Falling in love is hard.

A common problem in new relationships — any kind of relationship, romantic or otherwise — is that when girls really like someone, we’re mean to them.  In our heads, we’re saying, “I really respect so much about you — let’s get brunch and talk honestly about our goals in life.”  But it comes out as, “Your shirt buttons are buttoned wrong, want me to get you a mirror? Or a new frontal lobe? OBilly-Joelr some functional motor skills? You’re an idiot.”  I personally spent two months pretending that I hated Billy Joel just so that I could get my then-friend-crush and now-actual-friend’s attention.  She loved Billy Joel, and I thought she’d never notice me unless I loudly hated what she loved.  I told her that recently, and she found it alarming. It is alarming.

Things get even meaner when you want to date someone, or want someone to want to date you.  For some reason, all your higher education degrees and pop culture savvy and passion for recycling disappear, and you revert back to the mentality you had when you liked someone in the first grade, which is basically, “I LIKE YOU SO MUCH I’M GOING TO THROW A ROCK AT THE SOFT PARTS OF YOUR BODY!!!!” The only thing that changes with age is that as an adult, you don’t throw real rocks, you throw metaphorical emotion-rocks about father figures and how effeminate it is for a man to drink clear liquor.  It’s part self-protection, part self-sabotage, and in a warped way, a desire to have someone work harder to get to know you — a deeply unfair test that no one ever passes because this is an Orgo Chem test and you’re an English Lit major, but hey, life is unfair, and not just anyone gets to fondle my periodic table, Chaucer.   I will Canterbuif-people-throw-rocks-at-youry you in an unmarked grave and no one will miss you.  So, inevitably, when you go on a first date with someone and the first words out of your mouth are, “Woah, that leather jacket is tighter than dickskin,” they’re dropping that course and never calling you again.  And in a lot of ways, that’s a relief.

In so many ways, getting rejected is easier, because if someone isn’t into you, then whatever, that’s their problem.  You get to move on with your single life, nothing changes.  Plus, you like not having a sex life, you can go twice as long without washing your sheets — maybe longer.  But sometimes, very rarely, you meet someone who knows how to handle your meanness, and that is really a problem. When someone is into you, then…no, really, that’s their problem.  They obviously have a problem, there’s a screw loose.  There is no way this person is normal.  You just told them that you ate store-bought mashed potatoes for breakfast and wept into them for seasoning.  They’re not turning tail and sprinting away.  This person is insane.

sissy-spacek-carrie-kac-082312You start to use your best material on them, you do everything within your goddamn power to scare them off.  You will out-insane this person if it kills both of you. You talk about your daddy issues, your inability to commit, your Last of the Mohicans sex dream, your Last of the Mohicans murder dream, all your weird body issues, how you hate dick-pics because you think the male body is jarring.  You start leaving your anti-anxiety meds out in plain sight.  You answer the door inexplicably covered in blood.  You fake your own death.  You fake your own resurrection.  You do it all again.  This person cannot be scared off, not even with a machete (you tried).

You begin to think that maybe this is all one elaborate hallucination.  You refuse to talk about this person to other people, because you start to think this person might not be real.  You won’t even say their name.   They have become your own personal Voldemort.  You carve a lightning bolt into your forehead and carry a twig around at all times, trying to lumos some reason back into your life.  You begin to think maybe this person is a manifestation of your other self; you split in half one night and forgot about it.  That makes you capable of asexual reproduction.  You’re an amoeba.  That’s what this all boils down to: you’re a fucking amoeba.


How to survive being single at your BFFL’s wedding.

Weddings are beautiful, rare occasions that bring people together and bind them forever and remind you how very, extremely fucking single you are.

When my BFFL got engaged and asked me to be her maid of honor, I had a serious tumblr_m3dv9nAtC01qfw2dno1_500boyfriend, so I could be genuinely happy for her.  Four and a half months before her wedding, I got dumped while I was in the shower, so I had to find a way to keep being happy for her without killing myself.  There were only three things that helped: remembering how much I love my BFFL, and alcohol (twice) — ironically, I only cry when I’m drunk, so maybe alcohol didn’t help as much as I’d like to think.

After I got dumped, I decided that I was just going to go to my BFFL’s wedding stag.  I was going to get heroin-chic skinny, chop off my hair, pierce my nose, go to the wedding the cheese stands alonewithout a bra on, meet the man of my dreams, and then become a millionaire by marketing my new gardening product idea, Chia Dick: Gardening for the Single Gal Who Just Wants to See Something — ANYTHING!! — Grow in Her Presence.  After the first two months of shuffling around in a deep post-breakup depression while muttering, “I am the cheese, because the cheese stands alone,” I realized that I had forgotten to get addicted to drugs, and people were beginning to ask me if I was a “maid” or “matron” or honor.  I misinterpreted this question and thought they were asking if I owned nicer clothes.

