Why Don’t We Get Drunk and Screw Yourself?

One of the benefits of being a Dusty Old Crusty (D.O.C. y’aaaaaall!), is finally being able to hold my liquor.  As a matter of fact, learning how to drink without humiliating myself is probably the biggest accomplishment I have to-date.  Granted, you can still always count on me to challenge people to a push-up contest after three cocktails, but the up-side of that is a stronger upper body, and who doesn’t want that?  It’s about fitness.

Now, if you know me, you have no doubt heard the upcoming anecdote several times, so you’ll have to humor me for the next paragraph, but I’ll at least give you the shortish version.

When I was 15, I had the moony-eyed, pathetic crush of all crushes.  My own personal Jordan Catalano.  One night when we were hanging out at a house party, I drank somewhere in the area of 3-4 beers.  When I felt that hurling was imminent, I got up from the couch and walked towards the bathroom, only to find a line of people waiting to get in.  I stood in the hallway, drunk and swaying, and totally threw up.  Except that right when this started to happen, my crush just so happened to walk up and start talking to me, so instead of throwing up, I threw…in?  I stood there and held the puke inside my mouth so that he wouldn’t know that I was throwing up inside my own mouth.  He kept talking, I kept nodding and smiling, holding a mouth full of vomit.  He eventually made me laugh, the hurl came streaming out of my nose like a dual-sided volcano, he yelled “Gross!!!” and ran away from me.

To summarize, Jordan Catalano yelled “Gross!!!” at me.  And then ran away.  Like any vomiting out of your nose story, it’s a pretty good one.  /smug

You can repeat this story, changing a few of the details, and this would describe my first 10 years of drinking.  Making out with a Dockers-wearing P.E. coach with a Caesar haircut I had just met at a wedding before excusing myself to throw up for the next 8 hours in a crushed velvet babydoll dress was probably the low point (hello 1995!).  On a related note, it is nearly impossible to get vomit out of crushed velvet.  The only thing that’s worse is trying to get vomit out of faux fur, but thankfully the faux fur trend didn’t come along for a few more years, so I had time to plan ahead.  If you vomit on something with sequins, just throw it out.

I just could never figure out my limit, and then even if I did, I had to figure it out again depending on how empty my stomach was and what kind of alcoholic beverage was being served.  Beer 3, wine 2, mixed drink 2, Zima 3 and subtract one from each if it’s on an empty stomach.  This is also why I hardly ever do shots, because it throws off all of my pre-established metrics.

So!  Young lushes!  Here’s what you need to do:

Eat.  Something.  I don’t just mean eat a granola bar and then head out to an all-night bachelorette party.  If I know I’m going to be engaging in a high-level drinking event, I eat like a goddamned machine before I go.  Pack it in like a lumberjack hamster.  A pudding cup is not going to cut it.  Think eggs, hashbrowns, sausage, biscuits and gravy.  Soooo much gravy.  Then eat mini-muffins on the entire drive there.  Bacon double cheeseburger.  Do it up.

Second, resist the urge to “pre-game” at somebody’s house.  If you’re picking up your friend on the way out for the night, and she says, “Let’s do a couple shots before we go!”, just say no.  If she persists, tell her she reminds you of an 2004-era Lindsay Lohan “in a bad way” and that should nip it in the bud.

If the effects of alcohol tend to sneak up on you like they do on me, alternate alcoholic drinks with a glass of club soda.  Most bars won’t even charge you for it, it has zero calories, and this method has saved my ass on numerous occasions.  It will also help to keep you from feeling like you got stomped on by a donkey the next day.  Hydration, people!  It’s a cure-all.  You will never wake up the day after you drank 3 gin and tonics and 3 club sodas and wish you had just had 6 gin and tonics instead.  Trust me.

Lastly, there’s the ol’ Coyote Ugly trick, where if someone surprises you by buying you a shot, you pretend to do it, and then clandestinely spit it out into an empty beer bottle.  This is what I have done with literally every shot of Jagermeister anyone has ever bought me, not because I was afraid of getting too drunk, but because Jagermeister is fucking gross.

Related – I imagine that when Bridget Moynihan was in that Coyote Ugly movie she thought it was a pretty low point in her life, but then years later she married Tom Brady, got impregnated by Tom Brady, and then dumped by Tom Brady for Gisele Bundchen – while still pregnant – yet still has to raise his icky vanilla-demon spawn.

Related – Tom Brady is the literal worst.  The WORST. He is the Tom Paris of football.

And come to think of it, when Bridget Moynihan was in Sex and The City, she married Mr. Big (who insisted she walk down the aisle to a saxophone solo of “When a Man Loves a Woman”), and then got dumped by Mr. Big for Carrie Bradshaw, who was like 10 years older than her and dressed like a literal clown, who also incidentally never had to walk down a wedding aisle to a goddamned saxophone solo.  What does the world have against Bridget Moynihan???

I wonder if that’s the way you test someone’s personal limits and whether you’ll be able to use them as a doormat?  You just say to your soon-to-be bride, “I think you should walk down the aisle to a non-ironic saxophone solo of “When a Man Loves a Woman”.  If she says, “Uhh, okay?” then BINGO.  This woman will let you steamroll her for the rest of your life, because if she says yes to that shit on her wedding day?  Oh man, she will say yes to anything.

