Thursday, January 31, 2008

Yet More On Writing Sex

I've started yet another blog. But this new one is devoted to retelling all the best first kiss stories that I've been collecting for the last many years.

After enough cocktails, people are always very willing to root through their pasts, pull out a story, and share.

A couple years ago, I was in NYC for a month long stay - I needed to get out of Beijing. I had met WC at a bar near her office and we had lunch and multiple cocktails. At the time, we were both going through some serious man hell so we were alternating between hysterical laughter and equally hysterical tears. She stumbled back to her office for a conference call and I stayed behind to wait for her return.

Three off-duty fireman were sitting at the bar so I joined them. Many more cocktails later, we were all fast friends. They had seen us crying and once they realized that it was because of men, they got very upset and "heroic".

"Where do the assholes live? You tell us right now, and if we ever get a call from their apartments, we won't f*cking answer it! Let the f*ckers BURN!"

I was so touched that I teared up a little, but assured them it wasn't necessary.

By the time WC returned, I was sitting with three VERY DRUNK off-duty firemen who were all unabashedly weeping as they recounted to me their stories of their best first kisses.

Unfortunately, I don't exactly remember their stories, and my notes are completely illegible. But I DO remember that their stories were astonishingly sweet. The focus was on romance, not sex. Granted I haven't collected many stories from men, so statistically I can't draw any valid conclusions, but EVERY SINGLE story I've ever heard from a man about his best first kiss was romantic. With the women, the stories were significantly more varied. And many were highly sexual. So I'm trying to get it all down - not just notes scribbled into notebooks over the years, but all in a single place.

And while I remember the individual voices of the story tellers, and I'm trying to be faithful to that, it's proving to be difficult.

A big part of it is my own block when it comes to certain vocabulary.

The sex-ed program in my school was very... innovative. It started in third grade. The first day of sex-ed, our teacher went around the room and made each of us say two words: "penis" and "vagina."

Half the room giggled helplessly. The other half sobbed. I was in the latter category.

Lord, did I weep! But I finally squeaked out, in my most miserable voice, "penisvagina."

The class was successful however. As an adult, I have no problems saying or writing those words. Penis! Vagina! Even in all caps: PENIS! VAGINA!

Of course, now I wish our teacher had included additional useful vocabulary such as: "cock, "pussy", and "cunt." If he had, perhaps I would have finished my trashy novel long ago.

Rats, now I'm blushing and feeling the urge to apply anti bacterial gel.

Calvin's Last Words

I heard from a friend today. There have been quite a few deaths lately. Though, I suppose that death is always constant. We just don't always hear about it.

Someone once told me that the death of a person is the death of a world. Which inevitably makes me think of worlds unexplored.

But to keep this post from sinking into the dark and maudlin, here's a quote from one of my absolute favorite authors, saying goodbye to a different kind of world. And I feel it's still appropriate, even against the backdrop of far weightier matters:

"It's a magical world, Hobbes, Ol' Buddy . . . let's go exploring!"

- Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes, final installment.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Kinky Fantasy

Courtesy of MG:
A woman was sitting at a bar enjoying an after work cocktail with her girlfriends when an tall, exceptionally handsome, extremely sexy man entered. He was so striking that the woman could not take her eyes off him.
The man noticed her overly attentive stare and walked directly toward her.
Before she could offer her apologies for staring so rudely, he leaned over and whispered to her, "I'll do anything, absolutely anything, that you want me to do, no matter how kinky, for $20.00......on one condition."
Flabbergasted, the woman asked what the condition was.
The man replied, "You have to tell me what you want me to do in just three words."

The woman considered his proposition for a moment, and then slowly removed a $20 bill from her purse, which she pressed into the man's hand along with her address. She looked deeply into his eyes, and slowly and meaningfully said........

"Clean my house."

It does occur to me that the fact that this probably IS my kinkiest fantasy goes a long way towards explaining why I can't write a good sex scene.

Too Many Unbelievable Truths

IC just read my last post with the Time Magazine article while on the phone with me and she was full of comments:

"OMG, I need to figure out when I'm ovulating."

"And the pill? It makes you miscarriage?"

"MHC? Holy shit!"

"This is a problem."

"This article lays on too many unbelievable truths all at once. I don't know if I believe it. It is Time Inc., after all."

"Now I need to get my MRI done, all the time, as a love test."

"Which part of my brain is lit up?"

"This is a real problem."

"Why are you laughing? This is all very disturbing."

Why We Love, from Time Magazine

Huh. Now I wonder if I've been ovulating everytime I've collected a stalker. "Sorry, that Friday won't work, I'll be ovulating. Why don't we reschedule for the following week instead?"

Why We Love

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Serious Daring

I had a conversation today about the weight of memory and how in certain cities, that weight bears down more heavily than in others.

It wasn't in relation to old cities and the weight of history - walking down a cobblestone street that has been worn smooth by the passage of hundreds of years of feet taking the same path. It was in relation to personal memories.

