How I Ended Up With Bert In My Pants, or: How Not To Shave A Lady

So. I have taken a new lover. Mum's the word on it, completely, so don't try to pry any information out of me. Okay you guys, I'm so giddy because for the first time EVER I'm having my ivories tickled by a Democrat.

That's all I'm going to give you for now.

Him, however? I'm giving him more. Which means there's a certain amount of tidying up to be done. You know how, when you have friends over, you do crazy things like vacuum and lint off all the dog hair from the couch and spray Febreze on the pile of shoes by the front door?

I'm trying to do the equivalent for my latest inamorato. Because let's be real: mama ain't had company in a while. I might have asked him if he had cobwebs stuck in his hair after our first tryst. Why am I perpetually single, I wonder?

Back in the day, like, waaaay back in the days of eHarmony and free weekends and a waistline, I tended to my nethers like a proper lady. I had the whole thing waxed, from stem to stern (or is it stern to stem? Isn't there something about a little man in a boat, and sharks and tuna? What is it with nautical references and female anatomy? I'm so lost). It was smooth and hairless. Like a newborn gerbil. Sexy, I'm sure.

That was back in the day. Here we are in 2015 and things have changed. I've gone from a pink baby rodent to something much different. Something less innocent. Years have passed, things have happened. I've become lazy in the maintenance area of my...err...area.

But I'm nothing if not a gracious hostess. I don't know how long or how often this lovah will come a calling, but dammit, I want to be nice. Welcoming. More tended garden and less haunted forest.

So I had a thought. This thought occurred to me in the shower, and after two glasses of wine (OMG the kids start school soon and I'm hanging on by my short man-like fingernails, people). I'm in the shower, shaving my legs and I thought, "Hmmm. I wonder if I should try shaving my crotch?" Because isn't that the way it is when you're showering late at night with a little buzz? Hey let's shave stuff!

Several of my friends do it. Two of my very closest friends are huge proponents of the Kojak look. They talk about it as if it's nothing, as if sliding a lethal razor blade over the VERY intricate landscape that is a woman's outer genitalia is like shaving a bowling ball.

Bolstered by the wine and the smell of the shaving cream, and the fresh memory of intimacy that didn't involve batteries and carpal tunnel syndrome, I decided to go for it. How hard can it be?

Sweet Jesus. I should have known better. I should have remembered what it was like changing my daughter's diaper when she was a red wrinkly newborn. I couldn't get over how many folds and crevices and tiny dungeons and hidden passages a miniscule baby vulva/vagina contained. You actually needed a miner's helmet. Or a flashlight. And that was a brand new V, fresh out of the oven. Mine has been on this planet for almost half a century. It's seen a lot of life, literally: four of them were created in there. I am not from the whole "take a hand-held mirror and explore" generation but I'm guessing the nooks and crannies are still plentiful. I might be picturing Prune Face from Dick Tracy. Sorry.

The first swipe of the razor wasn't so bad. But then I met with some resistance. I plowed ahead, pulling things taut and trying to remember if it was "go with" or "go against" the grain. Which way does my grain go, anyway? DO I HAVE A GRAIN?

Things were getting steamy and not in a good way. Panic started setting in. How far back do you go? Was I getting it all or was I leaving some freakshow haphazard pattern in my wine-addled wake?

And then, I cut something. Like a lawnmower gliding blithely over an unseen garden hose, I nicked a nubbin. Was it an essential nubbin? I guess I'll find out, eventually. But regardless, that was the end of my impromptu barbershop experiment. RAZOR DOWN, HANDS UP, SWEENEY TODD!

There was blood. There was sadness. There was almost instantaneous regret. And there was itching.

I didn't finish the job because I was afraid of inflicting permanent damage. I don't know how my friends do this without the aid of mirrors and stirrups. Is there a trick? A secret? Maybe it involves using a razor that isn't a year old. Maybe it requires the use of something other than Neutrogena for Men shaving gel. Maybe it requires sanity.

I don't know. All I know is, I was going for sleek and smooth and velvety, and instead I got Bert from Sesame Street, complete with the unibrow.

I'm sorry, lovah. But if you're a fan of muppets, we may be onto something here.

