Thursday, December 01, 2005

Trepidation

So, I haven't posted anything in months. There's good reason for that.

You see, my last post about the Italian in the wine store wasn't very good, and caused me far more trouble than it was worth. I tried to make it cinematic & interesting, but I rushed though it, and it shows. I can accept that it's not my best writing. Really, I was plowing through the piece for the wrong reasons. I was trying desperately to get something posted on this site, to actually get some traction with this project, to be a little less self-critical and self-censoring for once. The result? A post that is undeniably sub-par.

I wrote that piece around 8/9, hence the date, and posted it about a month later. Two days later, the boy I am seeing--to whom I shall heretofore refer as "the Mathematician"--confronted me about it. All of a sudden we were having an issue and, all of a sudden, a talk. Since then, I've been blog-paralyzed.

At the time of our conversation, the Mathematician and I were a little less serious. More specifically, we were both feeling kinda serious about each other, but weren't using certain types of verbiage, such as "boyfriend" or "girlfriend" to refer to each other and our feelings. I have good reason for this. I just broke up with my fiance of 3 1/2 years. It was recent and colossal, and I need to just take my time right now.

None of this changes the fact that I care about the Mathematician quite a lot. I have since started using the b-word, and am quite psyched about it. And I was upset to learn that he was not psyched to read my post about the Italian in the wine shop.

To understand this, I try to imagine how I'd feel to read a similar story about the Mathematician. Maybe he'd be at a rock show, for some indie band I've never heard of. A cute little thing wearing a tee-shirt for Pinback or the Futureheads or yet another band I've never heard of and cat eye glasses would start talking to him about music. Maybe she's in a band herself, maybe she's even a bassist. She'd be just his type, and they'd have a fantastic, intelligent, and infuriatingly flirtatious conversation. So yes, I can understand where he's coming from. Just imagining him flirting with this indie rock bitch has me hot under the collar. And she's a figment of my imagination--not an Italian who can be found at the wine shop on Tuesdays and Thursday.

So what's a girl to do? What does a writer do when her pet project threatens her love life?

I have this curiosity, this minor obsession even, with the exchanges that occur between men and women, where sexuality is at play and it messes everything up. I have this fantastic title, UNDERCOVER BLONDE. But, more importantly, I have a deeply vested personal objective for this project. It's my attempt to understand how the body betrays us, how external factors, like the way we walk, talk, move, and act can at times speak more loudly about us than our voices do.

Here's an example. When I first started working as a waitress at Tremont 647, someone made up the ridiculous story that before working at the restaurant, I worked as a stripper. "Kitty? Yeah, she totally used to strip. I mean, just look at the way she walks! It's like she's dancing around a stripper pole. Duh!" Maybe it started out as a joke, but it certainly spread as a rumor, and shortly became accepted as fact, all unbeknownst to me (news-flash: people rarely spread lies about you to your face.) Months later a friend mentioned my "previous job" to me casually--to my horror. I turned bright red and almost dropped the plate I was clearing right in a regular's lap. It was humiliating.

Sure, Tremont is your typical cliquey little South End restaurant, and of course they have their own special and especially bitchy ways of teasing the new girls. But, like so many myths, at the core of this one there is some fact. Something about my body, something about the way I move, speak, and act screamed "stripper" to these people. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. I am incredibly self conscious, brutally self critical, and struggle every day with the deeply ingrained mental image of myself as a fat, unloveable little girl.

So, where is that disconnect? How can I be communicating something so far from my true feelings, without even realizing it? It's something that's troubled me since that dirty old bastard ogled me for the very first time at my very first restaurant job when I was just fourteen years old. This blog, this social experiment, the book & personal research I intend to do to support it is all part of my quest to resolve two grossly conflicted parts of myself that somehow share a mind and body. I would like to find a way for these parts to coexist in peace.

My last posting is entirely unsatisfying to me, because all it shows me doing is flirting shamelessly with a stranger for a couple of free glasses of wine, then wondering lamely if he'd have given me freebies if I was fat. That's not what happened. What happened was this:

I had PMS and was feeling exceptionally bloated and ugly that day. I went out to meet my adorable, petite, brunette friend, who has great clothes and was dressed way better than I was. The Italian was friendly and accommodating to me, sure, but I assumed he was just being professional, and hoping for a decent tip. I didn't think for a second that he thought I was pretty--how could he, when I was looking so totally fat & bloated and under-dressed next to my adorable, petite, brunette friend? We got drunk, stayed until close, and as we stumbled out the door, my girlfriend intimated that she thought the Italian liked me. We tabulated the amount of free wine he'd poured for us and decided that, yes, this may in fact be true. Of course, we were drunk, so who knew, and who the fuck cared?

That said, I understand exactly where the Mathematician is coming from. And going forward I will approach this project and all that it entails, starting with this very post, with no small degree of trepidation.

1 comment:

s. said...

I can totally relate...