Wild Side

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concert_crowd_smallMy husband Bryan and his friend Larry go to concerts together. They have pretty similar tastes in music, so they alternate paying for the tickets. Recently, my husband treated Larry to a Megadeth concert, so now it’s Larry’s turn to pay. (They’ve also seen Rush together and probably someone else I can’t remember.)

So, we’re in the car today, on our way home from the Farmer’s Market, when “Wild Side” by Mötley Crüe comes on the radio. Bryan says, “Oh yeah, Larry’s buying us tickets to this concert at the Amphitheatre.” (That would be the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa, formerly known as the 1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheatre. You see why we just call it “the Amphitheatre”? And by “us” he meant Larry and himself.)

“What? Seriously? I want to see Mötley Crüe!”

Okay, maybe not really. I hate concerts. There are only ever a few, old songs I want to hear but inevitably bands play all their new, drug-free boring shit first and if you’re lucky, you get to hear “Pour Some Sugar on Me” at the end before you book for the exits to beat the crowd out of the parking lot. (That’s right – the last concert I went to was Def Leppard, opened by Joan Jett. Shut up, I’m old.)

Bryan knew I didn’t really want to go to the concert, so it was cool. Then he said he’ll probably owe Larry for this one since these Mötley Crüe tickets were more expensive than the Megadeth show. (Concert ticket prices are ridiculous. I thought Eddie Vedder was supposed to fix that. What, nobody remembers Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam duking it out with Ticketmaster? Is Ticketmaster even still around? Fuck, I’m so old.)

“There was another concert Larry wanted to get the tickets for, but they were just too expensive. Who was it…” Bryan says, thinking. He snaps his fingers. “Katy Perry! That’s it. But those are like $100 even for the cheap seats.”

He was totally serious, by the way. I wouldn’t think that Mötley Crüe’s and Katy Perry’s target audiences typically overlap by much, but there you go. In the Venn Diagram of “Shout at the Devil” and “California Girls” there is one person in the middle, overlapping part: My husband. And Larry, I guess.

Science Favors Perverts. Perfect.

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English: Cleavage of a womanIt seems like every other day a new “scientific” study is coming out that contradicts everything we thought we knew about the world. Coffee is good for you – drink up! Soy milk will give you man boobs, uh oh! Now the latest: ogling big tits is good for your heart. Literally. Is this really where we’re going, Science? I’m not a doctor or anything, so I can’t be sure, but judging from the amount of pink shit I see marketed toward me in the grocery store and the number of 5K’s my friends are still running, it doesn’t look like anyone has cured cancer yet. With that in mind, will someone please tell me who is funding this bullshit? Is there federal grant money just lying around, waiting for someone to form a ridiculous hypothesis and recruit clueless college kids for poking, prodding and measuring? And if so, can we do something scandalous and awesome like the Stanford Prison Experiment from the 1970’s? (Although, that sort of research is probably pointless now, because if you want to determine the human animal’s propensity toward being an asshole, all you have to do is scroll through some YouTube comments on any given day. Case closed.)

So, let’s talk about this titty thing. (There’s something I don’t say every day.) Don’t get me wrong – I love boobs. Can’t get enough of them. (Lucky for me, I’ve got two of my very own!) I still don’t understand the point of this study. We all know men like looking at a nice rack…is this just some transparent attempt to justify this behavior? Is this being done in the hopes that the next time a dude gets busted staring at a lady’s breasts, he can save himself a smack and a black eye by reaching into his wallet and pulling out his “prescription”? “Uh, see ma’am, if you look here, it says I need to: take (2) mammary glands, visually, twice per day or as needed.” Good luck with that. If you think we have a big problem with forged narcotics prescriptions in this country, just wait until medicinal mammaries becomes a thing.

By the way, if you review the research carefully, you’ll see that in order for the bosom ogling to have the intended cardiac benefits, the breasts in question must be size D or above. Okay, seriously, can you imagine what this research lab looked like when Dr. Obvious was conducting her (that’s right – a female doctor spearheaded this research) experiments? What did the “control” look like? Did the men stare at another dude for the “control” or was it some poor, unfortunate, flat-chested woman who probably has even more of an inferiority complex now that it’s a medical fact that not only are her barely-there mosquito bites unappealing, but they are literally KILLING PEOPLE. (Or at least, not saving their lives by providing measurable, quantifiable, publishable cardiac benefits akin to 30 minute of aerobic exercise.) Seriously, flat-chested women, you might as well just kill yourselves right now. You are useless. (I’m not saying that – it’s Science.) I don’t know; maybe additional research can be done to determine whether or not you can still help the cause. There was no mention of whether or not gazing at smaller boobs would confer a placebo effect. (Maybe push-up bras could become medical devices?)

