For the first time in my 21 years of living, it dawned on me how misleading being a girl can be. A rainy day can be going perfectly fine with a good movie, tolerable roommates and an at-home pilates video, when suddenly it’s sabotaged by a heavy flow and wide set vagina. It literally comes out of nowhere, and has the power to completely destroy a rainy afternoon, a day, a week, or in my bizarre and rather concerning case, 13 days. Two days ago on Valentine’s Day, I thought to myself, wow, you’ve never been happier, Lena. You’re on a roll. Keep it up. Then, 48 hours and six tampons later, the whole world had changed. My boyfriend called me today and regrettably informed me he won’t be able to come over tonight because of a mandatory army event. “I’m so sorry, babe,” he said sadly. Silence. “Are you mad at me?” “No. Why would I be mad at you.” “I don’t know…you sound mad.” “I’m not mad. I’m tired. Bye.” The next obvious and rational move was to burst into tears, call my mom at 3 AM in California, and tell her how miserable I am. I tell her that men don’t respect me and I fear that I’m not confident enough in the decisions I make. She tells me that I can start making better decisions by learning the time difference between Israel and San Francisco.
Ten minutes go by, and my boyfriend calls me back. “You really did sound mad. I feel terrible.” “It’s fine.” “Wait, are you crying now? Why are you crying?” “I’m watching The Vow. This movie is so fucking sad,” I sob. “You’re such a girl. Why are you watching that? Baby, if I didn’t know you better, I’d accuse you of holding a tub of ice cream in the hand you’re not holding the phone in.”
“I’m a vegan, you dick!” Click.
The point I’m trying to make is, I think women need to calm down. We can become so wrapped up in our fears surrounding our futures, who we’re going to marry, what our friends truly think of us, and what we’re going to eat for lunch tomorrow, that we forget that things tend to work out, and no one is going to marry our fat asses if we keep sobbing over what meals we haven’t even consumed yet.
I don’t want to generalize all women. In fact, I’ll be humble and confess that I don’t even know most women. I’ve only come across a few, but the few I do know tend to be neurotic, hyper intelligent, socially perceptive, viciously funny, at least half Jewish, sexually confident, and moderately bitchy. These are the women I know and I love, therefore have the right to judge, generalize, and critique.
Here are a few qualities in these women, including myself, that I think we’d be better without. Some, if not most of these qualities are out of our control, and I do recognize that. We aren’t men for a reason, after all. But trust me, if I could learn to pee standing up against a dumpster and drink a beer while doing it, God knows I would.
1) Our fears about “drinking our calories”.
Girls, trust me. You think I don’t know you? There may be 47 calories in a shot of Skyy, and I’m impressed that you took all of four seconds to look that up on Google. But you’re about to consume nine, so who’s doing the math at the end of the night? It sure as hell isn’t your drunk ass or the guy you ended up going home with, so stop trying.
2) Our need to look “presentable” at all times.
I am the queen of this ridiculous principle. For whatever reason, I refuse to go to the grocery store or even take the garbage out without make-up on. Recently, I made progress and started going to the gym make-up free, but that took years of encouragement and support from normal people.
3) Our “love” and “compassion” for animals.
Women, enough of the stopping on the street to pet strange dogs and crying when you see a homeless kitten on every block in Israel. You kill and eat animals every day. That is the reality. I hate to make vegan pitches at a time like this, or at any time, really, but enough. Don’t sit at a Shabbat dinner table and give me parenting tips about teaching your toddlers to respect all creatures as you shovel half a cow down your throat. Animals are animals, so stop acting like some are more worthy to live than others.
4) Our constant attempts to lose weight.
I am very guilty of this one. Like many women, my brain is enslaved to Jenny Craig or some other weight loss demon screaming “if you’re not skinny, boys won’t love you!” into my head. I’m still slowly learning and believing that this just isn’t true. I’m not skinny and never will be, but I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been and can outrun your fat ass any day. Skinny doesn’t mean sexy. Men own this principle all the time, and get away with being incredible chubby while still being loved at the same time. Imagine, not being a stick and still being loved. What an incredibly brilliant yet fucking obvious concept.
5) Our lack of trust in ourselves.
On a daily basis, I think that women challenge themselves more than men do. We judge ourselves harshly and have high expectations. Last year, I literally had pieces of printer paper taped all over my walls, each of them starting with the same title: “Get Shit Done” with the date written below it. They were my daily goals I’d set for myself, and it was rare to find a list with less than ten things on it. I kicked my own ass, but because I expected so much, I found myself disappointed a lot too. These doubts would range from “Maybe I shouldn’t have signed up to lead Shabbat services this Friday,” to “shit, I should have gone to the gym six days last week instead of five.” Questioning yourself, no matter what it is, is in one of the top 5 worst feelings for me. Men think less about what they’ve done, what they’re doing, and what they’re going to do. Although this mentality can lead to failing out of college and chlamydia, it can also help with preventing anxiety, and learning to just have faith that it will all work out.
To put it in the gentlest yet most honest way possible, my teenage years and early twenty’s have so far been a struggle. In fact, the word ‘struggle’ might be too vague; a drunken, lost and never-ending quest to finding my way off the bathroom floor and into a more moderately functioning adult life may be a more accurate description. I look back on the past 8 years of my thriving drinking career, and in result the past 8 years of blacked out 3 AM Chipoltle runs and cuddle sessions with fraternity house supply closets, and I find myself wondering how it ever got to this point. I have been led astray by American college culture and six consecutive seasons of Jersey Shore that I literally worshiped. Although I certainly have no one to blame but myself for the majority of my poor/non-existent decision making skills while intoxicated, I do have someone to blame for my sober ones, which occurs as often if not more than the ones involving tequila. This one person is my loving, Jewish, brilliant and neurotic mother, Janet.
From an early point in my semi-independent life, I started picking up on cues that indicated I was not as informed on the concept of “stable human being” as my peers were. I’m not saying that Janet wasn’t a grade-A mom; she was the best, and I’ve never felt so motivated or inspired as I was during those speeches about men only liking thin women, and the value of befriending teachers for better grades. I love Janet more than any other mom I know, and I wouldn’t replace her for anyone, with the possible exception of Amy Poehler in Mean Girls.
However, no mother is perfect. Not even Janet, a woman who screams perfection and has succeeded in the majority of her life endeavors. But, being the hard-working and busy woman she always was, she missed a few life lessons along the way that left me stranded, confused, and blatantly concerned for the fate of my straggling adulthood. Here are some things that I wished I learned from Janet, or anyone, really, before having to embarrassingly figure them out for myself:
1) Laundry has more components than throwing everything you own into a machine and pressing some buttons in hopes that something will happen.
Whites? Darks? Bleach? Regular laundry detergent? Fabric softener? Delicates? Folding to avoid wrinkling? These are all terms that didn’t enter my vocabulary until at least the age of 19.
2) Pets are supposed to be loved and taken care of, like they’re actually a member of the family.