Go ahead and move your teenage mistress into the house, she won’t care.  Tell her she could stand to switch to salads for a while.  Tell her to go out and get a second job so she can pay for liposuction on her saddlebags.  Suggest to her that she buy her pants at Lane Bryant and her bras at the “Limited Too” kids clothing store which by the way some assbag actually suggested to me one time.  If at any time she offers resistance to your whims, just start playing “When a Man Loves a Woman” on the saxophone and she will become all Pavlovian-catatonic with PTSD, remember where she stands in the hierarchy of your relationship, and start folding your laundry the right way for a change.  Chicks!

I need a drink.  Happy Friday!

The Fish Boner: A Freeform Analysis

I recently watched that movie where the Quiet Lady totally gets it on with the Fish Man, and I have some thoughts on it.  I can only imagine how “on the edge of your seat” you must be right now.  It’ll be one of the smarter things you’ll read today.

So, Quiet Lady works at the secret government building place, and as a Quiet Lady with minimal dating opportunities, she apparently has a natural interest in fish men. Because all of the human men around are either gay or sadists (true dat!).

Fish Man, being a Fish Man, does the double-blinky thing at her sometimes and also eats hard-boiled eggs that she brings for him.  (As an aside, if you think a Fish Man has some stinky butt-smells already, imagine incorporating hard-boiled eggs into the equation.  I guess as the old saying goes, “Love for a Fish Man is nose-blind.”)

Anyway, Quiet Lady develops a romance with Fish Man by having silent lunch with him a few days a week.  Since he never tries to chew off her fingers, she falls in love with him. Because those are just the kind of standards a single lady has to have at her age.

Quiet Lady finds out Fish Man is going to be dissected, so she helps him escape the lab.  Later on in her apartment, she pulls off all her clothes and she and Fish Man totally do it.  Does Fish Man even know what sex is?  Does he??  How do we even know that Fish Man is a man?  What if he’s a child Fish Man?  What if this is Lolita, but with a fish teenage boy?  What if this is a crime?!  And at what point can a Fish Man even give enthusiastic consent?  Is a fish boner considered consent?

Thankfully we don’t have to wonder whether Fish Man actually gets a fish boner, because when Quiet Lady tells her coworker about it later, she mimes what the fish boner looked like because, thank god, the writer of this movie knows that’s all literally everybody wants to know.

Conversely, I also find it interesting that in the movie “Splash!” with Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah, he only does it with her when she’s in human form.  There aren’t even any double-entendre jokes about them doing it while she’s in fish form because people would be all EWW GROSS.  She probably used to just have one of those multi-purpose fish holes and was totally happy with it until she got a hold of last month’s Mermaid Cosmopolitan magazine where one of the headlines was, “Ditch That Multi-Purpose Fish Hole Thing – Drive Your Man Wild With a Human Vagina!

You know why?  Because this is yet another sexist bullshit double-standard, only this time women have to be totally cool with a fish boner from their fish men, while the men are like, “Human vagina or GTFO” to their fish women.

Anyway, back to the movie, it turns out Quiet Lady never realized she is actually part fish woman, so she and Fish Man swim off into the sunset together to keep doing it, but since she is still part human, she still has a human vagina, so win-win for Fish Man.

Which reminds me of this discussion we recently had about how the alien men on any Star Trek series are almost always fully alien (except for Spock, so don’t even start with me), and the women are almost always half alien (unless they’re a totally “hot” alien variety like Jadzia Dax on Deep Space Nine) , which I think is yet another sexist bullshit double standard.

Women are just supposed to be totally cool with getting it on with Neelix on Voyager, who is full Talaxian with actual whiskers and some kind of weird snake eyes and scrotum-head, but when faced with an amorous woman who happens to be full Klingon, dewdz are like, “Uhhhh, too scary?  How about half Klingon?”

And it’s never even half-Klingon and half something else weird for the women, like half-Ferengi.  It’s B’Elanna Torres from Star Trek Voyager:  Beautiful and exotic, half-Klingon and half-human.  The other half is always human.

And as if that’s not bad enough, they make her marry Tom Goddamned Paris.  Tom Paris!  Tom Paris is something you accidentally let fall into you during Spring Break and immediately regret, not something you marry.  Tom Paris?!  Who the hell marries Tom Paris?!!

I liked that fish boner movie, though.

Nobody Cares About Your Boner – Volume One

Thurston Moore is old and ugly.

Wow, that was really, super mean!  What the hell did Thurston Moore do to deserve that?

Oh, I don’t know, what did Kim Gordon do to make 99% of dewdz immediately tell me how old and ugly they think she is anytime the subject of Sonic Youth has ever come up in the past 25 years?

It’s not as if it’s served up like a casual observation, either.  It’s as if the words can’t escape their mouths fast enough.  Like if they don’t tell me their unsolicited opinion on the lack of their boner movement when looking at Kim Gordon, the world will die and fire will rain down on the universe.  I mean, I have to assume the stakes are that high, because it is literally the first thing they say about the band.  The first!

Any time this has ever happened to me in conversation, I like to take a few different approaches with my response to see what sticks, and for general fun-sies, because apparently I enjoy the feeling of my blood pressure shooting up like a bottle rocket.

First I try the mental “ignore” button, which never, ever works.  They just keep blathering on with “I mean, am I right?”, “I don’t think she’s hot”, “I think she’s old”, or “I think she looks like Iggy Pop” – which is deliciously ironic – because these are always the same men who fucking worship Iggy Pop.

