Body Heat

April 9, 2012

“Sex is emotion in motion.” -Mae West

Tonight, The Writer and I are attending a Murder Mystery dinner. From what I gather, we will be fed and served booze while we witness talented-but-struggling actors perform a theatrical act of homicide. Then, as audience participants, it will be our job to use clues from scenes intermittently put on between the dinner’s courses to deduce which character is the murderer.

When I arrive at The Writer’s house, I notice his jacket, the one that I’ve been harboring, on my passenger seat. I’m not ready to give it back just yet. Unsure of who will be driving, I roll it up and put it in the back seat, hiding it beneath another jacket. I climb the steps just like I always do and knock on the door like I have a hundred times before. I turn to look at the sky and notice grey clouds rolling in. He answers and gives me a strange look. “Are we supposed to get dressed up for this?” He asks. I’m wearing a black and white thinly checkered button-down with black pants and a skinny tie. “You don’t have to, but the tickets say ‘Invitation to the Millionaires Club’ and that guests should be encouraged to dress in character,” I reply…not that any of the millionaires I know dress like this.

I follow him into the house, and he begins searching for something—probably his keys. I hear someone else shuffling around by the bedrooms, but his roommate’s car isn’t parked out front, so I practice my detective skills and surmise that it must be Dalton.

“Hey,” I say, poking my head in the bedroom. “Hey, man. What’s up?” Dalton replies with a much more cheery demeanor than the last time I saw him. “Nothing much, just going to this dinner thing. What about you?” I watch him stuff clothes and a few other items into a backpack. “I’m headed to San Diego for a friend’s birthday. I was supposed to leave yesterday, but I missed my ride.” “Oh, fun,” I say with my coolest nonchalance. “Yeah, it should be a good time.”

Just then we hear a honk from outside. Dalton collects a few more items and rushes past me. “See ya!” He shouts to The Writer as he opens the front door. Alone in The Writer’s bedroom, I look around. I remember that feeling I used to get from this room, all of the promises I was naive enough to believe it held. I space out for a moment, getting lost in the crumpled receipts, the stacks of papers, the mounds of clothes.

“Did Dalton just leave?” My eyes flutter, and I turn around to see The Writer. “Yeah,” I answer a little breathless. “You find what you were looking for?” I ask. “Yeah, I had to find a pain pill. My back is killing me.”

We decide to take my car, which probably isn’t the best idea, considering we’re late, and I’m a slower drive. That, and my car doesn’t exactly have the best track record with, you know, getting to its destination. “I like these glasses,” The Writer says, picking up my hot pink wayfarer sunglasses. Read the rest of this entry »


Deep Dark Core

June 8, 2011

“I’m not young enough to know everything.” –Oscar Wilde

Mickey Manley, the writer I met at the gay marriage benefit, invites me over to watch I Love You Phillip Morris. I arrive a little late and ring the doorbell.

Me: Holy shit, this house is incredible.
He: Do you want the tour?
Me: Sure.
He: Let’s go downstairs first, and I’ll show you around after the movie.
Me: Your house is seriously gorgeous.
He: Thank you. It was only half of this when I bought it. Everything took eight years.
Me: Seriously? What took so long?
He: Contractor and Designer got in a fight, it went to court, yadda yadda yadda. Half the rooms had one wall made of a plastic sheet.
Me: Were you still living here?
He: On and off. What would you like to drink? I’ve got white wine and vodka.
Me: I told you, I don’t drink hard liquor on school nights.
He: You were drinking at the benefit.
Me: One glass of white wine.
He: You were drinking something else when we met.
Me: Touché. Although in my defense, I had just walked into a window in front of hundreds of people.
He: Fair enough. How do you like the wine?
Me: I’m not a huge fan of white, but this is good.
He: I’m glad you like.
Me: So are we going to watch the movie? What’s it called again?
He: I Love You Phillip Morris. There’s no rush. Let’s talk for a bit.
Me: And what would you like to talk about, Mickey Manley?
He: Tell me about you.
Me: Why do you want to talk about me? I’m really rather dull.
He: I don’t believe that for a second.
Me: Alright, then ask me something.
He: Where did you go to school?
Me: New York.
He: Me too!
Me: What did you study?
He: Acting.
Me: Fascinating.
He: Are you mocking me?
Me: I wouldn’t dream of it.
He: Well, as you know, I’m a writer now. And director. And DJ.
Me: Now that is something interesting. How did you go from acting to writing to DJing?
He: Well, I have all of these records–thousands. So one day I just decided to go buy some equipment and experiment. And now I collect all of these random records. Which reminds me…
Me: What’s that?
He: This is my rotating art instillation. Every time I have guests over, I have them recreate it.

There are three shelves on the wall. Below it sit a stack of tiny flower paintings and a stack of records.

Me: What do I do?
He: Just arrange the records and paintings as you envision.
Me: Where did you get these?
He: The records are a strange spoken word genre that was popular among women of color in the 1970s.

The album covers range from psychedelic to nature to bare faces.

Me: Is it set to a beat? Like is it rhythmic?
He: It’s spoken word on top of music, but it’s just stories, so it’s not like rapping. But it’s incredible. They wail about everything from rape and social oppression to struggling to put together dinner before their husbands get home and disciplining their children. It’s a whole original medium. Like a lost art.
Me: I wish the world still had context for that kind of expression.
He: These paintings I bought for $3 at an antique store. Can you believe that?
Me: Really? There must be 50 of them. Isn’t it strange how someone can put so much time and effort into something and in the end it counts for so little?

Pause. I examine each and every album and painting individually.

He: They’re a little kitschy, but the juxtaposition with the albums is dynamite.
Me: There’s something sentimental about each.

There’s a longer pause. I start to make piles.

