Monthly Archives: July 2014
I would love to take an opportunity to explain why Kristen and I are the contestants you never knew you needed…until now. I have compiled a list of reasons why you should drop everything, grab a martini and yell “We’ve got our ratings boosters” at an intern. I have checked my phone and it is working. I will await your call.
1. First things first: we are up to date on our shots and are not on the “no-fly” list. Obvi.
2. We have the support of Midwestern mothers and gays everywhere. You could say we are bi-partisan.
3. We are well acquainted at spotting and killing mosquitos.
4. We rep Brooklyn, hard. Without the irony.
5. We spend our days working with people who have intellectual disabilities to live limitless lives. We want people to know more about the population we serve.
6. We both have a signature dance move. We also have a choreographed ballet routine.
7. The struggle is real in our lives with regards to sequin chaffing.
8. We get along with everyone, except for clowns. We don’t like clowns.
9. I had to re-learn how to walk at 18. She was competing nationally in track at 18.
10. I was a choir nerd, which is funny to Kristen. We like to have operatic rap battles together.
11. She is Lisa Frank. I am Katy Gaga.
12. I am a vegetarian. She eats cow hearts.
13. I write blogs. She writes hashtags quoting Kanye lyrics.
14. Snoop Dogg told us we are his “fave”. We take this as the ultimate endorsement.
15. We have our own verb, #twinning. It is defined as: 1. To cause trouble in tandem without pre-meditation; 2. Mutual hilarity amplifiers; 3. To darken doorways spontaneously like friendly versions of the twins in The Shining.
16. Our biggest dilemma will be in what outfits we will wear and who gets to do what challenge. Anticipate a bloodbath.
I know, right? My mind is blown, too!
*Drops the Mic*,
I was sitting in the middle of a group of lesbians on the ferry while I applied sunblock. We were all heading to the Cherry Grove part of Fire Island where I would meet up with some of my friends, but I allowed myself to imagine that I was on my way to a casting call for the “The Real L Word”. I took a minute to savor everything about this moment as I snuck in a head pat on a nearby Chihuahua when it’s owner turned her head. Life has been beautiful for me recently. Sitting on the boat, I closed my eyes and allowed myself to feel all of my senses come alive. The wind was giving me Beyoncé hair and I could feel the sun warming my skin. I went back to a similar moment last year when I was sitting alone on top of a volcano in Nicaragua and I found myself connect with the earth for the first time in a long time. I slowed my breathing to coincide with the wind gusts and I visualized myself pulling loving energy through my crown and then down each chakra. I spent the boat ride in silence, just living in the moment with an intense gratitude all while visualizing the same.
As the ferry was docking, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. As is completely typical of my life, all of my serious moments are immediately followed by the reality that I am, in fact, Katy and this absurd life I have been given never fails to amaze me. I exit the ferry under rainbow flags while two swans swam along side me as I walked down the pier. I waved at my friends and yelled “hey, bitches!” three times before they could hear me over the flute music that was being played for my arrival about ten feet to the left of me. I had arrived in my paradise.
Fire Island is nothing short of perfect. Beautiful beaches, nude men, gardens full of creepy doll heads. We walked along the guest houses as I started visualizing my potential retirement plans. I could see the place where I would gossip with all of the sassy geriatrics while we throw shade at the youngsters. I could see us all lined up in rocking chairs on the pool deck while our helper monkeys fetched us our cocktails. “You call that dancing!” I would say as I cued the music. My arthritis will have restricted my ability to twerk, but it won’t stop me from schooling them in vogueing. I caught myself mumbling to myself “move over Betty White” as we chose a spot in the sand for our picnic.