Second, I try logic, and tell them that nobody cares about whether someone personally gives them a boner, why is it only the women in bands who get subjected to their comments on physical appearance, and that Kim Gordon is a gorgeous example of humanity in every way, and that they need to shut up because nobody cares about your boner.  This is usually met with being called a “bitch” or some such other nonsense that men say to women when they realize they’re being rightly called out for their shitty behavior, because apparently a lot of men are sensitive and emotional as shit.

Then, finally, I try the “over the top” response, which is when I take it waaaay too far in the direction they’re going, and say that I couldn’t agree more with their assessment about Kim Gordon, and that she should be banned from music, have wood and rocks thrown at her every time she appears in public, get locked into a windowless room the rest of the time so men’s boners don’t have to ever look at her again, and eventually be frozen into carbonite like Han Solo for her inability to inspire shitty dewdz to wank it to her.  It’s only fair.  It’s the only solution that makes sense.  I find that one usually shuts them up, so feel free to use it anytime, btw.

For the record, and it really goes without saying, I think Kim Gordon is fucking awesome.  She is the real artist of that band.  She is the crown jewel of that band.  She is a pioneer for women in music, fashion, and art.  Without her, Sonic Youth would have been about as avant garde and groundbreaking as John Cafferty and the Beaver Fucking Brown Band.  (No offense, John Cafferty, as I am a lifelong fan of Eddie and The Cruisers, but your band ain’t breaking any boundaries there, and I think we both know it.)

And while we’re on the subject of women in bands, let’s shift to the other side of the coin, where dudes are actually okay with how a woman looks (prize!), but if they don’t think her technical skills are on par with some relentless, theory-driven blowbag like Dave Mustaine, she must quit music immediately and go start making sandwiches.

I mean, please, by all means, when I tell you that I like The White Stripes, please immediately volunteer your opinion to me about how shitty a drummer you think Meg White is.  There’s one I certainly haven’t heard before! (I have heard this no less than fifty times in my life.)  I assume your boner is at least okay with her appearance, or else that would be the first thing you would tell me about her, so I guess she dodged a bullet there!

Oh, by the way, you know who else is a shitty drummer?  Most garage band drummers, and no, I’m not providing you with a list of citations.  That’s kind of the appeal of a band that operates under a stripped-down format – the “not-fancy” drumming. Go ahead, drop some super technical player like the drummer from Rush onto any White Stripes album and tell me the songs are better off for it.  You know all that was missing that whole time was a double kick-drum and an extra thirty-five cymbals!  Who doesn’t want to hear rototoms on “The Hardest Button to Button”?!

And since we’re on the subject of musical skill, seeing as that’s your only criteria for kicking Meg White out of The White Stripes, Jack White has a unique voice that is well-suited to his genre, but it may not be the most traditionally skillful singing voice in the world, so he should be replaced with a much more skillful singer.  Don’t you think?  How about that opera guy, Andrea Bocelli?

Introducing Andrea Bocelli and the drummer from Rush!  Ladies and gentlemen – this is The White Stripes!

Now, look at that!  You have created the perfect band.  With that level of skill among the players, nobody’s talent can be called into question, that’s for sure!

You cannot win as a woman in music.  You can.  Not.  You can’t win because they don’t want you to win.  The game is specifically designed so that you do not get to win, no matter how hard you try to play the game.

The game where if you’re pretty enough, then they’re okay with you, but why aren’t you as skilled on your instrument as Yo Yo Ma is on the cello?

The same game where if you’re talented enough, then they’re okay with you, but why aren’t you hotter?

The same game where if you’re pretty enough and talented enough, they call you a whore who slept her way to the top, or a frigid bitch for not sleeping with them, or whatever else they call women who get too big for their britches.

She’s only famous because she’s hot.

She’s only famous because her parents are rich.

She’s only famous because she’s dating some famous guy.

She’s only famous because some producer guy writes all her songs.

She’s only famous because she writes her own songs, but OMG her songs are so shitty, right?!

She’s only famous because girls are never the drummer.

She’s only.

She’s only.

She’s only.

She’s only.

Every “only” is meant to reduce you, until you’ve shrunk so small that you disappear.

There are one million conditions we have to meet as women to “win” in the music business, but here’s a little secret: Even if we met all one million conditions, there would be a million more to meet that we were never even told about.  We’ve been led to believe that if we do exactly the right things in exactly the right order, then they’ll be cool with us, but that’s a lie.  It’s a goddamned lie.

The only way we can win is by not playing their game.  By not caring what they think.  By giving our dollars, our time, our attention, and our energy to women artists.  By lifting each other up.  By making our own game, and telling them to take their game and go shove it.

Vacation All I Never Wanted

Of the approximately one million things I am too old for, agreeing to stay with you at your place when I’m on vacation is pretty near the top of the list.  Near.  I don’t foresee it overtaking “having to endure long conversations with junkies about Jim Morrison” anytime soon.

It’s not just that I’ve become particular in my old age, I have just never enjoyed crashing at someone’s house.  It was different in my 20s when I was so full of hope and optimism, I was willing to give it a chance. Now I’m just too old to hold out any hope that it’s not going to be a living nightmare.  I’ve learned my lesson.

The main problem, as it turns out, is that I am an asshole, or rather, I have asshole expectations.

