Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Year End Wrap Up

As is customary around these parts, I am taking two weeks off to travel home for the holidays, do hoodrat things with my friends, drink my weight in liquor and eat your weight in soul food. It's tradition after all. And in that spirit, I will also be taking a break from the twice a week posting I do here. I will give you a moment to mourn...

Feel free to come back in the new year, when I will be kicking things off with a week long series about the worst dates I have ever been on, brought to you by Twitter and the letter J for Jack Daniels, without whom I would never have found it in myself to entertain you with my ultimate dating failures. Among the highlights you can expect: guy whose girlfriend showed up mid-date. The gay guy I didn't know I was on a date with who had an interesting proposition at the end of the night. Boy who cried into his pasta.
You wanna be here for that.

In the meantime, feel free to catch up on the past year via 12 of my favorite posts of 2011, listed below in no particular order, and meant to assuage the agony of my absence until I return in 2012, likely hungover and a few pounds heavier, but ready to go.

Merry ChrismaHanuKwanzaa and Happy New Year in advance!!!
- La

1. Next Door
A look back on what happens when you visit your childhood house of horrors as an adult.

2. Potential
A sound thesis on why, when men tell you that you should be attracted to their potential, you should tell them to shut the fuck up.

3. Lestat v. Possums
A hilarious installment of my war on possums, wherein I embarrass myself with how ungangster I am.

4. Giving Up
Where I finally start to heal from having my heart broken years ago, starting with confronting the memories left behind in a city we once loved.

5. La's Guide to Jump Offs
A list of rules to follow if you are interested in maintaining a fruitful jump off situation, gleaned mostly from all the ways I have failed in this pursuit.

6. Fuck Love, Get Greece
Where I learn that romance without finance is not love at all, but rather the way poor people make themselves feel better about being broke.

7. Loose Ends, Undone, Tied Up
A three part story about how I got over losing the love of my life. And how drama can follow even much belated closure.

8. Body Count Politics
Defense of you being as much or as little of a whore as you want to be, and why there should be no such thing as a whore anyway.

9. You Know How I Know You're Gay?
I crush my friend's hopes of dating a new guy because I am fairly certain that he is a card carrying, Vuitton rocking, arches-his-eyebrows-in-secret homo.

10. The One Where my Mama and I Talk About Vibrators
Also known as the one time I seriously considered running my car into a highway median just to make it stop.

11. Mama Said There'd be Days Like This
I give up my apartment, my independence, and my dog, all in one day. But the cute pics of my dog make it hurt a little less.

12. I Shoulda Been a Stripper
I discover that strippers are not all unattractive, desperate for love knock off porn stars. I also discover that stripping is the new path to financial independence. Then I cry over my degree and student loan bills.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I Shoulda Been a Stripper

Thanks to Chris Rock, I know that it is the goal of every father to keep his daughter off the pole. But I have never been so convinced that I shoulda been a stripper in all my life.

It started out as a joke among me and the girls, slowly escalating to various levels of ridiculousness. First, it was just the idea that maybe instead of looking for partnership and love, we should have just leveraged our looks into financial arrangements with wealthy men. Then we figured we should’ve married our love of ignorant music and twirking into a lucrative career as a stripper/video girl/jewelry designer. And now, some days QQ and I toy with the idea of moving to Amsterdam to become high end call girls to well-to-do politicians, celebrities and financiers.

To be clear; I never dreamed I would consider, even jokingly, accumulating wealth flat on my back with my toes pointed at the ceiling. And I never would actually do it. But if, like me, you have resigned yourself to a lifetime of indentured servitude to student loans, you have to understand the allure of obtaining financial freedom through something I already like to do anyway.

But I have never been surer that I should have set my sights on climbing the ranks by climbing the pole when I was younger, thinner and infinitely dumber than when I met a stripper at my local Starbucks.

