Prelude to sex at a mediocre bar.

tumblr_mbahg8kCHs1qze58so1_500He took off his coat and flexed his arm like a peacock fluffs its tail. He watched me order a panzanella salad. He listened as I politely conversed with the bartender about the weather and architecture of the city.

The building across the street is covered in glass windows and stands as a multi level parking garage. Surprisingly, despite its fine and intricate architectural design the place has always served as a parking garage. Now for well over 35 years.

I notice the drunk old lady at the end of the bar neglect her foreign date for a more Americanized lad. When the bartender struck up a conversation with the lad about a fancy new restaurant on the waterfront, the lady made it a point to state how much she loved the new place and their wine. Oblivious to the fact that the current bar we are sitting in is more wine-minded than the fancy new bar. And this is an irish bar. All she wanted was her drinks paid for, all she got was a polite nod from the bartender.

I can tell the peacock guy is an asshole. The kind of asshole that orders a rum and come just because he wants a lime. The kind of asshole that talks about his vacation with Sammy Sosa and offers me trip to meet the governor of my own state. The asshole that is well educated, connected, and seeks a woman much younger than him to bear him the children he didn’t want to commit to throughout his younger glory days. But I know that men who seek a younger woman do not go after her youth, but their own, and I am disposable as soon as my own glory days are over.


The Host

alien ultrasoundHaving an alien creature busting through your frontal torso is a genuine concern during pregnancy. At least for me it was. Because lets be honest, we don’t really know what is invading our bodies. We trust the doctor that it is a tiny human- but how well do we know this doctor? Exactly. The alien race are notoriously sophisticated, strategic, and very advanced. You would think that if they are going to leave seedlings in human women, they would ensure full term pregnancies by eliminating the possibility of blowing their cover with a run-of-the-mill doctor in Wichita, Kansas. If they can travel through space, Im confident they can place a convincing decoy or at the very least bribe a doctor and an ultrasound specialist.

The so-called miracle of life is disgusting and I am not just referring to the moment when women shit out a blob of squealing mass, bloody water, and miscellaneous innards. Im talking about the creature itself. For 38 to 42 weeks women create this growth, this mass of flesh inside their bodies. They bake a human being and sometimes even 5 at a time. There is a meat pocket called ‘womb’ that houses this thing that has arms, legs and sometimes even teeth. There is some awe amidst all the repulsiveness. We still do not fully understand how life starts or how exactly the brain operates, yet women have been making this since the beginning of humanity. Literally. One day you are walking down the street or arguing with a store clerk and -POOF- a second heartbeat. Soon enough there are two sets of brains thinking, dreaming, hoping, and plotting.

Another thing that happens that is beyond cool and I wish men could experience: super powers. When I was stricken with pregnancy, my senses were on steroids. I could hear things no one could, I could smell people in the other room. Even from my peripheral vision I could see spider webs in the distance.  Tasting food was so bizarre. Foods I didn’t care for became the most amazing things I have ever tasted. Satisfying a craving was like a drug. But the downside to that is that if I had a craving I couldn’t satisfy, everything else tasted like shit. It was like starving for ONE thing only. I couldn’t help but to appear to be bonkers- just utterly insane. And I am supposed to believe this is all normal ‘human’ behavior and experiences. Ha! These aliens are very clever.

The creature in your belly moves from time to time. You can feel where the skull and the spine is. Sometimes the skull is at 1 PM, sometimes its at 9PM.. this thing moves all over the place. The creature stretches its limbs and kicks/punches you, especially when you put pressure on it. If you lay down face-up to watch TV and put a bowl on popcorn on your swollen stomach, the creature will kick the bowl to the floor.

In the lasts months your body fights back. When the creature moves too much, your womb contracts… so much so you can see an outline of the creature. Imagine that- being already uncomfortable in a sleeping bag and the sleeping bag squishes you so hard that it doesn’t allow you to stretch out your muscles, on the contrary, forces you to contract them even more. Geez, that sounds like something out of an American-ran Iraqi prison. (I must clarify that the contractions are painless and their purpose is for the baby to stay head down). This unsightly sight, being able to see the shape of the creature, further fuels the alien paranoia because NO ONE EVER TALKS ABOUT BEING ABLE TO SEE THE BABY WHILE STILL INSIDE YOUR BELLY SO IT CATCHES YOU BY COMPLETE SURPRISE.

From a male stand point, it it pretty fucking weird. From a female standpoint, it is bizarre and unnatural. Yes, unnatural. As if all of the aforementioned bizarre shit wasn’t alarming enough, during the 7th month your belly is so big you can’t help but to freak out: this is now the biggest part of your body and what fills it has to come out, and it can only come out one way. It’s like everything you ate for the last 40 weeks has been stored and compacted in your stomach and you have to take a MASSIVE shit. The miracle of life. Mother nature is one sick cunt.

Apparently the term ‘expecting’ had a different meaning for me than for most women. There was not a lot of women inquiring on message boards “How long is an alien pregnancy?”, “How do I know I was inseminated by a space monster?”, “Which bars do aliens frequent?”. So while most women are ‘expecting’ a child, I was expecting that or that some amphibian may claw its way out of my belly while I was waiting in line at Toys R’ Us. I had a lot more questions along the lines of intergalactic parental visitation, child support, and homeschooling, but if I couldn’t find answers to the basics I knew I wasn’t going to find those answers either.