I suppose that if you can’t find “treatment” of adequate size out and about in your everyday life, you could always go to an approved “clinic”. These clinics are currently known as strip clubs. “Destiny” and “Cinnamon” can give you your daily quota of heart healthy titties, and although you don’t typically leave the pharmacy covered in glitter and smelling like Victoria’s Secret body spray, you gotta do what you gotta do to take care of your body, am I right? I’m sure Mons Venus and Scores will appreciate the uptick in business although accepting Flexible Spending Account benefit cards may prove to be a hassle for them.

There is good news in all of this. (I know you men out there are thinking, “What are you talking about? This has all been good news.”) But really, using breasts to improve heart health is another small step toward establishing a more natural, homeopathic approach to medicine. (Unless you’re going to one of those clinics I mentioned above. There is nothing natural going on in there.) Fewer drugs, more jugs! Also, heart disease is the leading killer of men. This way, if my husband ever does have a heart attack and needs to take action to improve his cardiovascular health, we can forget about scary angioplasties and risky bypass surgeries. I’ll just get breast augmentation! I’ll take these average B-sized, good-for-nothing funbags and inflate them to Double-D life preservers! There’s no risk in that, right? I’ll practically be providing a public service anyway. Win-win. Science. Awesome.

Open Letter: J.J. Abrams, My Abusive Boyfriend

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Producer and director J.J. Abrams participatin...

Dear J.J.,

I think it’s time I finally tell you how I feel. You are ruining my life and destroying my dreams.

Okay, maybe I should back up a little bit.

Let’s start with Lost. Remember that little show, Lost? That’s when I fell in love with you, and when you fucked me over for the first, but not the last time. See, I got on board with Lost a little behind schedule. It was in the early 2000’s that I discovered your mysterious creation, and I was instantly hooked. That was back when people still got their Netflix DVDs in the mail, and I watched the first two seasons back to back like it was my fucking job. I couldn’t wait to see how those survivors navigated the incredible wonders of the island you created. Adam and Eve! The hatch! That crazy fucking hatch! And the numbers! What the hell were those numbers all about? I was riveted and trembling with anticipation.

I should have known it would all fall apart when you veered left of center with that Nikki and Paulo shit. What the fuck was that, J.J.? Were you hung over that week and decided to throw together a plotline that would dangle endlessly and then just disappear into the ether? I let that one slide, thinking it was a one-off mistake. Oh, how wrong I was. As time progressed and the clock ticked off 108 minutes at a time, I was eager for a perfect ending that would seamlessly weave together the myriad plot threads I had been lovingly following with nail-biting intensity season after motherfucking season. But it would never be.

I saw stories evaporate and threads snap as you deux ex machina’ed the fuck out of everything I had been hanging on to for years. Good versus evil? Motherfucking trite much? Jacob and the magic river of glowing ectoplasm? I was waiting for Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd to show up and spew some shit about not crossing the streams. Then, guess what? We’re all in heaven and everybody’s happy! Yay. Not this girl. Fuck you, J.J.!

So, why am I bitching about this now, you may wonder. Well, I’ll get to that.

A few weeks ago, I garnered some insight into why you may be such a crazy bastard. Or if not why, I can at least testify to the fact that you seem to have been this way since you were a wee lad. Exhibit A: TED Talks. Now, I’ve always thought those kids who hold onto their toys without opening them from the cellophane packaging (see: 40 Year Old Virgin) were more than a little off, but this takes the cake. In an attempt to explain your creative inspiration, you show a “mystery box” package you purchased from a magic shop as a child. This mystery box is unopened and one cannot tell what goodies are inside. It takes a special kind of crazy to purchase a surprise like this as a kid and not open it. CRAZY! The fun is in the opening! I cannot reiterate this enough. This doesn’t explain why you are a great creator of entertainment; it only explains why you are a bastard who doesn’t reveal the mysteries in your television and movies. I want to reach through my laptop screen and tear open your mystery box. (That sounds like the makings of a heavy metal/boy band mash-up song, but you get the picture.)