Expectations that you would mention to me, prior to my agreeing to stay with you, that you don’t actually have any room for me, but that’s okay, because you’re “sure I won’t mind just sleeping on the floor” (although this also falls under a general category of “You forgot to mention that you have no furniture”).

Expectations that include things like having a guest towel.  I don’t mean a towel that is fancy, embroidered, or professionally laundered – far from it.  I’ll take an old beach towel, no problem.  I mean a towel to use on my own body that isn’t the same one that you just used on your own body five minutes ago, and that isn’t covered in mold and poop spores from being stored on the wet bathroom floor curled up against the toilet.

While I am absolutely an animal-lover, I would generally expect that you would have mentioned to me that you had recently taken in a large, vicious, stray dog, and that it will growl and snap and bite at me and try to shred me and my belongings into dead meat the entire time I’m there, oh, and that you will do absolutely nothing to stop it.  You will sit there and pretend it’s not happening. That’s something I would have liked a heads-up on.  What can I say?  I’m an asshole like that.

Aside from expectations, I am also an asshole because I do not enjoy sleeping on someone’s couch only to have them come into the kitchen at 5am and start using an electric coffee grinder five feet away from my head and then when I wake up, look at me quizzically and say, “Wow – you must be a light sleeper!”

I do not enjoy the fact that you never mentioned to me that you were a drug dealer in your spare time, and that you deal out of the living room which is, coincidentally, the same room I am trying to not get shot in.

And even though we’ve known each other for years, I had no idea that you couldn’t sleep unless you had the local classic rock station blasting throughout the entire house all night.

Or that you are some kind of cocaine monster who only exists on two hours of sleep a night, and will never let me actually go to bed.

I also had no idea that your entire family was in town and were also staying with you, but that’s okay because your pervy dad only feels me up when he’s drunk, which is every night.

I realize all of this may sound like “Hey Maggie – take a hint!” and that people just desperately wanted me to NOT stay at their houses and were just trying to blast me out old school style like Noriega, but that’s not the case.  I have never, ever enjoyed staying at people’s places when I’m on vacation, and have only ever done it after the person has literally begged and pleaded with me to stay with them and eventually psychologically wore me down into saying yes.  By the time I very begrudgingly say yes, I have already said no so many times that I should have “No, really, I am much more comfortable in a hotel” tattooed on my forehead just to save my strength.

Yes, my own personal discomfort is the biggest factor in my not staying with you, but besides that, I think I’ve just reached an age where, as friends, I don’t really want to know how fucking weird you are.  The way you conduct yourselves inside your respective homes is weird.  So weird that there’s a reason you never show this side of yourself in public.  I enjoy the mystique of thinking you might not be so fucking weird because, seriously, you are so fucking weird.


I’m a fan of self-flagellation.

Not the kind that gave you those weird feelings in your crotch when that albino angel guy whipped himself in The Da Vinci Code, so you can just calm down, you dirty, dirty dog.

The kind of self-flagellation where you do something shitty, and willingly make yourself feel shitty in return for it.

I was thinking about it this morning as I did my own self-flagellation routine, when I opened the medicine cabinet to get some ibuprofen for a particularly heinous hangover headache.  I opened the cabinet, looked at the ibuprofen longingly, and then closed the cabinet door, unfulfilled.  If I drank enough on a weeknight to warrant a hangover headache the next day, then guess what?  No ibuprofen for me.  This is my punishment, and I deserve this headache. Maybe next time I won’t order a shot with that beer, I’ll just order the shot, or the beer, but not both.  And also all those Old Fashioneds.

I do this because, at the root of my very essence, I know how fast I can become Caligula if left unchecked.  If I didn’t have a mental judge that yelled “Punish!” at me on a regular basis, I would have taken over all whiskey, chocolate, and Designing Women re-run producing countries in the world by now and installed my own corrupt and self-serving dictatorship in each of them.

(Related – I should never be put in a position of authority over other humans.  Anytime the subject comes up at work about me potentially supervising other people and I tell the boss that I would make those people wish they had never born, he laughs like I’m kidding, and I just sit there stone-faced like a serial killer and spooky music starts playing, as if, from thin air.)

Sometimes I self-flagellate in advance to stop myself before the bad thing can even happen.  Like when I think, “Maybe I should just drive by Arby’s”.  In order to not end up shoving a Chicken Bacon & Swiss sandwich into my face, I mentally say, “If you even drive into the Arby’s parking lot, it will mean that you will be 1,200 pounds by this time next year, and I will make it happen if you don’t believe me.”  Then I picture the news coverage of the fire department removing the exterior wall from my house in order to get me out because I’ve gotten so big that I can no longer fit through the door – and that stops me from going anywhere near Arby’s.

Is this extreme?  Yep!

Have I put back on the forty pounds I lost six years ago?  Nope!

It’s not because I magically stopped craving the Chicken Bacon & Swiss sandwich, I can tell you that much, because I crave that shit NIGHT AND DAY.  It’s because I’ve placed a dire punishment on even putting a toe over the mental line that says, “Maybe you should just drive by Arby’s?”  Yeah right.  I know who I am, and if I even go near that place, Caligula will kill or die to get one of those sandwiches, and I’ll be sitting in prison a year from then, tipping the scales at exactly 1,200 pounds.

