Monday, June 30, 2008

$75 to the blonde in the corner...

There was a fund raiser tonight at T647 for Dan, in memoriam. I showed up late, missed all the solemn sober parts. But I did manage to arrive in time for the live male auction. I bid on one "item" (guy), and this is what they hollered when I did:

"$75 to the blonde in the corner..."

It was surreal, as most memorials are, and somehow, it seemed a fitting memoriam to a young, sweet boy who is no longer with us.

After six months without him, I still can't fathom it.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

calling card

A guest left me his phone number tonight. At least I think that's what happened. Again, on the theme of me not getting what people want at all, here's the scenario:

Attractive dark haired guy comes in for dinner with three hot girls, 2 blondes who I think are twins and 1 brunette. I have a lovely rapport with the table but end up ignoring them mostly when we get slammed 20 minutes after they come in.

The Dude is the kind of guy who cracks a joke every time I come to the table; I can already picture him as an old man. I laugh; I am obligated to. I don't just feel obligated to laugh because I am their waitress, but moreover because I'm a nice person. This is a role I often play in my life. Besides, everyone likes to feel funny, a part of something, as though they get the inside joke. So what harm can an innocuous giggle do?

The table finishes up, settles up, and leaves. When I close out their check, I find that the Dude has left his business card behind. Apparently by day he is a property manager. I'm confused. Maybe he wants me to rent me a place? I think. Or...oh...

Maybe he wants to manage
my property.

I don't know if I should feel flattered or pathetic. I'm happy and in love with the Mathematician, but it's still nice to feel like a hot ticket every once in a while. No harm in that, right? On the other hand, this attractive guy is out on the town with three hot girls -- why would he ever be hitting on me? Does he think I'm desperate or would be an easy lay or something because I'm just some dumb waitress? Or maybe it was because I laughed at his jokes? Moreover, was our rapport even passably flirting? I really thought we were just talking here. Did something I said make him think I was into him?

Regardless, for fun, I imagine what would happen if this was another life and I was single and I actually called the Dude. I bet he'd be surprised. I imagine what a date with him would be like, the lame jokes that I'd have to laugh at, the posturing, the "wow, that's so smart/funny/interesting" that would naturally ensue.

And suddenly I understand why he's single. And feel so happy to be in my own life, not this potential alternate universe, on a date with well-meaning hokey joke Dude.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

born blonde

One day very soon (today?) pour on BORN BLONDE and be born all over again -- a delicate blonde.

It even makes you feel blonde.

-- Clairol Born Blonde print ad circa 1965

Friday, June 27, 2008

where my interests truly lie

Every time I get a new issue of Vogue or Elle, I toss it on top of the filing cabinet to the left of my desk to read "when I have time." I'm like 8 months behind (as is probably evidenced by my clothing.)

Every time I get a new issue of Food & Wine, Gourmet, or Imbibe, I tear it open and begin scanning the pages immediately. My heart leaps at the gorgeous four color photos, the exotic ingredients, and the fascinating tales of food in distant lands.

I just ealized this the other day. I guess it's indicative of where my interests truly lie.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

what people want

Sometimes I feel like I just don't get people. Here are a few snippets from my night to help you understand what I mean:

Table 61 orders, tastes, then eschew two awesome reserve list bottles of Tempranillo, preferring the comparatively pedestrian one that we sell by the glass to the much older, more mature, more complex wine.

A party of six waits an hour and a half for a table and orders just six tapas when they finally sit down to dine. I mean, sometimes I drink more than I eat when I go out, but really? An hour and a half?

Table 64 demanded that I tell them exactly what to order. When I asked if they had any preferences, they replied, "We don't really care. We want whatever YOU think is best. We just want you to feed us."

Big tips were left all around, and all of these people were pleasant and charming. I loved serving them...I just didn't get any of them. Where was the scripted speech? Where were the obvious answers. It was like everyone in my section was playing stump the blonde...and competing to win!

Never a dull moment for this Toro blonde.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

identifying as a blonde

I got to thinking rather nostalgically about one of my former Sarah Lawrence classmates today, Bethany. Bethany was a year behind me and one of the cutest, sweetest, most sought after little baby dykes on campus. We lost touch when I was away during junior year, but on my very first day of school the following fall, she was one of the first people I ran into. I was super pscyhed!

We swapped stories over coffee and bagels before running off to interview our teachers and pick classes (yes, we interviewed them, it's THAT kind of school.) I went on and on about how I felt I'd changed so much in the past year, about how much I'd grown from living on my own for a while and then going to study abroad in Ireland, and living as this cultural "outsider".