No, you don’t get to ignore them and yell at them and neglect them. Apparently, you’re supposed to love them and treat them like you actually want them there. I heard this notion from a fellow pet-owner shortly after we shipped away both of our dogs as soon as they interfered in our lives.
3) Condoms are not underrated. They prevent really scary things. Use and appreciate them always.
I popped Plan B like it was Pez throughout high school, and blamed my dozens of pregnancy scares of the Tooth Ferry and other imaginative characters who couldn’t defend themselves. Long story short: it wouldn’t have been totally unreasonable to have given me a birth control shot along with my other immunizations as soon as I was born.
4) Dairy, meat, and other processed shit is bad for you, and will make you a fat, bloated pig.
I cannot tell you the number of times my mother casually took us to the A&W drive-through after Hebrew school, or picked up Phyllis’ Burgers for family dinners. My parents would make me order turkey burgers sometimes because they were “healthier”, or force me to order a cheese sandwich “with less mayo” for the same reason. No. All of that food is shit, and I cannot believe my parents ever allowed me to think that I was doing my body a favor by eating half a Round Table Pizza just because there were some vegetables on it. What is wrong with America?
5) Drinking excess amounts of alcohol, particularly with men who aren’t related to you, rarely leads to anything productive.
Okay, I could have figured out this one on my own. But alcohol was never a subject that was discussed in my household, only consumed. It took me about a month into my drinking career to understand that a bottle you didn’t pay for often leads to the buyer being on top of you, and then often penetration. If you have no interest in this and would rather be spending your time doing other things, I recommend avoiding this, while taking a large dose of self-esteem on the side while you’re at it.
6) Drinking and driving is apparently bad.
I learned how to parallel park on a busy San Francisco street at 11 PM after a long night of margaritas. I was 16 at the time. Who ever said that was okay? (For the record, Hannah Liberman said that was okay. Thanks for the driving lesson, slut.)
7) Rice takes a long time to cook.
I was extremely hungry one day after class. All I wanted was a teriyaki veggie brown rice bowl (#vegangirlproblems), so I immediately put half a cup of brown rice on the stove, expecting to be in my bed eating it and watching New Girl approximately seven minutes later. To my disappointment, this was not the case. I instead found myself crying on the kitchen floor for 30 minutes staring at the pot hoping my tears would make it cook faster. Janet, you couldn’t have given me a heads up on this one? If you were wondering how this story resulted, I almost starved to death.
8) So do most foods that don’t come out of the Trader Joe’s frozen section.
Seriously, was everyone aware of this but me?
9) Shave your legs with shaving cream, as apposed to nothing.
Should have been self-explanatory. For whatever reason, it wasn’t in my household. I have no answers to this one.
10) Waxes lead to beautiful vaginas. This should be valued.
Janet always talked negatively about waxing and ranted about how it was a waste of money. However, in my recent experiences involving my vagina, I’ve learned that a perfectly clean and pretty peekachoo is not something you can put a price on. After much thought, I’ve decided that this is something I’m going to make a new family tradition out of that she will simply not be included in.
11) Studying isn’t something that needs to be debated and discussed every time it needs to happen. Just shut the fuck up and do it.
For some reason, the concept of “doing well in school” was always foreign to my sister and me. We never understood the value in it, and saw just as much productivity in baking a cake or wandering for hours around a Safeway. In college during Finals Week when most students go to the library to study, I decide to opt out and do something that makes more sense to me, like trying Chrystal Meth or going to a zoo auction.
12) Football is a good sport to understand.
I immediately regretted ignoring my dad and brother and their obsessive need to talk about football 24/7 when I started going to U of O. Not only did I suddenly resent my own lack of interest in the sport, but I also kindly included my mother in that resentment for agreeing to go out to lunch with me every time a game was on.
13) Don’t be a bitch.
I’m not saying that Janet isn’t a nice person. If she’s happy, or has had a few glasses of wine in her, she is the first person you want to be around. All I’m saying is that if she doesn’t like you, isn’t interested in being around you, or is in a bad mood for whatever reason, she will blatantly and confidently make that clear to your face. I once remember her yelling at a Pac Sun employee about how busy she was and how she didn’t have time for his shit, simply because he asked her at the cash register if she’d like to buy an on-sale perfume with her purchase. Since then, I’ve learned from others that it’s possible, and even socially recommended, to be nice to people regularly.
14) Keep peanut butter away from the house at all times.
If you buy it, it will be eaten, even if you make your 8-year-old son hide it under the couch to keep it away from you.
15) Cocaine will make you stupid.
Should be self-explanatory, but of course, no one informed me.
16) Just because they’re Jewish doesn’t mean they’re quality.
My mom used to send me to youth group events in hopes of me making quality, nice Jewish friends. Then she found out that I blew one of my fellow Hebrew school attendants in the sanctuary of my synagogue at a youth group sleepover. You are right on many things, Janet, but you just can’t win with this one. Jews are whores.
17) Doing nothing is okay sometimes.
My mom is a go go go person. Because of this, so am I. If i find myself with two hours of nothing to do and there is no Jersey Shore marathon happening, I can reassure you that shit will hit the fan. It took me years to learn, primarily from my stoner going-nowhere-type friends, that sometimes, sitting and taking bong rips while watching Mean Girls for the 8th time is the best method of wasting an entire day.
18) All soda, including diet, will kill you.
Janet used to buy mass amounts of Diet Root Beer, her favorite soda, and try not to share them with us. She would literally hide them in her car. Because we watched our mother consume so much of it, we simply assumed that it wasn’t that bad for you. Wrong. Soda is liquid Satan. I wish I was as nutritionally obsessed then as I am now so that I could have helped my mom with her disgusting addiction. I would have thrown every one of those Root Beer cans out the window into our neighbor’s garage, where I’m 96% sure a homeless man was living for the majority of my childhood.
19) Driving on an empty tank is stupid.
On most days, our car was moments away from giving out on the freeway. However, because of Janet’s firm beliefs in the speedometer simply “not understanding” how much gas was actually left in the car, we continued to drive to our near deaths since the day we got our licenses.
20) It’s okay to kick your own ass. Just don’t be so mean about it.
Janet was always a winner, but I don’t think she ever really believed it. So, what I took from this was, if you work really hard and exceed everyone’s expectations at all the times, you better seem pretty damn sad about it. It took a long time for me to notice all of the narcissistic assholes in my life and realize that it’s possible to work hard and be proud of how badass you are too. Today, thanks to all of the self-absorbed fucks that I surround myself with, I find myself proud of most things that I do. Today, I managed to accomplish buying strawberries and went to the gym for half an hour, and I’m pretty sure I high-fived myself multiple times over it. Sometimes you just have to be your own #1 fan.
Approximately every 7 to 10 days, I receive a call, an angry text, or some other form of harassment asking me to write a new blog post. “Seriously, can’t you just write a new one for me every day?” this overly needy and questionably lesbian friend of mine asks. I then simply explain to her that although I’d love to write a new post for her every day, I simple can’t due to being a full-time student, trying to maintain a rather hectic drinking schedule, and having a life. I’d do many things for you, Rio Blue, but throwing myself into alcohol-induced chaos for the sake of gaining a good story is something I gave up a long time ago. Actually, who am I kidding- I still gladly do this all the time. But now, I view it more as a treat than an expected part of my daily routine.