As we poured our first pre-noon cocktails over ice, we ate cookies my friend flew in from his mother. As the powdered sugar got on our chins from the snowball cookies, it dawned on us that we were celebrating Christmas in July together. We spent a good while discussing Santa’s inevitable retirement to Boca Raton and we wondered about the fate of the elves. We laughed together for hours until I dropped my glass full of fruit and vodka. There before me was what I thought was a hallucination. I worried about telling the others until I knew for sure what I was seeing. I pointed my finger down the beach and yelled “it’s Rudolph!” as cookie crumbs were launched out of my mouth. Approaching us was an adolescent buck, who had walked right up to us looking for the Christmas cookies. My mind could not compute what I was seeing.I felt the little child inside me do back flips as my faith in Santa became re-ignited. Lymes disease be damned, I could not walk away from this deer. I had seen monkeys, dogs, horses and donkeys on a beach, but a deer on a New York beach was way out of the realm of what I thought to be possible. This deer, I felt, was there to deliver a message to me. After careful deliberation, I drunkenly concluded that he was telling me: “bitch, you’re gonna be late for the drag show!” This deer was the reality alarm clock I needed to get me to become re-acquainted with the time of day. I wrapped myself with a sarong and we hustled to the Ice Palace for some afternoon drag queens as was fated by the stars and Santa, himself.
Immediately, I was embraced by a group of deaf lesbians. As is truth in many languages, I only retain a few choice phrases to use in prime opportunities. I signed to them that my sign-name was “Brooklyn k” and that my “boyfriend was in jail”. They all laughed and let me stand in the front for a better view of the show. Performing in front of me was Logan Hardcore, aka the drag queen featured in my kitchen. She was no less than seven feet tall and quite terrible at lip singing. I pulled up a picture I had on my phone of the painting that was hanging in my kitchen to show my new friends. A colleague of mine had inner-officed me a giant print of a photograph he took of Logan Hardcore taken sometime in the 90’s. This piece is the first thing you see when you walk in my apartment. “Um, what is that?” my landlord would ask when he comes in to change a light bulb. The joke has always been that I had really no idea who this queen was, that was until that day when Rudolph delivered me a July Christmas present. As my ass was being handled by deaf lesbians, I watched in envy as this queen performed the very routine I practice in my bedroom almost daily. That envy was quickly set aside as I remembered that I would have my own show here when I am in my 80’s.
After a waterfront dinner, I changed into my night time dancing outfit so we could get in a few minutes of shimmying before the ferry came to bring us back to reality. I pulled on my rainbow leg warmers and plumped my eyelashes. I could feel the pulse of the dance floor calling to me, so I ran to clear my way through the crowd to the stage where I belong. It wasn’t long before I was dancing in the middle of a group of boys and then ultimately sandwiched between two shirtless hotties. It didn’t matter at the time if they were gay or straight. It also didn’t seem to matter that they were likely 22 as Iggy Azalea was our cultural equalizer that night. One guy turned around from his grinding-on-my-hip pose and started making out with me in a moment I am sure he will describe to his therapist as “confusing”. I’ve been told many times that I am the gay man’s exception as I am pretty close to being a gay man myself. I touch his cheek to reassure him that I would be leaving soon and things would go back to normal for him. He shook his head and asked me “why are you even single?” Saved by the horn of our ferry, I laughed and jumped off of the stage for the mad dash for the late ride back to the city. I turned around for my parting sassy blown kiss as he stood dumbfounded under the strobe light.
Back on the boat, I sat again in silence while I communicated with the endless stars that I never get to see in the city. I reflected on the question I had been asked. Why am I single? I get asked this question a lot, mostly by one of my assigned Jewish mothers. The last time someone asked me this was by a group of men who came up to me on Pennsylvania transit while I was dressed up as a sock monkey. At the time, I was struggling in my seat to find the most comfortable way to sit on a tail. I had to explain to them that I was coming from Philadelphia’s only dance party for gay Furries, while wondering why that seemed to attract them to me. I did not have a good answer for their question as to why I am single then, and neither did I that night on Fire Island.
So, why am I single? I searched my heart for an honest answer. I thought back to the few times that I could have married someone. I thought back to all the reasons I have broken up with people. I thought back to all the times I have had my heart broken. Memories and lessons flooded my brain. I realized that I have been in a relationship for the past 3 years. A relationship with myself. I have worked on my issues and learned to love myself. I have learned how to fight through my fears and how to be the best person I can be. I have dated every color of the rainbow. I learned how to accept people for who they really are. I learned how to work through a fear of abandonment. I got therapy and addressed my insomnia. I faced my darkness and laughed my way into the light. I learned that good isn’t good enough. Love alone isn’t good enough.