I've eagerly gone to some cities and run away from others. Sometimes I've run to and run away from the same city.

While running away seems generally like a cowardly thing to do, sometimes it's the SMART thing to do. Because why bear the weight of heavy memories when you don't have to?

But that weight CAN be lifted. Maybe it takes both physical and temporal distance from a particular city to achieve that. Certainly that distance can make things easier... and there is nothing wrong with trying to ease what's difficult.

Not all questions have answers and sometimes you need to be ok with that. As someone who has both stayed and left... I'll put in my two cents and say that new starts don't require anything but a shift in perspective. Of course, that's infinitely hard to do. Only in hindsight does it seem effortless - like going to the eye doctor and s/he fits a new lens in that contraption you rest your face against and asks, "is this better?"

Eudora Welty closed her autobiography, One Writer's Beginnings, with these three sentences:
I am writer who has led a very sheltered life. But a sheltered life can be a daring life as well. For the most serious daring starts from within.

Gayer Than Two Dollar Bill

So SK and I got an interesting compliment last night.

"You guys are better gay men than we are!"

I believe that was in appreciation of our vast knowledge of show tunes.

And just as a "morning after" note of interest: My hip flexors are sore. I asked SK and WC why that might be. They believe it was a direct result of the flexibility competition which I won.

Did I mention that I won it?

Yup. I was the winner. Me.

Leverage the Slipperiness

My birthday is now over.

I started the birthday festivities on the Friday before with a program of Russian Futurists at Lincoln Center. Who knew Shostakovich could be so whimsical?

Saturday night was celebrated with wine and tiaras and "Come here little boy" thongs.

Sunday night was all about scary sex toys and a sex writing workshop and entirely too many repetitions of the word "cock." (Although SK pointed out that it really is the best word for that part of the male anatomy. I, for one, am partial to "demon eel.")

Last night was spent dancing furiously with hundreds of gay men and a "who's more flexible" competition with a gay gymnast. I won.

During the weekend festivities, two sayings did emerge which I think will serve as a good mantras for this coming year:

"Model through it"


"Leverage the slipperiness"

Apparently there is a reality TV show hosted by Tyra Banks to find the next new supermodel. And Tyra shares some wisdom with the contestants: that there will be days when the clothes don't fit right, or a blemish appears on your nose, or you are weak from hunger, but you can't let that stop you. You have to model through it.

Also, on Saturday night, while we were dancing in our stockinged feet, people were slipping on my highly polished wood floors. Since I dance in my apartment all the time, I've learned to use this to my dancing advantage. You LEAN into the slip, you leverage the slipperiness.

So there you go. Words of wisdom.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Scary Sex Toys

SK and I went to the Erotic Love Letter Workshop tonight. I was so worried that I would be late, that completely inadvertently, I was fifteen minutes early.

That was a bad thing.

The workshop took place at a sex shop in the lower east side. I showed up and the door was locked. I was convinced I was late so I did the natural thing - I banged on the glass door mercilessly until someone came to unlock the door and let me in.

"Am I late?" I inquired breathlessly.

"No, you are early, but that's ok," I was informed. "Look around the store until the workshop starts," the salesperson suggested.

I claimed seats for myself and SK and wandered around the store. Since I am very methodical, I started at the beginning, and perused the bookshelves closest to the front door. Books do not frighten me. Even book with titles such as: Dick: A User's Guide and Nice Girls Don't... and Butt and The Beauty of Fetish and even The Definitive Guide to Anal Sex for Women.

Next I went to the display of hand blown (I'm not even trying to be funny here) glass dildos which were VERY expensive.

But as I went deeper into the store, I grew more uncomfortable.

I picked up a rubber ducky and was surprised at the weight of it. I squeezed it in the wrong way and it started to vibrate. I squealed and dropped it and then looked around furtively to see if anyone noticed. I wandered further and saw the usual assortment of dildos and vibrators and so forth. These were immediately recognizable as such and didn't startle me. After all, I've watched Sex and the City; I know of the "rabbit." After all, I own 15 "Hello Kitties."

But then I came upon a display of... well... flaccid penises. I was a bit confused. What does one DO with something like that? I had it in my mind that they were made of hard plastic. I knew it was a bad idea, but I reached out and poked one with a single finger. It wasn't made of hard plastic. It was.... LIFELIKE. That disturbed me immensely. I got terribly confused and poked it again, rather expecting it to grow and harden. It didn't. I got more confused and wished I had anti-bacterial gel. I was so confused that I backed away and ran over to the other side of the store where I found myself standing before a display of whips. To make a long story short, some whips don't hurt. Others do. I now have a new sensitivity regarding the crop I use when I am on horseback.

Bottom line, I was incredibly relieved when SK finally showed up and I could make her poke the flaccid silicon penises as well before taking our seats.

