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Controversy can be a good thing, but stirring the pot towards an audience that proves too delicate? It can be disastrous. So much stirring in fact, and suddenly you’re hated on a cyber-wide scale.
That’s what happened to Greg Sgammato. He wrote an article for the Johns Hopkins newsletter, an article about the following (for compelling excerpts, see here):
-The tragedy of fat girls being friends with hot chicks, which gains all these “hippos” easy access to frat parties
-The tragedy of fat girls showing skin, since this horrible display can damage the delicate frat-boy retina
-The tragedy of delicate frat boys being forced into getting drunk, as it’s their only medication against the retina-crushing “elephants” mentioned above
The editors of the newsletter mostly defended his writing, with the always handy mention of “satire”. That’s nice, but is it really enough to rescue this unfairly maligned genius?
So here I come, his female-knight-in-shining-thong, ready to save him with words (and also with my warm and snuggly bosom, should he find it extra-large enough).
The truth is, I was Greg Sgammato, and his heart-wrenching problem was mine in the early 2000′s…
…Our sorority was booming. None of us were incredibly hot, in fact some might say we were objectionable in appearance. But we belonged to a sorority, dammit. We had matching jackets, we had booze, and we only asked one thing of our party patrons:
-Be a treasure trove of sexy men. And be this sexy for free. All the time. Thanks.
In a startling act of defiance, rule-breakers popped up left and right. But how? The rules were pretty simple, as stated in our “Scavenge-for-Sausage” flyers: be shirtless, drench yourself in baby oil, have an eight-pack (because AS IF we would settle for a borderline fatty six-pack), and make sure your “junk outline” is visible through your jeans.
I mean it’s not rocket science.
Instead we were flooded with mediocre atrocities or worse. My nastiest memory? Some average-looking dude approached me at the vodka-and-vodka punch bowl. Not only was he wearing baggy jeans, but the jerk was even wearing a shirt! How was I supposed to judge his abs if they were blanketed in cotton? The worst part of course was when the words began to spill from his mouth. “Current events” this, “reading books for fun” that, it was a full blown conversation.
And I threw up in my mouth.
After that debacle, our guests were always judged before we ever let them in (uggos to the left, hotties de-shirted and oiled on the spot).
It was a great four years, but only because we were vigilant. So Greg Sgammato? Yes I feel your pain but the advice is simple: tighten up the damn security! And create narrow doorways so the “elephants” can’t squeeze in!
Again, it’s not rocket science.
Before I conclude, I will calmly look into Greg Sgammato’s (and any frat boy’s) future, with some solemn words of advice…
…When you enter the real world, like the office world as an example, there are no lingerie-themed parties. Sometimes women wear top-to-bottom suits. And in the winter? You might find that women wear sweaters SO big and bulky, that they don’t even betray the booby outline, let alone the silhouette of a nipple. And this goes on for a full eight hours a day! The craziest twist of all? Sometimes women get jobs based on qualifications, without even having to submit a sexy photo (I know dude, audacity much?). You know what all this means don’t you? “Elephants”, “bisons”, and “blimps”, infiltrating your world for forty hours a week.
Bonne chance, mon ami…bonne chance.
Here is another complete work, from my compilation of “REGRETS: 100 GUYS I NEVER DATED”, a.k.a. book 2.
I hope you will enjoy the tale of a twelve-year-old and her woodsman…
#13. Mr. Woodsman
If I was technically twelve years old, and he was technically forty-five, then this installment needs to be cancelled…right?
Well don’t call the cops just yet, there is more to the tale…
…Junior High was an interesting stretch of education. Only two years at this transitory school, which was just enough time to establish a cool persona you could carry into high school, or a small enough time to stay inconspicuous, in case you had a ‘stache and weren’t allowed to shave your legs.
It was also the beginnings of the school system’s greatest purpose:
-Place children into moulds that will turn them into cookie-cutter grown-ups (how else would society function?). But let’s not forget it was 1993, a turbulent time when cries for equality were heard far and wide.
