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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

I've Never Done This Before (and feel like an asshole)

Hey Simon, can you email me? I think another girl is listening to you breathing heavily (by accident!).

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Here's to Sandy

Drudging through the boat graveyard, my rain speckled glasses are smeared with dirt -- but necessary, for I am covering up my unwashed face, hoping to devoid notices of my unkempt hair knotted atop my head and the over-sized sweater I am wearing, belonging to my boyfriend's laundry basket -- watching my green eyes stamper through the sludge, carrying my bag and his bags of safety items -- what we threw together during the low tide -- I am eyeing the Russian Standard I know he is concealing, imagining the cool rim of the bottle as it reaches my lips, with just enough liquid left to burn my aching throat. I also know there is a new, full bottle of Absolut, just waiting for someone to crack the seal, so my excuses build to finish the other as merely a means of consolidation purposes.

My green eyes is yards ahead, bypassing the families who want to impress their Facebook friends with photos of sailboats and motorboats washed upon land. Some are wedged into the tall grass, the bow immersed in earth while the other half remains vulnerable on the road, naked for pictures. Others have collided, stopping the neighboring boat from wiping down the street. A particularly nice sailboat has leaned itself against a metal rod, stuck in the center of the road. It looks like it had a nice time cruising with the hurricane winds until it discovered the ocean was taken from under her. Her-- boats are women you know.

With his safety around him, my green eyes confidently stomps ahead, worrying his home, his lifeline, is damaged. Meanwhile, I have no clue how my home is. If everything I own is okay. If my blanket and laptop, previously bruised by my roommate, is in fact still in my room and in my condition. Home has different meanings for everyone but when it is tossed in your face so many times, it's a burden. Why aren't I in Brooklyn? If that is indeed my home. If we broke up right now, he would have a home albeit the weather or leaks or power; I would be lost.

My lifeline is here, is him. I have known this boy for one month and there was no question in my mind I would stay with him during the hurricane. If he could not leave his boat than neither could I. If he switched to the cheap hotel with complimentary pastries, bought booze and frozen meals, then I am there with him, too. My questions weren't limitless, rather, limiting. My love, I go where you go. I am where you are.

But cooped up together for four days has created a tension I was unaware of, brought out an insecurity I hid. The two of us, sick with a cold and deep-chested cough. My eyes water, and throat closes up, whenever he smokes his Newports. The liquor fogs my fevered head and with each temperature rising, my body is cranky from the lack of nutrients I am feeding it.

It is true, the ninja adventures in my mind, the romantic holding-each-other-through-the-storm did not occur. My notions of sailing together, of saving each other, were more from a movie than from reality. His love for a fellow sailor is, maybe, more real than his love for any girl. And my love for him is an admiration the silly girl has the older, much cooler boy. I feel like the gum stuck to his flip flop as he tries to make it home. I am only with him 'cause he is stuck with me. Home is all that matters.

I feel like an idiot. The one home I have I abandoned so it wouldn't be fair to call it such. Vodka is a home of types. It's my reliable, standby no matter what the weather or who I am with -- so call me a poet, a drunk, an emotional being -- why is that worse than a logical neurotic?

And here I sit, adorned in my boyfriend's dirty t-shirt and sweater, clean boxers and socks, eating a thawed out Broccoli and Cheese Hot Pocket, taking comfort in the tiny but real cubes of cheddar cheese embedded in the mushy crust. Eating one cold yet pliable, makes it apparent these frozen munchies are not as processed as originally believed. Or perhaps, dwelling in a sailboat in the boat grave yard, sloppy and sick, makes eating a thawed out Hot Pocket not so extreme and there is no comfort after all.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Meeting the Poet

On a crisp night in February I left my Hoboken bubble to visit it's unpopular sister, Jersey City, for a housewarming party thrown by a friend of mine.

This friend is 50-year-old writer who actually has a tangible, published book available (seems unheard of nowadays) and took a liking to me while I was serving him at a restaurant almost four years ago.

Greeting the party in my gray and orange striped cardigan, gripping my Smirnoff handle I bought on sale for twenty bucks, it was clear I was at the wrong event. Jazz was softly streaming and the lights were dim enough to feel like I was entering a poetry club rather than a one-bedroom apartment in a Jersey ghetto. I pretended to look at the books lining the walls, but that was an act, since I already spent nights examining his bookshelves.

My friend tried playing good host by taking the large handle from my small hands and introducing me to some people, sitting in a circle, "This is Stephanie, she's a poet."

My face reddened and I stuttered something about not writing much poetry anymore, more along the lines of short stories. Everyone shook my hand and said their names but I did not process anything as I was too busy trying to fit in.

A surly man, who my friend introduced as "also a poet," starting questioning me on what I write or how I write or something and really, to stop the questions I just handed him my card. I am quite proud of my business cards, adorned with a black and white picture of an alter-ego of sorts with long, wavy black hair and a star tattoo on her neck.

I am pretty sure the next question was if I was having sex with the 50-year-old. I politely guffawed and dismissed that notion.