We were told that the workshop was about to start and that this was a good time to "set our phones on vibrate and put them in our pants." I chose to turn my phone off entirely.

I had hoped the exercise of going to this workshop would help me get over the block I have about writing sex scenes. It failed. "Cock" this and "suck" that and "rank cunt" this just doesn't seem sexy to me. Am I alone here? Is that actually SEXY?!? If anything, I walked away from this workshop thinking not only will I never WRITE about sex, I will never HAVE sex again.

But, being the dutiful student that I am, I completed the workshop assignment and wrote an "erotic" love letter. It's not good. It's the exact OPPOSITE of sexy. All the frighteningly enormous dildos and flaccid silicon penises and painful whips just chased the "erotic" right out of me. But here it is, because I promised myself that no matter how humiliating, I would post my literary efforts on my blog:

I was in a strange and foreign place this morning - the grocery store. I heard this is where one goes to find food which isn't delivered to your door or served at your table.

I stood alone in the frozen foods aisle, and suddenly I felt your hand on the small of my back. You were nowhere near me, yet clear as day, I felt the heat and pressure of your hand on my skin through my clothes. You touched me there the first time we met. You didn't touch me with intent then - that would come later. That first touch was just a casual gesture on your part, although it affected me quite differently.

I cook four times year - the end of every quarter, that's it. But there I was this morning at Whole Foods, only a month into Q2, consulting the grocery list I had emailed to my blackberry. Why? For the express purpose of making dinner for you. It was difficult enough to concentrate on navigating the complexities of cilantro versus basil, or the question of whether sea bass counts as a firm white fish, but then I felt your hands on me. Your hands on the small of my back, my face, my breasts, my thighs, between my legs. Your hands EVERYWHERE.

Standing alone, contemplating the frozen vegetables (I know, I was taking liberties with the recipe), I was flushed and shaking. I didn't care how fresh was the bread, or how juicy the peaches, how tender the meat. Nothing feels as good, smells as good, tastes as good as you do.

I'm home now and you are on your way to me. The fabulous restaurant around the corner that you love so much is delivering their sea bass special. I considered pretending that I had prepared it myself, but nothing in me is capable of lying to you.

Your hands... I still feel your hands on me.


I think I have to draw an inescapable conclusion: I am simply incapable of writing anything erotic. *sigh*

Sunday, January 27, 2008

No Tiaras, No Service

Birthday update:

Did not wake up in a strange place:

Did not burn, or otherwise damage, my hair:

Did, however, drink to excess:

Tiaras were plentiful and much fun was had. So much fun that I cannot share any additional details since all else is too incriminating.

I will, however, share this photo:

I especially like how the thong is not only over my pants but also my tunic top and making it ride up.

But as SK says, "there's all kinds of hot out there."

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Operation China

My friend, the fabulous and brilliant and gorgeous Jimmy Hexter, has written THE DEFINITIVE WORK on doing business in China.

I just placed my order, do the same!

Sample reviews:
It wasn't long ago when 'good' was good enough to win in China. No longer. Today, it's all about world-class execution. Jimmy Hexter and Jonathan Woetzel draw on their intimate knowledge of China to provide specific, real-world advice for all foreign companies operating in China today.

--Rick Wagoner, Chairman and CEO, General Motors Corporation

Few Western companies have truly cracked the code on how to successfully turn a China strategy into a winning China business operation. Operation China nails down the key aspects of running businesses in China has no other book has.

--William Amelio, CEO, Lenovo

If you are a global player, Operation China provides invaluable guidance and insight on translating China opportunities into results. If you're not a global player, but are impacted by companies that are, Operation China is a window into the source of your competitive weakness.

--Robert Holland Jr., Director at YUM! Brands, Inc.

As trade between China and the United States has exploded, the gap has widened between companies taking full advantage of this opportunity and those left behind. Hexter and Woetzel have put their finger on what every executive must focus on to succeed.

--Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky, former US Trade Representative and Senior International Partner, WilmerHale

Make Up Sex

There are countless Facebook third party applications offering all sorts of quizzes so people can determine important things such as: "What Sex and the City character are you?" and "Who were you in a past life?" and "What kind of lover are you?" and "What kama sutra position are you?"

There should be one for "What kind of fighter are you?"

I once dated a guy who fought dirty. He didn't pull his punches, and he hit below the belt.

No matter how minor and trivial the disagreement, he took that as license to cross all manner of lines that should NEVER be crossed and let fly personal insults with breathtaking ugliness.

I likened him to Tinker Bell in Peter Pan. As James M. Barrie said, Tink isn't a BAD fairy. She is just so tiny she can only hold one emotion at a time. Either she's very good or she's very bad.