In our little universe of Junior High, equality was packaged in a couple of mandatory courses:
-Home Economics, and Wood Shop
And the twist?
Boys and girls had to take(and pass)each course.
My introduction into Wood Shop was rocky to say the least. I didn’t know a bandsaw from a sander, and I would’ve much preferred to be stereotyped as a homemaker, versus earning my “equality badge” (apologies to eminists, but again, I am not good with saws). But who was I to rock the boat, or deprive manly girls who enjoyed chopping pine at impressively precise angles?
With no inspiration for a Wood Shop project (and only three weeks left in the course), I sat dejected, whilst flipping through the binder of “alumni projects.” It was filled with glossy pics of projects past, from mini chairs (what is the point of a chair you can’t even sit in?), to jewelry boxes, to ornate-looking picture frames…these kids sure knew their way around wood.
I sighed at the thought of my inevitable failure, but just then, a looming shadow cast its forty-something form.
Our teacher (or Mr. Woodsman, as I shall call him) cleared his throat, prompting me to turn and look his way. He seemed even taller from this view, and the salt and pepper hair protruding from his nostrils was unsightly (not to mention the matching tufts of “ear canal hair”). Yet he smiled, and filled me with an instant assurance.
We browsed through the alumni book together, and suddenly my eye caught a frog-shaped mirror.
“Is that what you’d like to make?” he asked.
I laughed it off and cast my eyes downward all at once. That project’s for a manly woodswoman, I thought. For a husky girl with a larger than normal Adam’s apple. Not me.
But Mr. Woodsman wouldn’t have it. Before I knew it he was looking for scraps of wood that would serve as the frog mirror’s legs, and something much wider for the base. Though Mr. Woodsman didn’t have the best reputation (as tales of a perv-filled past had trickled down from older siblings), I was suddenly on track to avoid a failing grade. I would also be avoiding a beating from my Indian parents, who would lay down the smack if I ever failed a class. Yeah, this shit was big.
The next few weeks were a sawdust-scented blur. I remember sanding down the final pieces of my project (under Mr. Woodsman’s watchful eye), but how I actually arrived at the final pieces, I can’t be sure.
Well actually, I can be sure:
-I pretended to be fascinated by woodwork, so Mr. Woodsman would do my whole project
Pretty cool, huh?
I do remember that I volunteered to finish both coats of varnish, ‘cause the smell of fresh varnish can’t be beat (whatever, it’s not like I ever did REAL drugs).
You’re probably still mildly grossed out; I mean, did I actually have a crush on Mr. Woodsman? Was the twelve-year-old me trying to “hit that”?
Well no, you rubes, you sick, sick rubes.
Nevertheless, this man of wood was so nice to me…were there others of his kind? I mean ones who were NOT thirty years older than me? Just imagine if I hadn’t been such a callous opportunist. What if Mr. Woodsman and I had stayed in touch? To talk about additional projects? Perhaps I would’ve discovered that he came from a long line of woodsmen. Maybe he had a nephew my age, who was classically trained in the fine art of “woodery.” And imagine if I’d been introduced to this woodworking nephew. Maybe we’d be married today, me in the kitchen cooking dinner for the brood, he in his workshop, finishing up a rocking horse, as a birthday gift to our youngest.
But dammit no husband, no rocking horse, and a lot of salty tears…
Okay…so I didn’t really “get it on” at my eighth grade graduation, but how exciting is a fourteen-year-old’s eighth grade graduation?!?!
First time for wearing a fancy dress, first time for flowered corsages, first time for serious slow-dance time, and if other “first times” were applicable to you back then, then the first time for those as well!
In 1995 I was seriously ready for my first sexy dress, but fate it seemed would have a slightly different plan…
…We were sitting there in English class, ignoring the proper use of adverbs, and doodling on our notebooks. No one was writing out their future “married names”, but instead it was fashion sketch-fest, as the girls drew the dresses they’d be wearing to graduation.