I guess the answer is that I am not really single. I don’t have a void in my life because I am not married. Children smell funny and are not in my immediate plans. I have love all around me. I have friends who I am convinced are the best people in the world. I have a sister who keeps it real with me. I have future Fire Island pool boys to look forward to. Most importantly, I have myself. I really can’t wait for the day that I have a partner for this ride. But, that person has to be really special. They need to love everything about me, sequins and all. Who knows, maybe Rudolph has a big package on his way for me come December. 😉
I became Colombian when I was 29 years old. It was something that happened suddenly, unexpectedly.
After my 27th birthday, I flew to San Diego to spend time with Kendall and Adam. I had thrown together a bag full of clothes and left my problems in New York. My heart had been recently broken and I was in crisis. Being around Kendall and Adam was the best medicine I could buy, so I cashed in my airline points and hopped across the country. On our first night, we all fell into our familiar rapport and laughed about our crazy lives. We couldn’t believe that we were 27. It seemed so old, something that crept up on us and was unwelcome. “My God, we’re practically 30!” This theme took on a life of it’s own. After several bottles of wine were emptied, we started compiling our “30 before 30” bucket list. My list included typical adventure goals and some wacky items like “date an Eskimo”. When I came back to New York, I tucked the list away in my underwear drawer and forgot about it until it caught my eye six months before my 30th birthday.
Prominent, at the top of my list, “travel abroad by yourself” was written. I took this as communication from my past self and it set me into a panic to book a trip as soon as possible. I chose Cartagena, Colombia because it jumped off the page at me and I could afford the airfare. My tickets were purchased practically sight unseen. Almost immediately, I felt a wave of anxiety come over my body. What was I thinking? My first trip alone, and I choose Colombia?! My fears doubled as I started typing into the Google search bar “is Colombia…” and the first thing that came up was “safe”.
Against the wishes of everyone in my life, I got on that plane. A few hours later, I set my feet on a new continent. It became obvious to me how uncommon it was for Americans to travel here, rarer still as a solo white female. English was not something the locals were accustomed to speaking. My days were spent primarily alone, wandering through cobblestone passages curtained by bougainvillea. The historic part of Cartagena was surrounded by a wall that was built to protect the city from pirates. I spent hours each day in solitude on top of that wall looking for pirate ships and thinking about my life. It’s amazing how you start to listen to yourself when you are outside of your comfort zone with seagulls as your only companions. I was hopping from hostel to hostel throughout the area when I received notification that I had been booked at an airbnb place on an island. I felt I had had my fill of salsa dancing and of asking everyone I met if they had children, cats or if their cats were on fire. The host of this airbnb told me to meet him “behind the hospital on the beach” and to ask for “el mono”. Other than this, I had no idea what island I was going to or what was in store for me.
I felt that my limited Spanish had prepared me to experience embarrassment as I walked up and down the beach asking for “the monkey” at 8am. I slung my big backpack onto the sand and was starting to plan my backup move if he didn’t appear. Secretly, I was also praying that he would emerge out of the ocean, hand extended, with a monkey on his shoulder. A shadow interrupted my thoughts as I turned around to meet a very handsome man face to face. “Are you Katy?” I felt my voice shake as I replied “yes, you speak English? Are you the monkey I am looking for?” He picked up my bag, threw it over his shoulder and laughed as he led me to a small metal boat.
I was so happy to have someone to talk to that I immediately started grilling him about all of my questions I had written down about Colombia. “Do they always leave the eyes on the fish when they put it on your plate” was at the top of my list. I also needed to know why he was known as a monkey. He proceeded to tell me about how I was the first American to come stay with him and that “el mono” is a slang word for “blonde” in that part of Colombia. I was listening to everything he had to say in-between my alternating internal dialogue of “will I die?” and “is he single?”.