When this guy was anything less than completely happy, he was MEAN. He couldn't hold two contradictory emotions at the same time. He couldn't be angry about a particular thing while remembering that he cares for the person who made him angry. He lacked the sense of object permanence that human beings learn as infants - the realization that things still exist even when not in their immediate line of sight. So when he was angry he was completely hateful and there wasn't room for the awareness that he didn't actually want the relationship to end, and that perhaps in an hour, or a day, or a week, he might regret his words and actions and wish that he could take it all back. But he was hardly Tinker Bell-sized, so what might be acceptable for her, isn't for him.

He tried to excuse himself by saying that he just doesn't like to fight, and that the solution was simply not to ever fight.

I don't have the words to express how STUPID that is.

Fighting is part of the human condition. We fight with everybody - our colleagues, our family, our closest friends, our lovers, even ourselves. The only thing that matters then, is HOW we fight.

A good friend was just dumped by her boyfriend. It came as a complete surprise to her. Yes, they had had a fight the day before, but it wasn't anything that fell outside the acceptable and normal boundaries of a healthy, loving relationship.

Apparently, her newly minted ex doesn't like to fight. Who does? But again, it's HOW people fight that can make all the difference. Is it possible to discuss even the thorniest issues while still exercising kindness, care and simple decency? Without simply ending the relationship? Of course it is. And then there's the make up sex which is always fun and almost an excuse to pick a fight in the first place. This should be common knowledge. But apparently, it isn't.

My friend's ex is looking for the kind of relationship in which disagreements never happen. I suggest finding a woman of the blow-up variety. But the sex (make up or otherwise) won't be nearly as fun.

My two cents.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Feeling Good

From the great and late Nina Simone.

Certain songs suit certain moments: the song you play when you are driving on a great day with the windows down and a long fast stretch of road ahead of you; the song that helps you run that last mile; the song that reminds you of a certain someone.

This is the song you listen to when you feel defiant and strong and you dare the universe to BRING IT.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

On Kindness

MomVee, in a recent and lovely post, reminded me of one of my favorite quotes:
Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. The third is to be kind.

- Henry James

The last few years have made me feel even greater respect for the necessity and value of kindness.

I posted previously about forgiveness and lines carved in stone. When someone asks for forgiveness, you give it. That seems the right and kind thing to do. But sometimes, it isn't right. And sometimes being kind only opens the door to something that has been proven repeatedly to be damaging.

On days like today (when I hear from a particularly persistent and unwelcome stalker) I struggle with finding the right balance and I ask myself if I am being too hard and maybe even unkind. Doesn't forgiveness have greater value when it is undeserved? Doesn't kindness mean much much more when it is difficult to give? And isn't that exactly when kindness is most necessary?

But then I remember that it's just as important to be kind to oneself.

At least, that's what I am telling myself and I'd really like to think that Henry James would agree.

On Flirting

Years ago, I read an article on flirting. The author despaired of how flirting is no longer an art, something to be practiced graciously with the intent only to flatter and please, but is now something to be used for the express purpose of getting sex. She wrote that flirting, in its pure form, is focused, complimentary attention, and that the best flirt she had ever met was Colin Powell. While I can't readily see that, I'm happy to take her word for it. A world in which Colin Powell is a skilled practitioner of the art of flirting just seems to be a happier one to live in.

While flirting can so often be misinterpreted as bearing serious intent, it shouldn't be. Because the fun of it rests in the momentary pleasure both given and received.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Being Known

I had a conversation recently about friendship. Specifically, about being far away from close friends, best friends, and feeling their absence.

I had written a post titled Familiarity Breeds earlier this month about the appeal of the familiar. But that goes both ways. There is also something so comforting and appealing about being known. And while that kind of knowledge can be gained relatively quickly with enough effort, there's something very different about the kind of knowledge that is absorbed naturally, effortlessly, with the passing of time, and lots of it.

A couple months ago, I was having drinks with three friends. And as I looked around the table, I realized that all three of them had been at my wedding. Of course, incidentals like husbands come and go, but the four of us sitting together that evening was deeply reassuring to me. Some things last.

Random Cobweb Clearing

I think my vowels might be loose. When I say that I am on a "man fast," it is often heard as "man fest."

Depending on the audience, that misunderstanding is either greeted with "go girl!" or with a raised eyebrow.

And then I am always quick to correct that misunderstanding... "No no no, a man faaaaaast." Which is then either greeted with disappointment or with the second eyebrow joining the first.

But why? What's wrong with a little random cobweb clearing? (phrase coined by BY last night).

The dictionary widget on my mac dashboard tells me that clearing away cobwebs means: "to enliven or refresh oneself." A little freshening up is almost always a good idea.

But sometimes it's important to recalibrate without the altering impact of sex. Because when it's good and worth having, sex changes everything.

And besides, as Cher said in Clueless: "You see how picky I am with my shoes... and they only go on my feet."

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Go-Go Moves for Go-Go Gals

How SK and I will spend the afternoon of February 23rd:

Amazing Pontani Go-Go Lesson:

I love the practicality of it. Go! Go! Go!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Post Fast Cravings

The only solid food I both crave and can keep down appears to be Subway's six-inch turkey sub on wheat bread with every vegetable available.