I read somewhere that, in relation to the mother, human babies are the largest infants at birth in the animal kingdom. I think this got out of hand at some point in the past and we failed to address it. I mean, polar bears have a baby so tiny they don’t even know they had a baby. If there were no c-sections childbearing would be the #1 killer of women. I am an example of that. I grew a baby so big it just simply couldn’t come out. And I am not trying to flatter myself here as having a small vagina- the size of it it’s irrelevant so let’s say I have the biggest one ever. So big it whistles with the wind. But my hip bones are childlike. At some point during the 8th month the thought of delivering an outer-space reptilian wasn’t as terrifying as delivering a cunt-crushing human.

I don’t know if I instinctively just knew, but I never had a doubt in my mind that I was not capable of pushing it out. Hell, twice before I needed assistance while taking a bigger-than-average shit. Forget about an 9 pound creature that cannot be taken out in segments and assembled outside. Add to the horror that maybe this thing is not from Earth and may kill everyone in the operating room but spare me so I can witness what a monstrosity it is and how it annihilates my home, Earth.

Throughout the pregnancy I developed this irrational bond and commitment to the creature that never ceased, even after delivery. I started thinking of myself in a third person: “I must care for the baby’s mother because the baby needs her”. The urge to care, protect, and love this thing was primal. I became the woman I hate in horror movies.

Once the creature came out of me, and I verified that it was of human nature, I was relieved. But then I had one extra concern that would stay with me forever. What if the baby was the anti-Christ? To my relief, I am not a lone on this one. According to google a lot of people out there share this concern. BUT, let it be known, if my kid ever says to me “Take me to your leader” my only hesitation would be in figuring it out if its the President or Kim Kardashian.

I want to do everything.

Me? I’d like to be a modern day Renaissance ‘man’.

Learn extensively. Dedicate, easily, 40 years (not necessarily consecutively) of my life to learning: Geology, Carpentry, Philosophy, Anthropology, Aerospace engineering, Culinary arts, Zoology, Ecology, Genetics, Theater, Warfare, Botany, Sailing, Mining, Biochemistry, Neuroscience, Public Service, Marine biology… the list goes on.

Travel extensively. Whether education driven, or actually performing the work. Learn the language, observe the local customs, eat their food, drink their poison, fight their battles, mourn their losses, rejoice in their accomplishments.

Write extensively. Live to tell the stories.

Come take a dive with me.

Screen Shot 2013-01-02 at 9.47.15 PMI sit in the back corner facing the entire dive bar as I mindlessly play with my pearl necklace and smoke a cigarette. I order the usual, cheap beer and whiskey. My Choo heels keep slipping off the bar’s foot rest because the damned thing is covered in grease and god-knows what else. The only reason why the two construction workers sitting across from me probably do not think I am a hooker is because they have seen me here countless of times before with friends, or all alone- never picking up ‘clients’.

I look at my phone, it is 7:30 PM. I have a date with the CFO of a hotel chain in Las Vegas at an upscale jazz bar in one of his hotels at 8pm. I should be excited. He is sharp, clever, assertive, divorced, and has good taste. But he is my exact height and that is a major turn-off. I intentionally wore 4 inch heels so I can look down on him. He will have to find a way to compensate and I’m kind of looking forward to that.

Two hours ago I sat through a fashion show benefit for a cancer foundation in the company of my boss, some investors, and their wives. Why couldn’t a single investor be a female? What is there about investing that women just leave it up to men? This baffles me. All you need is a bank account, trusted advisors, and a passion for anything- really, just about anything. They already go to the networking events, they have the contacts, they are present during important insider conversations, yet none of them partakes on anything. I had one of them tell me the story of how she suffered a miscarriage just a few months ago. I thought she was joking. For one, she is telling something so personal to a complete stranger, and secondly, her face was so frozen with botox that her expression was not of sadness but one of mild surprise. I realized it wasn’t a joke when tears came out of her smiling eyes.

I agreed to attend the after-party event but I didn’t mean it. I couldn’t bear another hour of that. I rather sit here, right next to the hot dog warmer, and strike up a conversation about unions with an off-duty taxi cab driver.

Dive bars have a special place in my heart. These places are devoid of the formalities and the frou-frou you find at the swanky lounges. No one here  is above anything. Here even the drinks are honest, none of that myriad of unheard of spirits in a single cocktail. I once went to a bar where the American bartender (probably from Florida) refused to say “rose water”. He insisted in saying to the  American patrons “eau de rosè”. I was asked to leave the bar when I exclaimed “You mean rosewater you pompous ass?” In my defense, he was a condescending prick when he explained the list of ingredients really fast, implying ‘why do you even bother to ask,  gentile?’.

The people that frequent these places have stories worthy of attention. I do not want to hear about your time at Cornell, about the structured upbringing your parents master-engineered for you, about how you have not lost any points in your license, or about your donation to your presidential candidate. I want to hear about that time you jumped a fence you weren’t supposed to jump, about that band you had years ago, about your experience with acid, or that crazy sex you had with the even crazier ex.

If you come to this bar, you are not afraid of failing at something. You appreciate ardent, at times uneducated, but yet sincere debate. You value the pursuit of self-awareness and unmasked truth at a much higher degree than the pursuit of socio-economical status. And then there are the few that cherish all that but only come to this bar for a moment, they cannot stay.  The ones that will share a bench with a homeless girl, and an hour later a cigar with a seasoned venture capitalist. The ones that come, blend in, and leave because they have another place to come in, blend in, and leave.

Despite all the cheap liquor, this is not the type of place you come to escape demons. This is the type of place you come to embrace them.

I hand the bartender $4 for my drinks, and that includes tip.