Monthly Archives: January 2011

Sex — with My Motha

As every woman I know, I have the type of relationship with my “motha” that makes me smile sardonically when speaking of her and roll my eyes back (far back enough to lose my contacts in my skull) when hearing other daughters bitch and moan.  “My life had stood—a loaded gun,” wrote a suffragette nearly two centuries ago.  I could easily misquote her, and on the topic of mother say: “My love had stood—a loaded gun.”  (Want irony?  Mother’s name does indeed translate to “Love” from Russian).  Or I could accept that the trials and tribulations woven into my life by my mother’s hands (her hands:  always baby-soft, manicured but with a grip) have made my life worthy of storytelling.  Our three-decade long love story is one of an absurdist comedy, an exhausting epic, and a heartbreaking tragedy.  She is my rock of Sisyphus.  My Ariadne’s thread.  My Pandora’s box.  My cross.  My heart.  My very Love.

To this day, she sneaks into every character of my fiction whom I adore and despise equality.  Every woman of tremendous beauty and charm that I think up (or fall in love with on a daily basis on the street) is—Mother.  Before I am aware, I hear her roaring laughter in my pages, her passive-aggressive sigh and overly dramatic delivery.  I see her flirtatious hair-flips and shoulder jerks, and the darting of her feline eyes.  Her killer sexuality that makes men act like moronic children is not one I could’ve thought up as an author.  As I age into my womanhood, I observe her lines come through on my face and hips, like a superimposed image.  As I mature as an artist, I accept that she is the main source of my inspiration and work—the very point of it all; and the sooner I surrender to that, the sooner my art will flourish.  Mother:  had not only granted me my life—she granted me my livelihood.

All this—is just a prelude, my comrades.  A little 101 on my Love.

The other day, with mother on a speaker phone in my car, I had to pull off the road; for this rambunctious, loud, dangerously charming woman had me in tears from her bit on dating.  Regardless never having read my blog, mother had decided to contribute.  Nyet, nyet:  More accurately, she demanded her own column!  To this wisdom on her dating life as an older woman, I subject you, my readers; for you—as I—do not have a choice to avoid my “motha.”  (Although I do wish, you could hear these words for yourself, heavily laced with a Russian accent, directly out of the woman’s gorgeous mouth—and you’d lose your shit as well):

I.  “The second you call a man your “baby”—he starts shitting his pant.”  Mother was never a nurturing type of woman, as I have learned in my own childhood.  She is sort of like Stalin when it comes to love:  The more they fear you—the better they love you.  It is understandable then that she never catered to her man; and one certain way to make my mother retract her affection or watch her phenomenal hips sway side to side as she walks away and leaves your ass for good—is to act needy.  Herein lies the lesson for the mankind:  Unless sick or on your deathbed, don’t let a woman see your weakness!

II.  More on that topic:  “I am not mothering another human being—unless it comes out of my vagina.”  In my childhood, my mother had reiterated a few times that I had stolen all of her love.  Her love was very tough, but apparently—it was love.  Anyway:  No man, she said, including my father, could ever claim her heart—for it already belonged to me.  Although I have yet to experience my own motherhood, I agree with this unforgiving philosophy:  A child should always remain a parent’s priority.  Add to that the priority of nurturing and perfecting the self, and I predict that when a mother, my hands will be full.  However, this is not a single-edged sword because I will demand the same from my man:  When raising a child together, grant most of your love to our offspring—and take care of your own shit (for I have neither the time nor the patience to do it for you).

III.  “It’s too late to be switching to mineral water—when your liver is falling out.”  Like mother like daughter, I too possess high expectations when it comes to my man’s health.  However, my opinion had to be developed with time; and as my last love story proves, I should’ve listened to my mother sooner.  Unlike hers, my belief has little to do with the man’s appearance though, but everything—with his longevity for the sake of our children (and consequentially, for the sake of our partnership):  One’s health is one’s own responsibility.

IV.  Finally, because mother was never the one to beat around the bush, here is the best summary of her high dating standards:  “If he gave me a tub of borscht in wartime, I still wouldn’t fuck him.”  Clearly, authentically and to the point—that’s the gist of mom.  I wish I could think this shit up on my own, my comrades, but because I can’t, live and learn from the woman:  Do not lower your expectations, for if you do—you alone will suffer the consequences.