Many of us have an idea of what a stripper looks like. She looks like a porn star but with better costumes; the stringy bleached hair, drag queen makeup, flammable nails and flotation device boobs are all par for the course. But this girl, Mandy, looked nothing like that. She was pretty in that southern belle kinda way; long, thick blond hair the color of honey framing a heart shaped baby face with big ocean blue eyes. No painted on makeup or triple letter implants to be found. I noticed her as we both walked in at the same time, and she flashed me a warm, friendly smile as she held the door open for me to pass. It wasn’t until the barista called out an order for Mandy and we both reached for it that we actually had a chance to talk.

“Your name is Mandy?” she asked me, looking at me skeptically.
“Sure. In Starbucks sometimes it is.” She laughs at me.
“Why do you give a fake name?”
“I’m not entirely sure. In theory it is because I am always convinced that my life is an episode of SVU and that there is some person stalking me and trying to find out all my personal information. This is my way of protecting myself?” I turn up my inflection at the end of the sentence like a question because I realize how ridiculous I sound.
“OhmiGod,” she says running all her words together, “do you know what I do? I unlock my front door facing out. It’s awkward but I am always convinced someone is gonna come up behind me and push their way in since I live alone.”
“You totally shouldn’t have said that you live alone,” I reply, casting a fake furtive glance around the Starbucks. We giggle like high schoolers.
“I’m Mandy.”
“I’m La.”

We sort out which drink is for the real Mandy and which is for girls who have considered stereotypical white girl names when my own was enough, and grab a table near the window. I realize, all of a minute into our convo that Mandy is much like me; she loves to talk to strangers. And she has an easy way about her that endears her to you almost immediately. On top of that, about five minutes after that, I realize that she is REALLY smart. If she weren’t so damn nice, I would hate her.

We chat for a while about nothing, giggling and trading stories about the dates we both went on the night before, mine very good, hers notsomuch.

“Well, it was all going really well until he found out what I do for a living.”
“Oh, what do you do?”

She paused, her face screwed up with uncertainty, weighing whether or not she wanted to say.

“Come on,” I told her. “It can’t be so bad. What is it? You sell drugs to elementary school kids? Spray water in the faces of kittens? Oh my God do you work on Wall Street?!”

She is laughing at me, her orthodontia assisted smile on full blast.

“No. No, none of that. I… dance.”
“Well what’s so wrong with that? I used to dance in high school. I never could have made a career of it, especially after I hurt my knee but-“
“No, La. Dance. Like, strip.”

Usually, as I frequent strip clubs and grew up in the ass clapping capital of the country, I can spot a stripper at ten paces. But this is exactly what I get for judging people.

“I never would have guessed!”
“’Cause I don’t have Pamela Anderson boobs?”
“And because your hair doesn’t look like you color it with Clorox.”

We laugh again, and I can feel the tension leaving her, thankful to have not been judged. I ask her a few questions, and find out she dances at a swanky club in a well-to-do part of town that I have (of course) been to before. The more we talk and she opens up, the more I realize that this is not your typical tale of stripper woe; her parents are still together and still desperately in love. She’s close to them both, and neither have an issue with her profession. She was a smart kid who grew up to be a smart woman with nary a daddy issue or drug addiction to speak of.

“So, what made you start stripping?”
“It was my big brother actually.”
“Say what now?”
“Well, no, not like that. He didn’t actually make me. But it was his issues that even made me consider it.”
“His issues?”

She goes on to tell me about how her brother, a doctor, is so up to his eyeballs in debt from undergrad and medical school that he can’t even do what he really wants to do, which is move to Mexico and volunteer in clinics in towns without hospitals. He got to achieve his goal of becoming a doctor, but his dream of helping people in the manner he wants is henceforth and likely forevermore blocked by the debt he had to go into to get the degree he needed that he didn’t have well off parents to foot the bill for.

It sounds vaguely familiar to me.

“After I saw what stress he went through, how heartbroken he’s been about not being able to do what he really wants to do, I knew if I didn’t do something different to get through undergrad and veterinary school, I’d likely be in the same boat. Because my parents couldn’t pay for me either. I met a girl my sophomore year who was a cocktail waitress. That’s where I started. And just went on from there.”
“But you’re done now. So why still do it?”
“Because I didn’t start until sophomore year. And I still had loans to pay because I wasn’t yet making enough money to pay for it outta pocket. And then after I graduated, I bought my condo and my car,” she says holding up a BMW key ring. “All of that will be paid off by the end of this year.”