The reason why all of my frustration with you, J.J., is coming to a head at this particular time, is because I recently started watching your show Fringe on Netflix. Apparently it’s been long enough since you fucked me over with Lost, and I felt ready for another beating. Why, oh why did I do this? It’s like I saw your name and only remembered the amazing sex and not the bad case of The Clap you left me with. And it burns.

Fringe started out incredible, of course. The far-out science is interesting and compelling. The actors, especially John Noble, are wonderful. I started ‘shipping the Peter and Olivia characters almost immediately because I’m a typical fangirl and I cannot help myself. Then, the other shoe fell and you broke my heart again. Just when I thought my couple was coupling, you had to cross universes and have mistaken identities abound and complicate things with unintended accelerated pregnancies and now the world might end. (No spoilers, please! I’m only on Season 3, and I’m still holding out hope everything will work out. I know, I know. I’ve got it so bad.)

I knew I was completely fucked last week when the episode focused around a series of very familiar numbers. Really, J.J.? Are you fucking kidding me? If it turns out that they are all in heaven at the end, I will find you, and I will shove your box into a very mysterious (and uncomfortable) place.

I wish I knew how to quit you.

Begrudgingly yours,

Tina Steele

This is My Dog on Prozac

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Fletch_blogDespite appearances in the picture to the left, I did not make a Miniature Pinscher skin-suit out of my dog Fletcher. It was simply bath time, and I couldn’t resist the opportunity to illustrate what a giant pussy he is, figuratively speaking. Seeing him cowering in our massive pit of a bathtub, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the infamous scene in “Silence of the Lambs,” you know the one: “Put the fucking lotion in the basket!” Ah, good times. But anyway, that is my dog Fletcher, and although he is pretty well-behaved and stoic when it comes to bath time, he, even when I’m not quoting lines from demented serial killers, does scare easily.

Tonight is July 2nd, and the homies in my barrio are already Clint Eastwood-ing it up and pretending their firecrackers are .44 Magnums and every time they go snap-crackle-pop I can imagine them saying, “Go ahead, make my Independence Day” or some such shit. The point is, I don’t understand why 1) Everyone has to start their July 4th celebrations so fucking early and 2) The allure of firecrackers and noise-making shit to begin with. I haven’t really been into fireworks of any kind since I grew tits and found out boys were interested in them, but the male gender seems to never outgrow the need for things that go boom. At least the the colored, sky-bursting light show variety of fireworks make some sense – they are pretty and give you something look at while you drink beer and snuggle with your boo. I still don’t get the 2 second bang and it’s done kind. (Again, it can’t be a coincidence that these attract the males. Two second bang anyone? Sounds like my twenties.)

So, where does this tie in with my pathetic dog pictured above? Well, like I said, he’s less Canis domesticus and more Felis fraidycatius. My sweet boy has an anxiety disorder that would make Rain Man on a Southwest airlines flight look like Cool Hand Luke. Everything freaks him out. Thunderstorms and fireworks are the absolute worst. As I type this, he is shaking like a crack addict next to me, drooling on my keyboard. As revolting as that is, he used to be even worse. Fletcher used to get his invisible knickers in a twist at something as banal as the noise the TV makes when we turn it on and off. He’s evened out ever so slightly since we consulted with our veterinarian and got poor Fletcher on Prozac.

That’s right. My doggie is a card carrying member of the Prozac nation. Actually, we carry his card for him. Like millions of unfortunate Americans, Fletcher has been left behind by our hit-and-miss insurance system, so we signed him up for a CVS membership program so we could get his prescription at a discount. I’m not sure if they don’t realize he’s a dog, or think he’s some emotionally tortured genius dog, because his prescription bottle warns Fletcher Wiltzius that he should not drink alcohol or operate heavy machinery until he knows how his Prozac will affect him. I’m going to go ahead and say that he shouldn’t be doing those things anyway.

We didn’t take the decision to medicate our dog lightly. We tried other things first. Mostly yelling, which didn’t work, oddly enough. I watched Cesar Milan’s show where he gives a crazy dog the evil eye just once and that dog goes from urinating on people’s legs and biting them in the face to instantly mowing the lawn and helping the homeless. I didn’t glean any useful tips from him either. Since Fletcher’s anxiety mostly manifests itself with him barking nonstop, I bought one of those citronella collars that sprays every time the dog barks and buckled Fletch in. Within two minutes, the collar reservoir was empty, our house was stinky but mosquito-free, and Fletcher was still barking. So much for that.