For the final two months leading up to the wedding, I did absolutely nothing except obsessive compulsively create and delete different OKCupid accounts.  One of my accounts Dumbledorewas just an About Me section that said: If you have health insurance and you’re wearing a clean shirt right now, let’s get married (or at least watch some people get married).  My favorite account was a picture of my way hotter friend and one sentence: Dumbledore is my ideal man, but he is fictional (and GAAAAAY!). Neither account landed me a wedding date.

Then, suddenly, the two months were gone.   My BFFL and I were at the wedding venue in Pennsylvania with the rest of the bridal party, going over the ceremony.  I was standing by a Pennsylvania river watching her rehearse her vows, and something small and vital inside me altered.  I consider myself to be a feminist in many ways.  Yes, I am terrified of women, but I’m also super glad we can all vote.  And I respect my female body enough to not let a man give me a hickey, unless he is willing to give me 12 hickeys that spell out “FEMINISM.”  But standing by that river, watching my BFFL recite those vows, I was beginning to think that maybe, just maybe, I wouldn’t be the cheese forever.  Maybe this wedding wasnthe cheese *walks alone‘t going to destroy me; maybe it was going to revive my faith in relationships.

Until my BFFL finished rehearsing her vows, turned to me, and said, “Hey, soooo we have an uneven number of bridesmaids and groomsmen, so you’re gonna have to walk down the aisle first, by yourself.”  I am the cheese, because the cheese *walks alone.

The morning of the wedding, the bridal party went straight into beauty mood.  I slept in later than the other bridesmaids because I was awake until 3AM fashioning a noose out of bedsheets, so I missed breakfast. We were given mimosas while we endured having bobby pins shoved into our scalps until we were beautiful.  Then we were given more mimosas as we did our makeup.  Then we were shuttled to the wedding venue, where we were given glasses of champagne to sip while we got dressed.  And as we sipped and laughed and lent each other tampons, someone came in and told us we had 30 minutes until the ceremony started.  As my BFFL put her wedding dress on and stood in front of her closest female friends as a single young woman for the last time, I felt something happen: I was starting to cry.  Yes, this was a beautiful moment that totally merits crying, but…I only cry when I’m drunk.  I hadn’t eaten breakfast and I’d spent the morning drinking champagne cocktails like this wedding was tumblr_maq8yb77Yk1ranvefo1_500an unlimited brunch. I was drunk.

Thirty minutes later, I walked down the aisle at my BFFL’s wedding, alone, and it was fine.  I didn’t trip and fall and die, and I didn’t even think wistfully about my ex.  People probably assumed my makeup was smudged because I was feeling deeply emotional about being there for my BFFL on her big day, but I was actually just drunk.

Reacting to a sext.

Someone asked me for my number the other day.  I didn’t give it to him, but then I walked away and asked myself, “Why am I acting like I have options?” So I tumblr_lptu91SK0l1qzjuf9o1_400went back and gave it to him.  This seemed simple enough.  In terms of romantic interactions, this seemed like the equivalent of churning butter.  You give a guy your number, and he calls/texts you to hang out.  There is a definite action and a definite outcome.

Since then, I’ve come to realize that there is nothing as simple as churning butter in romantic interactions.  There’s just you sitting in an empty barn, beating the air with a big stick, screaming, ‘WHERE’S THE BUTTER WHY ISN’T THERE BUTTER.”  That is, until you receive your first sext:

mr. sext1

Then you put down the stick, use it for kindling, and set the barn on fire.  The barn is your life.  Goodbye.

Getting your first sext is a lot like being born.  The warm, happy place where you lived just seconds ago is suddenly ripped away from you, and now you’re cold and wet and naked and screaming at this brave new world where you have to live for the rest of your life.  You can never go back to the life you had before you got your first sext.  You need to grieve.   You need to allow yourself to go through the Eight Stages of Reacting to a Sext.

1) Ignore it.mr. sext2

2) Make a joke.

3) Try ignoring it again.

ignore it

4) Make another joke.joke25) Randomly say the word ‘magical.’
magical6) Keep going with the whole ‘magical’ thing.magical27) Just…ummm.magical38) Accept it.give up

You want to text him back, “YOU KNOW HOW SPOCK LOVES KIRK? THAT’S WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR CAN YOU GIMME THAT? CAN YOU? DID YOU SEE THE NEW STAR TREK MOVIE? IT’S EXCELLENT,” but you don’t text him that because your therapist just had a chat with you about boundaries.  You try to move on and let it go, but you’re haunted by Mr. Sext — you’re terrified he’s going to be around every corner, waiting for you, leaning up against a wall and sensually scrolling through his iPhone.  He’s everywhere, just waiting to tell you how adequate his penis is.