I had no idea what my dress would be, but I thought of my sister’s dress from a couple of years ago. My mother had made it herself, exactly to my sister’s specs. So I put in my request that night.
Things didn’t go as planned, since apparently my mom had “gotten over” sewing. So she told me to wear my sister’s dress. I’d have no problem fitting in my tall and lanky sister’s dress, but that wasn’t really the issue. The issue was floral prints. My sister’s dress looked like an English garden on a heavy dose of crack, plus an added shot of “puffy”. While this had somehow been in style in 1993, things had changed a lot.
From the classroom sketches alone, I could see that the coolest ones were subdued and a whole lot sexier. Dresses hiked high to the knee, in plain dark colours and spaghetti straps…the entire room would be full of lip-glossed girls who were growing up fast.
I needed to get that too.
A lot of challenges awaited though. Like the challenge of not wearing a bra, not wearing make-up, and not being allowed to shave my legs just yet.
But still I would conquer; like maybe a clingy dress that ran down long and sleek, with a built-in bra that my mom wouldn’t even see.
I could do it!
At first my mom said no to the “new dress” plan, and instead suggested that I wear a glittered Indian suit.
An Indian dress with “leggings” at a party full of white people?!?!?! All I could envision was getting beat up and having everyone call me “samosa” for the next three years. So I stayed firm…NO Indian stuff.
My mother then decided that the best dressy outfit could be found at the local Farmer’s Market.
No, I didn’t mis-type that.
I acknowledge the inherent oddity of buying a dress at the Farmer’s Market, but my parents were on an obsessive “Farmer’s Market” kick. They would go there twice a week, as they got all high off of shopping outside and paying in cash and striking a deal.
So off we went to the Farmer’s Market…
…After walking around through several aisles and filling our arms with vegetables and fruit, we had arrived in the “clothing section”…or the Southwest side of the parking lot. We strode our way past too many stalls with tie-dyed shirts and leather belts, but eventually came across it..the formal wear.
And that’s when my mom said: “There they are! I saw these last week; they’re perfect!”
And there they were. Out of the back of a van, various hanging flowy vests with flowy bell-bottom pants. The material was light and airy, and the colours were dark. They were also printed, but with muted floral prints, to keep with the times.
So they fit the overall theme, except…it was a vest with matching flowy bell-bottom pants.
Somehow this god-awful trend had slipped through the cracks of 1995, and I do admit that the combo was a little “in”. But I should also mention that the combo was a little “in” for teachers who liked to dress up, or for mothers who would wear the flowy vest/pant combo on a night out to dinner, glamming it up with a string of pearls.
I was horrified, but somehow in my sick deficient brain, I thought this outfit would be less offensive than a beautiful shimmered Indian dress.
So we picked it up, and threw it in the back of the van with all the fruits. I had my graduation outfit…
…If the outfit itself wasn’t horrid enough, of course I’d have to wear a shirt underneath the vest. I envisioned a spandex shirt with fancy flair, but what my mother brought home was a cream-coloured t-shirt.
But I still had the hair to glam it up with. And for that my mother took me out to a real salon!
As it turned out the girls in my class hadn’t sketched any hairstyles, so I didn’t know what was “in”. And so…a thick French braid tucked under with a hundred pins it was (oh and some baby’s breath flowers too…right)…
…Looking back, I can’t believe how dazzling I would’ve looked in an Indian dress, but how afraid I was to even try it, because of my own neuroses towards my culture. These days I would wear a saree to the bar each and every time, if it wasn’t so much frickin’ effort.
So if there’s anything to end with that leaves me on a higher note, it’s that the (only) boy who slow-danced with me got all ”rigid” during Bon Jovi’s “This Ain’t a Love Song”.
Hmm…I guess that big French braid was sexier than I thought…
There are gross things, and there are traumatic things.
These things can exist independently, or in tandem. I wouldn’t wish the “tandem” thing upon anyone, but you know…sometimes it happens.
