tales of a girl in the city

mars 15, 2006

Welcome To My Glass House. Please Help Yourself To A Throwing-Stone

In case my friend reads my blog and discovers how conflicted I am about her husband, I am offering up the following old diary entries to prove that I, too, have had sex with (or wanted to have sex with) idiots. Hopefully this will make my friend feel better and remind her that I love her.

Though it is worth mentioning that I did not marry any of my idiots.


Anyway. From April 30, 2003:

Audience, let's catch you up. We have Kathryn who has currently been in a relationship with M for ten months. Folks, before we go any farther, let's see what she's won so far: Six--that's right, Six!--months of no sex. *Audience oohs and aahs* Two dates--largely last minute and mostly unplanned--per week. She gets regular--you heard me right, Guys--regular updates on the hotness of virtually every woman at his office. AND, as an added bonus, this weekend, when he went to his ex-girlfriend's wedding, she got an update not only on the bride's beauty but she ALSO GOT some extra insight into his regret that she was marrying someone other than him...FOR FREE! Not for $19.95. Not for $15.95--the price you might see at some local retail stores--No, Guys and Gals...for free!! Because this is all part of the amazing package of non-prizes that she has won during the course of this relationship.'s the best part! Since he won't commit to Kathryn, all of these non-prizes can also be YOURS....TODAY!!! simply by calling (917)&&&-&&&&!!! Call Today!

And from college:

For all of the poetic phrases that decorate the days and nights of our other encounters, it is interesting to me that only two words are written in the space on my calendar for March 22nd when Luis and I went to see the Wagner opera: Awful--abandoned. I don't know why I wrote just that. No fancy poetry. No erudite quotes, chosen from that week's Modern Lit reading. Just what was true.

Had I given up, in a way, realizing that no amount of prose or poetry could express the humiliation I had felt that evening? Or, was it that I knew it wouldn't make any difference anyway? Had I finally accepted the fact that, whether awful and abandoned or glorious and perfect, I would go back again? I knew that after March 22nd there would be some other night, some inevitable scribble in the corner of a day in April, May, June.

It is amazing to me, Luis, what a good teacher you were. What an apt pupil I became in your hands. Even now, I shudder at the efficiency that came to define my ability to control my feelings. Just like you, when we climbed into the back of that cab, having just used up every possible topic of conversation available to us as the conductor bowed and our fellow audience members rose to their feet, I flicked a switch and shut myself off. As we sat in that foolishly cheerful taxi, I sunk further and further into my corner, raising an eyebrow, feeling walls of indifference clang into place inside of my chest:

You just watch me, you prick. No more dancing pony now. I can play as well as you. We'll go to this dirty bar filled with all our friends, and I will laugh and smile. I'll be witty and charming and beautiful in my fur coat and I will smile the brightest smile in all of fucking Manhattan if it will fool you into believing that I don't care. You just watch me.

From an outsider's perspective, it must have looked so peculiar. This blond girl walks into a bar, pauses for a moment by the heavy man in flannel who throws darts by the doorway. Amidst the denim and smoke, she gleams in a white fur coat. Her presence is completely inappropriate.

If I moved at all through that bar, it was by some gift of God. A small, benevolent miracle. My entire body felt weighted with the strange, mismatched joining of my beautiful clothing and that dingy room. For the first time Luis had made my humiliation public; no longer was I crying alone in my room, or quietly fighting with him on his bed. Now, at last, he knew his power over me was so complete that he could walk with me into this place, untucking his shirt and immediately blending in, making himself like all of those students who were there drinking and playing pool. He could leave me to broadcast my own rejection. The carefully chosen dress sparkled just as brightly as I had hoped, but now it was thrust into a completely unexpected backdrop. And, of course everyone wanted to know, "Where have you been?"

"Look at you, all dressed up. How come you look so nice?"

Again and again, I had to explain my own humiliation: "Luis and I went to the opera. I figured it was about time someone tried to give him a little culture." My small attempt at repaying the favor. Don't think I'm fooled by him, everyone. I know who he is--classless, drunk.

Now I see that by admitting that to them, I made it worse: I know who he is, and, still, I am here in a fur coat, letting him do this to me. Smiling while he does it.

That he could leave me there really was amazing. I suppose he was made capable of such cruelty by the simple reason that he didn't consider it cruel. He didn't consider it anything, in fact, because he did not consider me. He sat with me for a few minutes in that booth, and then left me there. A public statement: I don't want her.

So, after the opera, the real performance: my smile, my laugh. I held conversations while clawing at my leg underneath the table. After he left, I pinned myself there for a few more minutes, and then a few more, estimating the difference in time between what people would judge to be the teary flight of a broken-hearted girl and what they would interpret as the deliberate exit of a woman tired after a boring, yet necessary trip to the opera.

I held my face on as long as I could. Until the room became large and inverted. Until the corners of my mouth stung from the force of my smile.

Ten more minutes, and my exit could begin. Eleven more minutes until I could let myself cry.