I learn that we are approaching Isla Tierrabomba as a crowd rushes the boat offering to carry my bag. El Mono separates the crowd with a series of high fives and hand shakes as he leads the way towards a steep hill. I gaze around the island as we hike and a sharp round of first-world guilt starts to seize my body. The poverty of this island stood in stark contrast to the cosmopolitan skyline of Cartagena, which was only a short seven minute boat ride away. All around me were children running around barefoot on sharp rocks. El Mono had been trying to teach the children English, so a chorus of “nice to meet you! How are you?” came as each child showed up to welcome me. El Mono’s property was beautiful. I had my own cabana and hot tub. I was the only guest on that day, so I immediately sat in the hammock to take everything in. I was panicked that I had not come prepared for that day. I was wishing that I had brought something for the kids; I could have stocked up on clothes and toys. I watched as three little girls played cards on the street while I held back tears. It wasn’t because I felt bad for these people, but because I knew that this was the reason Colombia had called to me. I knew deep inside that I was exactly where I was supposed to be, which was very unusual for me. I needed to get some serious perspective on what’s important in my life, and watching donkeys carry up containers of water for peoples homes provided me with that insight. I am insignificant if I don’t make a difference in this world. I knew that I would be back to this place one day and I stitched the moment into my heart.
A little while later, I put on my bathing suit to head to the beach. A group of young boys had offered to take me, so I packed some cash to buy them something to drink. Over the next few hours the boys made fun of my Spanish and they took turns flipping through the pictures on my iPhone. I became completely mortified as my language skills were unable to explain away the weirdness that is my life. After the third consecutive picture of me being motor boated by a drag queen came up, I confiscated my phone and suggested that we go swimming. We spent hours doing handstands and showing each other our own special tricks under water. In the water, we all spoke the same language. “Can you do this?” I would ask using the universal body language for “come at me, bitch.” I twirled under water three times and came up like Ariel crashing upon the rocks. This has always been my winning signature move, but I awarded the boys points for their adorable attempts to mimic me flipping my hair. We dried off on the beach where I taught them how to toast with Coke bottles. The beach was completely empty, save for ourselves and the lady we bought the Coke from. I had to laugh to myself as I finally had the perfect set up for a story about the time I did Coke in Colombia. “Cheers!” echoed about a hundred times into the jungle behind us before I told them I was ready to head back to the property.
El Mono was busy purchasing a donkey with burn injuries when we arrived. He gathered the kids around to teach them a lesson about kindness to animals. He told them that he would nurse this donkey back to health with the help of the kids. He told them that animals are to be respected, and in turn they will respect you by carrying your family’s water up the hill. He turned to explain to me that he had also rescued the three dogs he had running around the property. All of his pets had been abused. He went on to tell me that people treated animals like pests on this island. One of his neighbors could not afford a door for their house, and when this unlucky donkey had wandered through their front door, they threw cooking oil on it to get it out. I stroked the nose of the donkey and looked into its beautiful brown eyes that were broken through no fault of its own. El Mono then took me to show me his house of rabbits. “The Iguanas on this island are almost extinct because people were hunting them for food. I breed rabbits, who are free to come and go as they please. They make lots of babies very fast, so my neighbors sometimes catch them for a healthy dinner. If the rabbits leave my property, they are free for anyone. Now, the Iguanas are left alone and I can teach the kids about animals.” I had to catch my breath a few times as I felt I was having an out-of-body experience. This man was my age, and he was quickly becoming my hero. The simplicity in his mission made me so proud that I could witness these spontaneous lessons, even as a mere spectator.
El Mono continued to show me things on his property. Every corner had something that impressed me, from rain barrels to personal touches made by the children. I found a big pile of stone statues that were going to make an underwater zoo for the kids to create reef so they can learn about marine ecology. Next to them was a big pile of plastic bottles. “We have one man who is a garbage man for the whole island. We don’t have recycling. These families take five years to build a house because they can only afford one wall per year. The kids bring me bottles, packed tight with trash, and I give them a toy. Today I will teach the kids how to build things for free out of the trash we have around the island. We are making a school and the first wall will go up today using these bottles as bricks.” I told him to immediately put me to work, that I wanted to help while I was there. We strung together the bottles onto chicken wire, then poured concrete. I felt a sense of camaraderie with the kids with each bottle. Since it was the first wall, we tried and failed together. We tried again and succeed. The children participated in every step until it was time for hydration by way of coconuts and an afternoon nap in the grass. I returned to my hammock and to my thoughts.