As an aside, don’t worry – I treat myself every now and then by thoroughly destroying some chicken fingers but, to be fair, I don’t have the same kind of past, complicated relationship with them as I do with that goddamned sandwich from Arby’s.  That goddamned delicious sandwich.  Because it’s not enough that it has bacon on it!  Heavens no, that wouldn’t be enough!  It has to have black pepper-crusted bacon on it, the sons of bitches.  And then that black pepper mingles with the sweetness of the honey mustard sauce and fuuuuuuuuuck yooooooooou Arrrrrrbyyyyyyyyyy’s.

Now if this sounds like an anti-fun way to live, it’s really not all that bad, and it keeps me out of a boatload of trouble.  I can also tell you that I effectively used this system to quit smoking six years ago, which is a 100% good thing.

One day, six years ago, I looked at my last half pack of cigarettes, closed my eyes, and said, “If you take so much as a drag off even one cigarette ever again in your life, you will have a stroke and keel over and die IMMEDIATELY.  You wanna try me, Caligula?”  And I never smoked again.  I didn’t even finish the pack.   I handed it to Bobby and said, “Please take these with you and throw them out for me.”  Even beyond not actually smoking, I have no desire to ever touch one again, because the swift punishment I’ve set up in my mind for smoking is so severe.

When I don’t feel like working out?  That’s when I call myself a worthless loser who will go back to being a fuck-up for the rest of her life if she doesn’t change into the workout clothes in the next ten seconds, and then I do the mental countdown of 10 – 9 – 8 – …

Harsh?  Absolutely.

Effective?  You bet!

The only thing is doesn’t really work on is my disgusting and unquenchable thirst for designer purses.  Believe me, I’ve tried, too.  I’ve stood in the line at Macy’s, with a Michael Kors or Badgley Mischka or whatever purse I MUST have at that moment in-hand, and called myself all kinds of names and assigned a myriad of severe punishments, but I’m still walking out, holding that new purse.

I’ve stood in the mirror at the store, purse on my shoulder and said, “You’re a gross yuppie if you buy this purse.  Why don’t you go see if you can find James Spader’s character from Pretty in Pink and go on a date with him while you’re at it, you fucking cheerleader scum?  Why don’t you just go make fun of Molly Ringwald in gym class for being poor?  Why don’t you just leave here and drive straight to the voter’s registration office and change your registration to Republican?  I can’t believe you’re doing this.  You’ve totally bought into the fashion industrial complex that’s been parting women with their hard-earned money for years.  YOU ARE SO STUPID.  If you buy this purse, I will lose all respect for you.”

Doesn’t work.  Still leaving with the purse.  So, I’ve obviously still got a ways to go.

Maybe it’ll take actual, literal self-flagellation for that one?  The next time I walk up to the counter at Macy’s, I’ll just start whipping myself in the back with the purse strap until I’m bleeding and have shards of flesh dangling from my back.  Of course then they would force me to buy it anyway because they probably have some bullshit corporate policy against “bleeding onto merchandise and then leaving it in the store” or some such nonsense.  Screwed there, too, then.

Guess that means more purses for me.

Oh My God Becky

I was banned by Becky’s mom.  It’s a real lady-and-the-tramp story, only instead of the tramp being a ratty stray dog, the tramp was an actual tramp, and that tramp was me.

Becky and I were best friends in the eighth grade.  The kind of best friends that were attached at the hip, the kind who spent every waking moment together.  We were so like-minded, it was as if we actually shared a brain.  The only differences between us were that Becky came from the right side of the tracks, had well-employed parents who were actually married, and a college fund.  She also typically wore clothes that didn’t come from the “Li’l Whore” section at Kmart.  Becky’s mom used to look at me when I walked into her house like I was a sore-encrusted pit bull with hepatitis.  She was not a fan.

Becky and I would stroll through the mall every weekend, identical from the neck up with blonde hair and matching purple Oakley Frogskins sunglasses, but from the neck down with her decked out in reasonably fitted acidwashed jeans and a tucked-in t-shirt with the sleeves rolled, and me wearing a Motley Crue half-shirt paired with a spandex miniskirt the size of a postage stamp, an armload of silver bracelets, and, always, big white Nike hightop sneakers, and a cigarette hanging out of my mouth.

(Although I had never even kissed a boy at that point in my life, I was trying to create the illusion that I was one of those dangerous, fast women.  The kind of woman who would get it on with you in a stolen car speeding down the highway when, in truth, my first boyfriend had broken up with me that year because I had been too frightened to French kiss him.  That made for one awkward bar mitzvah for that guy.)

The summer before ninth grade, my sister and her boyfriend-of-the-month invited us to go a water park in Fort Lauderdale.  Becky’s mom asked me if my mom was going to be there to supervise, and I felt so bad for Becky that her mom was so lame.  Supervision?!  Jesus, we were 13, what the hell did we need supervision for in Fort Lauderdale in the 80s? :\

I told Becky’s mom that, yes, of course my mom would be there!  Duh!  It’s certainly not like I was raised mostly feral if that’s what you’re thinking, Becky’s mom!  I was raised mostly feral, btw.