Later the glum poet pulled up my blog and Twitter via his smartphone and started quoting me -- to me! -- as I tried desperately to avoid eye contact and walk away. It's one thing to comfortably pseudo-promote yourself but another to hear your words read aloud, by a stranger, who you can't tell if he's drunk, condescending, hitting on you, or genuinely enjoying your stories.

The next day I had a friend request and new follower on Twitter. Turns out, this poet was just as nervous as I was and also felt out of place. We're friends now. He encourages me to write, builds my ego. Maybe, in a strange way he's become my mentor, or at least, showed me what I'd be like if I was a 40-year-old, professor-poet.

So that's how meeting the poet led to "Unemployed Sex" -- my new weekly column on

Monday, August 27, 2012

I Should've Gotten a Magician

As the dutiful Maid of Honor for my sister's upcoming wedding, I was in charge of organizing her bachelorette party. I previously only attended one -- for my now sister-in-law -- but after getting kicked out of a bar and throwing up on my mother, my memory clearly could not guide me on what a bachelorette party is actually supposed to be like.

My bright idea was to find a stripper magician. I was intrigued by the ridiculous possibility of a man, only wearing a bow tie, pulling dildos out of top hats and using my sister as his glamorous assistant. Alas, Google brought me to more midget strippers than I ever knew existed and my goal was never achieved.

Someone suggested Hunk-o-Mania at Club Elegance in Midtown. The gloriously cheesy name and ironic location convinced me it might be fun. Having never seen any sort of stripper event before, I tried to let go of my hesitant judgements as I read the web site's promise of many chiseled Hulk-like naked men dancing.

Nine VIP tickets later -- including a "hot seat" for my sister -- the bachelorette party was set (as far as expected, raunchy single girl antics go).

One step into the club, my party was greeted with penis memorabilia: penis wands, penis pens, penis balloons, headbands with bobble penis horns, veils adorned with tiny, plastic pink penises... until the day bachelors go out with vagina hats, I will never wear or make someone where anything with a penis on their head.

As we settled into our seats, I was overwhelmed by how many bulky men were patrolling the room with the sole purpose to make girls feel special and receive tips. Our waiter greeted us with direct eye contact, leaned in close, and subtly stroked my leg and arms. Was wearing a skirt a mistake? I ordered a vodka on the rocks with a lemon, realizing I was way too sober for whatever is about to happen. He tells me when he returns I will touch his abs and if I like it, give him a dollar. Excuse me?

My mouth readily accepted the iced house vodka in a small plastic cup, while the waiter asked me where I was from. "Jersey but I just moved to Brooklyn" -- I needed to establish how hip I was, that I was not like the dressed up, excitable girls that generally enter this institution.

"Oh really? My father's from Brooklyn..." he tells me, with his crotch an inch from my face. Score, my idea worked, he thinks I am cool and we are discussing something productive.

"Now it's time to touch my abs," he says -- Fail. -- "That's okay, I'm good." I respond, quickly pressing my lips on the straw, sucking up the liquor.

"But everyone has to," he smiles, probably thinking I am just being coy.

"No, really. I am good." Can we just talk about your father again? He walks away and did not address me the rest of the night.

Majority of the club workers were "exotic" but naturally, my eyes migrated toward a tall, toned blonde boy standing along the wall. He looked miserable, like he did not want to work there, like he was strictly there for money but knew deep down he was an incredible musician or writer or something much more interesting and fulfilling than a stripper. Of course, I was projecting my own insecurities and aspirations onto him, but he was so sweet looking I had to believe he wanted more for himself than this life.

I pointed him out to my sister who laughed at how typical my choice was. "You always go for the whitest of whites Stephanie." I knew that was true, I guess I have a type. "He also looks like he's twelve." That was also typical of me, to go for the baby face. In fact, my friends already pinned me into becoming a cougar once I pass my twenties.

My cousin nicknamed him "Kansas" as he looked like an innocent, country boy while my sister-in-law said he reminded her of The Tool as in "Sure, he has a nice body but he has that cute, pre-pubescent boyish charm."

He must've noticed our eyes and whispers and took advantage of this by sauntering over and asking if we wanted a private dance, but he said this with such a thick Russian accent, I was taken even more aback and stuttered a high-pitched, "Oh.. what? Hi.. um, no, uh... thanks.. No, that's okay.. Thanks." Then, sheepishly smiled. Why am I so socially awkward?

He left us while an MC ran onto the stage, "How are all you beautiful women doing tonight!?" the guy yelled into a mic. It did not take much to rev up this crowd. "I have a huge boner right now! I have such a big boner it would knock you back and put your boyfriend or fiance or husband to shame!" The women screamed.

I immediately went to the bar for another drink. Clearly, my waiter was not coming back and how anyone could shout about having a boner into a microphone and not laugh is beyond me.

The lights lowered and "Proud to be an American" played over the speakers as men strut on stage in all sorts of uniforms: a marine, a policeman, a fire fighter, and then my blonde Russian, as a naval officer. The men performed a strange patriotic tribute, lip synching the song and doing choreographed, synchronized salutes.