(Not) Dating is hard.

COLLEGEThe last time I was really and truly single, I was still in college.  Apparently, dating outside of college is vastly different.  You can’t just walk into a campus coffee shop and strike up a conversation about the Advanced Renaissance Art final with some guy who has statement facial hair.  Now you have to get an online dating profile and you have to wear contact lenses and suddenly every person you’ve ever met wants to set you up with their friend/coworker/cousin.  You spend about two months being really sad about your last relationship and whining about how lonely you are, so your friends do the friendly thing and try to introduce you to new people who might be willing to make out with you.  And for some reason, because you’re being ‘set up,’ you want nothing to do with these prospective dates.  You just won’t have that charity shit.

Now you’re back to being a moody teenager.  You can do everything yourself, you’re your own person, you don’t need anyone’s goddamn help.  You got a 4 on your AP English Literature exam, does that sound like the kind of person wPANCAKEho needs help meeting guys?  Every day after work, when you just wanna go home and make pancakes for dinner — cause you can do that when you’re single! — your friend texts you, ‘Come to trivia night and meet my guy friend who has a beard and is single and wears plaid a lot just like you do!’ and you text back, ‘I DON’T NEED YOUR CHARITY WHO IS THIS ANYWAY!!!!’ Then you draw little angry faces in your pancakes with a fork, and you eat angry pancakes for dinner instead of just regular, indifferent pancakes.

Plus, you don’t even know if you want to meet someone new.  You’re beginning to do that thing your peppy chickfriends told you to do and ‘focus on yourself.’  You’re doing laundry every week, and you’re even separating the colors from the whites.  Yesterday, your jewelry matched your outfit!  You begin to look back on your former relationship and you’re realizing more and more how much time you spent talking about your feelings.  In retrospect, your relationship is looking more and more like one of your old Xanga entries.  You think about one of the last arguments you and your ex had:

You: What’s the matter?
Ex: I don’t wanna talk about it.
You: Whatever. Fine.
Ex: Are you seriously mad now?  Because I don’t wanna talk about it?
You: No, I just I think we should talk about it.
Ex: I don’t wanna talk about it!

Neither one of yohook whatu even knew what ‘it’ was.  You never found out.  But ‘it’ is probably one of the main reasons you broke up.

Still, you feel like you’re passing up some pretty cool guys just in the name of not accepting help.  Your friend introduces you to a super good-looking guy who goes to Julliard, but he’s wearing a baseball cap, so he and his fraternity brothers probably raped someone in college.  Your mom’s friend tries to set you up with her son who’s in medical school and just went through a tough breakup as well, so you’ll ‘have a lot to talk about.’  That sounds like a really fun date, you can both carb-load and then cry into eachother’s hair.  But you still go on that date, cause you figure maybe he can write you a prescription for Prozac (spoiler: he can’t).  Your coworker brings a guy to a party so you can meet him, and he’s a straight-up Ralph Lauren model.  No joke.  He’s a fucking model.  What is your coworker trying to do to you?  Make sure your self-esteem dips so low that you never leave your apartment again, let alone let someone see you naked?  You’d totally go on a blind date with this guy — if by ‘blind date’ you mean you would date this guy in a world where you were born blind and don’t know what either one of you looks like.  You begin to think your coworker is trying to ruin your life, so you do the safe thing and quit your job.ralph lauren

You just want to meet someone in a spontaneous and perfect way, not in some weird forced set-up pseudo-date thing.  You want to be walking down the street one day (preferably in October), in the rain (but a very light rain), in a perfectly form-fitting cardigan sweater, skinny jeans, and Steve Madden boots, and suddenly feel an unexpected gust of wind blow some tall, handsome, intelligent, funny, quirky, sweet, available guy (who really enjoys baked goods, cats, traveling, ramen noodles, poetry (but not in a gay way), and Lord of the Rings trilogies on USA right into your lap.  You wish all these people who keep trying to set you up with guys could be as realistic about relationships as you are.

Getting dumped is hard.

One minute, you’re walking along through life, trying to figure out what it is lying gameyou’re going to do for dinner — maybe you’ll be really ambitious and buy a cookbook, or maybe just order Chinese food online because that other thing sounds like a lot of work.

Or you’re just sitting in a coffee shop, minding your own business, playing your favorite game.  My personal favorite game is called, “Let’s Lie to Everybody!” and the rules are very simple.  When someone asks you what you’re doing with your life, you say, “I’m working on a screenplay!”  It’s a lie.  You aren’t.

shower nopeOr maybe you’re in the shower, thinking about how great it is that your ingrown toenail has sorted itself out, and then suddenly your boyfriend breaks up with you.  While you’re in the shower.