Itchily yours,



Again With The Spawning

"I hate him." 

This is what my daughter said to me, after returning home from an afternoon birthday party with Big Daddy's extended family. 

It had been momentous occasion, from my perspective, because all four of my kids had gone. For the first time since May, I'd had the house entirely to myself. Two and a half hours of me time. It took all of my self control to not dance around in my underwear and an oxford while lip syncing to Bob Seger...instead I did crazy things like enjoy the silence and read entire chapters in a book.

Obviously, in my daughter's eyes, it was momentous for entirely different reasons.

As I've blathered on about before, the relationship between the kids and their father has been sporadic. With my daughter, it's been basically non-existent for the past few years. She's said, many times, how she has no interest in her father. How she has no desire to spend time with him, and even less than no desire to be around his wife and their child. 

So when she left for the party, along with her three brothers, I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, of course, because it meant a little bit of much-needed solitude for me, but it also meant that maybe, just maybe, she was taking those difficult first steps towards repairing the father/daughter relationship (and we won't get into how strange it is that she's the one who is making the effort, right?). After all, she is almost 20 now and about to leave for her second year of college. It's never too late to build bridges and I've always encouraged my kids to keep an open mind, and heart, where their dad is concerned.

I knew something was up the minute they filed back in after the party. The boys were their usual selves; making a beeline towards the fridge, on their phones making plans for the evening and giving each other brotherly crap. 

But not my girl. I always, always know when she needs to vent. Instead of heading back to her nest as she usually does, she'll hover. Just like she did when she was little and something was bothering her, she stood near me, not saying anything. Yes, kind of creepy but look at the poor girl's family tree.

That's when she said it. "I hate him." She just blurted it out, no prefacing statement, no decorative words hung on the branches of the sentence. Just that. I hate him.

My internal dialogue? It was something like this:

Why does she look so sad?
Did someone say something bad to her?
Did he ignore her? 
Did that twit say something to her?
Why would she hate him? Will she ever not hate him? 
Why is he such a dick?

The external talk? It was just this:


She said it quietly. 

"Mom, they're having another baby." 

That was it. The good news, at least for me, was how much I didn't care. The first time they spawned, and one of the kids let it slip, it hurt. My mind spiraled back to the time he was toying with the idea of coming back to me, to our home. He'd been gone for a year, living with his then-girlfriend and I'd been trying with all my might to woo him back. 

How can I convince you to come back? To stay?

He'd looked at me and I could see him weighing the pros and the cons. I could practically envision his Plus/Minus columns, the Should I Stay or Should I Go theme song playing quietly in the background. Then, he spoke.

"No more kids." That was it. The one and only requirement. And I made sure there would be no more kids...at least, none for me.

So yeah. When that first baby was announced, it stung. The reality of what he'd really meant to say that day finally sank in. "No more kids" he'd said, but what he should have added was: "with you."

This time, however, zero stings. Donald Trump running for President hurts me more than this news ever could. 

My ex reproducing doesn't faze me. You want to make more babies? Go for it. Go on with your bad Tony Randall self, Big Daddy. Keep coating those deviled eggs with baby batter until the well runs dry. You want to be the 70 year old dino at your kid's high school graduation? CONGRATS. I'll be over here enjoying going to movies at the spur of the moment, taking naps and not smelling diapers. Oh yeah, and also, being a parent to your first four attempts at fatherhood. Mazel tov, mother effer.

The ex reproducing DOES bother someone, though. My daughter. 

And that does faze me, friends. 

Because an almost 20-year old woman shouldn't be feeling weird about her dad and his sow's ear/silk purse wife making yet another child. Because it cut me, deep, when she whispered so quietly it was almost inaudible, "at least it's another boy". 

She has found the saddest silver lining, ever, in this grotesque situation. 

She's still his girl. His only girl, so far. 

I didn't know what to say to her. Do you make light of it? Do you commiserate? What does a mom do when her baby is hurting?

I hugged her. And not only did she let me hug her...she hugged me back.

That'll do. For all of us, I hope. 

That'll do.


The Class Reunion: I Came. I Saw. I Peed My Pants.

I am not certain about many things in life. Hardly any, really. But this I can tell you with absolute confidence: you will never find my picture alongside the word "DIGNIFIED". Ever.