She is good, ain’t she?  But as I have learned for myself, mother is good in small doses.  So, process these four bits of enlightenment for now, my comrades; and start jonesing for her return.

(P.S.:  Mom!  If you’re reading this, don’t call me with your edits!  I’ll call you.)

“A Miss is as Good… as a Mister”

(This is being published from JFK, despite the ungodly hour of the morning and the painfully inconvenient commute that got me here.  What’s that, haters?!  V can’t hear you!):

As I depart from the significant New York loves of my insignificant life and return to my younger affairs on the West Coast, I dedicate my words to those that will come after:  the young girls (whether I know them or not) that have intertwined their tiny, merely transparent fingers with the arteries of my heart and the female offspring of my strictly selected Club of Comrades.  To the East Indian girl child that, at the first second of our meeting in NY’s capital, became my shadow; invaded my writing space—unaware that a woman could claim that—and watched my every keyboard tap; then ran off to get her own paper and a red crayon.  To the adored blondie born to my feminist mentor in New Jersey whose Happily Ever After happened with a woman; and who by her mere existence, gave me the courage to write my own love stories.  And to the unfamiliar brown girl with snowflakes in her curls who followed her mother that leapt into a random elevator ride in Manhattan; who then persevered past the awkward silence inside, examined the crowd and exclaimed:

“Oh gosh!  It’s like all girls in here!” making the rest of the women—some radically young, others aged past their youthful anxiety—laugh and yelp and howl; uncensored and relieved, if just for a minute.

"Blessed Art Thou among Women" by Gertrude Kasebier, 1899

First, to my brown god-daughter back in Albany:  May your path be filled with obvious choices that lead you to your better self.  May your soul be fueled by the gods of the old country, but your mind—by those of the new.  May your mother’s unconditional love open paths for you that were never possible in her own youth; but may you always be exposed to the confidence a woman is granted when persevering through conflicts.  You will be my next Jhumpa Lahiri, or M.I.A., or Sonia Gandhi.  May you become whoever and whatever you desire; but when asked what that is, may you be able to say, “Why not?” rather than “May I?”  I pray the world is made out of non-existent doorways for you and walkways paved with “YES”; and that sometimes, you will tread with me (I—in my Siberian coat, you—with stubborn rainbow colors on your mittens and henna on your hands) to show me your future world, as I show the aged yet unexhausted one of mine.

To the sporty, curious, poignant Irish-Jewish cherub in the City of Angels (and the author of this blog’s title):  Because your parents have suffered enough to fulfill your own life’s quota, may it never get in the way of your possibilities.  May you never lose the insatiable need to repeat a question, or to touch another woman’s skin just to understand what it’s like to be in it.  NEVER apologize for your art!  As the multitude of imperfect adults guards your life from repeating their mistakes, I shall gladly lead you past my own.  I’ll tell you the tales of my survival and show that a woman may stand by her failed choices, because overcoming them makes a soul light enough to soar.  So, may you soar, my strong youngster, sometimes in step with me, but mostly ahead.  If ever gravity gets a hold of you, I shall catch you from falling—if you let me.  But this I ask of you regardless (because you shall always remain exceptional, I’m sure)—teach me about the ways I have not seen and the tricks my wings have yet to try.

To the tomboy born to a woman of tremendous kindness:  May you always be ahead of your time!  When asked by your teachers, may you tag yourself however, but always understand yourself as “special.”  May you continue to climb, much faster and more capable than your parents.  Upward, my darling heart, always upward; even though gravity may insist otherwise.  Never cry when you fall down, neither in a playground nor in an office full of suits; and always celebrate the pain, for in those very seconds, you learn to shift gears.  May you always outrun and outsmart your own age group and leave me scratching my head with your riddles.

I’m Much Prettier — in LA

Let me paint you a picture, my comrades:

Still jet-lagged since my departure from LA-LA Land half a week ago, every ungodly hour of the morning, I’ve been treading my home ground of Man’s-Hattan on foot:  either in running shoes or 6-inch heels.  Whenever reuniting with my people here, I observed their beloved faces, blotchy-red and frozen, emerge from the ice-covered cabs or appear from behind the swamp-green gates of the Subway.  They defrosted their bodies in my embraces; their darling hands—on cups of hot water and coffee or while groping tea lights at perpetually packed bars; and injected their blood with red wine:  anything to escape the cold.