Oh my, wait, that would never happen, would it?  That’s something that only happens in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, you say to yourself as your boyfriend breaks up with you while you’re in the shower.

‘I was gonna order Chinese food,’ you say in a haze after your boyfriend breaks up with you while you’re in the shower.  Then your boyfriend starts to pack his duffel bag.  He starts to leave with all of his worn-out t-shirts that you really love sleeping in, and you’re just not sad chinese foodready to part with those t-shirts, man.  You’re just not ready.  So you try bargaining with him.  ‘Chinese food!  I’ll pay!  Totally on me!’ But he doesn’t want to do that because he thinks that eating dinner together after breaking up would be inappropriate.  So you try to cry, but you were just in the shower so all the tears blend in with the water and he just isn’t buying it.  So you start threatening him.  ‘If you leave now, I will make sure the Chinese food place knows that you broke up with me while I was in the shower and they won’t ever serve you again!’  And then he and the shirts are gone.

Your peppy chickfriends tell you that this is a great thing, really.  Now you can focus on yourself.  But you have zero desire to focus on yourself.  No part of you is thinking, ‘Yay, I’m single! Now I can paint my nails whimsical colors and eat cake without being judged!’  You’re very worried about how this all will affect your cat, so you focus on that for a while, but then you remember she’s a cat and doesn’t care.  You begin walking under construction sites on purpose, fingers crossed that something will fall.  You try to go to the gym, but suddenly you realize how depressing your entire iPod is.  You’d think you have clinical depression if you didn’t already know that you have clinical depression.

the hostOne afternoon you go and see Jack the Giant Slayer by yourself, then start crying uncontrollably at the movie trailer for The Host.  You cry even harder at the Man of Steel extended trailer.  You walk out of your apartment on St. Patrick’s Day and it smells like beer, so you cry.  You wonder, briefly, if vegans can drink alcohol, and then remember that you don’t care.  You begin to feel like maybe Diane Keaton is your spirit animal, so you buy a bowler hat.  You wear it once and take it back.  You start watching the ‘It Gets Better Campaign’ videos and pretending that they were made specifically for you and not at-risk gay teens.  You stop showering.  The shower is where the bad things happen.

Then, a few weeks later, you go out to a bar.  You sit there and drink by yourself, and you feel a little bit liberated and powerful.  You’re not wearing a turtleneck for once, so you think maybe your alluring collarbones will attract an off-duty falafel truck owner or — fingers crossed! — an intramural sports star.  A guy buys you a drink — a cute guy, wow.  He doesn’t mention your collarbones — strike one — but he’s funny and his drink doesn’t have any fruit on the rim, so he might even be straighmolart.  And then he tells you that his name is Molar and he makes toys for a living.  You sprint home and decide to never drink alone (in public) again.

There is, perhaps, a lesson to be learned from every break up.  So you decide to go to a palm reader and see if she knows what that lesson is.  She tells you that you’ll travel Europe and find love there, so you pull up your bank account statement on your phone and wave it in her face asking, “EUROPE? REALLY? EUROPE? REALLY?”  You ask her if there are any nearby construction sites.  She doesn’t know.

And then one day, you’re walking along through life, trying to figure out what it is you’re whimsical003going to do for dinner — and there’s your ex walking down the street right toward you.  He gets within ten feet of you and you black out entirely, of course.  But you don’t melt into a puddle of depressed ooey gooey semi-matter, or turn around and run away.  You just do the unthinkable and talk to your ex for a cordial thirty seconds, then you each go your separate ways.   Maybe you cry afterward.  Maybe you don’t.  Either way, you buy a whimsically colored bottle of nail polish and throw it out the window later.

Movies ruined my future career.

Movies have given me an unrealistic idea of what to expect out of possible career paths.

(Jurassic Park)

jurassic park expectationYou battle Evil T-Rex — no, really, T-Rex was so evil he even got nominated for Best Villain at the 1994 MTV Movie Awards — and save a couple of white kids from getting lost in an amusement park.  You’re also really good at climbing trees, wearing aviator sunglasses, using seatbelts incorrectly, and never smiling.  You carry around a real dinosaur claw with you at all times, just in case you need to threaten fat kids who make disrespectful jokes about dinosaurs.  Only you’re allowed to do that.

jurassic park reality

From what I’ve gathered, being a paleontologist actually has nothing to do with dinosaurs at all.  It just only involves squinting a lot, wearing brimmed hats, and constantly poking at piles of dirt with the tools of a dental hygienist.