We tried a few different drugs and settled on the Prozac. It’s still an imperfect solution. Fletch still freaks out when things get extra scary, like now with the asshole kids and their firecrackers. Or say, the entire hurricane/storm season from May through September. For times like these, he also has a prescription for Valium that he gets “as needed”. What people don’t understand is that having an anxiety-prone dog is, in itself, anxiety-inducing. I have my own prescription for Xanax. Nights like these are a “one for Fletcher, one for Mommy” situation. At least I don’t have to hide mine in a piece of sausage.

We have another dog named Lucy. She is pretty normal, or at least as normal as normal gets in this household. She has a bit of a weight problem, but living with all of these crazy fuckers will cause one to “stress eat”. Trust me, I know. She’s my angel. She gets a little anxious with the fireworks and thunderstorms too, but she just does a little submissive pee and hides in the closet like a normal dog. (I may be losing track of what is normal at this point.)

Both of my dogs came from a shelter, so who knows what kind of crazy shit they dealt with before I got them. (If I drove an SUV and were a little more bourgeoisie, I would say, “They’re rescues!” in that voice that lets you know that I think I saved the world by adopting them. But really, I picked up a couple of used dogs, I didn’t cure malaria.) Every time I look at my pre-owned bundles of joy, I think, “You little shits, no wonder you ended up with me. Who else would put up with you?” But we’re a perfect fit. They may be purebred pains in the ass, but I love them all the same.

Salvador, the Mystery Man

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note

Oh, Salvador. Where do I even begin?

I came out to the parking lot one day after work to find this note, along with an advertisement for a massage/spa place, tucked into the door handle of my car. I hope the two were unrelated.

Salvador, the mechanical engineer, clearly had no idea what he was getting into when he left me this invitation to talk about culture, theater, sports, technology, god, or my favorite: a subject of my choosing. He is also being a bit presumptuous in thinking I am capable of doing this in a polite, respectful, and kind way. Salvador doesn’t know who he is dealing with.

Salvador says he is not from Florida, but I’m going to go out on a limb and venture that, despite his claim, Salvador does not originally hail from Pennsylvania either. Unless the Pennsylvania public school system failed him miserably, I’m guessing that Salvador is one of Florida’s many friendly Latino residents. (It also happens that there is a facility next to my workplace that provides a service of some sort to Spanish-speaking folks, although I have no idea what they actually do. They could be training them to sell encyclopedias or steal kidneys for all I know. Maybe an amiable note placed on a strangers’ vehicle is the first step and it’s all a trap.)

I might seem like a ballsy broad, and as much as I love the opportunity to discuss subjects of my choosing ad nauseam, I love my kidneys even more, so I’ll save you the suspense and confess that I did not drop Salvador a call or text. This stranger left a note on my car with his phone number on it for Christ’s sake! If I have brass balls, his are clearly titanium. Who does this? Anyone fearless enough to offer his phone number to discuss god to a stranger with a Human Rights Campaign equality sticker on her car is too brave for me to jerk around.

All things being equal, I’m not sure what bothers me most about this unsolicited invitation to socialize. It has an inherent creepiness factor, sure, but can we talk about the random word capitalization? This part I don’t understand. My Spanish leaves a lot to be desired, but capitalization rules are pretty consistent from language to language. And also? I’m happy for Salvador that he is gainfully employed as a mechanical engineer with Alcoa, but he doesn’t have to shout about it. That’s just poor manners. That being said, if I were inclined to discuss a subject of my choosing with Salvador, I think that subject would probably be “Capitalization – When and Where it is Appropriate”. I mean, if you want to start socializing with peoples, particularly peoples who read and critique things for a living, you might want to learn how to write your creepy notes with the correct grammar and punctuation.

Of course, if you do not mind.

White Girl Weave

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hair_weft_blondeAbout 10 years ago, I got myself a weave. Not extensions – a weave. The difference is subtle, I’ll admit. This was around the time that celebrities were finally coming out of the beauty closet and admitting that those luscious, flowing locks we all envied didn’t belong to them – at least not until they were bought and paid for. Hair extensions have come a long way in the last decade, but my weave was old school.

At the time, I hadn’t had long hair since high school. I tried to grow it out, but I kept getting impatient and chopping it off before it passed my shoulders. I was discussing my hair woes with a black, female coworker when she piped up with a solution. “The woman who does my hair has a white customer whose hair she does! Do you want her number? She’ll hook you up.” Aisha had a different hairstyle every month, and she always looked good. Her hairstylist had experience doing weaves on white girl hair. Sounded good to me.