I forget the point I was making but about half way through our visit , I said: "And you know, Bethany," when she suddenly got this funny look on her face and started laughing. "What?" I said. "Do I have something on my face?

"No, it's just...I mean, I guess I forgot to tell you...I changed my name and my gender while you were away."

"Oh. Okay," I said. I was a little surprised, but this kinda thing happens often at Sarah Lawrence. "So wait...can I still call you Bethany?"

"No," she laughed. "No, you can't."

"Oh, duh. Sorry," I grimaced at my own ditziness. "Well, what should I call you, then?"

"Drew. My new name is Drew," she told me.

"Cool. And you know, Drew..." and on I went, finishing my thought.

And thus, at 20, Bethany became Drew. Nothing changed physically about Drew. Drew continued to date women (who also identified as men, which made things really confusing when she'd tell me about her boyfriends and I'd meet them and they were actually anatomically female, but that's another blog post) and continued to be the same person I knew and adored, but for this massive new difference -- Drew now identified as a man.

I got to thinking about the verb "identify" today, and about the weird brain bendy thing that used to happen when people asked me what my hair color was previous to dying it blonde for this project. Since I was about ten it has been light brown, beyond a shadow of a doubt. Yet I have thought of myself as a blonde for all of my 28 years. When asked about my hair color, I'd tell people, "I'm blonde." Duh.

Though I was only naturally blonde for the first ten years of my life, have I identified as a blonde for the rest?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Monday, June 23, 2008

rude bike guy

Dear Bike Guy on Comm Ave. who scared the crap out of me tonight by trying to give me an "UP TOP" hi-five while I was trying to hail a cab:

I was feeling extremely nauseated when you decided to "freak me out" with your little "biker-guy antics." I very nearly vomited all over you. I know bike-types claim a bad-ass aversion to drivers and car-types, but nauseated pedestrians? Really? I hope you get doored.

I also recommend getting a hair cut: the curly white boy 'fro isn't doing you any favors.

Under-the-weather Blonde

Sunday, June 22, 2008

what I saw at Island Creek

See all those fuzzy little lumps down there? Looks like rocks, right? Wrong. Those are oysters. Big, sweet, briny, delicious oysters.

You can read about my recent excursion to the Oyster Farm in the Dig on Wednesday. But in case you're wondering what your food looks like in it's natural habitat, here's a peek.


Saturday, June 21, 2008

guilty pleasures II

ME: How was your night tonight? What did you do?

MATHEMATICIAN: Not much. I puttered around. Practiced Al Green's "Let's stay together" on the piano. Ate a burrito. Oh, and I also watched You've Got Mail.

ME: Really? Was it good.

MATHEMATICIAN: Yes. Yes, it was.

ME: I think it sounds like you have PMS again.

Friday, June 20, 2008

southern charm

Tonight someone mistook me as a Southern girl, and I think it was literally because of my blonde coif.

I was mortified.

Not that there's anything wrong with being Southern. I guess I'm just into being Northern. Who knew I had yankee pride?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

my least favorite things

One of my least favorite things about being a waitress is having to pretend to care and furthermore, to diffuse, things that aren't and shouldn't be your problem. This is also part of the job description for publicists. I am very good at this facet of both jobs. But I also kinda hate it.

Like tonight, when a bar guest decided to hold me to task for providing a sub-par level of service despite the fact that he wasn't even my table. What he expected from me, I'm not really certain: he+guest came in late for cocktails and ordered everything from the bar. They affirmed when they walked in that ordering from the bar was fine -- I would happily have served them if they'd asked since I didn't have much else going on, but since they didn't have that preference, in my mind, that was that. And the expectations were clear.

Then, right before leaving, the now intoxicated guest decided to inform me that I'd made him feel "dissed and ignored" all night (his words.) Gee, perhaps that's because I WAS ignoring him since I assumed he was all set with the lovely bartender's service? Apparently, he was upset with me for not clearing away his empty glasses all night.

I'm sorry, I didn't realize that was a requirement of NOT being your waitress, I wanted to say.

When I'm finished with a drink and being serviced by the bar, I usually put the empty glass back where I got it: on the bar in front of the bartender
, I wanted to say.

I'm sorry, who are you and where were you sitting?
I REALLY wanted to say.

I refrained.

Instead I apologized even though I'm not sorry, told them I'd have been happy to provide table service if I'd known that to be their preference and I'm so sorry, and that I really didn't mean to make them feel ignored, disrespected, or unloved (which is true -- I don't usually want to make anyone feel that way) and I'm so sorry.