This is both puzzling and distressing.

The Last Word

I went on a diet, swore off drinking and heavy eating, and in 14 days I lost two weeks.

-- Joe E. Lewis

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Toughen Up

The calluses on the fingertips of my left hand are developing nicely and I can now play my New Love for longer than 15 minutes at a time.

No one wants to be described as hard skinned and insensitive. There's a premium placed on being open and sensitive and well, soft.

But calluses allow one to play the guitar for longer periods of time without pain - the only way to gain the proficiency to make music. I think the same applies more generally as well - the necessity of toughness to create something sweet.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Break Fast

Part I of my detox fast is over and mere words cannot adequately express my joy. But in the event that anyone is interested - I feel GREAT. Of course, that just might be because I ate something today.

Part II started today - 30 days of Bikram yoga. Of all the myriad forms of yoga, bikram is my least favorite - there's something terribly unappealing about a carpeted yoga studio heated to 100 degrees fahrenheit with years of sweat ground into every possible surface.

Especially now that my sense of smell seems distressingly acute...

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Spoke to CZ in Beijing over Skype this morning and she told me of a friend who frequents KTV bars in Beijing. KTVs are karaoke clubs all over China - some are perfectly legit, others provide services other than just karaoke. I went to the latter type by accident one day with my girlfriend MM. The first tip-off that this was a different kind of KTV was the price - they were charging an exorbitant amount.

"Tai gui le! Wei shem ne? (Why so expensive)?" I asked.

"Comes with girls" replied the hostess, pointing to the row of scantily clad women all lined up for my inspection. (That was the second tip-off.)

"Can I get a room with no girls and just... sing?" I persisted.

At that point MM and I gave up and we ran away as quickly as we could.

Well, CZ's friend, when he goes to such KTVs, has sex with the girls. (This is included in the price, although I believe you are expected to tip, but I have yet to confirm that). His first such experience was with a girl who was very young and fresh - in college actually. His second was breaking in a new girl who had just started working there. His third was with a girl whose surname was the same as CZ's. He told CZ that thinking that it was a compliment. It wasn't.

Boys are stupid.

But this reminds me that one of my New Year's resolutions is to karaoke more. The legit kind, however.

Writing Desire

Well, that didn't last long. I had one good, non-craving day, but today, The Craving is back. I would happily betray everything and everyone important to me in return for a grilled cheese sandwich. What makes it worse is that this is usually boozy brunch day.

In fact, it is so bad, I got on the phone and signed up for a 5 hour yoga workshop for this afternoon - it was the longest one I could find online. I have to get myself far away from anything I can eat or drink. Unfortunately, it is the kind of yoga that involves a lot of chanting. Despite being a certified yoga instructor, I am about as spiritual as my Amex card, so the chanting/spiritual elements of yoga usually just piss me off. But I suspect I am just so damn weakened right now, I will EAT IT UP.

And while we're on the topic of eating, it has been brought to my attention that I have been writing about sex. Or, rather, that I have been writing about food in a highly sexual way.

Maybe this is the trick - to write sex scenes while hungry, and not with a man in mind, but instead, a perfectly grilled panini with thinly sliced prosciutto, fresh arugula, melted mozzarella, the slightest touch of olive tapenade, and finished off with a lovely drizzle of truffle oil.

Excuse me, just slid off my seat.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Cravings, Tamed

I was told that there would be certain days of this detox fast that will be harder than others, and days that will be easier. Today is my first day of the latter variety. I feel GREAT. Meant to do my usual hour of yoga this morning. I felt so good, it turned into 3 hours.

I dreamt of food again last night, but not in a visceral, immediate, "oh god I must have it NOW" kind of way, but more in the "isn't that nice, I'm content to enjoy just looking at it" kind of way.

When I was young, our next-door neighbor's nephew would visit during the summers and he and I would run around the neighborhood together.

One summer, when I was about 10 or 11 (he was about the same age), we were sitting on the picnic table in my backyard when he asked me, "Can I see your butt?"

I considered his request and couldn't see a downside, so I hopped off the table and pulled down my shorts long enough for him to see my rear.

After I hopped back on the picnic table, we sat for awhile and then he asked, "Do you want to see my butt?"

I considered his offer and couldn't see an upside, so I politely declined.

I'm feeling much the same way about all my former cravings right now: "No thank you, I'll pass."

Friday, January 11, 2008


So what do you do on a Friday night when you can't eat or drink?

Exactly. I couldn't think of anything either.

So I went to a 2 hour yoga class tonight. And can you believe it, the studio was lousy with people all with the same idea - not because they were detoxing, but because a Friday night yoga class is their idea of FUN.

I've never felt so alone.