When we pulled up into Becky’s driveway to pick her up, her mom spied out the window and saw that my mom was nowhere to be seen in the car.  She didn’t say anything at the time, and Becky and I had an amazingly awesome day at the water park, but when Becky got home, her mom banned me from their house for lying to her, and told Becky that I was a bad influence and that she wasn’t allowed to be friends with me anymore.  Becky delivered the news to me from the phone in her kitchen, and told me that her mom was standing in front of her to make sure that Becky had told me, in no uncertain terms, that our friendship was finished.  Her mom had finally found a definitive charge with which to throw me out of Becky’s life:  A lie about the water park.

Far from devastated, a rebel, I laughed and said, “Whatever, it’s not like she can follow us around school to make sure we’re not talking!”  Little did I know, once we entered high school the following month, it wouldn’t be Becky’s mom that ended our friendship.

Becky started spending time with a super gross crowd in ninth grade.  You know, all the Jennifers and Kellys and Lisas, with their perfect tans and rich daddies.  The popular girls.  The mean girls.  The kind of girls we used to make fun of for being so shitty and plastic.

Becky had become particularly close to the worst of the bunch, a girl I named “Bitchface”, and started pretending that she didn’t see me when she and Bitchface would walk past me in the hallway at school.  Becky’s mom adored Bitchface, and encouraged their friendship, thankful that I seemed to be out of the picture for good.

Bitchface was the kind of popular mean girl who wasn’t satisfied with just dominating girls, she would make them change who they were in order for her to even consider being friends with them.  She told Becky that “Becky” was a stupid name, and that from now on, her name would be “Becca”.  She told Becca that she had to run for something in the way of class officer, because anyone who was anyone had a title.  It didn’t take long before Becca sat me down in the cafeteria courtyard to tell me that it was “too hard” for her to be friends with both me and Bitchface, so obviously, I was the one who had to go.  Besides, she reminded me that her mom didn’t want her hanging around with me anyway.

A month later, scorned from being so mercilessly dumped by my BFF, on the day Becca walked up to the podium in the gym to give her campaign speech for class secretary, and before she could even speak, I yelled from the bleachers, “You SUCK!”.  She shot a look at me, I shot her one back, and then she started her speech.  It was the last interaction we ever had.

High school went on, Becca and Bitchface best-friending it up and being shitty assholes like Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie, and I became best friends with a quality human being named Anne, who is still my best friend 27 years later.  Despite my slutty clothes and wrong side of the tracks address, I did not become a criminal.  Not even a speeding ticket!

A couple months ago, I was bored and had some time to kill, so I decided to do some digging online to see what Bitchface was up to these days.  As it turns out, Bitchface has a rap sheet a mile long, and was most recently arrested for both prostitution and possession of crack cocaine.

That’s right.  Let me string those items together for you, just in case you missed it:  Bitchface grew up to be a crack whore.

It’s a good thing Becky stopped hanging around with me, seeing as I was such a bad influence and all.

This is all really just a very long and convoluted way for me to say fuck you, Becky’s mom.

Skin to Win

In case you haven’t had the privilege, after you hit 40, and particularly if you have pasty white ghost skin like I do, you can expect dermatologists to treat you like you’re a murder suspect with actively bleeding defensive wounds.  I have an upcoming appointment and I’m thinking of just bringing along a boombox so I can play the Law & Order TV theme song on repeat while I’m sitting in the waiting room.  It’s the only thing that really adequately pumps me up for all the interrogating, strip-searching, and nude photographing that’s about to ensue.

First, as you walk into the exam room, they start circling you and looking you up and down.  You swear you hear the assistant whisper, “Who you tryin’ to mess with ese?  Don’t you know I’m loco?”, but you just stare straight ahead, because you don’t want them to smell your fear.

Then they turn the spotlight on you and get all “Where were you on the day in question, when the UV Index was blah blah?  Were you wearing sunblock and wide-brimmed hat?”, and you’re like, “Yes.  Absolutely.  I swear.  I haven’t had discernible tan lines in over 25 years.  Please just don’t put me in the hole.”  That’s when they give you that look Detective Benson gives to Detective Stabler on SVU when they know you’re lying, so you just let your body go limp so they don’t set you on fire by tasering your paper gown.

This is one of the reasons I always keep my sun hat in the car, by the way.  Sure, it keeps the sun off my highly sun-burnable face, but I also may have to produce the sun hat as evidence at this appointment, and I don’t want to go down on some trumped up charges due to a technicality.

One time, I left out a key detail about a mole and they treated me like I had forgotten to mention that I knew where the murder weapon was all along.  If you don’t quite recall whether that mole was there the last time you came in, you better believe they are pulling up old photographs of your body to try to trap you into lying under oath.

And I’ve gotta tell you, having someone bust out nude photographs of you from a year ago that were taken under fluorescent lights by someone who is not an experienced photographer just so they can prove you wrong about something is its own special brand of humiliation.  It’s not even like you’re auditioning for a Whitesnake video, where there’s a chance some good may come of it.  It’s all bad.  Every bit of it.

The only all-good that will come of it is that they might tell you that your skin is not currently killing you.

A semi-good outcome means they pull out a scalpel and only slice off one piece of your body and say, “Yeah, good luck with that one!” as they make the sign of the cross on their chest and then drop the petri dish into an express envelope to the lab.

A typical outcome means they will look at your forehead and tell you they have a special right now on Botox, and now is definitely the time to act on it, because you’re really past the “preventative years” on those forehead lines and you need to shift into “active maintenance” against the rawhide baseball glove doggie chew-toy that your forehead has become.  You politely decline and then they treat you like the wife in every Lifetime movie who won’t press charges against the husband, even though everyone knows that bastard needs to go to jail.