The day of the reunion rolled up as days tend to do. The anxiety this event was causing was insane. I started dreaming about it! As someone who claims, repeatedly, to have put the past behind me, it became woefully obvious that maybe I confused "behind me" with "churning the past into a buttery lotion and rubbing it all over my body". Because I was coated in the past. At least that's what it felt like. Air ceased to exist and was replaced with a thick, gooey gel comprised of everything I experienced during those short, kind of hellish high school years. The good, the bad, and the awful.

(can you believe I never took drama in high school?)

So. My mind was pretty much made up to NOT attend. Despite the fact that a friend had purchased my ticket. Despite the fact that there was a hotel suite already reserved. Despite the fact that my texts and messages were blowing up with friends giving me eleventeen thousand reasons to go. Stubbornness isn't a super appealing quality but I gots it.

Then my friend Nancy called. Of course I missed the call because that's what I do, but about twenty minutes later I saw the notification and I listened to her message.

Nancy is a friend I've stayed in touch with over the past few years. We aren't close, given that we are both working women who happen to be mothers and she also has a husband and we don't live just a hop, skip and jump away from each other. But, when we do happen to bump into each other, it's nice. She's nice. She always was one of my favorite people back in the Dark Ages. Funny and sweet and optimistic. Those are my three words for Nancy.

She has cancer. And is fighting it. My fourth word for her? Badass. Or is that fourth and fifth? No matter.

The message she left was brief but powerful. So powerful that it blew through my stubborn brick wall and moved me.

Moved me in the direction of "I'm going." The next day I made an appointment to have my hair shaped into something that didn't look so much like Hagrid with his finger stuck in an outlet. I tried on a couple outfits, one courtesy of my homie Danielle, the other a mishmash of flowy Chico's/Eileen Fisher/Old Navy offerings from my closet which is beginning to look like a thick-waisted nun's, by the way. NEED MORE COLOR.

The hair turned out great, so great that I took a selfie and the kids all wanted to touch it. The hair, not the selfie. People usually need gardening gloves to get through it but that day, it was soft and shiny and straight.

More licorice! I only have four hours to develop Type II Diabetes!

And so I went...with my old pal Anxiety riding shotgun.

Now, here's the thing: Anxiety isn't a new malady. She and I go way back. The ways I handle her are pretty much set in stone. I either close up, I eat or I drink. The last time I went to a social gathering where I had to face people from my past didn't end well. It was my sister-in-law's wedding, many moons ago and it ended with me being drunk in my ex-father-in-law's car. If you want to skip the rest of this post and just read that one you can do so without any hard feelings. 

The pre-party was fun. It was a gaggle of high school friends, nervously twittering and taking pics and of course, drinking. I decided to go whole hog and start out with a gin and tonic. Looking back, it probably would have been smarter to eat something besides the licorice beforehand. Because nerves + empty stomach usually = very bad things.

Nerves + empty stomach + gin and tonics + class reunion?

Asshattery. That's all I can think of to describe what followed. Complete, utter asshattery. Hats are not my friend, apparently.

This lady, however, is my friend. Since 6th grade. We were the poor kids, the ones with not-so-perfect home lives, the ones who were on the fringe most of the time:

"Terri, I have a great idea. Let's drink three of these before we head out."
"Sounds good, Jenny. Hey, tell me more about life in the convent!"
Actually, the hotel room was filled with friends. Some of us were super close back in the day, some of us became better acquainted after all the bullshit of teenage years and school had passed.

Did we linger too long at the hotel, giggling and gossiping and tippling? Probably. But that's just one more aspect of the entire evening which can't be changed. Or erased.

Here's how it went down: we stumbled over to the reunion. We put on our name tags, we made that scary first step into the arena. I know how the Christians being led to the lions must have felt. Last minute regret over not working out very much over the past 30 years dug into my back...or was that the Spanx cami trying to rein in the rolls above and below my bra straps?

It's like a dream now, when I try to remember it. A freaky dream fueled by years of buried memories and the weight of life itself. Flashbacks blew up in my face with every single "Oh my god! Hi!!!" followed by hugs.