What haunts me about you, Rio, is that you’ve known me throughout some really shameful phases of my life. Forget high school, because everyone is a complete jackass in high school. But let’s think about college, and the beautiful year we spent together last year. With much patience, you have supported me in decisions surrounding the least socially acceptable behaviors possible: pre-gaming Shabbat services, making out with a 16-year-old, taking “naps” in the middle of my own parties, dressing like Snooki at pretty much every opportunity possible, living with people you who think belong on a trashy E Entertainment reality show, doing keg stands in a dress, and then making out with the 16-year-old again. For someone who I know has inwardly judged me and probably wanted to shoot me on several occasions, I commend you for somehow keeping all of those feelings suppressed.
As we’ve both learned, no one escapes Eugene without turning into a complete belligerent whore bag at some point. No matter how hard we try, the overwhelming trashiness and lack of sobriety that that Eugene provides us makes everything classy slightly more difficult to accomplish. We can’t feel bad about this- it’s simply inevitable, and something I happily embraced from an early point in my college career. And you didn’t escape it either, my slut. You certainly had your moments, and I sat back with my popcorn and had a good laugh at about 99% of them. I particularly enjoyed the ones I instigated, with the help of my other friends who are also questionably bad people, of course.
What makes all of this okay, though, is that the year we spent in Eugene together seems like a hundred years ago. The things I considered normal and standard procedure then are things that I now think should be illegal. And today, even though everything is different, I’m still just as in love with you as I was during those blacked out nights in AEPi, or that time when you passed out in my apartment and I drunkenly convinced myself you were dead. Or that time I was secretly jealous of you for making out with my favorite goy, Danny Chicago, or when you were my date to that lovely all-Jewish Pure Romance party (what the fuck was that?). And I love you even more now than I did that first time you sat next to me at NFTY when we were 14, and we immediately formed an exclusive club for Rena, Lena, and Rio. (In retrospect, that was probably an assshole move to the rest of the kids there.)
Today we live in Israel, and on most days, I’m fairly confident that I want to be you. Every time we get together, you somehow convince me in a new way that dropping out of school and joining the army tomorrow is the most logical next step in my life planning. You also have a magical way of selling Garin Tzabar like it’s a chocolate orgasm mixed with crack, which really is a skill that doesn’t come naturally to most. The stories you’ve shared and the community you’ve formed here is one that I couldn’t be more envious of, and ultimately makes me more and more embarrassed to be American. That’s another talent you have, Ms. Blue: your ability to make an American identity as embarrassing as having a camel toe in a snow suite. You’ve made it clear that being Israeli is clearly superior, which is a mindset that’s driven me into Nefesh B’Nefesh meetings, constant arguments with my parents, and drunken lies to strangers about me actually being Israeli. Sometimes people ask me why I cringe in humiliation when I’m with big groups of Americans in public. Ultimately, I explain to them that the answer is you.
Hopefully in a year, I’ll get the fuck out of Oregon and I can join you again in this perfect Israeli life. It will be magical. We’ll eat at Village Green every day and live on your kibbutz in your trailer and take selfies of us in our uniforms (for profile picture purposes, of course). I’ll still peer pressure you into drinking in large amounts on a fairly consistent basis, though; not everything can change. I love you forever and couldn’t be more proud of the life you’ve made for yourself. You glow, baby boo. Hopefully next weekend you’ll come to Jerusalem again, and hopefully it will result in a story surrounding something story-worthy, and preferably at your expense.
Today, my beloved sister who I’m proudly obsessed with confessed something upsetting to me: she has felt herself living in my “shadow”, pressured to accomplish what I have. This literally blew my mind. I’ve never seen myself as someone possessing traits worthy of admiration; if anything, I should be the poster child for the Kids, Don’t Try This At Home phrase. As far as I’m concerned, the most exciting achievements I have involve my discontinuation of an unhealthy Secret Life of the American Teenager obsession and discovering what a gym was. Other than that, my jar of Look What I’ve Done is fairly limited, and in fact, I’ve considered switching it out for a Douschbag Jar. After much consideration, I’ve decided that if Schmidt from New Girl can have one, so can I.
The most ironic and cliche part of this delusional admiration, however, is that I too am sickeningly jealous of her. Unlike me, the girl who insists that both of Snooki’s arrests were unjustified and that libraries are a threat to society, Madi is stable. She knows herself even when she thinks she doesn’t. She says what she wants when she wants to say it, and will tell you the truth no matter what. She is one tough caslopus, as my friend, Chelsea Handler would say.
Sometimes, I think Madi is secretly a mermaid in human form. Her hair is literally Ariel’s, minus the redness, the shape, and everything else about it. She has a body that I have wanted my entire life, minus my first 19 years. Growing up and going to the beach together, Madi always looked effortlessly perfect in bikinis, while I always laid face-first in the sand looking like a crossbreed between a beached whale and a starfish. She looks stunning without any makeup, at all hours of the day, which is something I still struggle to understand. This is a quality I have never possessed, and I’ve literally never seen anything scarier than my face first thing in the morning. I don’t know what happens in the night, but whatever it is, it’s bad.
Madi is the funniest person that I know. Sometimes she says she doesn’t think people understand her humor, but then I simply explain to her that it’s because people are stupid and everyone can eat shit and die. People never thought Mindy Khaling was funny growing up; she was the weird chubby Indian girl whose only friends were the characters in old romantic comedies. But now look at her; she’s the weird chubby Indian girl who the whole world adores. She emulates hilarity, confidence, beauty, and most of all, realness. Just like Mindy, Madi has never fallen short of brilliant in her ability to make people laugh, and have people fall in love with her all at the same time.
(On a separate note, Mindy, if you come across this, please don’t be offended by my choice of words. I envy pretty much everything about you including your Indian background, and am even considering spray tanning and inhaling large amounts of helium to be more like you.)
Madi attracts the most wonderful people, which is a trait I never seemed to pick up on. The closest people in my life seemed to always have some sort of chemical imbalance or or a hording problem, which kept things entertaining but rarely resulted in anything productive. She surrounds herself with quality people, who appreciate her presence and absorb her positive vibes. Some of her friends are even as great as her, and one of them is sort of perfect. He plays seven instruments, speaks perfect English, doesn’t eat dairy, and is an aspiring vegetarian spy. If you’re wondering what a vegetarian spy’s job description is…I’ll let you know as soon as I find out.
Madeleine has the voice of an angel and also plays guitar. Her talent blows my mind and makes me wonder when I became so useless. If that sounds melodramatic, it’s because it is. But, it doesn’t make it any less true. Seriously, when Madi and our brother Miles are playing guitar together and singing in perfect harmony, I’m the one in the corner playing the imaginary triangle. When people ask why my siblings are musical and I’m not, I simply explain it’s in result of First Child Neglect, a disorder that I’m a severe victim of and am 99% sure doesn’t exist.
