Thursday, January 29, 2009
1. I used to sincerely, honestly, totally, devotedly want to marry Pee-wee Herman. No, for real. And I was in college at the time. And, you know, if he'd have me now, I probably still would tie the knot with the nut. I admit, when I rewatch Pee-wee's Big Adventure now and am reminded of how effeminate he is with his shrunken suit, girly squeal and make-up, I realize it should be of no surprise to me that one of my ex-boyfriends later came out of the closet and that another love interest turned out to be bi. My friend Amber once gave me a talking Pee-Wee Herman doll for Christmas. I still have it in the box. It is one of my most treasured possessions (next to my talking Scary Spice doll).
2. Did I mention one of my ex-boyfriends later came out of the closet? About 10 years after we had broken up. I was somewhat shocked and somewhat not when I heard the news secondhand. Moments later, I was almost euphoric. Partly because I was happy for him to have made a breakthrough that huge, partly because it gave me closure that he officially couldn't be "the one that got away" and mostly because it explained why at certain points in our relationship things had gotten so dark and painful. And now being able to say I have a gay ex makes me feel like I have some kind of street cred, yaknow? Word.
3. The worse thing I ever did was to not speak up when a wrongdoing was being committed. It happened in 5th grade and involved an Oreo cookie and a girl from Pakistan who wore her thick braid greased up with coconut oil and the same pale green jacket to school every day. She got teased a lot for being different. I got teased a lot, too. I was often called a "goody two shoes" by the tough girls in school. Then one day they let me hang with them and I was breathlessly thrilled. Then it turned ugly. One of them took an Oreo from her lunch bag and had us follow her into the girls' restroom. There, she dipped the cookie in the toilet water gingerly.
I still have a clear image of it all in my mind. The sloppily painted wooden stall doors. The filtered sunlight coming through the frosted window. Her stringy blonde hair and evil chuckle as she did the dipping deed. I giggled, too, in a choking-with-fear kind of way and followed her as she wandered back into the classroom and gave the soggy cookie to the girl with the braid. Braid girl looked wide-eyed at the tough girl, probably as amazed to be acknowledged by the likes of her as I'd been.
I swear she knew something was awry. Why would the cookie be soggy to the touch when no milk was around? There was a long moment of silence. A moment when I could've said, "Stop!" But I was cowardly and complicit. When she bowed her head and took a bite out of that cookie, it was almost as if she knew she was submitting to a hazing rite. My stomach sank six floors. Not because of what she'd put in her mouth, but because of what hadn't come out of mine.
4. In fourth grade, I had a massive crush on a boy named Richard. My, he was tan, tall, dark and handsome with chiseled features eerily reminiscent of Randolph Mantooth in "Emergency!" He did not return the affection, as I was pale, skinny and bespectacled. In fact, not only did he not return my affection, he was really pissed off I was over the moon about him.
One day I noticed him checking out a book from the school library about the showdown at OK Corral. Once it was back on the shelf, I grabbed it. Even at that young age, I figured if I could get into a guy's head and submerse myself in the stuff he liked, he'd end up liking me. It was a failed theory that I insisted on clinging to well into my 30s. But, back to the book. By chance, Richard had walked his friend over to show him the book moments after I'd grabbed it. The dirty look he shot me could've knocked Wyatt Earp on his keyster. Another awful time he threw a dodgeball between my feet as I ran on the playground, leaving me with asphalt-ground knees while the Xena Warrior Princess of the school rescued me. There was some poetic justice. In college days, he seemed to get a temporary hankering for me. I enjoyed the flirtation, but it was too late. My knees' scrapes had healed, but my heart's had not.
5. Which brings me to my first run-in with the opposite sex. Around age six, I used to play with a little boy in the neighborhood named Stevie. We'd squeeze in side by side in his metal car that we'd propel with our scrambling feet, Flintstones' style. One day little Stevie decided to take a bite out me, sinking his little fangs into my tiny bicep. I shrieked in pain and burst into waterworks. That night I told my dad the sad story. "Well, bite him back!" was his advice. "But I don't want to taste skin!" I squealed. It was then my dad advised me to bite the kid through his shirt--thus inflicting pain while avoiding flesh. It was sage advice, which I took to heart. Oh, yes. I brought the hurt to Stevie. And his Garanimals shirt. And that was just one of the many times my dad came through for me with some Solomon-worthy counsel during my young life.
6. My most prolific dating year ever was Y2K. Yay, millenium! In a period of four months, I kissed five guys—cutie pies all of them. And I do mean just kissed. Well, except for one. Or two. That time period allowed me to double my lifetime average of liplock partners and I'm sure I'll never see the likes of that streak again. But I look back on it ever so fondly. Oh, yes. I do.
7. I believe in God. (Wouldn't you after a year like Y2K?) But I don't know what to do about it most of the time. Except to pray. And try to be a good person.
Whoa. Six of those seven things were about men. Well, if you consider the big guy upstairs to be a guy.
OK. See ya. I'm off to have some Oreos in the can.