He: How are you sorting those?
Me: You’ll see.
He: I’ve never seen someone take such inventory. Usually, my guests just pick the first thing they like and throw it up on the wall.
Me: Should I hurry along?
He: No. By all means, I want to see where this is going.

Another longer pause. It’s been about ten minutes now, and I’ve seen every image at least twice. I grit my teeth and squint, looking at some.

He: I’m trying to figure out what you’re doing.

He sits and ponders, eyes scanning the rows.

He: I suppose I’ll just have to wait until you’ve finished.
Me: Yes, you will.

I put up the middle row first. It’s an African American woman. The picture is sepia except for a red apple, which she holds in front of her. I set two pictures on each side of the album.

He: Huh…

Next, I set another album, the cover of which has an old African American woman, on the top shelf, all the way to the right. I set two flower paintings next to it.

He: I honestly have no idea what you’re thinking.

Finally, I agonize over a final painting, but make my selection. I place a third album, this one with a young African American girl on the cover, all the way to the left and place three flower paintings next to it.

Me: What do you think?

He examines.

He: I like it.
Me: Just like it?
He: It’s the best I’ve ever seen!
Me: Do you get it?
He: I guess so…
Me: No, you don’t. Let me explain. Starting in the middle: this woman offers up an apple like Eve offering Adam the fruit of knowledge. Life is full of knowledge and temptation. Surrounding her, I selected paintings with four different colored backgrounds—life is diversity and a series of seasons.
He: Wow, you really did think this through.
Me: Yes. I did.

I return to my “installation.”

Me: The top row: This woman is tired, but with her exhaustion comes a sense of accomplishment. She has lived. I selected flowers with red backgrounds for this row because we burn through our beauty.
He: So what’s the meaning of the final row? I would guess, but I don’t think I can keep up.
Me:  The women are placed diagonally. Life moves in all directions. This young girl, eyes so wide, ready for the world. Raw. Beneath the rest, this is who she is. So full of potential and pure. I chose all paintings with blue backgrounds and white flowers to represent this. But deep inside of her, deep inside of them all, there is something else. Each of these flowers has a black pigmentation. In the center of their beautiful petals is a deep dark core. All of us has a deep dark core.
He: Is that so?
Me: Indeed it is.
He: Well, then. This is certainly the most profound version of the installation to date.
Me: I think you should keep it up forever.
He: Hopefully, the cleaning lady won’t change it around. She’s always moving stuff.
Me: Then she needs to go.
He: What? But she’s so good!
Me: It’s the way it is. Her or me.
He: I might have to go with her.
Me: I’m hurt.
He: But you can’t clean like she does.
Me: Says who?
He: Alright, but you’ll have to wear the uniform.
Me: I know of people in New York who are naked Read the rest of this entry »


The Bare Essentials

March 21, 2011

“Carving is easy, you just go down to the skin and stop.” -Michelangelo

My self-esteem in shards, I crawl my way through the first two days of the work week feeling extremely insecure — not myself. I decide the only thing that is going to make me feel better is not intimacy, but rather a rough lay…something I haven’t had in quite some time. Due to the tragic and mildly psychotic circumstances surrounding the parting of ways with the last boy I had sex with, I’ve been more or less celibate for about six months. (Perhaps I should have more carefully considered this before diving headfirst into that five-sum, but I digress.) Tuesday night, I text Dan from the Log Cabin Republican fundraiser. (It is my understanding that Dan is not a Log Cabin Republican himself, just friends with some. I’m all about socially responsible fornicating.) I’m upfront with myself in knowing that I think he’s a little creepy, and I have a not-so-sneaking suspicion that I am not and will never be in any way emotionally attracted to him. But that’s exactly what I want, so I ask: “Want to get dinner tomorrow?” “Sure,” he replies just seconds after my message sends. Red flag. Or is it? “Cool,” I respond. “I’ll cook. Come over at eight.”

The following night, I rush home and prepare the same meal I made for my dinner party the prior week. The same meal that I attempted and failed to lure The Writer with. Only this time, I make sure to overcook the chicken. I hear food poisoning kind of ruins sex, meaningless or not. If I weren’t busy cooking while simultaneously trying to make my apartment appear as though it housed a resident more mature than I, I probably would be taking the time to ponder the consequences of using someone strictly for sex. But I’m not. Besides, I would be feeding him first, so there’s that. When Dan arrives, I offer him a drink and he only wants white wine. We delve into a conversation that is so forgettable that I’m not sure I could tell you one thing about Dan, save his physical appearance. After dinner I give him the “grand tour” of my apartment, which comes to an end at the gift shop (a.k.a. my bed). We sit down and he goes on and on in an inane pronoun-fueled blur, and all I’m thinking is, seriously? What the hell are you waiting for? Tear my clothes off. How long can one person talk about absolutely nothing? Dan must see the drowsiness fill my eyes because he finally moves in for a kiss, which is a little too sweet, so I shove him on his back and climb on top. His over-eagerness once more shines through with his creepy sex stare, which he used on me when we first met, although I suppose it is warranted this time. Not that I care much. And that not caring is what makes this sex SO good. I don’t have much regard for what Dan wants to do or even if he thinks I’m good. I’m just enjoying the ride.

It’s one thing to get drunk, pick someone up, and have a one night stand, but inviting Dan into my apartment for the distinct purpose of screwing him isn’t something I’ve actually done prior to this evening. And I feel a little iffy about it. But also wildly empowered. It’s much easier to let your guard down and get wild around someone who I know can’t penetrate me…emotionally. As it turns out, carving is a lot like meaningless sex. Thanks Michelangelo. After a quick shower, we split a red velvet cupcake from Crumbs and chat. I keep the conversation personable but shallow enough to keep him out then send him home.


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