I Will Survive

I was talking to SK yesterday as I was waiting for my New Love to be delivered to me. And all I can say is that denial does strange things to a person. I couldn't actually focus on anything she was saying to me, I was too busy pressing my face up against the glass of my kitchen window, looking for a delivery truck, and getting increasingly agitated. I think I may have started hyper-ventilating as well. SK tried to reassure me by pointing out that I'd be this much of a freak even if I had been eating and drinking.

I thought I'd be in a highly weakened physical state by now, but that hasn't been the case. If anything, my normal state is now punctuated by moments of extreme frenzy - and not necessarily related to food. I got it into my head the other day that I desperately needed more bath salts from Sabon, so I threw on my coat and ran out the door. 30 minutes later, I was power walking around Union Square with no idea why I had left my apartment. I only remembered later that evening when I took a bath and found my plentiful stash of bath salts.

Here's a list detailing how detox is affecting me:
  • I'm talking a little too quickly
  • I find myself unable to maintain eye contact without getting really antsy
  • I have trouble concentrating
  • I pendulum wildly between crankiness and calling everyone "darling"
  • I spend a little too much time sniffing my New Love

And the universe is trying to thwart my detox:

  • SH, the owner of the market across the street, called me to see if I wanted her to bring me some Korean food
  • TO texted me asking where the fuck I have been and have I been cheating on him by drinking at another bar
  • On my way to the laundromat, the guys at Ray's pizza waved at me, in a way I construed as particularly mocking
  • On my way to the bank, I ran into the corner diner delivery guy who said, "Hi Honey, no grilled cheese today?"
  • CL emailed me yesterday and offered to come over with a pizza and a bottle of wine
  • BB mocked me by telling me that he just happened to throw a perfectly good tin of low sodium spam into the river. Although, this may have been a joke. I lost my sense of humor a couple days ago.

But I am staying strong. For now.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

New Love

Spanish, dark, beautiful, perfectly sized, always ready, and vibrates at my slightest touch....

If only I could figure out how to eat it.

Will Work For Food

Dreamt of those juicy little dumplings that squirt when you bite into them. You know, the kind where that salty goodness explodes in your mouth and runs down your chin and you lick your lips and fingers and wish your tongue were several inches longer.

Good god, I will have sex with the first person who walks through my door bearing a tin of low-sodium spam.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Universe Is Self-Correcting

My detox fast is affecting my nearest and dearest - they are having weird "sympathetic" reactions.

  • WC informed me that she has been constipated and unhappy because of it the last several days.
  • SK has been eating for two.
  • IC is now giggling at every meal. And ate a potato chip while on the phone with me just now.


I'm Not Happy

IC: (makes a joke)
Me: (stony silence)
IC: Well, I guess you're at the point in your fast where you've lost your sense of humor.
Me: (stonier silence)
NOTHING is REMOTELY entertaining or funny right now. The world is a dark dark place filled with things I cannot drink or eat.

Tantalus, I'm right there with ya, babe. And BTW, don't know what all the fuss was about re: cooking your son and offering him up to the gods. Stir fried, with a little garlic and ginger and soy sauce... I'm sure he was D-LISH.

Sh*t F*cking Sp*rm Burping Gutter Slut

Detox is a bitch.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

In Dreams

Lord, the dreams I am dreaming.

Anais Nin, in Delta of Venus, wrote of a young woman in a sexual relationship with her adopted father (I know, Anais was VERY naughty). The young woman one day tells her soon-to-be lover, "Your hands, all night I dreamt of your hands."

My dreams are nothing like that.

I am dreaming of FOOD. Endless amounts of it. Fragrant and luscious and firm and sweet and salty and tangy and messy and neat and secret and public and overflowing.

Monday, January 7, 2008


My guitar teacher played a Bach Gavotte for me today. We all know what that means... I started getting all tingly.

MG is perplexed by this thing I have for Bach - she asked me, "Bach is so mathematical, what about Debussy, or even Satie?" I don't understand it either. Perhaps it's because I'm Asian and therefore find math sexy? I did have a little crush on my algebra teacher back in the day...

Well anyway, my guitar teacher believes I am a musical genius, and is awed by my near "magical" ability to instantly master both technique and music theory, often before he has completed the explanation.

I may have neglected to mention 5 years of music school and 12 years of piano lessons and the teensy little fact that I learned to read music before words.

Let's keep that between us.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Non Boozy Activities

"What does dung tell you?"

WC and I obediently considered this question as it was printed on a very large sign at the zoo today.

WC informed me that her dung tells her everything she ate the day before. That brought up lovely memories of eating.

We saw squirrels, a tiger, a couple snow leopards, and a few giraffes. Also some monkeys. And a bear that appeared to have had one too many cocktails. We chased a few peacocks that were just aimlessly wandering around. Everything looked delicious.