Small Town Sheriff

jaws expectation

You get to battle Evil Shark — no, really, Evil Shark is so evil, he is the only animal to be named on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Heroes and Villains list.  Your one and only friend is a nerdy marine biologist who is 90% beard, but you also get to become frenemies with an absolutely insane sea captain who is constantly drunk and only might speak English.  One night, as you hunt Evil Shark on a leaky boat, the sea captain tells you that Evil Shark killed his best friend during World War II — or at least that’s what you think he told you.  It could have been anything, really.  In the end, you make Evil Shark explode.  By shooting him with a gun.

jaw realityThis is an actual call log taken from the “Sheriff’s Report” section of a small town newspaper.


twister expectation

You get to battle Evil Meteorologist Dr. Jonas Miller — who is not on anyone’s Villains list anywhere ever — and outrun tornadoes every single day.  You drive a truck, which is just butch enough to be independent and sexy but not definitively lesbian, and have lots of sexually-charged fights with your ex-husband.  Also, you can’t die.  No matter what happens, you just cannot die.  You literally get eaten by a tornado, and live.

meteorologist realityYou are currently best known for shitting your pants in the White House.

(Moulin Rouge)

moulin rouge expectation

You get to sing for a bunch of gay guys in top-hats who sing and dance in unison, people constantly give you diamonds for no reason, and your waist is — at most — 23 inches wide (because you’re dying of TB).  You live in an elephant-shaped-castle-windmill-thing, and even though there are whispers that you make out with people for money, mostly you just sing duets with them while it rains glitter.

cortesan reality

You get a reality TV show.

A Toy
(Toy Story)

toy story expectation

You live your whole life knowing your main purpose: love.  You spend every day with your best friends and playing make believe with Andy, the boy who loves and takes care of all of you!  Sure, you and your friends have lighthearted romances here and there while Andy’s at school, but when it comes down to it, you’re all non-functional smooth plastic down there.  Life is simple.

toy realityWhen Andy gets infected with Scarlet Fever, you’re suddenly considered a germ sack and sentenced to life in the nursery with an aging porn star named Skin Horse.

Valentine’s Day sucks always.

It’s here again, and it’s going to suck.  But let’s be honest, it’s always sucked.


valentine's elementary
Nothing in elementary school should suck.  It should be all recess and arts & crafts and snack time and not being trusted to use scissors unsupervised.  Elementary school should be that one time in your life when you don’t want to nap, because the world is so rife with possibility and opportunity that sleep just seems like a waste of time.

But Valentine’s Day in elementary school still sucks.  Every year, you’d have your mom bake cookies for your class, and once they were out of the oven, you’d pick out the biggest one.  You’d take that big, puffy heart cookie and slather it in pink icing, crust it in those little crunchy sprinkles that gave your baby teeth micro-cracks, and put it on top of all the other cookies.  That was your Crush Cookie.  You were going to give that cookie to the boy in your class who looked the most like Nick Carter, and he was going to take it, and kiss your cheek, and then you’d be married.

Every year, you’d take the Crush Cookie, and just as you were about to give it to Nick Carter, he’d whip out his own Crush Cookie — and his was way better because he had no creative skills and had his mom decorate it for him — and give it to the girl who always wears spaghetti-strap tank-tops even though it’s against the dress code rules.  And you think, “Will this stand?  Will this sort of disregard for authority stand?  Someone just snap those spaghetti straps, give me the scissors, I don’t need supervision to use them! It’s the middle of February for fuck’s sake, it’s just common sense!”

But it does stand.  It will stand.  Because Valentine’s Day is the worst.  But it’s ok, because years later, you and Nick Carter become best friends in show choir, and you’re the first girl he ever comes out to.  Meanwhile, Spaghetti Straps is pregnant.




suck zone
First, and most importantly, everything sucks in high school.  Valentine’s Day is just one more thing under the vast umbrella of suckage that is high school.  We all have our own high school V-Day horror stories, but yours are not as bad as mine.

My first high school boyfriend broke up with me the Monday before Valentine’s Day my junior year.  On Valentine’s Day, I found a red envelope under the windshield wiper of my car.  It was a Valentine’s Day card from him, with a pair of discount cotton underwear stuffed inside.  When I found him and asked him how the fuck he had managed to get a lobotomy in four days and not miss any school he said, “Well, I felt bad, I didn’t want you to not get anything on Valentine’s Day.  And you always said you don’t understand how girls can think thongs are comfortable, so I thought you’d like the underwear.”

My second high school boyfriend — who weighed 125 pounds — broke up with me the day before Valentine’s Day, because I had just met his grandmother for the first time, and she didn’t like me.

