Archive | Essays

Augusts (Not August) Past

Once I had a girlfriend from Venezuela, and whenever she kissed me, she’d run her hands through my hair and laugh. “You have a baby’s hair,” she’d say in Spanish, and I wasn’t fluent enough to tell if if she was mocking me or complimenting me.

Really, what she was doing was comparing me to someone else, which is never a compliment to anyone.

This woman had thick, dark hair that framed her face in tight ringlets, and the effect always took my breath away. She was neither feminine nor masculine, nor was she especially gender-neutral. She was just extremely beautiful in a self-made way. She wore enormous green glasses and lots of layers in different shades of the same color, and she had very long lashes and very soft skin and very hard muscles. I liked touching her and I liked her touching me, and we were always better off when we didn’t talk much.

For one thing, she had a wife whom I knew, and whenever my girlfriend and I talked at any length she always assured me they had an open relationship. When she did this, I hated us both, for the lie was so grossly apparent that it cheapened us both.

Still she smelled and felt wonderful and I liked our small adventures–we’d meet somewhere off our beaten tracks for an afternoon drink and then fall into a sex warp in a hotel room until she had to go to some couple’s thing. My girlfriend seemed more aroused by betrayal than any physical act, but I’d thrill every time we’d fall into bed. Continue Reading →

The Others

The sun drops, and I’m surrounded by the spoils of a solitary Saturday night in June. Also the spoils of last night and the largest part of today with my beau.

I feel at odds with myself in that rare way that happens when you’ve sailed through a fog of discovery with a Winesburg, Ohio, “and here is this other.”  I suspect only introverts react this way; we so rarely take people on–or in, not to put too fine a point on it–that we must inject them right into our bloodstream to ensure no unwanted antibodies are produced. A mild withdrawal is inevitable, not remotely unpleasant.

I’m still picky, not nearly as prickly.

After he and I parted ways today, my bruja rewiring went into such overgear that it’d be funny if I had any financial safety net to cushion the blows. I tried on dresses I’d fetched from the tailor only to grimly declare them all prime candidates for take-twos. House Internet died, phone keyboard morphed into a ouija keyboard (how drearily on brand). I slipped into a favorite silk robe only to remember it’d been ripped up in a pique of passion. Continue Reading →

American Horror Stories (‘Rosemary’ Turns 50)

Rosemary’s Baby turns 50 today, and I’ve been thinking a ton about this film and about the genre of horror overall. For a few decades, dystopias were the alarm clock we all needed, but because the dystopia is now and no satire could possibly outstrip the grotesque burlesque that has capsized the highest chambers of the land, horror is the perfect lens for examining the greatest biases and ugliest fears prevailing in our dying (dead?) republic. That’s why Get Out blew everything else in 2017 out of the water, and that’s why films like The Exorcist and, yes, Rosemary’s Baby haunt us still. The former was about an America possessed–why else do you think it took place within spitting distance of Nixon’s White house?–and the latter was about the way that women are gaslit about everything including their own intellectual and reproductive powers. It’s also why I’m so flatly unimpressed by the emptyheaded Hereditary, the Toni Collette everything-and-the-kitchen-sink horror film that has everyone’s tongue a-flapping this month. Continue Reading →

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy