Saturday, May 26, 2007

Goddesses and Doormats

I once had a friend named Paul who married his high school sweetheart, a really horrid-looking girl named Rena, who the other students, in all their infinite kindness and generosity of spirit, referred to as Rhino. Rena/Rhino did not have flaws that were exceptionally hideous; it seemed as if all her features formed a miasma of ugliness that is impossible to describe. The strange part of this pairing was that Paul was handsome, gorgeous, a kind person, and generally good guy, and nobody could understand why he'd picked Rena who in addition to being homely also had a propensity for nagging. She did not, as we used to say, have a great personality (code for ugly but desperate), sew her own clothes (nothing like a useful girl!), and wasn't loaded with money, intellect, or anything else that might bring the boys knocking. When questioned about it by our mutual friend Hank, Paul answered with an honesty that startled me. I won't ever have to work with Rena. She knows she's lucky to have me, and I'll never have to worry about losing her or busting my ass to keep her interested. This degree of insight and pragmatism from one so young struck me as utterly bizarre. Most of us were still in our hormonal fantasies of love that would never end or at the very least, someone to make out with at a Depeche Mode concert or that we could pine for while listening to Berlin songs.

So far as I know, this couple is still together much to my everlasting amazement. I pride myself on being a pragmatist (code for a cynic the same way that everyone who calls themselves a cynic is really a romantic), but this truce with reality gives me pause. In those days even though I never had any really far-reaching romantic fantasies, I still played Grover Washington Jr's Winelight and imagined when I was older, living in a place of my own, having living room picnics for whomever my beloved would be (at this point, I didn't understand that I would never, ever cook) and light candles and be madly in love. Maybe we wouldn't do all the douchebag things that people in my hometown were prone to -- putting our names on each other's trucks or wearing matching clothing, but it would be more romantic than settling for someone who wouldn't expect much and would never be tempted to leave by the knowledge that he or she had far exceeded what we used to refer to as a person's "league." As Tony Soprano said in one of his last episodes, What's the fun without a little risk? To gamble when the game is rigged, well, what's the point in that?

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"There are two types of women: goddesses and doormats." Pablo Picasso

Cocktail Hour
Drinking novel suggestion: The Cheer Leader Jill McCorkle

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Saturday!


Charles Gramlich said...

Yes, a little strange at such a young age to think of playing it safe. But maybe it's worked for them. I like your ending point, though, about gambling with the outcome rigged.

Edouard Manet said...

Who would ever want to get a caterer for a "living room picnic"? C'est dommage! I could paint it!

Tony Soprano said...

Believe me, Michelle, it's a lot more profitable when the game is rigged. And it's a huge amount of fun if I do the rigging. But don't tell anybody. Thanks for all your support of the Sopranos, Michelle. Only two more shows left--June 3 and 10. I hope I survive, but more about this later. In the meantime, all the best.--Tony

Findings said...

A study found that many people who are diagnosed with depression are really just sad.

Harper's Index said...

Percentage change since 1900 in Americans' average amount of leisure time:0

D. Trump said...

The winner and still champion!

Rosie O. said...

Up yours, hairball.

Rodney Dangerfield said...

That looks like a very tight box in the photo, Michelle, if you know what I mean.

paul said...


Susan Miller said...

I remember a friend who told me that he liked "big girls" cause they tried harder.

And I, too, like the point about gambling with the outcome rigged.

D'Augustine said...

peel the covers away
from your body
slowly, like that

sway and shift away
to the other room
slowly, like that

my morning star
complete with torn wings
why the disguise?
why try to smile
your dark eyes match
my feeling of guilt

keep doing that to me
every sunrise burning
and make me forget
that I thought I was
responsible for
the damage;

tell me who it was
who long ago took away
your ability to fly
and by god, I'll find
a way to bring it back
to you, if you would
just teach me to soar
to peel back your layers
in the sunrise, like that

eric said...

I always seem to post at miller time!

poet's anonymous said...

It was her eyes that found mine
in the crowd, watching me:
alone, writing
stretching, crying
doubting, recalling
angst and desire in the afternoon
in the day and the life

it was something
something that made me look
then look away and back again
to see if it was real
something to make my heart
pound loose in its moorings
something to make me dream
that the days would
come full circle

nothing again

It was her eyes
her hair
her shoulders
her chest
her waist
her legs
her untouchable body

It was my doubt
my insanity
my inability
my ignorance
my naivety
my heart's weakness
my untouchable body

I'm sitting here
writing this story--
a time I didn't fit in

she walks away like a silk
sheet rippling on the ghost
of the wind

it kills me every time
wondering if it will be OK
that I follow her lead
her walk
her eyes
through the crowd
pressing closer
waitng for misery to end,
one way or another

poet's anonymous said...

If misery were to end
what would replace it?
If misery were to end
what would we write about
when we write about love?
If misery were to end
we would all drown in
unconsumed alcohol
a week before doomsday
misery would be a god

eric said...

all I wanted was a drink
and to leave and sleep
but a drink was what I wanted
not some dick at the bar
telling me
"you're so cute"
he was nice at first
dirty overalls and tatoos
on his face
Mom would hate him
I stepped closer because I hate long nights as much as anybody
"you're so cute"
alright, enough I said
he tilted in his seat, caught himself
"what do you do?"
I'm in marketing I said
I'm not giving him the address
but it might be a long night
so I'm still here
"you're so damn cute"
he was staring at my body like
he was going to cook it later
thanks, I said, and started
to walk away
"you are so cute"
I look at him
look at another guy further down writing intensely
I look at the bartender
wishing I could just for a drink
she stayed away, a blurr
of caring for the drunk
I hated her for being blameless

"what do you want?"
I didn't here a question
"Do you want money?"
I only listened
"I have a hundred bucks, do you want that?"
he wanted to buy me
I'm in marketing, asshole
"what do you want? money, a tatoo? I can put a tatoo under your skin for free if you want it."
he rubbed his crotch through his dirty overalls, staring at my body
He was biting his tongue ring
"You are so damn cute"

"I don't want to be cute anymore"

that's what I said
no hesitation
and walked away
sat down shaking
I looked next to me
a man with dark tired eyes
puts down a pen
and asks me if I'd like a drink
I said I did want one
but I don't want to be cute anymore
and I said that too

the walking man said...

Paul and Rena together? Social disgrace for him and what a catch for her, but of course after a life time of being called Rhino I might wear a mask of self defense as well, be a nagging bitch in public, just to keep the germs away.

But what was she like when she began to believe that he was not going to dump her, in private, just the two of them alone together? A different person? I would be willing to bet on that rigged game but my bet would be on the side of a long marriage.

Obviously Paul had his fill of high maintenance girls and didn't like it.

e said...

last call for the wicked: 0400 hours, downtown standard.

Fire Babcock and Millen