The day after my second high school boyfriend ditched me in the name of Freud, I went to a party with a friend.  There was a very tall, handsome boy at this party who was a year older than me, and was alluring and sexy because he was a freshman in college.  We had gone to high school together, and I always had a secret dream that we would one day touch faces.  But I knew he was really dumb — as in, perhaps his father was a rock — but he was so good-looking.  To my absolute shock, he told me I had a nice pair of boobs, and that he had always had a crush on me.  I was thrilled.  We talked about cars for a while, and then he said he had to go to the bathroom.  Twenty minutes later, I went to try and find the bathroom myself, and walked in on him making out with a 15-year-old girl.




If you went to school in New York, you were in love with a gay man.  And he loves you, sweetie, he really does.  But just not like that.



hot bartender

Everyone who has recently graduated from college is incredibly confused and incredibly poor.  We are all so confused by our low-paying jobs, and our inability to secure apartment leases, and the allure of Brooklyn, that Valentine’s Day is just too much to even acknowledge.

No one has the money to do anything, and you’ve only made out with that bartender you work with a couple of times, but he did ask you to come over to his place once but you pretended like you had other plans because you’re trying to seem really popular.  Plus, he’s been flashing sex-eyes at the really hot Latina waitress whose name sounds like an exotic fruit. So what do you do?  Do you buy him a chocolate bar, as a joke? Or for real?  You already lied to him and said you were voted Prom Queen in high school, so there goes that potential relationship.  But you heard a rumor that his apartment has exposed brick in the living room, so he has to be loaded.  Maybe he’ll buy you something.

So you buy the chocolate bar, and you keep it in your pocket just in case, and then the dick calls in sick for the day.  Of course he isn’t coming into work today.  Because it’s Valentine’s Day and he has plans.  He’s probably off having sex with Guava or Chiclet or whatever her name is, and it’s the best sex in the world.

Screw it.  Go steal your roommate’s six-pack of PBR and watch Thor, because one day, when Thor comes down from the sky in a swirling tornado of love and tells you he’s been watching you from The Rainbow Bridge and thinks you’re a whole Valhalla of sex, you’re gonna look at your cell phone and realize that it’s all happening on Valentine’s Day.


Hipster Cancer.

A month ago, I went to my first ever male gynecologist for my annual ladyparts check-up.  He was bald and non-threatening, and wore loose-fitting corduroy pants.  He also told me that I have a lump in my right breast that could be cancerous.

CANDYGRAM REAPERHe told me that I needed to schedule a sonogram.  I, being of the theatre, assumed that a sonogram was some kind of  somber singing candygram dressed as the Grim Reaper, and that he would appear at my doorstep and chant, “I hope your tit is cancer-free, so that we all can shout ‘yippeeeee!'” and then he would slaughter a pig.  Apparently a sonogram is an x-ray — an x-ray that is so popular, you have to wait two weeks to get it done.

I had two weeks to try to not think about cancer.  I told Ultraman that it wasn’t a big deal, and that really, it was ok, because I hear that chemo makes you really skinny.  He slapped me on the shoulder and made me a vegetable omelet.  Seemingly nothing will deter him from trying to grow a garden in my small intestine.

Three donuts after the veggie omelet, I was in a dark place. I started thinking about the futility of life, and the process of natural selection.  Was I being selected by Nature to die nope omelebecause I am a hypochondriac?  I had never actually had Scarlet Fever like Beth/Claire Danes in Little Women.  I had never actually contracted TB from wearing a damp hoodie all day like Satine/Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge.

Despite a lifetime of self-diagnosed life-threatening diseases, I had never actually caught one.  I have the thick hair of a horse’s tail, hips that are woefully perfect for childbearing, and thighs that could choke a small-necked man.  Cancer attacks small-boned prostitutes on crime dramas and old men who smoke in their offices.  I am neither small-boned nor in the possession of an office.

And then it just hit me, mid-bite of the third donut:  I absolutely have cancer.  Because cancer attacks anyone.  My therapist, a perfect goddess with an asymmetrical haircut — seriously, who can pull that off? — almost lost her life to cancer.  A beloved family friend, a beautiful radio show host in my hometown, a friend’s seemingly healthy mother was gone within three months because of cancer.

I decided that I had mere months to live, and in those months, I was going to write a book:

Hipster Cancer (Small)

It would be a much more clever title if I owned more skinny jeans, or lived in Brooklyn, or had cancer of the hip.  Regardless, the book would touch on the irony of being sentenced to death so young — is that what “irony” means? meh — and begin with a list of cancer pros and cancer cons:


  • Chemo will definitely take off extra pounds.
  • Hair loss can open up a world usually only open to drag queens: wigs.
  • If I’m not into wigs, wearing a bandana on my head will make people think I’m a pirate, and then I’ll be less likely to get mugged.
  • My friends will not flake on plans because they’ll be afraid I’ll die pissed at them.
  • I will get so many free drinks.
  • All of my ex-boyfriends will have to forgive me for all the horrible things I did to them.
  • I will be able to wear pajamas all day, every day.
  • I will not be judged for napping.