1990 and we packed up our lives…time to move again. The time zone didn’t change and the town was still the same, but my one or two friends felt a world away…
…It was never easy to start things over at brand new school (like the last the time, for example), and starting fourth grade was no exception. Kids in fourth grade were a little more saavy and a little more jerk-faced, as their grown-up selves were starting to formulate. And it was only 1990 remember? This meant that the idea of an Indian kid came attached with the suspicion that I breathed out spicy Indian flames. Well that I couldn’t do, but I was equipped with something utterly surprising; a tin sandwich box, with the Taj Mahal engraved on one side, and an elephant on the other. It was an item that my parents had procured on their latest visit to India.
It was going be a lonely year.
Or so I thought…
…Her hair was blonde, along with mesmerizing eyes of icy blue. She wasn’t all that pretty to look at, but when you’ve got yourself a mane of golden hair and sparkly eyes, your face can stand to be a little “off”.
This girl even had a posse, and suddenly I was a part of it. It was strange that there wasn’t any hazing involved, but I wasn’t going to question a miracle.
So for several weeks I absorbed the blinding popularity. Then one day…the girls let me in on a different part of their world:
-They were bitches, and they terrorized other girls just for fun
I watched the ring leader (blondie-bitch-face) spit in her own chocolate pudding, only to offer it up to a quiet girl. The quiet girl trembled with excitement, all the while sucking down the pudding. Blondie-bitch-face cackled.
On another day it was a birthday occasion, the birthday of the shyest girl in class. Blondie-bitch-face dragged us over to the shy girl’s desk. After wishing her a happy birthday, blondie-bitch-face poured a glass of milk right on top of the the shy girl’s sandwich. Then she told me to stick a plastic fork in the sandwich. So I did.
We were then instructed to sing “Happy Birthday” to the girl. So we did. As a final command, she instructed the shy girl to eat the milk-soaked sandwich. And so, on her birthday, the shy girl ate up her dripping sandwich, one (sob-filled) bite at a time.
That was probably the moment when I knew that I had entered the “dark side”. I may not have been an official villain, but I was definitely an enabler.
Eventually blondie-bitch-face was getting weary; she wanted me to play a bigger role in her daily wrath. I had been a lot of things, but I couldn’t see myself as an actual torturer-in-training. So I slowly recoiled from the devilish activities, though I knew that it would mean a popularity drop…and maybe even vengeance on the blondie’s part.
Surprisingly I didn’t get my ass kicked. I just spent a lot more time reading books.
I was actually enjoying my newfound lonely self, especially on one rainy afternoon in April, as I blazed through the latest math. That’s when blondie-bitch-face whispered my name.
She was sitting beside me, and I simply assumed that she wanted to copy my work.
Fair enough, so I turned in her direction to find out for sure.
And that’s when she stuffed it in my mouth.
It was a taste I had never known.
I spit out the foreign object, and watched as it bounced along the desk. When it finally came to a halt, I saw what had actually been in my mouth.
Suddenly the room was hazy; my mind was aglow with images of mouthwash and machetes (mouthwash for the obvious reason, and a machete if I couldn’t find the mouthwash, leaving me to hatchet off my tongue).
The rest of the experience…well I don’t really know what happened (this is where the trauma kicks in). There’s a smudged out section of my memory, which keeps me from remembering the after-math. I’m pretty sure I told the teacher, but I just can’t remember what the punishment was. I also don’t remember what became of our daily contact. I know I didn’t kill her, since she moved by the end of the year, but who really knows about those last six months of seeing her bitchy face…
…If there’s a lesson in this, it’s that I don’t feel sorry for myself. I’m a grown-up now, and I fully understand the concept of the “golden rule”. I was a part of the evil for a good long time, before I ever smartened up. But did I once go back to apologize to blondie’s victims? No I did not.
It would’ve been nice to have learned a more subtle lesson on the “golden rule”, but hamster poop it was.
