Saturday, July 25, 2009

Alone and barely breathin'...

Friday night has found me.

Not in any particular state, mind you.

After work, I holed up in the nearby Barnes and Noble, looking and looking for that One Book.

Do you know the book that I'm talking about?

That one book that is so beautiful and intense that just overhearing its name will make your breath hitch, that every page is dog-eared to mark quotes and ideas and each time you feel a little out of place, all you have to do is open it and you're slammed back into your skin again.

I can't find it.

And I know I should. I have read writers online with these staggering works of brutal beauty, but I cannot seem to find them in book form.

So I prowl the shelves sometimes, hoping that I will chance across it, chance across something that will change the way I view myself and the world, for a minute, for an hour, for a week. Something that will alter my heartrate.


This year's yields:

Taming the Beast - Emily MacGuire
Lunar Park - Bret Easton Ellis
Dead Boys - Richard Lange
Broken Summers - Henry Rollins
Sperm Wars - Robin Baker

I've waded through Nabakov and Miller, Winterson and Didion, Saunders and Beckett, and who knows what else I've forgotten because it has... not enough for me.

Winterson's, The Passion: "You play. You win. You play. You lose. You play."

That sentence stays with me. The book does not.

It's almost August and I feel as though I'm missing something, that if I just looked a shelf higher, or maybe tried the "M"s, I would find what I was looking for.

Reading was interrupted by a call from my mother, who invited me to dinner, so I shot down the freeway, 80, 90 miles per hour, a song from my teenage years on repeat, windows rolled down and hair flying.

Dinner led, though slowly, to a movie.

I became the only "solo rider" for this week's popular date movie: "The Ugly Truth". It stuck to standard formula, deviations were to be avoided. The awkward, power-driven blonde learns how to be passionate, and in doing so sweeps the bad-boy vaguely alpha male off his feet and teaches him how to love after he's been burnt.


Oh, don't get me wrong, I was laughing for most of the movie. It was funny.

It was also tripe.

I went to see it because he was teaching her "female" pick-up. No, no, no, it's not how to get a guy in bed, it's how to get into a guy's heart. Awwwwwww. I swoon, I pine, I perish.

As I walked into the theater, I was assaulted with a counterwave of men, sailing to the concession stand now that their date had been properly situated. I started to laugh. Yes, these men, so many of these men, walked by me, and I started to laugh at them.

And I remembered how many men I have successfully drug along with me to whatever chick flick I desired. I love chick flicks. Oh, and those high school romance movies. Remember She's All That? Oh yeah, they get my girlie buttons pushed. But I also want to sit and watch aliens burst out of people's chests.

What would be best, really, is a high school romance movie involving aliens bursting out of people's chests. In space. With big guns. And possibly vampires. Also with guns.

I grabbed my seat, one away from your typical lovely Orange County couple. If you live in this area, you know what I mean. Banana Republic? A&F? Quicksilver? Blonde, tan, wearing lots of white, khaki, and faded jeans. Highlights, of course, and the guy must, must, must have one of those woven hemp necklaces and be wearing some sort of sandal.

Shortly, the seats on my right were occupied by a mutually overweight couple.

Behind me was a shining example of intelligence and I cannot, for the love of me, figure out how people don't bother to expand their worldview beyond that of their churchgroup. Of the brilliant things out of the man's mouth, my favorite was, "Yeah, my pastor's awesome, but he does really weird things like playing World of Warcraft."

...really weird things... like playing a game that millions of people play worldwide..?

Does his house even have electricity, or does he have to churn the butter by hand?

I finally had to look to see if they fell into the Orange County Couple Crowd (OCCC for short) or if they were the usual SoCal church rejects that just didn't get out much. It was the latter.

I said nothing, silently cursing the theater lights for being too low for me to read my book prior to previews and tune out the inane chatter around me.

Between the movie and a discussion I got in earlier, I started thinking.

Dangerous for a woman, I know. I've been trying to cut back.

I don't know how to say no to sex.

That statement is misleading. I'll try to rephrase.

I don't know how to say no to sex to a person I actually want to sleep with and enjoy spending time with because I do not see the point in putting off the inevitable, combined with my need to screen men for their sexual-history squeamishness, I get it out of the way as soon as possible because it's really not that important.

I have conflicting opinions. My "seize the moment" and "if he's going to judge you for this and take off, he's a bit of an idiot anyhow" thought process tends to prevail.

I can't convince myself to say no. Why would I want to deprive myself of something fun and enjoyable because of someone else's issues?

But what if I did?

What if I did not take on any new sex partners until I found the man that I actually would like a relationship with?

Probably because I think that if I waited for that, I'd never have a new partner again. And that would be incredibly lame and contain too much self-denial for me.

So if I wait for the exceptional. If I wait for the guys I know will be excellent in all ways, even if they aren't for me on a deeper, longer-term level.

It's not as though I have a driving relationship need anyhow.

And what, what if I shifted my seduction style a bit more? Some place that I never considered taking it? Expanded my horizons and experience, learned new tricks.

What if I could become everything I ever dreamed of becoming?


  1. It couldn't hurt you to slow down and be more selective, at least for a while. Spend more time in bookstores and libraries, you know.

  2. My thought, too, maurice -- about twenty posts.

    You've read some Nabokov. Well, how about Proust (the Penguin translation), Stendhal, La Rochefoucauld, Kafka, Freud, Nietzsche, James, Kundera, (pre-Border trilogy) Cormac McCarthy, Stephen Wright (Going Native and M:31), George Eliot, Duras, Flannery O'Connor...

  3. How come, more often than not, the books that get recommended to me are out of print? Aside from the list at the bottom, the last five or so books I've gone to the bookstore for have been out of print. It's quite sad. I should really learn to look before I go shopping.

    I am slowing down. I turned down two offers on Saturday. Look at me go.

    Second Anonymous, I've got some Kafka I haven't read, as well as Nietzsche and McCarthy. I'll check out the others, add them to my list. I'm going to be in Portland in December, I might as well drain Powell's for all it is worth.

  4. I generally don't buy a book I haven't read. I do a lot of WorldCat interlibrary loans.

  5. My memory is terrible, and my schedule is crazy. I can't do library books because I won't get around to reading them in time, and if I don't go out and buy the book, I'll forget it was recommended to me.


  6. I seem to recall reading that you have financial troubles. I can't imagine not being able to read a book in two months. ILLs are more restrictive, and admittedly they're much more convenient for me as a perk of my job).

    I don't want to be rude, but don't ask me questions like that. It would be different if it were in person, but my friends Google and Wikipedia know WorldCat better than I do, and you could even approach it yourself.

  7. I don't have financial troubles, I just do not have my finances where I want them. I actually tend to read a couple of books a week, but I have a stack of books to read and I don't like it when I feel pressured to read something because I have to get it back to a location, when I much would rather read it when I'm in the mood for it... which may be six months down the line.

    I know I could have Googled it. I usually do. But, as odd (or perhaps assinine to you) as it may sound, I wanted to hear how you described it. If that doesn't make logical sense to you... apologies.