You schedule a follow-up appointment for next year, pick up what’s left of your dignity, and then thank them for their excellent care, because obviously, you have Stockholm Syndrome since you keep subjecting yourself to this.

They will get back at you for not buying the Botox, by the way. The next time you come in they will “accidentally” call you Mr. Belvedere when they call your name out in the waiting room, and then glance at your face before looking back down at the chart to say, “Oh, my mistake.  I’m sure you must get that all the time, though!  Make sure you take a look at this week’s special on Botox!”

It seems I’ve spent the first few decades of my life being told by doctors to stop being hysterical about the things I’m worried about, and the most recent years being told by doctors to be hysterical about everything.  It’s some kind of trite ant/grasshopper Zen Buddhism shit, which means Coldplay is recording a song about it as we speak.

Rock of Love: The Hobo Gift That Keeps on Giving

Prior to finding the best husband in the world, I had the misfortune of dating a lot of other musicians who I now prefer to call “Ewwww!!!!”

In years past, I wrote often about the experiences, because I was light on time and those guys make for some easy comedy fodder.  As a person who is now older and wiser, I hesitate to share more stories because it just feels almost too easy.  It’s like pie-ing someone in the face for laughs, or trick-or-treating for herpes on the set of Saturday Night Fever.  There’s no challenge in it.  I mean, it’s practically slapstick.

But, alas, here we are.

Welcome to the jungle.  We’ve got hobo gifts.

I came home one day from work about 23 years ago, to find a “gift” left for me on my porch, leaned against my front door.  It was a bright blue, broken Cookie Monster bicycle baby-seat.  You know, the kind you attach to the back of your bicycle and strap a baby into it?  The fact that it was clearly pulled from someone’s trash, wasn’t functional, and that I had neither a baby nor a bicycle and therefore had no use for it, made me bite my lower lip, nod my head knowingly, and say, “Well my, my, my. Some musician must have a crush on little ol’ Maggie!”

Later on, as I received a call from my secret trash admirer from the payphone near the motel he was living in with his parents, I blushed.  I mean, it wasn’t even a collect call!  This guy cared. We made a date for him to “see me around sometime or whatever”, because he didn’t know what he was doing later.  With a commitment like that, I knew he was clearly smitten.

Musicians have a special kind of anti-knack for gift-giving, in that (a) they have no money because they refuse to get a real job, and (b) they are so self-absorbed that they could not care less what your likes and dislikes are.  You’re lucky they remember your name half the time and don’t just call you what you really are to them: “Car Payment”.  They set the bar so low for themselves that it’s a wonder that they don’t wake you up on Christmas morning with a turd in their hands whispering, “I made you a dook for Christmas!”

It reminds me of the time I was gifted with a toilet seat for Christmas.

While it was, in fact, a new toilet seat, which meant he actually walked into a store to purchase it instead of pulling it off a trash pile down the street, most ladies are expecting something a little more, I don’t know, romantic?  Than a toilet seat?  Pretty much any other item that can be found in a bathroom is more romantic than a toilet seat.  A toothbrush cup, a new rug, even a can of Lysol Scrubbing Bubbles – because those little cartoon guys on the label are kinda cute, right?

Granted, I had only spent $300 on a custom gift for him that he later sold for gas money, but that’s neither here nor there.

I think the best part, though, was that along with the toilet seat came a solid promise to install it.  Many years later, as I pitched the toilet seat into the trash after our breakup, still in its original, unopened clamshell packaging, I wondered if he was still planning on getting around to that.

Now, this is all fine and good, and I’m sure you’re probably thinking it doesn’t get worse than an old Cookie Monster bicycle baby-seat or a new toilet seat, but that’s where you’d be dead wrong, Hoss.

The best-worst hobo gift I ever received from a musician was a rock.

I can assure you that is not a euphemism for a diamond, by the way.  It was an actual rock.  And not a pretty rock from the desert, or one of those smooth river stones that someone painted to look like a sea turtle.  It was a strictly utilitarian rock.  Like the kind of rock I would have later thrown through his window when I found out he was routinely stealing money from my purse, that is, if he had actually had a home.

And it wasn’t like he had forgotten it was Christmas and just picked a rock up off the ground and handed it directly to me on Christmas morning, thinking I’d be none the wiser.  He had wrapped this rock up and taped the package shut – so it was a totally planned gift.

Now, for my gift to him, I had commissioned from a silversmith a large, custom-designed sterling silver charm for his black leather cord necklace (because 1990s) that took me weeks of planning and about half my paycheck but, again, that’s neither here nor there.

He, on the other hand, gave me a rock, wrapped in newspaper from my own recycling bin.  Now, I know you’re thinking that there’s nothing worse than receiving a rock wrapped in your own garbage newspaper as a gift, but that’s where you’d be dead wrong again, Hoss.

As he gave me the rock and I unwrapped it, he told me, in complete earnest, that it was a rock that had been given to him by his favorite ex-girlfriend, and now he was “entrusting” it to me to take care of it.

That’s right.  This was no ordinary rock.

This motherfucker gave me a secondhand rock.

He re-gifted me a rock.

He re-gifted me a rock from his ex-girlfriend and then said, out loud, to my face, “This is a rock my favorite ex-girlfriend gave to me and now I’m entrusting its care to you.” As a gift!