I called the salon and spoke with Aisha’s stylist. I felt a little awkward. “Uh, I’m a friend of Aisha’s. I’m interested in getting a weave – sewn in but loose. She said you could do, uh, white girl hair?” If it sounds like I’m making a big fuss over the black/white issue, it’s not that I’m a flaming racist. No, really. The fact of the matter is, I have the finest, straightest, blonde hair imaginable. To a hairstylist who is used to working with thick, textured hair that braids easily and holds a style, my showing up unannounced with this hair would be like bringing my vagina to a circle jerk. I didn’t want her to have a “What the hell am I supposed to do with this?” moment.

The hairstylist, whose name I cannot remember, but may have been Cassandra, assured me that she was up to the task. She gave me my instructions for buying my hair at the nearby Bags O’ Hair shop and bringing it with me to my appointment. We were both very excited. Okay, maybe just me.

On the day of my appointment, I walked into the salon, and I’m pretty sure I heard the needle skip and scratch across the record as everybody’s head turned to look at Blondie entering the salon. (The movie Beauty Shop hadn’t come out yet, so I was breaking relatively new ground here.) After a pregnant pause, everybody resumed their business, and my (yet unattached) hair and I made our way to the chair.

Cassandra was friendly and we chatted a bit about how I wanted my hair to look. Then what would become a nearly three hour process began. For those of you not familiar with a sewn-in weave, I’ll explain. My loose hair was parted across in sections, with the first part being from ear to ear. Then Cassandra braided a tiny cornrow braid (snug to the scalp) along that part. This is where my hair first started being fussy.

(Actually, here is a video that shows exactly what I’m talking about, except that these weaves are MUCH better than what I got.)

My hair is so slippery that the braid kept falling out; it just wouldn’t hold. No problem – Cassandra improvised. She took some kinky black hair weave from some secret hair stash she had lying around, I’m hoping not from the last customer or the floor, and braided it into my hair to give it the necessary texture. Since this part wouldn’t show anyway, it didn’t matter that the color of my cornrow was now a mixture of blonde and black. (See, this is where experience comes into play.)

After all my undercover cornrows were in place, it was time for the hair to go in. (This is where things went awry, but I wouldn’t realize it until later.) I had purchased two bags of hair at Cassandra’s instruction. The hair comes in pieces called wefts; loose hair attached to a strip across the top to hold it together. The wefts are then sewn into the cornrows with a needle and thread. You heard me right. That’s why those braids need to be tight as hell so you don’t have a floppy weave that smacks people in the face when you’re headbanging at Slayer concerts or whatever we white girls are supposed to do with our newly minted long hair.

Our ebony and ivory weave party drew a little attention now and then. One of the barbers in the salon seemed to approve, I think. At first he was perplexed: “I didn’t know white girls could get weaves.” Then as the process progressed, he praised Cassandra: “You are hooking that white girl up!”

Here’s the thing: I think that Cassandra’s other sole white client was a stripper. That is the only explanation I can come up with for the ungodly amount of hair that sweet woman put into my head. I felt like I was wearing a football helmet. I later realized she had doubled up the wefts before she sewed them in, essentially putting double layers of hair at every part. I mean, I was all hair. I don’t know how I didn’t tip over.

When she was finally finished, my head ached, and I wasn’t exactly thrilled with the results. My head was the size of Rosie O’Donnell’s with long blonde hair hanging from it. After I styled it with a curling iron, it looked pretty, in a Pamela Anderson way. I had to try not to wash it too often because when I did, the hair (despite being high quality human hair, or so I was told) looked and shed like a wet Cocker Spaniel. Also, because I had approximately 17 pounds of it, the layers of hair underneath never, ever dried completely. During the short time I had “the hair” I missed a friend’s wedding because I couldn’t get my hair ready in the two hours I had allotted for myself. It was like having a kid, but I couldn’t get my hair a babysitter.

Less than two weeks after getting my new hair, I sat down in front of my husband (then boyfriend) Bryan while he was watching TV, handed him the scissors, and asked him to cut out my weave. In less than ten minutes, my $250 stripper hair was no more. Incidentally, I like to think that little experience of Bryan taking out my weave brought us closer, mostly since there was no longer an 18-inch-thick wall of anonymous Indian lady hair between us.

I learned something from this experience. There is only so much I will do for beauty. The things that are too painful are usually not worth it anyway. (Maybe someday I’ll write about my Brazilian bikini wax, but I don’t think my readers or I am ready for that yet.)