More naked men later, I began to think something was wrong with me. How could all these women publicly fawn over such contrived behavior? Also, how come it was so easy for them to rub their hands all over the dancers' sweaty bodies while I could hardly make eye contact? Personal space did not exist here. Neither did anyone who thought as much as I did, apparently.

While contemplating why I was perceived as the weird one there, my mind drifted to The Tool and how much I missed his sex. I also began to imagine him as one of these waiters, noting how perfect his abs and broad shoulders would look in the wifebeater uniforms and how his sneaky smile would cause some girls to melt.

My longing was interrupted by the topless, blonde Russian who walked right up to me again but this time with a smirk, like he knew some secret I did not. "I like your hair," he states.

My face reddened and I mumbled, "Thanks," while fireworks went off in my brain. He likes my hair. And he's so fucking cute.

Any solace derived from that comment faded when I noticed my sister and her friends giggling, pulling out their cameras. Instead of taking my hand and leading me to a private room, the Russian placed his hands on my knees and spreads my legs. He preceded to rub his butt into my lap and flex his abs. I closed my eyes tight, not knowing what else to do. So this is a lap dance.

I felt his breath and body heat all over me, while my body was a tense bundle of nerves. My hands were clenched into a tight fist, my shoulders stiff. I kept trying to close my legs but he just kept opening them, insisting on dry humping me as my sister's friends continually grabbed my arm to put my hands on his body. Each time my fingers went anywhere near him, I reacted in such a way you'd think he burned me. I wanted to touch him. I could not touch him. At one point, my reaction was so fast the tip of my finger tugged at his belt loop and I felt the need to utter, "Sorry."

The horrific dance lasted no more than five minutes. He just stopped and walked away. I felt dirty and used. Everyone else got a private room, they got twenty minutes. I got five minutes of humiliation and teasing. If we went into another room maybe I could have convinced him to talk to me, he could've confided in me what brought him to America and why he was stuck stripping. Maybe I could have saved him. Or maybe, I would have just gazed into his blue eyes and he could have saved me.

Flashing lights and house music brought me back to reality. I condemned myself for just thinking of a scenario so fantastical, bought another vodka, and toasted with no one.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


A lump is growing in my throat as my mouth dries up, my palms feel clammy and my heart might beat out of my chest. With each breathe, the crack in my heart that was sloppily stitched starts to rip at the seams... it hurts. It nags. It weighs on my lungs.

The rock in my stomach hardens when a little voice in my head whispers, "You knew this would happen" and while my eyes are dry, I am crying inside. Violently shaking. (The only time I can physically cry is when alcohol is involved).

Make it all go away. His eyes. His smile. His false promises. (I am begging to no one).

While you may act like "the wind," I remain--

a fish gutted on the sidewalk.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Writing about Writer's Block

Writer's get a reputation for being hermits -- which we sort of are -- or at least I sort of am.

If I am not hiding indoors like a vampire, I am dwelling in my head with my nose in a book. Or I am sitting at a bar, preoccupied with my martini and writing on a notepad (or bar napkin).

When I am ready to open up I spend hours staring at a blank computer screen. My fingers gracefully run over the keyboard but fail to formulate any sentences.

Now unemployed, in a new city, my friends and funds are lacking. During my long days and nights I want to write but all I think about is having a pity party. All that I write is crap.

Friday, August 3, 2012


That awkward first kiss haunts me at each lips first touch, while my virginity is taken over and over and those blood stained shorts lie in the bottom drawer. My first love, my first physical intimacy, neither left closure and my mouth is constantly searching for you both... with each full moon and sandy beach my body howls at the lost night.

Those boys from high school who only held my hand in secret -- who I let hide me -- I learned the power of my mouth, my stare, my hands. I can twirl boys on my finger now just like I let you twirl me and with each secret, my body goes through the motions of a robot: "It's just a physical thing," my conscious whispers.

That friend who kissed me on the couch, and spent a whole summer kissing me, with each hesitant first kiss I hope it will be yours. I search for those butterflies my body trapped then lost when you let me go.

And the boy with the soft blue eyes, who let me throw a yogurt against the wall and cleaned up my mess. I can never look into another's eyes without wishing they were yours, watching me, telling me, "Everything [I] do is beautiful." I can never cry without feeling like something is missing -- your arms around my shoulders -- your eyes pleading with me.

My rebound anarchist, who was the best sex I ever had, each first meeting I want to be ours, with an instant connection where you know something amazing is going to happen. My hips crave your hands when they'd rub down my side and send chills through my spine. I still bite, expecting you to bite back, or at least invoke a spank, but new lovers never respond.

There's a guy who won't let me go. I've never hated and wanted anyone more, and each drunken night, I want him in my bed. Every dirty word I say is taken from our conversations. It's a trap of sex and emotion and with every new relationship, my trust reminds me you broke it.

Each lover left a scar, my skin is almost covered. If there is someone I am supposed to end up with, where will he fit?