In case anyone is confused about the point of this post, let me make it clear: I am sickeningly obsessed and in love with my magical sister, Madi Elkins. Madeleine, you are more beautiful than Cinderella. You smell like pine needles and have a face like sunshine. Yes, that is an original quote. I love you more than grandma loves lunch and our mom loves dogs combined. I’ve never been more proud of the direction your life is headed in, and I look forward to continuing being your number one fan for the rest of your life.
Your Secret Admirer (…Lena)
When I was in seventh grade, a pervert from my middle school tried to feel me up in front of my mom. The fact that Janet was in the room probably had less to do with it; most of the credit should go to the fact that we were 13 in a dark room and watching The Notebook, a movie that could pass as porn in the eyes of a middle schooler.
Anyway, the situation ended horribly. The kid decided to inform every student at my middle school about this incident, and about half of the student body population proceeded to tell their mothers about it. Those mothers told my mother, and my mother hid under a rock in humiliation for several days. She also decided from that point on that I was going to be the harlot daughter of the family, which was a reputation I made sure to live up to.
Ever since then, I’ve had an extreme phobia of sexual activity in public places. Well, not a phobia, but more of a sincere confusion as to why people feel the need to do this. My mom always told me, “Lena, don’t make things harder than they have to be.” And trust me, Janet has never been so right. Trying to get railed on a public playground on a November night is much more difficult than simply boning in someone’s indoor, heated bedroom. But men haven’t seemed to pick up on this yet, which is why they proceed to attempt incredibly awkward things in often very public places.
This lack of common sense is what led to a very peculiar morning for me here in the Holy Land. At 8 AM, I was already feeling slightly more dramatic than usual. I woke up to an empty hotel room outside the Tel Aviv airport, confused and mildly devastated that my parents would leave me and fly back to the States. How dare they prioritize their jobs, school, and moving homes over me? As I felt sorry for myself and packed my bag, I thought about the long day I had ahead of me: traveling through Israel’s most obnoxious winter weather, sitting on long bus rides with screaming ortho children, finally arriving home in Jerusalem, then trying to tune out my best friend Hannah’s extra high-volume voice for the next six hours. The thought of then having to unpack, do laundry, grocery shop, and get my life together was making me especially manic. As I sat at the bus stop outside the hotel for an hour and almost cried at the fact that the bus hadn’t come yet (I was on my period and was feeling particularly emotional, if you were feeling the need to pass judgment on me at this point), I heard a soldier tell someone else that he was waiting for the Jerusalem bus. Fortunately for me, this soldier was in the top five most beautiful men I’d ever seen. He was tall, dark, had green eyes, and was wearing a decked out uniform that basically said, “I have a very high ranking position, and get the highest salary out of all you bitches.” This and the fact that I knew I had no chance of getting home on my own led me to approaching him and asking if he was also trying to get to Jerusalem.
“I speak English,” he said with a smile one might have if they were an angel.
“Of course you do,” I said back with a smile one might have if they were clearly a whore. “But it hasn’t come in an hour. So what should we do?”
I continued to play Dumb American as he tried to figure out our next move. “Let’s take a bus to a nearby town, then we’ll take their bus to Jerusalem from the central bus station.”
“Okay,” I said without question.
“During this trip, however, I cannot make any promises about not kidnapping and/or murdering you.”
“How were you planning on murdering me?”
“In a field nearby. I have a statue in my backpack I was going to hit you over the head with. I was then going to rape you. It’s no fun if you’re awake, after all.”
This man’s vulgarity and comfort in being so crude didn’t seem to faze me in the slightest. In fact, I appreciated it. I was also impressed by the fact that this Israeli just managed to explain the plot to my death in perfect English. How did he know expressions like “hit you over the head”, and where did he learn to deliver rape jokes? My immediate thought: my Hebrew needs to start improving immediately.
Naturally, I agreed to go. I followed him to the random town with the random bus station that allegedly had a bus to Jerusalem. Clearly I had way too much faith in this guy. I just can’t say no to a man in uniform, especially when that person has threatened to hit me over the head with a statue.
This is when the touching began. It started mildly, with an expression of warmth with a hand on my shoulder every few minutes. This, I didn’t even notice. I was too distracted by his beauty, and the continuous stories he proceeded to make up (at one point, he literally told me he found a dragon egg on a middle school nature hike).
It then turned into light touches on my thigh. Again, standard. It’s rare in Israel when men don’t attempt to completely invade your personal space. For example, on the train in Jerusalem once, a 300-pound orthodox man literally had me cornered. After suffocating behind his giant wool black coat and keeping me mouth shut for twenty minutes to avoid inhaling his beard, I accepted that this was a standard procedure in this country I’d need to get used to.
The mild thigh touching eventually turned into inner thigh/crotch groping, which I still wasn’t completely apposed to. This man’s beauty on top of being the funniest Israeli I’d ever met was not allowing a lot of room of questioning. Finally, I came to the conclusion that this was odd, and something should probably be said.
After he finished a story resulting in him saving an octopus from a shark, he asked what the craziest thing was that I’d ever done. “Well,” I proceeded to tell him, “one time, I got felt up by a random Israeli soldier on an Egged bus for two hours.”
“Oh, that’s not that weird. Is it?” he smiled as he casually tried to stick his hand in my pants.
“Well, it sort of is.”
“Why? We both enjoy it.”
“Look, I felt an attraction and I went for it. I didn’t know it made you uncomfortable. Of course we can stop.”
After a moment of literally not knowing what to say (which is something that doesn’t happen to me often), I blurted, “Why are you like this?”
“What do you mean?”
“Like, why are you doing this? Normal people don’t feel up strangers on buses. Everyone knows that.”
Finally, I think I was getting my point across. He then said that he’d now be honest with me (which I learned fairly quickly was not a running theme with this guy), and that he had “girlfriend issues”. It was obvious that he was being sincere, and it seemed even more apparent that the likelihood of him bursting into tears was highly feasible. Then I began to feel sad for him, because truthfully, his ex-girlfriend did sound like a nightmare, and it started to make sense why he’d turned into a complete basket case.
“I understand, friend,” I comforted him. I realized I called him friend because I had no idea what his name was. “It’ll all work out though. I promise.” We had a moment of hand holding, when I then remembered that I had a boyfriend, and if getting felt up wasn’t cheating, holding hands definitely was.
He helped me get my bags off the bus when we arrived, and we embraced. “It was so nice meeting you,” he said, “you’re just so cute.”
“Thank you. You’re cute too. Thank you for not murdering me. And good luck with your girlfriend problems! I hope you marry her.”
After this, he hugged me one last time, and we parted ways. I then got on the Jerusalem train, got smothered by a 200-pound orthodox man, and made it home safe and sound.
This is proof; Israeli soldiers provide more for citizens than the world will ever know. Thank God for each and every one of them. Wherever you are out there, high-ranking, high-paid soldier: when you realize you’re never marrying your sociopath ex-girlfriend and you’re ready to move on, call me.