Parts of it were good. Hugging my friend Nancy and rubbing her new post-chemo hair was the highlight. A pair of high school sweethearts who are now married were warm and loving and also bought me a few cocktails. Another pal, the one who bought my ticket, was keeping everyone up to their knees in libations. The drinks and the laughter and the fog of conversational din crowded around me.

I'd like to say that Anxiety left the building. I'd like to say that, but it would make me a liar. She never left, she just passed out. Unfortunately, I didn't. Like a zombie wearing a burka, I stumbled throughout the room. My partner in juvenile crime, Terri, kept up with me and we took several bathroom breaks wherein we cried with laughter from adjoining stalls.

There were awkward talks and some that were nice. I could tell some of my more reasonable friends were less-than-impressed with my behavior. Sometimes I stopped and wondered if maybe I should go. Just wander out, call a cab and leave. That's when Anxiety would open one eye and croak, "NO. You have to stay! You're having so much fun!"

So, we stayed. There was a professional photographer there and believe you me, every single time one of my friends would post one of the pictures from that night my heart would seize up in my chest as I quickly looked for the black and white blur that was me. I only caught sight of that blur once, and of course I'm clutching a clear solo cup full of limes and wearing a smile that looks a little more like a constipated grimace.

Eventually one of our more level-headed friends decided it was time for us to go. He loaded our gin-soaked asses into his car and deposited us at the hotel.

This is when things get fuzzy. And super, duper classy.

There was making out. No, not me and Terri although since she's a gorgeous lesbian and I'm basically a sexual amoeba by now, that's not such a preposterous idea. Don't worry, sir, you were (I think) a true gentleman and the moments we shared post-reunion will go to the grave with me. Unless I use it in my book, which I probably will because you can't make this shit up. But please know I will disguise your identity. And thank you, also, for not saying anything to anyone about what it was like to be that close to Drunk Anxiety Girl. Under the best of circumstances me trying to get my sexy on is a stretch: when I'm six sheets to the wind I become Dom DeLuise. And not just everyday Dom, no. Dom when he was around Burt Reynolds. It wasn't pretty and I appreciate your discretion.

There was public urination. At one particularly regal time, Terri and I were sitting on a curb in front of the hotel. Wait, it gets worse! So there we were, two 40-something women sitting on a curb in the wee hours of the morning (and yes, pun intended). Still laughing. This time, I laughed so hard I wet my pants. As in I turned to Terri and said, "I'm actually peeing as we speak." And no, not just a little tinkle. Like my pants were soaked. I drive by that hotel almost daily and I'm pretty sure there was a giant wet spot on the concrete for a few days. The shame of that night followed me like a stalker.

I got lost within the eerie hallways of the hotel and cried like a baby with a full diaper. Which basically is what I was by that point. It was like The Overlook Hotel in The Shining though, and I kept waiting for Danny to whiz by me on his Big Wheel or the murdered twin girls to pop out and ask if I wanted to play with them. Forevah and evah and evah.

When I did find the room, Terri and I ordered two large pizzas. I stumbled into bed and when our lovely and thoughtful friend Kathy attempted to remove my eye makeup I screamed at her DON'T TOUCH ME! Sorry Kathy, when I get like that sometimes I think I'm still married. I love you for trying.

Somehow I survived, and when I woke up the next day I was pleasantly surprised to be alive and that I hadn't lost my wallet, phone or purse. Of course my pride was missing but that's not a huge shocker. For a moment I considered leaving a note of apology to the maid who was going to have the unfortunate task of making up my bed later that day:

Dear Housekeeping:

I'm sorry about the bed on the left. It smells like Aveeno moisturizer, human urine and the tattered remnants of self esteem. Also, there is one eye's worth of makeup on the pillowcase. Fortunately it's all water-soluble and should come out in the wash. If you happen to find a large silver earring that looks like a leaf, please throw it away. I lost the other one somewhere else.


The Nun in Room 308.

So yeah. There it is. I went to my reunion, it wasn't so bad. But, I did drink way more than I should have. I'm sorry to those I may have spit on while we were talking and I'm also sorry I missed out on the chance to have real live conversations that made sense. Hopefully when our 40th rolls around I will have procured either a sense of peace or a prescription for Xanax.

Namaste, class of 1985.

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