I’ve gotta say, though, whoever this ex-girlfriend was? She was waaaaay more experienced at dating musicians than I was, because by giving him this rock, she had clearly been aiming to give him a taste of his own medicine.  I assume it was her response to previously being given one of his other ex-girlfriend’s used maxi pads as a gift for Valentine’s Day.

I mean, she gave him a rock?  That’s some seriously next-level shit right there.  That’s the kind of shit Grace Slick or Stevie Nicks would pull.

Truth be told, I wish I actually could have met this ex-girlfriend, because I would have side-eyed her as I shook her hand and said, “Well played, ex-girlfriend. Well played.”  Then I would have sang “Wind Beneath My Wings” to her, because how else could she know she was my hero?

Seriously, she gave him a rock?  That woman should be goddamned President.

Home Is Where Nobody Annoying Is

There’s a stereotype of a woman “of a certain age”.  She’s sitting at home, wearing yoga pants, a breezy tank top that says something like “Me Time = Wine Time”, Ugg-style slipper booties, a face coated in three types of moisturizer, is eating Greek yogurt, and has glazed-over eyes from watching Orange is The New Black for three hours straight.

When you’re 25 and out every night until 5am, you think about this mature woman stereotype and assign a certain amount of derision to it, like that’ll never be you.  Fast asleep before 10pm after finishing your nightly Sleepytime herbal tea?  Nope!  After all, you’re a party monster!

At 25, on any random Monday, you might wake up on a band tour bus in a parking lot in Ft. Lauderdale wearing chaps and a feather boa, and not be able to quite figure out which person in the band you pulled them off from, so you steal a $20 that was stuffed down inside a bong on the kitchenette counter and call a cab home from the IHOP next door before anyone else wakes up and finds out you stole their master recordings for their next album (which means you leave at noon).  On your way home, while dry-heaving up Popov vodka into an Eckerd’s bag, you find a police badge and a container of Sea Monkeys in your purse, have no idea how they got there, and decide to just add them to your existing collection of police badges and Sea Monkeys that you keep on your thrift store nightstand at home, that is also covered in Delia’s catalogues and eye glitter-pots, because there is no such thing as too many lug-soled mary janes, or too much eye glitter.

(The foregoing anecdote is “hypothetical” for “legal reasons”. I’m sure I have no “idea” where your master recordings “are”. I’m “sure” nobody “smashed them with a hammer in their backyard after the shit you pulled”.)

And besides, what else were you gonna do?  Sit at home like a lame-ass?  You are most certainly NOT going to sit at home like a lame-ass.  You’re a wild woman of the world!

I was a wild woman of the world for many years there, and it was mostly a good ride.  Why, out of about 7,000 nights, there were 20 or 30 that were pretty damn amazing.  The rest were mostly, I don’t know, just okay? Waiting around for them to become amazing nights?

That being said, nowadays, as a woman of a certain age, I am not leaving my house on a Monday night for literally anything.  A-n-y-t-h-i-n-g.  Know why?

Because I am sitting at home, wearing yoga pants, a breezy tank top that says something like “Me Time = Wine Time”, Ugg-style slipper booties, a face coated in three types of moisturizer, am eating Greek yogurt, and have glazed-over eyes from watching Orange is The New Black for three hours straight – and I am not ashamed.

I will state my case thusly:

Sitting at home is awesome because I am home, which is a place that has been fully customized for my maximum comfort, and also contains my husband Bobby, who is my favorite person.  Unlike being out at a club, in my home there are no annoying weirdos trying to grope me, no loogies on the floor, nobody shooting up heroin in the corner, there is a working toilet and – as a bonus – nobody there is an asshole, except for me.

Yoga pants are awesome because they are engineered and designed to fit a woman’s body, and never give you muffin-top.  I would even venture to say that they are as comfortable as most men’s clothing.  (It’s really great how what are, essentially, women’s pajamas are almost as comfortable as the shit men get to wear every waking moment of their lives, isn’t it?)  Yoga pants still don’t have any useful pockets, though, so that’s how you know they are still made for women.  Given the discomfort and lack of useful pockets in 99% of women’s clothing, I guess clothing manufacturers assume that women are both (a) masochists, and (b) have a kangaroo pouch in their abdomen that they store stuff in.

Breezy tank tops are awesome because they are like wearing a delicate cloud around your torso, and allow you to hide the food baby that you created when you ate all those tater tots and sweet pickles earlier for lunch while you cried in your car to a Dionne Warwick song for no reason.

Ugg-style slipper booties are awesome because it’s like having your feet jammed inside a fuzzy stuffed animal, and because woman-feet tend to be in the temperature range of -0 and -1 degrees Fahrenheit, because God hates you.

A face coated in three types of moisturizer is not so much awesome as it’s a requirement if you don’t want to look like current day Jack Palance who, by the way, died 12 years ago.

Greek yogurt is awesome because it has a creamy density and tartness that can’t be replicated by anything else on Earth, it goes well with honey or fancy maple syrup, and if you also crush salted peanuts on top of it, it will appease the hormone demons that hold your brain hostage over the “salty-sweet” thing until you feed them and then they’re still like, “Now how about some meat pizza and root beer?”

Orange is The New Black is awesome because it doesn’t have Ben Affleck in it.