What a minute, am I talking to a total stranger at the restaurant, or a codependent hypersensitive boyfriend? What do people expect when they go out for a drink? A pedicure and a neck massage while I hand-feed you peeled grapes and fan you with a palm frond despite NOT being your server?

And therein lies the root of the problem, I guess: unmanaged expectations = failure in the eyes of the people. But it still blows, because how am I supposed to read everyone's mind all of the time, especially when they SAY one thing and DO another?

I don't think he left any happier despite my profuse apologies and efforts to placate him, and this lame interaction totally ruined an otherwise pleasant and totally nondescript night. Thanks for taking a shit on my head, guy.

Do you see why this dynamic of my job is one of my LEAST favorite things?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


"I want to ask you a question about the tomatoes you use here," the woman at Table 42 says.

"Okay," I say.

"She means vis-a-vis salmonella," says her male counterpart.

I stare at him blankly, not because we use salmonella tomatoes, or because I think he has anything to worry about. All of our produce is impeccably sourced, I mean, hello, this is a Ken Oringer restaurant.

I just can't believe the man at Table 42 actually used the term vis-a-vis in a sentence.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

LUPEc had a dress up party...

...and someone came had too many pimm's cups to post tonight. Pics will follow...

Monday, June 16, 2008

the insuffefrable blonde bridezilla from Delta Flight 714 to Boston OR "my boyfriend, the perv"

On our way home from Tucson tonight the Mathematician and I got into a fight with a total stranger.

It started when I accused him of having B.O. We eventually determined that he was not in fact the cause of the smell that was permeating our section of the plane, and began swiveling our heads this way and that to see if we could surreptitiously deduce who was. The blonde girl sitting behind me in Seat 24F thought he was looking at her. She took this as a come on and called him a perv.

Really, it was kind of amazing.

A row-wide battle ensued, involving the two people sitting to the left of the Princess, who took our side, and a verbal confrontation between the Princess and myself. I intervened in an attempt to explain the absurd truth to her, but she just wouldn't stop talking. It was a nightmarish stream of patronizing drivel: "I just feel bad for you," she kept saying, presumably because I am dating a perv. All I could think? What awful planet did you come from and why are you wearing your sunglasses inside?

When the Princess first boarded the plane, I actually felt bad for her: she had some sob story about missing her connection to Providence and how she's getting married in 2 days in Newport. I know I'd be stressed. Retrospectively I see that pity was wasted. This girl is a rare specimen: the kind of entitled asshole who tortures strangers on planes for no reason. The Mathematician even heard the stewardesses bitching about her.

My heart soared with delight when we saw her again from the cab stand, wandering up to limousines and knocking on their doors in the Logan Airport parking lot in search of the car her "fiance" allegedly booked for her. Presumably he was too busy banging a hooker at his bachelor party to come to Boston and collect her himself.

I took this as a valuable, eye-opening lesson: the worst people in the world don't only go to restaurants to torture waitresses. They also fly on planes, torture stewardesses, and pick fights with other blondes. A remarkable experience, if only because it is so drastically beyond the modus operandi of the generally polite public.

I am thrilled to note that it will be raining all week in Newport. Who the hell gets married on a Wednesday, anyway?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

arizona scenes

This is what the mountains look like here...

And this is what the sunset looks like. I am laughing, not crying. Aren't you glad I dressed like a gypsy for the event?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

mole experience

Tonight I had the most amazing mole poblano sauce I have ever had in my entire life at a Tucson institution, Cafe Poca Cosa.

Rich, nutty, chocolate-y. It was akin to eating a chocolate bar, only savory instead of sweet, with so many layers of complex flavor. And that was just one of three amazing items on the "chef's choice" plate this evening.

I realized as I relished the bold, brazen flavors: "This is what every restaurant espousing big, bold, Latin-inspired dishes is trying to be." It was a southwestern food epiphany; somewhat transcendent.

May you be so lucky as to always have one of these when you travel.

Friday, June 13, 2008

in Arizona

It is 101 degrees.

Seven minutes in the sun without sun-block on and I am sunburned. You can see the tan lines on my decolletage where the tee-shirt material ends and the scoop neck on my top begins.

The weather isn't uncomfortable exactly -- most of the day is spent indoors, in blasting, icy air-conditioning. Shuttling between the artificial cold and the blistering heat of the sun, somehow the body's temperature regulates.

Any sweat that forms on the brow evaporates instantly in the dry desert air.

How did people live here before there was air conditioning/swamp coolers/electric fans?