Today, my sister Madeleine and I got our vaginas waxed. Yesterday, Hannah Liberman convinced us that this was a good idea. Tomorrow, I plan on dumping maple syrup on Hannah’s hair in her sleep.
As much as I wish I could say it was true, this is not completely Hannah’s fault. I think it’s more suitable and rational to blame Madeleine, who spent weeks researching this before the appointments were made, and then proceeded to allow a chatty Vietnamese woman rip hair from our poor peekachoo’s.
Anyway, the point is, after much convincing surrounding the usefulness of having a beautiful vagina in the ancient city of Jerusalem, she got me in the door. Even though we had appointments, Beth and Cathy, the Vietnamese women who were definitely not named Beth and Cathy at birth, looked at us both like a water buffalo just walked into their salon. “What do you want today, honey?” Beth finally managed to say once she realized who we were.
“We had appointments, Beth,” Madeleine responded. She raised her hand and pointed at a back door, with a facial expression that resembled what one might make if they just shit in their pants. “In there.”
“Oh, you get wax, today, honey?” Cathy chimed in. “I take care of you.”
“Baruch Hashem, Cathy,” I applauded her. “What would we do without you!”
Madi and I waited a few minutes as another woman finished her waxing room, and approximately four seconds later, Cathy escorted us in. “Okay, you go first!” Cathy yelled at Madeleine, as she motioned towards the massage table in the middle of the room.
“Don’t worry, Cath. I already called first,” Madeleine informed her. “Does this hurt? We’ve never done this before.”
“Oh, not at all, honey! I mean, maybe little bit, but it’s okay! I do nothing bad to you!”
“If you say so, Cath. If not, I’m boycotting this bitch.”
“Madeleine!” I shot her a look, hoping that my message of “don’t tell poor Vietnamese Cathy that you plan on boycotting her business if your fucking wax hurts, you asshole,” got across.
Cathy then poored the hot, bright pink goo all over Madeleine’s inner thigh, and then rubbed it to make sure the cloth stuck properly. “HAHAHAHAAH! HAHAHAHAH! THIS FEELS SO WEIRD!!!”
“Oh, it’s okay, it’s okay, honey! Relax, relax! It’s okay!,” and as she said it, ripped the cloth off of Madi’s thigh. Naturally, Madeleine screamed, followed by a mildly horrified and confused laugh.
“It’s not that bad…” she said through clenched teeth.
“What the fuck? But you just screamed. This is sketch.”
Before Madeleine could respond, she screamed again in reaction to another rip. “CATHY!”, Madeleine yelled, “this shit hurts! This is horrible!”
“Oh, no no no! I do nothing bad! I do nothing bad! I good girl, I good girl!”, Cathy tried to defend herself. Unfortunately, repeating “I good girl” wasn’t helping her case.
“Hey, Madeleine!” I tried distracting her from harassing our Asian counterpart, “want to know how Chloe Kardasian lost weight fast? US Weekly is going to tell us!”
“Tell me!” Madi desperately screamed as Cathy continued to cover boiling Pepto-Bismol all over her crotch.”
“Apparently she was an emotional eater.”
“What does that mean? She eats when she’s sad, happy, excited, and all over extreme emotions?”
“It doesn’t specify, but I can only assume so,” I said.
“Okay okay you all done now!” Cathy said. “So smooth and beautiful! Your butt looks good too! So nice, so nice!”
“Thanks a lot, Cathy,” Madeleine said as she stood up from the table as if she’d just had a C-Section. “This shit HURTS!”
Cathy motioned for me to get on the table, and I did as I was told. “LEGS OPEN!” Cathy yelled in a dictator-like tone. So, there I was, spread eagle on a massage table, watching this Vietnamese identity crisis-ridden woman dump a hot glue gun down my entire bikini line. Madeleine watched as well, and did her best to focus on her magazine, and the look of death that consumed my facial expression.
“Okay okay, we start now!” she informed me, in case I had mistaken this event for the circus. “Just remember, I do nothing wrong!”
I reacted the exact same way my sister did; a sick combination of swelling tears and laughing uncontrollably. What the fuck was going on? I was so distracted by the absurdity of this situation Ithat I hardly noticed Cathy theatrically hit her hand against my vagina.
Approximately seven minutes and four read-aloud tabloid articles later, Cathy announced the ending of this nightmare. “Okay okay all done!” she said, just as relieved as we were. “That is $35 each.”
“Whatever, Cathy,” Madeleine graciously said as she stole a magazine and headed out the door into the main area. “You almost killed us, by the way.”
Cathy rang us up and we thanked her for her patience. “You’re the best, Cathy! We’re really gonna miss you in Israel!” I congratulated her. I considered going in for a high-five, but I didn’t want to push it.
Moral of the story is this: we will continue to support the Vietnamese in their nail and hair salon endeavors, but only if that back room is burned to the ground immediately.
Over the past five months, I’ve become something that I’ve despised my entire life: a dieting girl. And I mean, the full-blown thing. For the past nineteen years I have enjoyed eating, drinking, smoking, and snorting whatever my pretty little heart desired, without any thought of regret or consequence. And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t happy doing it. But then suddenly, something changed. Maybe it was the frightening pictures I saw of myself at Shasta last spring, or the double-chin I was starting to eye in the mirror while doing my make-up in the morning. Whatever it was, I was over it. I suddenly saw the possibilities of being healthier, thinner, sexier, more confident, and more self-assured. What I didn’t see was the potential nightmare of becoming a calorie counting Nazi who couldn’t go five minutes without planning, regretting, and organizing every ounce of food that entered my body. I also hadn’t imagined 95% of my thoughts being consumed by food and exercise, or every conversation I had resulting in the topic of weight loss. I can now confidently say, all of my closest friends, including the boys, know exactly how much I weigh and how anxious the fear of gaining weight is to me on a daily basis.
As you may have already vibed, this isn’t as cheery and funny as my normal posts. In fact, it’s pretty fucking depressing. I want my dear friends and family who have put up with this to know that I am sorry, and I appreciate your support, patience, and restraint from punching me in the face. I also want you to know that I wish I wasn’t like this. I wish it was done, and I that I could move on with my life and stop crying over my loss of bagels and peanut butter. And I’m getting there. In the mean time, what I can do is give you an inside scoop into how this process changes a person. I’m not talking about physical changes, as everyone who has the ability to see has noticed that I look a little different these days. I want to tell you how this changes the soul, the mindset, the priorities, the personality, and the decision-making of a 20-year-old basket case like myself. I hope this will help you to understand, and give you insight into a transformative experience that changed me forever.
On the bright side:
Moderation Has Meaning!
I know how to avoid indulging, in every aspect of my life: food, alcohol, men, partying, etcetera. For example, I’ve learned that consuming 12 shots in a 15-minute sitting probably isn’t necessary. Eating eight cookies at 1 AM with my sister (enabler!) can be avoided, and 4-Loko’s, whether they’re the original or the remade kind, should be banned from everyone’s diet. Everything has a “cap” on it now, and I’m conscious of what’s appropriate and what’s not.