I couldn’t believe my luck with this unplanned adventure. I was experiencing so many emotions that it was hard to keep up with myself. I wanted to travel alone so I could get to know myself, to really depend on myself and to be myself. Who am I when I’m being authentic, when the laughter stops and the disco ball is turned off? That afternoon I realized that the lesson I needed to learn on this island was also a simple one. If I had my own property, literal or figurative, what would I do with it? Would I make it all about me and my extravagances? Or, would I dedicate part of it towards bettering my community? What lessons could be taught? El Mono was doing things that really spoke to me. I just felt this overwhelming sense of gratitude that my life had led me here, even for a day.
Before I knew it, the lights were twinkling across the waters as Cartagena brought me back to earth. Close to fifty children were showing up to watch a movie on El Monos deck. While “El Gato con Botas” played on a projector, I had my hair braided by a little girl. When the movie was over, El Mono started playing music videos and cleared away the chairs for an all out dance party. It was shocking to see children under ten having a twerk off to win dollar bills, but I wasn’t one to judge as I have pictures of me pole dancing as a child. I made it rain a little. It was for the kids.
My time on Tierrabomba lasted exactly one day, but I think about it almost every day. My friend, KL, even visited El Mono and has her own story to tell. At 29, a “monkey” taught me how to be Colombian. It is by some poetic luck that my passport expired when I turned 30. Closing out my 20’s passport was my stamp from Colombia, which felt like the end of a chapter in my life. I flipped through the used pages and reflected on all the places I had been. 4 continents, 10 countries, but only 1 “monkey”.
WATCH: El Mono’s first Recycling Event for the entire Island
VISIT: Take a trip and make a difference
I take one last look in my backpack to make sure I have my passport as I finish my room temperature beer. I consider all of the Poutine and mullets I was about to encounter and head out the door. “Good luck with your invisible surgery!” My roommate yells as I close the door behind me. Most people would not travel to Canada in the winter, but I gladly accepted the last minute invitation to meet with a Brazilian mystical healer. As I made my way to the airport, I allowed myself to reflect on all of the white clothing items I would be wearing to allow mediums to accurately read my aura. Normally, I would be weary, but Oprah endorsed this guy. I’ll admit, I was also seduced by the promise of a nap on a crystal bed. As I checked in with my gate agent, I felt pressured to make sure this would be number one of my greatest naps of all time. I must have had a far off look of disappointment painted on my face as I realized suddenly that I forgot my dream catcher necklace. “Ma’am. Ma’am? Everything alright?” I return to reality and hand her my ticket and passport. “I’m going to Canada to see a magical man to find out what’s wrong with me!” I leaned in to revel in her reaction as she pointed towards the security line and flatly said “so is everyone else on this flight.” My efforts consistently damned, I have found New Yorkers to be a real buzzkill. They have seen and heard it all, so my oddities have always had a better audience elsewhere.
I was still sucking the vodka off my ice cubes when we were landing. Every time I go to a new country, I look forward to getting my passport stamped. I always present it to customs and point to the exact spot I want them to fill. When customs do not stamp my passport or they stamp a random page in the back, I fill with rage. This customs agent stamped over a spot previously taken by Mexico. Suddenly, all of my preconceived judgments about Canadian culture were realized. The agent smiles at me with the same half-sedated smile I came to know in Canada. I mumble under my breath as I walk away “you had one job…” Aside from passport stamps, my second most important thing to do while traveling is to practice my new language skills. “Enchante’ Monsieur . Ja mapell Katy” I say to my cab driver. “In Toronto, we speak English, ma’am.” I had been called “ma’am” way to many times that day and I decided that I was not a fan of this new land. I resorted to my standby Midwest accent as I was not about to surrender my needs that easy, “oh ya sherrr ya betcha, doncha know.” I took this opportunity to discuss the third most important thing to me when traveling, “Where can I pet a moose?”
I arrive just in time to see my cousin and his friend splayed out on the couch recovering from their invisible surgeries they had had that afternoon. I learned that each surgery required a huge box of prescription water bottles and some post-op instructions. I glanced at the papers and let out a gasp. There before me was the greatest challenge I would face in this lifetime. Spelled out in specific terms was my nightmare prescription: no drugs, no alcohol, no sex, no spicy food, no caffeine for 40 DAYS! “You don’t have to get a surgery, you could opt for a blessing instead” my cousin reassured me. I was obviously in over my head. I had a major decision to make. Had I come this far to bow out as a mere metaphysical spectator? Or, do I go all in? I know my limits well, but this was a moment to exercise self-control. This is exactly why I have failed at attempts to be a yogi master, a guitar virtuoso and a Catholic. I nodded my head in the most pious way I could, and said “if it is willed, I will.” Without skipping a beat, my cousin Will stood up to head to bed. I took it as a sign.