In the end, I’m glad that I remember the poop…it’s a story I will use to shell-shock my future kids, so they don’t turn into munchkin-assholes…
According to my Indian roots, my heart is simply a “ticker”, since love itself has little to do with transactional unions of the families (and loins).
So my heart started off with nothing to do…I never had to feel and I never had to lose.
What a great robotic plan, but by 1989, it had already fallen off the rails…
…He belonged to an acting troupe from the local high school, a sixteen-year-old man with sandy hair. And me? I was only eight…but I loved him (sick?).
Now before you decide that I’m fickle with the “L” word, let me explain how it all went down.
His acting troupe was visiting our school not only to teach us the basics of drama, but to practice the play they’d be performing at our school. He stood out to me the most, because I couldn’t see both his eyes. In fact his hair covered half his face like a silky curtain.
But I’m not fickle with the “L” word, remember? So even with his silky curtain of hair, he hadn’t won me yet.
It was when he touched me, that’s when I really fell (sick?). It happened because we were doing this drama warm-up, where we’d run around the room with arms waving up and down, pretending we were giant birds. His hand flicked my arm as he flew right past. And that was the touch that sealed it. Love.
In between the weekly classroom visits, I would really start to miss my hair-curtain-man. Life seemed pretty drab, but then I discovered his hideout place. Well it wasn’t exactly a hideout, it was the library (where the troupe would go for rehearsals).
And that’s where I needed to be…
…It wasn’t difficult to run out of class in elementary school; I simply told the teacher that a “poop attack ” was coming. Once I had escaped with ”poop pass” in hand, I ran to the opposite end of the school…
…Our library had a special little cove in the corner. It was perfect for a quiet read, and that’s exactly where the troupe was rehearsing. In order to get a good view, I positioned myself in the corner that housed all the dusty jars. Ths jars were full to the brim with murky liquid and pickled animal parts. I’m still not sure what a child can learn from a cow’s tongue in a jar, but there it was. So I sat at the table, pretending to focus on what looked to be a hoof in a jar.
My plan was to stumble upon their rehearsal, offer myself as an audience, and cheer at my man’s exquisite lines.
It was a fabulous plan, until of course the miserable librarian approached me. I played it off like I was busy with some research, but her silver hair and lumpy-skirted butt were not playing games. As soon as she saw my five-minute poop pass, she knew that something wasn’t right.
“What’s your name?!”, screeched her wretched voice.
She didn’t know my name? Ha! I ran straight back to class like I’d robbed a bank. By the time I returned, fifteen minutes had passed since my initial absence. The teacher offerered me a sympathetic gaze, as if she knew that my butt was feeling raw from an explosive exodus.
And then I didn’t see my hair-curtain-man for a week. I was sad but excited, since the night of his big performance had arrived. My parents didn’t like the idea of their child hanging out at school after dark, so I told them I would lose a lot of marks if I didn’t go (ha)…
…A lot of the girls wore dresses, so I looked a little different in my multi-coloured ”short-shorts” (whatever, shorts-shorts are a whole lot hotter than a dress).
And the play began…I spent five minutes wondering where my hair-curtain-man had gone, only to discover that his curtain of hair was tucked inside a pirate hat (and golly, the man had a really nice face!).
…As the play concluded, everyone stood on their tippy-toes and cheered. And then…well then it was time to head on home.
The truth is, I never had a plan for me and the hair-curtain-man. I simply loved him, and trusted that my feelings would create some kind of night together…or a future where I could prance around in a wedding dress.
But in fact it was nearly bedtime, so I just went home, and I never saw the silky hair-curtain-man again.
I guess that’s the shitty thing regarding weird-ass, illogical, childhood crushes. They never go anywhere, and when they do, the police seem to get involved.
And that’s why having feelings when you’re a kid is a waste of heart.
Thank goodness I’m almost twenty-eight now, and know EXACTLY how to use my heart to get some love.
Thank goodness! (please pretend you never read my old blog….thank you)