To make the zoo seem more zoo-like, there were loudspeakers piping in wild animal noises. At one point, WC and I were looking at a bird of some sort. There was a man near us telling his friend, excitedly, that if he listened carefully, he could hear the bird chirp. WC and I looked up at the loudspeaker above his head but we chose not to disillusion him. Besides, the bird looked really scrawny - all bones and feathers and not a lot of meat at all.

Buzz Kill

What do you do to cheer yourself up?

The cold is pissing me off, wearing me down, draining me of my will to do yoga.

Of course, it could be the lack of booze and solid food making me cranky. And it's only the first day of my fast. This doesn't bode well.

In Hong Kong, when struck with the mean reds, I would wrap an Hermes scarf around my head, don my biggest sunglasses, and have a drink in some trendy place while assiduously avoiding all eye contact. This was so much fun I started doing it even when I was in a perfectly good mood, until one day SL spotted me, sat down next to me, and asked, reasonably enough, "C-Belle, what the fuck are you doing?" SL is ACTUALLY famous - you can see her anchoring her own show on Bloomberg Asia the next time you are in that part of the world.

She totally killed my buzz. I hissed at her to go away but she refused so I had to give up the gig, take off my scarf, and slump down in my seat - all to the great disappointment of the nearby Japanese tourists who had been snapping pictures of me with their camera phones, convinced I was a famous Hong Kong movie star.

What I would give right now for a cocktail and something to chew.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

New Year's Treat

I posted a picture of a hot woman a couple weeks back as a treat for my straight male readers.

So it's only fair to provide something drool worthy for those of us who appreciate the male physique.

By the way, JF, my love... keep the pics coming. A girl's gotta have something pretty as her screen saver.

Friday, January 4, 2008

For Mrs. Tossoff

Fame was on TV this morning. I saw it the first time on the big screen - 1982, I think it was. I remember thinking that the fictional New York City High School for the Performing Arts was very different from my own music school. My music school was more... what's the word? Oh yes, ASIAN.

I only caught the last 30 minutes of Fame this morning and it wasn't until the final scene - the graduation concert where the entire Scooby Gang performs I Sing The Body Electric that I saw her, and remembered her for the first time in many years. My voice teacher, Ilse Sass. She played Mrs. Tossoff, and when asked about the movie, she always expressed mild annoyance that her speaking lines had all been cut.

About 5 years ago, I looked for her unsuccessfully. Google presented me only with countless sites referring to Fame. When I called my music school, I was informed that she no longer taught there and that they only keep records from 10 years back.

This morning, however, with her image fresh in my mind, I tried Google again and found this:

The New York Times Obituaries, published: November 21, 1992

Ilse Sass, a pianist and voice teacher, died on Wednesday at Roosevelt Hospital in Manhattan. She was 84 years old and lived in New York City

She died of a pulmonary embolism, said her sister, Leine Seligmann.

Miss Sass was born in Cologne, Germany, and studied at the music conservatory there. She taught piano for many years at the Henry Street Settlement and taught voice for 20 years at Juilliard and at the Manhattan School of Music.

She gave concerts for the blind and worked with blind singers. She also appeared as a piano teacher in the movie "Fame."

Her sister is her only survivor.

Miss Sass had an astonishing gift for transposition. Her hands were always cold, heavily veined, and when not at the piano, she always wore knit gloves. She was convinced that I was a coloratura soprano and bullied me into pushing my upper range ever higher. She was the one who first told me that Mozart loved his sopranos. No matter how horribly I sang a piece, she would let me finish my first run-through before then breaking it down. She had me sing lying flat on the floor so I could feel and hear the effect of posture, she made me sing at a candle flame to learn control. She loved Paganini, had a bust of him on the mantel of the fireplace in her teaching studio, and being childless, she saw all of her students as her family.

When I was in Hong Kong, I took voice lessons from MH, my first vocal coach since Miss Sass. This was after more than a decade of attempting to retrain my voice to better suit that 3-pack-a-day sound so desired by a cappella singing groups. MH pronounced me an Alto and that was the end of it, except for one day when he had me doing vocal exercises and he heard something he didn't expect in my upper range. "Do that again, and let's keep going higher," he said to me.

"Were you once trained, REALLY trained, as a soprano?" He asked me, with surprise.

That pleased me; Miss Sass had left a recognizable mark on me.

I start my fast this weekend, but tonight, when I am out with my friends, I'll toast to Miss Ilse Sass. She should be remembered.

And she will be.

More Than Words Can Wield The Matter

As far as New Year's resolutions go, on the top of my list is to floss everyday. I also toyed around with the idea of forgiveness - forgiving myself and others.

Then I remember Jane Smiley's A Thousand Acres. When Rose is dying, she tells her older sister Ginny, that by any measure, she (Rose) is the failure of the family - dying, widowed, despised, in debt. But that despite all those outward signs of failure, she did succeed at something very important - she succeeded at staying strong and never forgiving the unforgivable.