The morning came with a vengeance. The windows in our hotel overlooked some noteworthy lake that blinded me with glitter of a thousand suns at 6am. It is at this point I realized that I needed to savor my last cup of coffee prior to my spiritual enlightenment. I breathed in slowly and started laying out my white clothes. My wardrobe at home entirely consists of professional clothes, dresses and costumes with nothing in between. The instructions I had prior to packing gave me an understanding of the type of crowd I would soon be a part of. I was 100% sure this crowd would not be wearing a tight white pencil skirt, a see-through white t-shirt, a white jean jacket and white heels. It was part of a repurposed outfit from a Gay Pride “white party” cruise I had once taken and it was the best I could do with short notice. I folded up a piece of paper with my wishes written down in purple glitter ink and placed it in the pocket closest to my heart. This was done to clear up any potential confusion as my spiritual guides searched my heart during my scheduled meditation. I have always failed at attempts to meditate as I come down with spontaneous bouts of ADD. I did not want my spiritual guides to listen to the part of my brain trying to imagine what the lady across from me would look like with a parasitic twin. My list had about ten items and I resisted the temptation to write more. “This is not fucking Santa. This is serious. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Don’t laugh” I said out loud to myself in the mirror as I turn sideways to inspect my outfit. Leaning in, I could see the distinct glint of sequins off of my bra. Pleased, I spin around to allow one of the boys into the bathroom. “It was either a black bra or a sequin bra and yes, I need to get my shit together” I say as I spill a drop of coffee on my skirt.
Reality hit me as I walked into the convention center that was flooded with white linen pants. A single escalator rose in the middle of the crowd. Each white-washed person rose up the escalator as the skylight overhead illuminated their bright faces. “Am I dead?” I thought. There were people by the thousands, each one with the same positive energy. I look out the window across the great lake and see a faint land on the horizon. “New York, thank God” I whisper in relief as I paint on my best non-cynical face. This day was the second of a three-day convention. Those that had been there the previous day were trading stories. “Did you feel anything? Is this your first time? Isn’t this amazing! Look at you, you’re glowing!” The boys recommended we bypass the crowd to be first in line for the crystal beds.
I knew I liked these beds the moment I walked into the dark room filled with hundreds of rainbow lights like a gay Christmas. I assumed the position under my crystal chandelier as my little helper arranges the lights over what I assumed to be my chakras. “Lay back, relax and keep your intentions in your heart” I was told as a towel is folded over my eyes. Years of acupuncture had prepared me for this day. Years of acupuncture had also concluded that I am incapable of real relaxation. My thoughts drifted under the crystals in my typical disorganized process. “What are my intentions? What the fuck am I doing? Why are my eyes watering? What is up with the girl next to me? I feel that she is sad? Why do I feel sad for her? Is she even a girl? How many more minutes do I lay here? Can I scratch my face? What are these, fucking tears? Why am I tearing? Seriously, what’s with this chick next to me? Should I get vagazzled? OMG I am in Canada. I need to center myself. I’m centering. I think I’m centered. I’m fucking centered. I think. This is nice, actually. I could do this for a while. Why is there always Spanish guitar playing? Is she coming towards me to wake me up? Not while I’m centering! I’m fucking relaxed! This is great! Really, with the wind chimes? Someone needs to give this girl next to me a hug. I think I need a hug. No, I just need a drink. I can’t drink for 40 days! Oh no, I’m un-centering! Wait, I was supposed to decide my intentions. I need more time!” I walk out of the room in a state as close to Zen as I can get. I found my cousin talking with a group of people he had known from his trips to Brazil. Immediately, everyone embraced me with an impatient need to know about my crystal bed experience. “It was nice. I had these weird things, tears I think, fall down my face. I couldn’t stop focusing on this sad girl next to me. She was making my face wet.” Two of my new friends smiled in my direction and declared “she’s a medium and an empath!” I decided immediately to accept this as fact and move on. “I’m a medium. I knew it!” I said to myself as I decided to check out the gift shop.