“What do you mean:  You’re walking?” they lisped when saying their goodbyes outside, droplets of their breath freezing on every syllable and hitting the pavement between us like hail.  Then, they ran for cover while I watched the City eat up their bodies.  Oh how many of my loves this Island has swallowed!  Despite the MAN in its name, this City must be a woman—a woman of exceptional beauty, with a boudoir full of addicting potions and perfumes and custom-made, designer frocks.  It took the Bitch less than 48 hours to enter my system, and before I had the chance to miss the vast real estate of the West Coast—She was in my blood stream.  So, how can I possibly blame my beloveds for committing to Her for life? 

But this morning, the temperatures dropped even more:

“How do you like me now?” the indifferent Bitch arched her eyebrow at me. 

Oh, but I do!  I do. 

This morning, while my host was still stretching her model-esque Mediterranean body in bed next to me, I took off—in my pink-and-silver running shoes and my Little-Red-Riding-Hood hat.  (In my defense, the rest of me was still clad in black!)  Past the pale and ghostly faces of the natives I jetted, still immune to the cold treatment by the Bitch.  An occasional dog-owner trotted past me, dragging his or her animal’s frozen corpse through the snow.  No other jogger was anywhere to be found.  My toes tapped along the Island’s brown skin—”I-do, I-do, I-do”—never slipping on any traps of black ice or dog shit.  I flew, utterly in love with my old flame.  Accidental pedestrians looked at me askance:  “She must insane.”  But they’re used to oddities around here, and I am finally grown-up enough to not mind being one. 

My breakfast?  A shot of nuclear, jet black espresso and a granola bar laced with dark chocolate—the pleasure of the minimum.  As I strutted down 7th Ave., I chomped down my breakfast of champions with utter satisfaction and stubborn joy.  A brown man at a bus stop faced North, and, after noticing my inconvenient intrusion on his privacy, mumbled to himself.  Oh you, another sufferer, an incident away from loosing your shit—never mind me!  I took the last mighty bite out of my bar (or rather shoved one-third of it into my mouth, smearing its chocolate on my lips and chin).      

“You’re very beautiful, ma’am,” the stranger suddenly spoke up, traces of old-fashioned grace and Southern accent reigning over his vocabulary.  This entire time, he must’ve been mumbling to me!

Startled, I covered my mouth with my mitten, and struggled to relieve my tongue from the grainy texture.  “Shank you,” I manage to say. 

The brown stranger nodded, in seemingly sincere awe, and when I passed him, said:  “Oh my god:  Beauty.”

This—was the first flirtation I’ve encountered here.  So bogged down by hard life, poor diet, lack of time and space the men of the Island appear, none have made a pass at me so far.  There’ve been a few arousing and mysterious glances from the tall, dark strangers in bars; but no phone number requests—or offers.  Even to catch a cab, my unbuttoned coat and exposed leg no longer did the trick:  I’ve had to leap under its wheels, Anna Karenina style, in order to hail one. 

(Just the other day, I’m on Lex and 45th, when the Bitch decided to jumpstart a snow flurry.

“Need a ride?” a sickly looking driver of a yellow cab asked through the rolled-down window.  I considered for a moment and nodded.  Fuck it:  Let’s party it up, even if I am only four blocks away.

“Where to?” he asked me once I situated my floor-length black coat on his back seat. 

“Broadway.  Thanks.”

His eyes, under an awning of a uni-brow, examined me in the rear-view mirror for a moment, and then he said:  “No.”

“‘Cuse me?”  I couldn’t believe the fucker!  He picked me up!

After another moment of silence and another glare, he negotiated:  “Twenty dollars then.”

Half-a-blink of an eye—and V’s new-agey, Californian pleasantries evaporated:  “Fuck you:  I’ll walk!”)