  • Chemo might make me skinny, but I’ll be too weak to go out to any bars to flaunt the skinniness.
  • An IV is an inconvenient accessory.
  • For Halloween, I will only have two costume options: Jean Luc Picard, or Vin Diesel.
  • Muffincat will sense my weakening health and probably try to kill me.
  • My best friend will shave her head out of solidarity with me, and end up looking really hot.  People will see her and say, “Wow, you look like Natalie Portman!” And then they will look at me and say, “Wow, you must have cancer.”
  • I will never know if I could have successfully followed a diet for more than three weeks.
  • I will miss the musical adaptation of Mean Girls.
  • I’ll never see all those postmortem Facebook notifications.

The book will then continue with how I deal with treatment, the many ways Muffincat tries to murder me, and most importantly, directions for my funeral.  I have had my funeral planned for a very long time — Y2K wasn’t a joke, people — and it will be carried out exactly as I have outlined.


  • The ceremony will be held at a roller disco.  (I have never been to one myself, but I imagine they’re a great time, and very colorful.)
  • My coffin will be placed at the center of the skating rink, and every person is required to jump over it during some point in the evening — even if you’re really afraid of “hurting yourself,” come on.  It’s my funeral.
  • No one is allowed to sing.
  • No one is allowed to play an instrument.
  • No one is allowed to think the words “Time of Your Life.”
  • The only song that will be played, throughout the entire evening is a slightly altered version of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.”  It is called “Don’t Stop Bereavin’,” and I will have the CD burned and ready to play on loop
  • Alcoholic cotton candy will be made available.
  • Muffincat will be strapped into a backpack that Ultraman will be wearing the entire evening.  Any final words you’d like to say to me, you can say to her.  She’ll see that I get the message.
  • My best friend has been given the farewell speech I wrote.  She will read it out loud.  It will elude to a great lost love, that I am a better writer than Shakespeare, and that I have perhaps faked my death.
  • Everyone will receive a gift bag which will include a burned CD of “Don’t Stop Bereavin’,” and some firecrackers.

The funeral — and book — will end with a poem read by my best friend’s fish, Spaceship.



One week ago, I had the sonogram done.  I had to wait for over two hours and watch Planet of the Apes twice while I fidgeted in the waiting room, but I finally got the exam.  I found out that I don’t have cancer.  For the first time in a long time, I didn’t make a joke about it or try to brush it off with humor. I was just grateful.  I was so grateful to the technician who told me I was going to be ok, and to Ultraman for his disgusting  omelet, and to Muffincat for shelving her murder plot, and for every single person who would have showed up to my roller disco funeral.  I am so grateful for you.

Extra Special.

I’ve read in psychology books and plays and trashy romance novels that when a person is the victim of a very traumatic experience, sometimes they make an alter-ego for themselves as a means of distancing themselves from the trauma.  Recently, I was the victim of an extraordinarily traumatic experience: I worked as an onset extra for a popular not starring extra specialTV show.  This experience was so scarring that it has forced me to give birth to my own alter-ego — one more terrifying, more complicated than Bumblekee.  Its name is Extra Special.

I decided that I wanted to submit myself for extra work for the first time because — why else? — I have a huge crush on one of the stars.  Also because money.  But mainly because of my huge crush.  I had dreamweaved all sorts of scenarios in which Mega Crush would drop his top hat (I recently saw Lincoln so all of my dream men wear top hats now) and I would pick it up, and as I handed it back to him our index fingers would softly brush against one another, and fireworks would shoot out of his eyes, and then I’d pretend to be a virgin and he’d marry me.

The call time for the shoot was 6:00AM, so I laid out my dress the evening before, and then spryly hopped out of bed at 5:00AM to give myself ample time to practice my “virgin face” in the mirror.  Then I left and got to the set fifteen minutes early in full costume.  I was asked to wait in what is cavirginfacelled the “holding room.”  This struck an Ohio string in my heart, and then I remembered that, ahh yes, a “holding room” is also the name of the area where cows are held before they are milked.  Our holding room, unlike the cows’, was not heated.

After entering the holding room, I noticed that my fellow cows had already divided themselves into two groups: 20-somethings who weren’t making eye contact with anyone, and 70-somethings who were loudly complaining to each other about the food, and then sharing stories about their more recent extra jobs — “I was shooting a restaurant scene on 30 Rock last week, and Alec Baldwin and I looked at the same lobster tail. The same exact lobster tail!”

