Last night I had a dream I made out with someone – not Ralph. And I’m not telling who. OK, it was Farm Boy Justin. I always liked Farm Boy Justin and I’ve made no attempt to hide it. I don’t know why I liked him except he was a nice person, he had a big booming laugh, he had a nice body, and there was something clumsy and earnest about him. Let me be clear: I have never been close to risking my marriage on another man. But in years past – ah, the days of single life – I did make out with boys. And boys like this one.
The whole dream experience, upon waking, took me back to my days as a bachelorette. I remember being so cruel to cute boys (I’m not sure if Justin qualifies as “cute boy” or “nice boy”, really – still mulling that one over). It wasn’t that I deliberately played games or tortured them to keep their interest – quite the opposite, in fact. I think my friends and I literally believed cute boys could not experience pain or disappointment, had less of a soul, than your more typical average guy. My girlfriends and I had a culture of absolutely torturing these boys because it was easier than being invested in them. I spent years and years making out with boys and assuming it meant nothing to them. Some of them, God bless them, were articulate and mature enough to tell me they didn’t like it that I didn’t call. Most just accepted what I threw to them and either went happily or miserably on their way when nothing else evolved. I will never know.
I do know that despite being relatively amoral in my past – uniformed, really – I have always been drawn to these boys and mostly just wanted to flirt, to tangle up on the couch together, to experience the excitement of connection. I want to say I’m very sorry to the boys I was insensitive to or those I misread. Thanks for the memories. And I’m very sorry I molested you, Justin, in my own mind. It was a surprise to me, too. P.S. you seemed to like it just fine if that’s any consolation.
I’ve been meaning to include an excerpt from The Pleasure of My Company, a novel by Steve Martin (yes, the comedian), that I read recently. I guess I don’t want to say too much about the book for risk of spoiling some of it – but I found it not only funny but very sweet and human. These are a couple paragraphs that made me laugh:
Santa Monica, California, where I live, is a perfect town for invalids, homosexuals, show people, and all other formerly peripheral members of society. Average is not the norm here. Here, if you’re visiting from Omaha, you stick out like a senorita’s ass at the Puerto Rican day parade. That’s why, when I saw a contest at the Rite Aid drugstore (eight blocks from my house, takes me forty-seven minutes to get there) asking for a two-page essay on why I am the most average American, I marveled that the promoters actually thought that they might find an average American at this nuthouse by the beach. This cardboard stand carried an ad by its sponsor, Tepperton’s Frozen Apple Pies. I grabbed an entry form, and as I hurried home (thirty-five minutes: a record), began composing the essay in my head.
The challenge was not how to present myself as average, but how to make myself likable without lying. I think I’m pretty appealing, but likability in an essay is very different from likability in life. See, I tend to grow on people, and five hundred words is just not enough to tget someone to like me. I need several years and a ream or two of paper. I knew I had to flatter, overdo, and lay it on thick in order to speed up my likability time frame. So I would not like the sniveling, patriotic me who wrote my five hundred words. I would like a girl with dark roots peeking out through the peroxide who was laughing so hard that Coca-Cola was coming out of her nose. And I guess you would too. But Miss Coca-Cola Nose wouldn’t be writing this essay in her Coca-Cola persona. She would straighten up, fix her hair, snap her panties out of her ass, and start typing.