I sat down to fail miserably at meditation, yet again. Instead, I picked up new foreign words for my arsenal. “Bem-vindo.” “Bom dia.” “Obrigado.” “Deus.” I realized that my preparation for my trip to Canada was entirely misguided with my French efforts. Picking up Portuguese phrases was a welcome little surprise and I would make sure to exploit the hell out of my new fluency. “Bom dia, bom dia, bom diaaaaaa!!!!!” I asked all of my important Portuguese language questions from this bilingual lady next to me. “Bom dia. How do you say: I am a cold gangster? Ah, obrigado!” Moments later, I found myself standing on line to meet the man himself. Each person stood in front of him for a silent split-second. A medium would interpret for the man of the hour whether you needed an invisible surgery or a simple blessing, indicated with a point to the left or to the right of the room. I grew anxious as it became my turn in line. I stood there expecting an immediate result. Instead, the medium whispered to me “he wants you to look into his eyes” and pointed towards him. Awkwardly, I stumble towards him while I wondered if he could see my sequins. “Bom dia” I whispered. My head started to go into panic mode. “No one else had to look into his eyes! What’s wrong with me? Do I say something? Omigod, omigod, oh meu deus!” I welcomed the interruption that indicated that I needed to step into the room to the right of me for my surgery. I passed the time reviewing my list of wishes and wondering if any of them had come true. At the bottom of the page I wrote down “Eu sou um gangster frio” for later consideration.
After my surgery, I had further confirmation that I am, in fact, a medium. “He told you to look in his eyes! He thinks you are a medium!” I shot off a text to my friends, telling them to pray for my speedy recovery. I didn’t feel any different, other than my new language skills and new title, but there was still time for the procedure to really set in. I learned that if I wanted an actual physical surgery, I would need to travel to Brazil. This news suddenly made it to my bucket list. I received my case of water and post-op instructions and we headed back to the hotel to rest.
The next day I took my 45 minute flight back home. I dropped off my case of prescription water at my apartment and headed out the door for a third date with this guy I was dating because he had legs that looked like a chickens. I was in it for the limp and the story. He also proved to be the perfect audience for my new spiritual enlightenment. I drank in club soda and his shocked reactions. I waited for him to declare me insane and leave me with the tab, but he instead started kissing my neck. “Let’s go back to my place” he said with a wink. At the time, there were literally millions of things I would rather do than to travel to New Jersey to see the penis of a guy I didn’t like. I decided to cash in. “I’m sorry, I can’t have sex for 40 days.” The look of rejection on his face was quickly replaced with genuine concern. “Just how into this metaphysical stuff are you?” I paused for dramatics, took a sip of my club soda and declared “oh, I don’t know. Medium?”
New York City. The land of the quick fix. By the click of a mouse I can have cat litter, craft beer and my folded laundry be delivered to my apartment. Human contact has become optional, if you so choose. Within the hour I can have weed and pad Thai at my door. In that order, obviously. Applications can tell you the exact minute your train will arrive and exactly how many feet away your next sexual tryst is standing. Disputes are settled with instant access to Google and my bank checks are deposited by my camera. It’s a beautiful time to be lazy, indeed. It is also a beautiful time to be productive. I do all of my writing on my smart phone during my daily commutes as well as practice my foreign languages and learn new things through my beloved TED talks. Some of my friends have tried to sway me from using technology to meet men. “You don’t need it, you can find someone easily” they say. I argue that dating aps are just another tool I use, not exclusively, to meet people. Sure, I have met some creepers and crazies, but I’ve also had a lot of fun.
Today my employee was teasing me about my shoes. “You got a hot date?” I laughed as it is not uncommon for me to wear cute shoes to work. My nurse chimes in “you look so good these days, you must be in love!” The assumption that I am the type of person to be positively giddy in love made me laugh even harder. I caved and told them that I did, in fact, have a date tonight. “Oooh is it “Scorpio”? Is he cute?” People in my life sometimes forget that I long ago stopped being excited about dates, but their excitable faces made me satisfy them with “it’s a new guy and I can’t wait!”