But the brown stranger this morning made me fantasize about the possibility of dating in New York again.  I’ve thought about it, and to quote the uni-browed taxi driver, I must say:  “No.”  Even though back in LA-LA, I’ve often been guilty of being that ass-hole New Yorker reminiscing about the City she left behind, I would not want to be single in Manhattan.  Besides the lack of personal space, overcrowded commute, miniscule apartments and lack of sanitary bathrooms in which to fix one’s make-up, I would not be able to put up with the competition.  By that, I don’t even mean competition with other women.  I mean:  Competition with the Island—the Bitch of my own bitter-sweet addiction.  Surviving Her is difficult enough, for either gender.  But if I had to figure out how to notice a Nice Guy in a unanimously black-clad crowd, or in an overstuffed restaurant; or how to read him past the stress lines and the furrowed brows; or how to decipher a flirtation in an innocent greeting or a rare compliment—I would most likely lose my mind.  But then, again:  I don’t mind being odd.

The Sensitive Type

Having had one cunt of a year in 2010, I have established my newest pet peeve:  men who act like broads with troubled ovaries.  Actually, it’s more than a pet peeve.  It’s a No-No, a Never-Again, a Please-Go-Away-and-Die type of a thing.  I understand that in this day and age of crying, pouting, indecisive males all over reality TV, my nostalgia for Clint Eastwood as the leading prototype for our men and sons is painfully unrealistic.  Yet still, I can live the rest of my life without seeing a man throw a fit that puts the girls of Pretty Wild to shame.

What brought this on?  I’m out on a girl date the other day, having a perfectly delightful and stimulating lunch, when the booth in the dangerous proximity to mine gets invaded by a couple with a newborn.  Right off the bat, it’s a fucking production:  While the formerly attractive woman timidly trots at the tail of the procession, the young father is pointing out the most suitable seating arrangement to the hostess—with his pinky!  (I whip out my notebook to jot down my thoughts on this lightweight while my girls get quiet.  We are in for a treat!)  When the clan is finally situated, our waitress’s every attempt to speak to the mother is rebuffed by this male specimen who has by now untangled his firstborn out of the stroller and slid out of the booth.  Without having looked at the menu, he creates the family’s customized lunch order on everyone’s behalf, throws it over his shoulder and walks away from the table, leaving the mother whipped, defeated and most likely suicidal.

From here on, he proceeds to parade through every isle of the joint in order to soothe his non-crying child, so that it would go back to sleep—after it was awoken by being taken out of the stroller in the first place.  (Right?!)  My head begins to hurt from restraining my eyeballs from popping out of their orbits; but here is where it gets better!  After a few rounds, the young father begins to side-step behind the bar stools of other males occupied with a football game on the bar’s flat screens.  He literally glides, zigzagging, Apolo-Ohno style (on ice, not Dancing with the Stars) while perking up his lips and holding a terrifyingly prolonged sound of:

“Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.  Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.  Shush-shush.  Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.”

At first, he manages to attract some endeared reactions from a few baby-crazed females on the floor but ends up rebuffing all of their approaches in the same fashion as he’s practiced on our waitress.  He ignores all inquiries about the age or the gender of the child (interestingly, the baby is wrapped in all white) and continues to glide ‘n’ shush.  So:  He is really after the male contingent here, I think.  I’m fascinated.

(Where was the mother, you might wonder?  She was highly unimpressed, stuffing her face from a trough of sweet potato fries, while all alone at the booth so particularly chosen by her partner.  I predict she would be oppressed by loathing her poor choice of a male with whom to procreate if she weren’t so well-medicated for her postpartum depression.)

While I begin to wonder about the nauseated feeling in my gut, my girls attack our waitress:

“What’s the deal with him?”

“I bet he beats the shit out of her!” the waitress scoffs a bit too loudly because the man bitch (who has under-tipped her, by the way!) is now putting on his last act:  loading the stroller, barking at the mother and taking the longest exit route, via the bar.

Aha, I think:  the Chris Brown Syndrome.  Have women finally caught up in their pursuit of equality to breathe down the necks of insecure, incompetent, talentless males who, due to their impotence to compete with other men, reaffirm their strength on their wives and girlfriends?  The bitchy, estrogen-pumped specimen of my afternoon adventure had to be lucky enough to land himself a partner more intelligent and attractive than his girly ass; and instead of counting his blessings and praying to her image, he fabricates the ways in which she may need him—often in the name of love and marriage—then makes sure she is somewhat dependent and keeps her under his heel.  When in public, then, he has no choice but to overcompensate, because he relies on the sympathy vote to justify the atrocities of his domestic behavior; and when it comes to other men, he flexes via the appearance of his woman or child.  Case closed.