Less drinking= more common sense!
When you stop drinking while everyone else continues to drink heavily, you notice things. Suddenly, you’re not participating in the belligerent behavior, and you’re able to see in complete soberness how stupid it all really is. For example, when intoxicated with you friends on a Friday night in college, it may seem like natural reaction to have sex with a stranger in some grungy frat basement and then scarf down a food truck burrito at 3 AM. But I promise you, that is retarded. Moral of the story is this: less drinking= less acting like a goldfish with downs syndrome.
More male attention, whether it’s wanted or not.
Guys are shallow. Everyone knows this. The thinner you are, the more free meals you get. The more you get grinded on at parties. The more you get eye-fucked by strangers on public transportation. You get the point; take it as you want.
Not an inch of time should be wasted.
This may be one of the biggest changes for me. Suddenly, everything matters and contributes to your quality of life. Yes, you could be sitting in bed watching Gossip Girl for 40 minutes, but what a fucking waste of time. Instead, you could be running or studying or writing or fidgeting in some way to burn more calories. Not a minute should go wasted. Productivity, in every aspect of life, matters.
When you stop eating shit and start treating your body right, it’s amazing how much more you’re able to get done. Sure, your roommates will want to shoot you for making them feel like slackers, but who gives a shit. Plan your day with back-to-back classes, appointments, gym work-outs, meetings, work, studying, coffee runs, friends, and everything else imaginable. Health enables you to accomplish everything and kick ass at it, too. And yes, I am aware that I sound like a pretentious self-absorbed bitch by saying this.
Focus focus focus
When you’re so obsessed with one thing, you’re able to observe every aspect of it, it’s progress, and it’s impact on your personal traits. For example, from being a dieting girl, I’ve learned that I’ve abused food for a long time to cover up my sadness and insecurities in other parts of my life. I’ve also learned that I never saw myself as smart or as capable as my peers. But now I know that I’m not only as smart or as capable, but I’m awesome at a lot of things. I’m organized, driven, accomplished, intelligent, and dedicated to my involvements. I learned all of this, and gained much of this, from becoming an obnoxiously hard-core dieting girl. Without some serious focus and dive into discovering who I really am, I’d never have learned any of this, or become this shamelessly narcissistic.
On the down side:
You’re suddenly competitive with the clerk at the gas station.
There’s nothing wrong with a little healthy competition. But I went from being a completely non-competitive, laid back girl to someone who compares every woman’s body to my own. Naturally, this makes me an asshole and unpleasant to be around. Luckily, I’m able to keep most of my judgmental comments to myself. But really, every woman who passes me, I’m thinking: in two weeks, my legs will be as thin as hers, right?
Gaining weight becomes an irrational fear
I’ve never been so scared of anything in my life than I am now to put on weight. Yes, those ten minutes after a good weigh-in are exciting and makes you feel good, but then the second after you eat something, it’s easy to go into a full-blown panic attack that you’re already gaining the weight back. Although this sounds stupid and ridiculous, I promise it won’t feel like it once you find yourself crying in a corner asking yourself why you’re still fat. This is the worst feeling in the world. If you’re getting into the weight loss business, do your best to avoid this bullshit.
Enviousness, Resentfulness, and other Undesirable Traits.
You start to notice your girlfriends who eat as much as they want whenever they want, yet they still remain stick then. Yet you have to work your ass off in order to look half as good as they do. This obviously sucks, and can cause problems in your friendships if you allow them to. Try your best to not let this happen. Remember, the women in your life have many wonderful qualities that you should focus on, and the fact that they effortlessly look flawless should not be one of them.
Your goals are never good enough.
My original goal was to lose 20 pounds. I’ve now lost well over 30, and I’m still not as thin as I want to be. This shit fucks with your head, people. Be conscious of realistic, tangible goals, and stick with them. Otherwise, you’ll turn into a luni nut job who is constantly being accused of having an eating disorder. And trust me, nothing is more embarrassing than people thinking you’re even more unstable than you actually are.
You’re constantly disappointed in yourself.
I suppose this encompasses a few of the others, but I cannot emphasize it enough: once you’re fully entrenched in the weight loss life style, it’s easy to get distracted by how far you have to go verses how much you’ve already accomplished. Suddenly, things that never bothered you before are the worst things that could ever happen. For example, a few weeks ago I ate a bite of a lemon bar, not even thinking that a) it has egg and butter in it (both of which I don’t eat since I’m vegan, which is also something that developed during my weight loss), and b) it’s shit for my body. Obviously, I was going to blow up like a balloon because I ate one fucking bite of a lemon bar, right? I hated myself the rest of the day. Self-hatred is a quality I’ve never identified with, which is pretty easy to do when you don’t hold yourself to such high standards. But now, I find myself questioning my entire character based on minuscule actions. This obviously sucks. Avoid avoid avoid.
There you have it- the sickening yet entertaining realities of a 20-year-old college student’s weight loss journey. I know this is a lot of information at once; a lot of it personal and off-putting yet somehow comical and deliriously amusing. But, it’s all raw and as real as it gets. This is how it goes. If you’re considering jumping into this though, the number one thing to remember is this: love yourself unconditionally throughout the process. Never forget how awesome you are, and that the only person you should try to be better than was the woman you were yesterday. You should constantly try and improve, in every department of your life. But never forget how important and wonderful you are, regardless of what the scale says. Hold on your to your self-worth, ladies. Ultimately, it’s all you’ve got.
Being the girl trying to make friends in on public transportation is on par with being a PETA employee at a 4th of July barbeque. Your presence is unwanted, you make everyone around you severely uncomfortable, and they’d rather be having sex with a giraffe than engage in conversation with you.
Although this reality was instilled in me from a young age, I’ve persevered in my never-ending dream of being that girl. Not the girl who goes off on the realities deer testicle cruelty, but the one who has a strong urge to chat up everyone within five feet of me, regardless of the time or place. There are few things that I feel adamantly about, but one of them has consistently been to make as many friends as possible, particularly in odd and obscure places, which tend to be where no one else has any interest in making friends at all. This includes the following locations: 7 AM ferry rides on the way to work, elevators, obnoxiously long lines in coffee shops, airports, airplanes, movie theaters, the back-room porn section at the rental store, BART, public bathrooms, McDonalds at 2 AM, and clerks at CVS. In my experience, the McDonalds 2 AM crowd has been the most receptive.
This past week, I flew to Washington DC for my summer internship. For someone who identifies with the less productive and rather lost demographic of our society, it’s odd that I’m employed by an extremely influential political lobbying organization. This is by far the most serious resume-builder I’ve ever partaken in, and as you can imagine, keeping myself and my entire office entertained has become an evolving challenge.
The firm put me on a plane to DC to participate in a 3-day intern training seminar, but I flew in a few days early to shoot the shit with the fam. Most of Janet’s family lives on the east coast, so it essentially put me in first place for Favorite Child Award by extending my trip to spend time with her mother, sister, and brother-in-law. Flying to DC from San Francisco is a long flight. Fortunately, with a winning personality and mildly obnoxious sense of humor, I am bound to get at least one life story out of these trips.
