

I have one main question about the Jerry Sandusky scandal:
Has anyone asked the victims if they liked being fondled/fucked?

Update: Yes, the grand jury did ask at least some of the victims.


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October 30, 2011 PostSecret Favorite: Worried About Overpopulation

PostSecret is a weekly blog featuring homemade postcards portraying people’s secrets.  The postcards are mailed anonymously, and the secrets range from cute and funny to pathetic and heartbreaking.  I stumbled across PostSecret in 2005 and became hopelessly addicted.  To commemorate my six-year anniversary of PostSecret addiction and because some secrets are too awesome, crazy, or stupid to be forgotten, I am going to pick my favorite secret from the blog each Sunday and share my thoughts on it.

This week’s favorite: Worried About Overpopulation

This person must have read my goddamn mind.

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Law Professor Punctuality

My criminal law professor, ~5 minutes into day 1 of class: “Now I noticed today that several of you came to class late.  And based on my years of teaching experience, I know that on any given day of class, 6 or 7 of you will show up late.  I’m telling you right now that if any of you are late to class again, I am apt to throw a temper tantrum.  When you come late, it’s extremely disruptive, and I completely lose my train of thought.  So unless you run into some sort of emergency, there is no excuse to be late.”

My criminal law professor, ~2 minutes into day 2 of class: “I noticed that a few of you were late today.  I warned you on the first day of class that I am going to throw a temper tantrum.  It is happening now.  DON’T FUCKING BE LATE TO CLASS.  IF YOU’RE GOING TO BE LATE, DON’T SHOW UP AT ALL.”

The result is that I now run on law professor time, which means that I am chronically 5-15 minutes early to all scheduled events and fume while waiting for all the normal people to show up 10 minutes late.

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Burger Brooding

Yesterday, I ate half a delicious, delicious burger from Bistro Burger and brought the other half to class intending to finish it after class.  I drove home in the worst traffic ever and discovered, upon arriving at home an hour later, that I’d left my half burger in the classroom.  I was so upset that I sat down on the floor and spent several minutes processing the reality of the situation.  I thought over and over, “I will never eat that half burger now.  It’s lost forever.  And I have to be ok with it.  I really, really have to be ok with it.”

Law school has officially taken over my mental state.

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No More Blogging Until End of Semester

Law school started this past week, and I’ve decided to stop blogging (or blog very sparsely) until end of semester due to time and energy constraints.  Given how busy I anticipate being, I don’t think I’ll be capable of writing about anything law-unrelated in an informative, coherent, mellifluous, or humorous manner.  See, my syntax is already getting clunky.

Now back to case briefing…

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July 2011: Flowers From the Boyfriend

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Persistence in the Pursuit of Scholarships

I went to my law school a couple weeks ago to beg for money.  Tuition was going to cost me around $40,000 a year, and my school hadn’t given me any scholarships, so I figured I’d saunter in and try to convince them to give me some.  My argument was that a) I was poor and needy and b) I’d gotten merit scholarships from two other schools, both of which were higher-ranked than my school.

My first appointment was with a financial aid administrator who told me within 30 seconds that all the merit scholarship money had been given out.  So that was that.

The following week, I met with the director of financial aid, who told me basically the same thing.  He also explained that even if scholarships became available before school started, I would not be considered for them because my undergraduate GPA sucked.  So I went home, took $20,000 a year in loans, and waited for my dad to pay the other $20,000.

That was about two weeks ago.  This morning, I received an email from the financial aid office informing me that I was the recipient of a $15,000 merit scholarship (albeit non-renewable) this year.  I called the director of financial aid to ask how this came about, and he simply said, “Well, a scholarship opened up, and I remembered that you came in a while ago, so I figured I’d give it to you.”

This experience has taught me horrible things.  It has taught me that if I barge into someone’s office and semi-persistently ask for handouts, money in large quantities will be given.  It has taught me that I can repeat my panhandling act next year and expect a similar result regardless of academic performance.  My law school’s financial aid office has created a monster.

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