As I glance out of the window to my lovely truck that wasn’t even what I wanted and has the interest rate hand delivered from the devil that I still have not yet managed to pay off, I start to realize that I have been living my life all wrong.

Sure, my daddy can rest assured knowing that his only daughter is not dancing with other people’s daughters for sons on the eves of their weddings. But he can also be assured that I will not be sending him and my step mama to Mexico for their 35th anniversary, as Mandy is doing for her parents next May.

“I have to admit,” I tell her, “I am a little jealous that I didn’t have the balls to do it myself.”
“Don’t be. It’s not all great. But I am really glad that I am almost 30 years old with almost no debt to speak of. I feel like I can be free to live my life.”
“And THAT is what I’m jealous of. The good news is though, if my career doesn’t work itself out, I can always sell this unbelievable story.”
“A stripper who stripped to put herself through school that actually got a degree and quit? Unheard of.”

She laughs at me, her blue eyes twinkling, as we scoop up our trash to go our separate ways. I try very hard not to hate her for being pretty, young, and debt free. It’s a struggle.

Damn my daddy for keeping me off the pole.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Flirting Fail

Because I am a serial under dater, a lot of my skills have gone to shit.

Before I tell you what an embarrassment I am to my former self, let me explain the concept of “under dating.” By that I don’t mean I don’t date enough (though, if I ever want to have a whorish phase that I missed in college, I likely want to step my game up). I mean, I perpetually date people I know good and well things will go nowhere with. That doesn’t mean I don’t like them. I just walk into things perpetually aware that I won’t like them for any substantial amount of time. Part of that is because I seem to have relationship ADD; I’ve been known to wake up one morning completely over someone I was into the day before. And yes, I know most will say you have to date people for a little while to see if things will progress into something more. And for some people this may be true. But generally it takes me about 15 minutes to figure out if I will never speak to you again, fuck you and never speak to you again, date you for a little while then never speak to you again or introduce you to my mama.

Lately it seems like once I shrewdly determine that the person I am entertaining will fall into one of those first 2 categories, I Kanye shrug and accept a second date anyway. And I guess because I am not invested in any real, substantial way, it is quite easy for me to be my funny, charming self. I don’t have to try. Because I’m not profoundly invested in the outcome.

And that practice has profoundly bitten me in the ass.

I am pretty sure I have forgotten how to flirt. And I don’t mean flirting like batting my eyelashes and cooing at a bouncer. I mean I have no idea how to sustain the rhythm of that witty, mildly sexual, volley that happens with someone you are ACTUALLY interested in. It’s like right in the middle of it when I try to find a sharp, charming response, I am all Homer Simpson around the head…

And that is NOT who I am. Anyone who knows me knows I can talk my way out of (and into) anything. I always know what to say. I know when not to say anything. I never NOT have a response. I am generally quick on my feet enough to be alluring to someone who wants to see me slow on my back. Now though, notsomuch.

For instance…

Guy: *insert flirty, sexual remark*
La: *blank stare*
Guy: Did you hear me?
La: Yes! *confused face, blinks slowly*
Guy: That is the most epic blank stare I have ever seen.

Oh, yeah. THAT HAPPENED. (I’d tell you the remark he made, but this is a family blog.)

This type of thing keeps happening to me with astonishing regularity. And every time, EVERY SINGLE TIME, I have that moment where I ask myself, “What the fuck was that?” Or better yet, that moment when HOURS LATER I come up with some insanely clever response and I am DYING to say it late as hell if for no other reason than to prove that I am not in fact slow as the offspring of first cousins.

I really brought this on myself. This is what I get for years of being lazy with people I knew there was no chance of me getting attached to. Iverson had it all wrong (clearly); practice is essential.

Your girl is out here failing.