I sat down in my seat next to a guy in his mid-20’s, who was focusing so intently on the plane’s food menu, you would have thought he was analyzing Iran’s nuclear development plan. This gave off the immediate impression that I was either sitting next to a flight critic, or a Jew. I decided to follow my gut instinct and go with the latter. I knew this because Jews take food more seriously than almost anyone, and yes, that includes plane/food critics.
Naturally, I followed suit and grabbed my own food menu. The only mildly appealing thing on it was the grapefruit cocktail, but considering it was $9 and I’ve heard horror stories about people using fake ID’s on planes, I decided to wait until they came around with free peanuts.
In the mean time, I put my menu away and eyed my fellow tribe member. There was no need to be sneaky while doing this, or use my peripheries to observe him. If I had straddled him and hit him across the face with the conveniently located Sky Mall catalogue, he wouldn’t have noticed due to his undivided attention on the turkey club sandwich.
When the plane took off, he turned to me and started telling about how he had just come back from a business trip, and on that trip he saw a plane in a museum that had apparently crashed years before, and had killed over 100 people. Great, I thought. Brides Maids plane scene round 2.
I responded to his story by asking if he’d seen Brides Maids, and that he reminded me very much of the unattractive unstable woman who scares the shit out of Christin Wigg by telling her a story about a crashed plane. He tells me he has not seen Brides Maids. This, inevitably, brought our already uncomfortable conversation to a screeching halt.
He attempted to make a recovery by saying that he really wants to see Brides Maids and hears it’s hilarious, and that he instantly had regretted telling me his plane story five minutes into the plane ride. “I’m normal, I swear,” he informed me, “And I’m sorry you associated me with some unattractive unstable woman.”
This was the beginning of a conversation that did not end for the next five hours. We couldn’t stop. By the end of it I had learned all about his Jewish upbringing in New Jersey, his entire family including his grandmother in Florida, his friendship with my previous boss at American Jewish World Service, his success as an intelligence analyst for the government, and his sincere and all consuming passion for Jersey Shore. Meeting people like this on an airplane is like discovering your long lost twin, and the twin is black. It’s enthralling, overwhelming, titillating, and really a unique situation. Regardless, it is happening, and therefore, you’re inevitably bound to fall in love.
At the end of the plane ride, he asked if he could get my number, because he needed to take me to my first Dunken Donuts experience. Eric is an avid Dunken Donuts supporter, and allegedly spends every Saturday morning people-watching at Dunken Donuts while he sips on his iced coffee. Why he felt the need to share this information with me was unclear. The last time someone proudly proclaimed an unattractive quality to me, it was my previous roommate expressing her enjoyment in sleeping with her roommates’ previous sexual partners. Needless to say, I moved out approximately 48 hours later.
Being a vegan and calorie counting Nazi, I secretly knew there was no way this airplane stranger was dragging me to a place that prides themselves on producing mass amounts of my worst nightmare. The last thing I needed was a sprinkled and fried heart-attack and an ass the size of a water buffalo. But, I hadn’t been drinking in weeks and was in desperate need of a good story. Long story short: he got the number.
As we walked out of the airport together, my aunt and uncle greeted me as he awkwardly waved and said, “see you tomorrow.” As expected, my family looked horrified, and my aunt already had her phone out with my mother on speed dial to only confirm their theories of me being a raging whore.
They both hugged me, and my aunt managed to say through clenched teeth, “wow, Lena, you really do make friends everywhere you go!”
“I do, Aunt Elaine,” I agreed. “I do. But don’t worry. He’s a nice Jewish boy from New Jersey. His role model is Pauly D, he hasn’t called his grandmother in Florida in five years, and is a Wikapedia expert. He’s taking me on a date to Dunken Donuts tomorrow. Seems promising.”
I texted him the next day to ask if any food would be involved in this outing besides iced coffee and shit. He agreed that coffee wasn’t a reasonable dinner, so we’d go to a restaurant and eat real food. In my experience, I’ve seen that if you’re suddenly very impressed by a guy that agrees to feed you more than donuts and coffee all night, it’s probably a red flag. But a story was long overdue, and if an opportunity is there to go on a date with an airplane stranger in an unfamiliar city by myself, I’d be downright stupid to pass it up.
We met in China Town after a devastatingly disappointing Metro ride. Contrarily to my own highly important belief, people do not always take forms of public transportation for the purpose of bonding with their fellow lower-middle class members of society. This is when I decided that it’s important for me to make a lot of money one day. If the homeless, mentally unstable and impoverished aren’t willing to talk to me, then so be it, I’ll resort to harassing cab drivers for the rest of my life.
We met in China Town and awkwardly hugged when we saw each other. It probably wouldn’t have been awkward otherwise, but the fact that we met on an airplane the night before didn’t leave us a lot of options. We quickly stopped embracing and started walking towards his favorite restaurant.
Unfortunately, this was a 21 and over kind of restaurant, which left everyone in the situation (me, Eric, and the bouncer) all feeling very uncomfortable. I was embarrassed because if I knew we’d be going there, I would have brought one of my fake ID’s. Eric was disoriented because he’s 26 years old, and hadn’t realized until this point that he was going out with someone six years younger than him. The bouncer seemed confused about a lot of things, I can only assume regarding Eric’s interest in a 20-year-old, and his own obesity, my guess being somewhere in the 400 to 600 pound range. Out of every upsetting factor in this situation, I’m still not sure which one was the most displeasing.
Unfortunately, there were a lot of 21 and up restaurants in DC. In California the legal age to consume food is zero, but I suppose I was in the city where all of the law-making assholes reside, so things were slightly more strict here. Luckily, a sushi place called “Wok N’ Roll” allowed minors, which in this area of town seemed to be as unlikely as finding a brothel in Vatican. Being the scandalous and daring young Jews that we are, we headed in to get our Wok N’ Roll on.
The food was descent, but the conversation was better. Eric turned out to be cooler than just a story- he was actually tolerable to be around and someone I would definitely consider penetrating down the rode. This combination of traits does not come by often, especially in most strangers I befriend on planes.
The Asians were trying to get us out of there quickly, but we persisted in staying as long as we wanted, as no other venue within 10 miles of the restaurant would let me in. He made some cute yet uncomfortable, “You’re a least 18 though, right?” jokes, and also made observations regarding the Asians’ pushiness in getting us out to there. “The fucking Japanese,” he said in the same volume one would scream “Objection!” in a courtroom. “I bet they know we’re Jewish! Anti-semites, trying to move us out of here. Fuck them!”
“Fuck them, indeed,” I managed to say in between bites of tempura. Right when I said this, a round black child started running across the restaurant with his hand covering his mouth. Right when he was running past me and I was considering sticking my foot out and tripping his fat ass, he projectile vomited all over the restaurant. More specifically, me. In my hair, on my chair, and on my dress. Yes, that happened.