I know I sound pessimistic, but I prefer to see myself as a realist. I am a career-driven 30-year-old who doesn’t count chickens before they hatch. If I base my life on my current working theory that I will keep dating until I find the “one”, my math says that I will have dozens of break-ups under my belt when that day comes along. Forecast for a potential break-up? Likely. I have not completely thrown in the towel, as I do put my best foot forward on every date and occasionally my heart melts a little revealing my abandoned romantic side. Unless someone really special comes along who is worthy of my monogamy, I typically do date multiple people at once. This way I keep my heart and expectations in check. I also have noticed that I wax and wane through dating phases. Sometimes, I want a real boyfriend. Other times, I participate in what I refer to as “expiration dating”.
“Expiration dating” is reserved for that hot guy from Barcelona who is in New York for the summer. My mind is in a completely different head space when we get together. We will never work out long term, but we can have a blast in the here and now. “Expiration dating” is reserved for the guy you really don’t like, but you got drunk and invited him to your cousins wedding. “Expiration dating” is for the summer flings, winter spooning partners and anything with a limited shelf life. I have dated many men solely on the prospect of a good story. I even dated a guy once because he crafted the best date scenario ever: a library date where we make pop-up books, eat apples, duct tape each other to rolling chairs and push each other down the aisles.
I caught myself fancying another “expiration date” the other day. Kendall and I were discussing a recent date with a man that I hated within the very first sentence I knew him. There was literally nothing redeeming about this guy. I had gone against my better judgement and agreed to a date with an “actor”. I have learned this lesson one to many times, but I went anyway. He met me at a nice-enough bar and said “you are four minutes early, you couldn’t wait to meet me, huh?” He then talked non-stop for two hours. He spent the first thirty minutes telling me about staring contests he had been in and won. The rest of the time was spent telling me about how his dad was killed by an oncoming train, his pituitary gland issue got him bullied in grade school and about his intolerance for tickling. I had been double fisting red wine and shots of whiskey and decided that I was drunk enough to stick it out. As he was later walking me to the train, we took a shortcut through the park. It had rained that evening and the grass was so slippery and sloped that I was falling down constantly. He pulled me close for a hug and whispers in my ear “I had a lovely time. Did you know that touching is my love language?” I saw his wet lips coming at me for a kiss as I pulled away. I yell “no touching” as I belly flop on the grass and slide down the small hill. It was, truly, a new low for me. I had ran out on dates before, but this was the first time I would have road rash because of it. This guy asked me out on another date, and I got my ass back to my apartment. Kendall asked “so, are you going on another date?” Without thinking it through, I responded “ugh I hated him. But, probably.” I knew that I was on the verge of a story-date situation and I had to resist the urge to drink that Kool Aid again. Just because I hadn’t dated someone I hated before doesn’t mean that I should. This newfound logic is one of the only signs that I’ve grown-up a little. The “I’m dating this guy because he has gun shot wounds” attitude was super fun for a while, but it’s also gotten super old.
Currently, I am somewhere in-between the land of “expiration dating” and wanting something real. I find that a summer romance is exactly what the doctor has ordered, and if something grows from that then all the better. My heart vacillates between the land of the living and the land of the dead, but I am just fine with that. My favorite thing about being in my thirties is that I don’t have room in my life for shitty relationships- friends, lovers or family- and I’m ok with walking away when needed. I’m happy just where I am in life and don’t really give a damn if I’m following some arbitrary time-line for my love life. I may still enjoy my “expiration dates” from time to time, but I let go of my own expiration date on love. One of the most inspirational people in my life, Anne, told me about how she didn’t find her “honey” until later in life. She looked over a table at me and my single friends and gushed over pictures of her husband on her phone with the enthusiasm of a schoolgirl. If that kind of love is worth waiting for, then it’s time I throw my “egg timer” out the window and stop stressing so much. I can always adopt if I want to, and my life is fantastic without a perennial plus-one. Who knows what tonight will bring, or what will happen with the Scorpio, or if I will live as an international woman of mystery for the rest of my life. At least I know I have cute shoes and can handle my liquor. So, off I go….