I have a strong appreciation for the myriad shades of gray and I believe that truth remains truth even when altered by differing perspectives. I draw my lines in the sand and am happy to rub them away and re-draw them based on new understandings and sympathies.

But sometimes, you have to carve those lines into stone, and never waver. Because what's on the other side is simply not acceptable.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

More On Writing Sex

"Release your inner slut," advises the description of the upcoming "Talk Dirty to Me" Co-Ed Sex Ed Class & Social Mixer. And it continues: "From moans and groans, to long sentences detailing what you want now, good dirty talk is about being authentic." Takes place January 26th - birthday party idea?

I am beside myself with joy. I am hopeful this will revive my seriously flaccid trashy novel. Trashy novels NEED sex scenes, and perhaps with my upcoming schedule of events lined up for January, I'll finally be able to put pen to paper and let loose a torrent of steaminess.

January 17th: In The Flesh Erotic Reading Series

January 22nd: Best Sex Writing 2008 Book Party/Reading

January 27th: Erotic Love Letter Workshop

SK is convinced she might just die of embarrassment, but I assured her that death by embarrassment would be far more likely during our pole-dancing classes.

I've spent the past year repeatedly killing off my trashy novel's main characters in the most gruesome ways possible. Maybe now I'll have them talk dirty to each other and get down to business. I'm so excited I'm shimmying in my seat.

I don't need to remember sex, I can find inspiration from the filthy minds of others. I love it. Plus, these are events during which I need consume nothing (my detox fast, in mind).

So while I can barely contain myself, I will approach this seriously, notebook in hand. Because after all, as Samantha Jones said, "Honey, they don't call it a job for nothing!"

I am curious to learn what else will seem like a good idea to me this month when I am teetering about in a state of deprivation-derived delirium.

Eat Meat

When I was in Beijing, one day a Chinese friend called me to wish me a happy birthday. As it wasn't my birthday, I thanked her but then corrected her mistake. And she replied, "today is your country's birthday, yes? Don't Americans eat grilled meat today?" And so it was, July 4th.

In Hong Kong, I was getting ready to leave the office one evening when my secretary wished me a Happy Buddha's birthday. I thanked her, and luckily thought to ask: "OK, how does that affect me?"

She replied, "Office is closed tomorrow."

This is supposedly the birth of a new year. But since I have spent several years happily celebrating every holiday I can, I think this year, I will lavishly celebrate Chinese New Year.

Apparently, on the first day of the Chinese new year (which falls on February 7th this year) there is quite the list of dos and don'ts:

Don't cut your hair
Don't sweep the floor
Don't drop your chopsticks
Don't borrow or lend money
Wear something red

And something about chopping meat...

But I could be making up that last one. I'm getting hungry in anticipation of my fast.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Familiarity Breeds

The grass is greener on the other side of the fence, food tastes better when it comes from someone else's plate: there's truth in the unknown being sexy and appealing, about being drawn to what you don't have.

But there are an equal number of cliches arguing the opposite point, e.g.: "girls look for men who remind them of their fathers", the ridiculously common occurrence of "recycling" exes. Lately I have had a flood of conversations regarding the appeal of the familiar.

"I just realized that the last few men in my life all remind me of my ex from five years ago."

"When he smiles, he reminds me of that boy I had that crush on."

"He smells like summer."

It might be a similarity in cast of facial features, or gait, or turn of phrase... and that familiarity instantly translates into a presumption of knowledge. Of course, that presumed knowledge isn't always accurate, or even attractive, but more often that it should, it suffices until real intimacy is earned.

In my latest conversation about this, FC and I talked about the cliche of girls and their fathers, and we realized that despite the existence of that cliche, we don't know of a single girl who is looking for a man who reminds her of her father. Maybe that's something found only in movies?

But then I stumbled upon this old photo:

WC, keep your mitts off my Daddy.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

I Threw Up A Little In My Mouth

My Heart Will Go On is a horrible song. It enrages me - rather like waving something red at an angry bull.

And yet, in advance of my fast, I have downloaded not only that song, but also the following:
  • Say You, Say Me
  • We've Got Tonight
  • Wind Beneath My Wings
  • Theme From Mahogany
  • Who's Crying Now
  • Open Arms
  • The Way We Were

These are my guilty pleasure songs. They are wonderfully suited for gesturing dramatically to, which, as my fast proceeds, might be all I have the strength to do.

I am moderately worried that I'll emerge from my fast not only thoroughly detoxed, but also with a room temperature IQ. In fact, I might be able to communicate only via song lyrics:

"C-Belle, boozy brunch tomorrow?'

"Who knows what tomorrow brings?"

"What the fuck does that mean? Yes or no?"

"My spirit is free, laughing at the questions that you once asked of me."

"You said your fast would be broken by now. Do you remember that?"

"Misty water-colored memories."

"God, you are SO annoying."

"Say you, say me."

"I'm hanging up now."

"My heart will go on, and on..."