Some reflections on the human body, and the care of it:
Nails: One of the joys of working with Meg is getting to know her family. I don’t remember if she told you about this, but during one of the early meetings we had for The Misanthrope’s Guide to Life (buy it buy it buy it buy it), my stay in Maryland included a McBlogger Sunday Family Dinner. I have never been more anxious about a meal. My family is small and scattered; we had holiday meals and someone-happens-to-be-in-town meals but not “family dinners.” The idea was straight-up exotic. I was extremely anxious that I wouldn’t “do it right” and Meg had to pull me into the other room and “soothe” me by slapping in the face, forcing a double shot of bourbon down my throat, and calling me a tittybaby. (It worked.) I managed not to fart or cry (audibly) during the meal, and calmed down enough to enjoy the food and the conversation, and then afterwards Meg and I had a talk about it:
Meg: Are you okay now? Did you manage family dinner?
Me: I did. It was… unusual.
Meg: Not really. We do this every Sunday.
Me: Are you kidding? What… how? What do you do?
Meg: Well, Diane cooks a meal, we all come over, and eat it while having a conversation.
Me: A conversation about what?
Meg: Our week…
Me: And everyone cares?
Meg: To an extent.
Me: That’s so weird.
Meg: Well, all right, you can write a post about how quaint and exotic my family’s custom of “Sunday dinner” is. Now, can we work on the book, or do you have more emotions about my family?
Me: I was thinking about your mother’s fingernails.
Meg: That’s healthy.
Me: Has she always had manicured nails?
Meg: I mean, she wasn’t born with them. That would have been uncomfortable for my grandmother. She tends to have nails.
Me: They’re amazing.
Meg: They’re fingernails.
Me: They’re so much more. Watch her gesture. They underline and emphasize every gesture. It’s art. She has ten points of color making her every gesture count, making every movement of her hands meaningful.
Meg: I’m going to call Stella and see if I can trade you and sixty dollars for David Wain.
Me: I wish I had nails. I feel like people would take me more seriously. I could tap on things.
Meg: Eighty dollars and the leftover gummy fangs. Quit acting so weird or you’ll bankrupt me on this trade.
Me: Michael Showalter would let me have nails.
Meg: Yes, because he’s meek. That’s why he always has to be the timid one in their sketches.
Me: I wouldn’t be meek if I had nails.
Meg: You’re not meek, you’re a dumbass.
Me: Evie has nails.
Meg: Evie also got spayed. Connect the dots here, Nancy.
Teeth: I skipped my last dentist appointment because I just couldn’t handle it that day. A friend had had a death in the family so we went out and got reeeeeeling drunk, and somehow I couldn’t handle being hungover and having a stranger look in my mouth, tsk at me, and say “Well, we’ll do what we can.” Two results from skipping this appointment:
1.) The dentist’s office won’t let me go quietly. They’ve called half a dozen times and mailed me an envelope full of pamphlets about gum disease. It’s so passive-aggressive, like the time I misremembered the time of a counseling appointment and got an email that said, “Chris, if you don’t want therapy anymore, please tell me so I can update my files.”
2.) I got a new “oral irrigator.” They’re essentially a cross between floss and a riot hose – a little machine that shoots out a fierce little jet of water which is used to BLAST food and bacteria out of your various mouth crannies. It’s my favorite toy for a lot of reasons:
A) It makes a mess, and I take childish glee in that. Until I got used to it, every time I used it I had to take off my shirt and stand in the bathtub.
B) It’s a wonderful fidget. Meg and I were working on a project recently and I just kept cleaning my teeth when I got stuck. The reservoir holds about forty seconds worth of water, which is about enough time for me to feel like I’ve taken a break and come back to writing refreshed.
C) It’s “body karma.” You know how you make those break-even deals with God and your organs – “Well, I had boiled squash for lunch, so I can have the beer-battered beer with dinner. I can have martinis tonight if I eat the olives, which count as a vegetable. I went to yoga on Thursday, so I can spend Friday lying on the floor watching It’s Garry Shandling’s Show with my mouth slightly open. I’ll get stoned, but out of an apple bong, and then I’ll eat the apple for fiber.” Hopefully turbo-hydro-flossing will make up for menthol-cigarette-and-Diet-Rockstar-energy-drink-fueled night-writing.
D) It actually feels really good and makes my breath LOLS FRESH.
Hair: I got a new, fairly drastic haircut. Those of you who have met me at reader functions or who remember the picture of me tasting the vaginal dye will recall my glorious, flowing locks. They’re gone: I accidentally caught some on my fork and got a tig ol’ bite of hair and chicken, and men working on the subway kept calling me “ma’am” and “sweetheart.” Ma’am I can almost handle, but sweetheart? My stubble is blond and a winter coat conceals my beer gut, Adam’s apple, and general titlessness, so I can imagine mistaking me for a woman at a quick glance, but not an attractive woman. So I got a haircut, and now I’m dreading going back to work. Every single person I work with will remark on it. They will mean well, and yet I will have to have six identical conversations about my haircut:
Person: You got a haircut!
Me: I did.
Person: It looks nice.
Me: Thank you.
Person: Why did you get a haircut?
Me: Some guy called me “sweetheart” at 69th Street Station and we both got really uncomfortable.
The hairdresser was pretty awesome. He had big gold jewelry with big stones in it and talked to me about my career to help me plan a haircut that “represented” me. I’m actually pretty relieved* with the result, even though it makes me look a little like my name is “Skeeter.” We had a long talk about Charlie Sheen.
Love to love you, dear readers.