I tried to make conversation with a 20-something guy in a tuxedo who looked friendly enough, but when I asked him if he’d done extra work before, he only looked through me and responded, “Yes. And you haven’t.”

Moments later we were all asked to please line up to have our outfits checked by wardrobe.  It was at this moment that I realized most of the 20-something girls were wheeling small suitcases with ththe-walking-dead-zombie-first-production-photoem.  But they were already in costume.  “Hmmm,” I thought in bewilderment as I lined up behind a 70-something who was asking his friend, “They’re looking for a partially nude dead body, do you think I’m right for that?”

The two women in charge of wardrobe were each wearing fannypacks and seasonal sweatshirts — one was embroidered with a Christmas tree, the other with a seasonal wreath.  They looked like the nicest of aunts.  I watched as the first girl in line twirled around in her very pretty dress, and Christmas Tree shook her head and barked, “Open the suitcase.”  The girl pulled out six — SIX — other dresses she had brought with her.  Christmas Tree picked three, shoved them at the girl, and said, “I want to see all of these within seven minutes. Go.”  And the girl sprinted away.  Then it was my turn, and mad wreathSeasonal Wreath beckoned me over.

Surely Seasonal Wreath would like my dress.  Seasonal Wreath was the good cop to Christmas Tree’s bad cop.  Seasonal Wreath would offer me five years in a minimal security prison with possibility of parole. Nope.  Seasonal Wreath, brandishing a safety pin, gave me a once-over glance and crisply asked, “Options?”

“Oh,” I said, “was this not a good choice?”


“It’s, umm. Well, I don’t have anything else with me.”  The entire line behind me went silent.

“Are you kidding me?” Seasonal Wreath whispered, gripping the safety pin a little harder.


Seasonal Wreath anchored herself by gripping her fannypack. “Do you see all these people behind you?  They all brought options.  You are the only person here who doesn’t have options.  Do you think you’re special?”

“Do I think I’m, I’m what?” I asked, turning very red and feeling my tear ducts getting all worked up.

“I said, do you think that you are special?” Seasonal Wreath asked again, very loudly, and as if I was very stupid.

And that was the moment Extra Special was born.  So instead of simpering or crying or CRAZY-EYEtelling her that I was really sorry, Extra Special stepped in.

“Yeah,” Extra Special said to Seasonal Wreath.  “I am special.”

Seasonal Wreath narrowed her eyes, but being very short on time, only clucked like an angry chicken, turned to her rack of spare dresses, and handed Extra one.

“Five minutes,” Wreath said.

Extra nodded and added, “It’s my wedding day,” as it exited.

Wreath gave Extra Special the equivalent of a lace potato sack, which might have bothered me, but Extra Special didn’t seem to mind.  It whispered, “The shadows betray you, because they belong to me!” and then returned to the cattle pen/holding room.  Extra Special identifies with Bane on a deeply personal level.

forkThroughout the morning, Extra Special was used in several scenes, and felt it did a very good job.  During a dinner scene, it made the choice to be very interested in a fork.  During a party scene, it made the choice to be very interested in a chandelier.  When someone tried to talk to Extra Special during said party scene, it abruptly turned to them, smiled, whispered, “I’m a little psychic, but only a little,” and then went back to examining the chandelier.

It wasn’t until the eleventh hour of shooting that Extra Special got a glance of my/its/our Mega Crush.  He was pacing back and forth, talking quietly on his cell phone.  Extra Special watched him for about ten minutes.  It thought of faking a seizure, but dismissed the idea because it doubted anyone would care if an extra died.  Then it considered throwing something at him and then trying to pass it off as an accident, but nixed that because even Extra Special has morals.  Then, just as Extra Special was deciding to fake a broken leg, someone called Mega Crush’s name, and just like that, he was gone.

Extra Special, in its mere 11 hours of life, had experienced all of life’s greatest trials: embarrassment, acting, hunger (it got hungry at one point, I forgot to mention that), and now this strange, empty feeling in its chest.  “Ahh,” it said to itself, “this must be what is called ‘heartbreak.'” And indeed, it was.  Suddenly, Extra Special found itself craving chocolate and this thing called Love Actually.  It was recalling lyrics to Mariah Carey songs it had never even heard.  And Extra Special knew that it was time to let me have my body back.  And so it did.

Later that evening, as I handed the lace potato sack back to Seasonal Wreath, she asked me if I had a wedding to get to.  I looked at her, thought about sheepishly apologizing or explaining myself, but instead whispered, “I’m Gotham’s reckoning, here to end the borrowed time you’ve all been living on,” and left.