It took approximately 30 seconds for Eric and I to comprehend what had just happened. Thankfully there was a table of 17-year-old JAP’y girls sitting at the table next to us, to ensure that I was fully aware of how ruined my life had just become.
“Oh my God oh my God oh my Goodddd! Girl, there is throw-up in your hair! And on your dress. YOUR DRESS. It is so cute. Oh my God. Here’s a napkin, girl. Oh my God. Go to the bathroom right now and clean yourself up.”
I took Regina George #1 through #7’s advice and went to the bathroom. Fortunately the damage was minimal, and I made a full recovery. In the following four minutes, Eric and I got over the awkward, convinced the restaurant that they’d be terrible to actually make us pay for our meal, and left. “I understand these are unusual circumstances…but goodbye.” were Eric’s last words to our Japanese waitress.
Somehow, we managed to continue on through the rest of our evening as if I was never thrown up on by Fat Joe and Whitney Houston’ love child. We made out in public, acted like we’d known each other forever, and eventually parted ways.
All in all, I’d say that this newfound friendship was a success. It isn’t often that you meet strangers on planes and you find yourself making out with them, let alone don’t get murdered by them, which is sometimes what strangers do.
Now back in California, I’ve moved on, and have continued my never-ending pursuit of discovering vulgar yet wonderful ways of getting good stories. I’m a writer; if I was doing anything else, I’d call it unprofessional.
I was in 7th grade when I realized I was a cougar. I was at my friend Joe’s party (why we were having parties in 7th grade is unclear to me. We should have been shopping at the Limited Too or comparing our retainer designs or something like that), when I decided to flirt with the one male in the house that I shouldn’t have: his younger brother. Will was two years my junior, but was as sexy as 5th graders came by those days. For some reason he was dressed as a butler at this event, and was wearing a full suit. I don’t know why he was dressed like that, or who forced this poor kid to stand at the door all night collecting people’s coats. All I know is that he was hot, and the costume top hat he was wearing gave him an extra edge.
Needless to say, to my disappointment I did not make out with Will that night. His mother caught me eyeing him from across the punch bowl, and she promptly sent him to his room. I instead settled for his brother, who was actually my age, and continues to be my best friend to this day. But good things come to those who wait, and I persevered in this dream of mine until I did in fact sleep with him. It was the summer I graduated high school, and I was 18 and he was 16. I may be many things, my friends, but I am not a quitter.
This was my first cougar moment, and the rest to follow seemed fairly trivial. There were a few alcohol-induced mishaps with younger kids at my high school, but nothing that was particularly memorable. And if they were memorable, I’m not sharing them for good reasons. Trust me, if I can’t see you benefiting from a story at all- not even the smallest laugh or uncomfortable look of confusion- then I’m definitely not going to share it.
Anyone who spends significant amounts of time me is well aware that I’ve done many questionable things in my lifetime. Others would say that “questionable” is a generous word. “Bad shit crazy” or “you need to stop drinking” may be more appropriate terminology. But given recent events, I’m creating a new category: “Trust me, one day, it’ll make sense.”
Here is what inspired that category: I hooked up with a 16-year-old. Yes, as the 20-year-old that I am today. Many of you may ask where I even found a-16-year old, given that I live in a college town, and everyday I am surrounded by college students. Well, my friends, it certainly did come as a challenge. Janet and Matt forced me to get a job to save money for Israel/support my hectic drinking schedule, and the one I landed was being a youth group advisor at the local synagogue. Essentially, I was overseeing all high school activity that took place at the temple, and I was there to support and promote Jewish learning in a youth group environment. The students probably didn’t learn shit having me as a teacher, but I took a very important life lesson from this experience: I was never meant to work with kids.
Let’s call this 16-year-old Mor. Mor is tall, Israeli, has blue eyes, and has a smile that makes me want to take my clothes off. He’s adorable, and I wanted him in a bad way for the entire ten months that I was eye-fucking him across the classroom.
Over the year, Mor and I became fairly close. I promised him that once the year was over I’d invite him to a party, but promised myself and several others that if I did, I wouldn’t touch him. It would be a purely friendly invitation, and when I did in fact invite him to my going-away party, it was. I had very honest intentions when making that decision. But honestly, my intentions changed fairly quickly after a cocktail or three and he was standing much closer to me than he should’ve been. Before I knew it, I was sitting on my kitchen counter with him in between my legs, and needless to say, it wasn’t particularly professional. There I was, hooking up with a junior in high school, oblivious to the fact that the other 80 kids in the room were probably confused, disgusted, and highly amused all at the same time. Whatever, I honestly don’t give a shit. In the words of my beloved Chelsea, “You should always speak your mind, and be bold, and be obnoxious, and do whatever you want and don’t let anybody tell you to stop it.” So, thanks to her wise words of advice, I did exactly that. She also went onto say, “Why he would agree to install an eight-by-eight-foot fish tank and then not fill it with a single dolphin made me want to burn his eyebrows off,” but that’s not the point.
Anyway, before I knew it the party had cleared out (other than some stragglers, including a 40-year-old black pimp wearing an all white suit, giggin in my living room). I soon had this kid in my bed faster than my roommates could process in their belligerent state what was happening. And it was awesome.
I will say this now: I did not have sex with him. Trust me, this is not something I would lie about. At this point, I think I’ve proven that any shame I have will be reserved for something very extreme, like incest or a burying a body in my backyard.
Waking up to this kid in my bed made me surprisingly happy. Usually when this happens, I expect that person clothed and out of my house within 10 minutes of waking. I have very little tolerance for small talk in these situations, especially when it involves asking what classes you’re taking this term, if you went to the Ducks game, and what your plans are for the rest of the weekend. These are three topics that rank highest in the “I Don’t Know You, Don’t Give a Shit About You, but Still Want to Come Off As a Decent Guy” category. That, and asking where your bathroom is.
Anyway, I surprised myself by waking up, looking at who was laying next to me, and hoping he’d never leave. And he didn’t- at least for the next six hours. Although it came as a major challenge to both of us, we eventually made it out of my room, showered, and went to lunch together…in public. Now, this is something I would never, ever do with a guy the next morning. It’s simply against my policy and much too civilized for my taste. But, I had my hot 16-year-old student with me, in a restaurant, in public, and I couldn’t have been happier about it.
To those of you who are either throwing up or speechless at this point- you should’ve stopped reading a long time ago. This story doesn’t get any better from here. But to the rest of you, who see any light of hope in this situation, I hope this gave some context and explanation to this rather shocking yet extraordinary event. I also hope it prepares you for our wedding, which will most likely be taking place in Israel, and conducted by Zev, Mor’s favorite fellow Shalhevet student.
Mor, I can’t wait. Try not to find a new 20-year-old teacher while I’m in Israel, okay? Miss you already, chamudi.
And to the rest of you: this is proof. Do what you want. You’d be surprised what you can get away with. Actually, it just occurred to me that that’s probably something a rapist would say. Whatever. As long as you’re not plotting anyone’s murder, I think it’s safe to go for it and do whatever makes you and your caslopus happy. Good luck, my fellow cougars. You can do it.