Thursday, June 12, 2008


My favorite thing about Arizona so far? Cacti growing everywhere. There are many kinds, but most satisfyingly, there are tons of this species that look exactly like this:

Just like in a Looney Toons cartoon, right? If you asked me to draw a picture of a cactus, though I have never actually seen one in it's natural habitat before and I'm certain there are thousands of species of cacti, a crude rendering of this image is exactly what I would have drawn.

And here it exists in real life, in all of it's stereotypical glory. Without a shred of irony. Like watching Italians press their hands together and shake them to you in prayer position while saying "Grazie, Grazie" in Rome. Or watching French people chain smoke while sipping lattes in Paris.

To come: a photo of me in front of one. Preferably in a sombrero.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

checked bags

I am going on a trip to the Southwest tomorrow, to Arizona. I have never been to the desert before, and I'm excited.

I'll be getting up at 5 AM to make the flight which scares me because I can only imagine that I'll have lots of little last minute getting ready details to take care of which won't present themselves as a priority until tomorrow morning. In light of this I was thrilled when Delta emailed me a full 24 hours before my trip to let me know that I could check in for my flight online! I did it right away, printed out my boarding pass, plus an extra copy just in case.

Then the Delta website prompted me to check my bags online. Excuse me, but how does one check their bags online? Are they referring to virtual baggage, like friendships gone sour and ex-boyfriends?

I clicked "skip this step" for fear that Delta wouldn't be able to take all mine over the Internet.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

dear june...

...August called. It wants it's weather back.

How can I have anything else to say when my fourth floor walk-up is still so hot?

Monday, June 09, 2008

Sexism Sells

This video made me so frustrated, angry, depressed and upset that my eyes welled up and I very nearly started to cry. Right here, in my office. At work. Awesome.

How very "weaker sex" of me.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

blonde perceptions

Blondes make the best victims. They're like virgin snow that shows up the bloody footprints.
-- Alfred Hitchcock

Saturday, June 07, 2008


The air blowing through the open window in my office is hot -- actually warmer than the temperature of the air inside, maybe even warmer than the temperature of my skin. Instead of opening a window to let the fresh air in, I am letting the cool air out like a sigh.

I am reading and writing about Rioja. I am hammering out a sentence. "After the Phylloxera epidemic of the 1880s..." I write, then delete. "Rioja gained international attention as a wine region thanks to some fancy wine-makers from Bordeaux..." Delete, delete, delete. I am thinking about the grapes on the vine, imagining them bouncing in a hot summer breeze like the one drifting in through my window.

The phone rings. It's a call I've anticipated -- a friend letting me know that his father, who has been on his deathbed for days, has passed. There were peonies on the table and his wife was by his side.

"About an hour ago?" I ask. "I was thinking of you then, wondering if it was happening at that moment." Somehow, as I sat there picking at my salad, I knew.

I can't really think of what to do next, so I text the Mathematician. I know he won't be able to talk because he's away on a business trip, but I just feel like he should know right away. "His father passed away."

As I type it on my crude cellphone keypad, my mind snags on that phrase: "Passed away", the polite way to say someone has died. I have always preferred that phrase when discussing death -- it seems elegant and old fashioned to me, like white gloves or wearing hats. It makes me think of ships passing in the night, of people passing by on the street, as though the old man's soul just passed us all by as it rushes off to a different place. There's something soft about it that just feels right.

Friday, June 06, 2008

the current state of hair styling affairs

I've mentioned the roller set on this site several times. I've posted photos to show what the new short hair-do looks like after I use it. But I've never shown you all a picture of the funniest image of all -- the hair done up in curlers like it's the '50s.

So, here you go.

way too tired, etc to post...

So, you all get a pic of Jean Harlow...

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Old friends

The first time I ever hung out with Mary we were fourteen years old. She had just moved to Amherst, NH and she hated me because she thought I was "too nice."

Then we decided to hang out one night. We got stoned (my first time), watched Dirty Dancing, and ate raw cookie dough out of the Pillsbury tube. Thereafter we were inseparable.

Mary is visiting me from Portland, OR this week. Tonight we decided to chase that feeling.

Incidentally, when I caught up with Mary for the first time in half a decade about a year ago and told her about my Undercover Blonde project, she just laughed: "I don't get it, Kir. To me, you were always blonde."

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

marilyn moments

What's Marilyn doing in the bathroom at Green Street?

This is one of the only photos I've ever seen of her looking like a real lady, roots and misbehaving hair all.

We all have the moments, I guess.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Happy Birthday Norma Jean!

My favorite blonde would have celebrated her 82nd birthday yesterday and I completely missed it because I was too busy drinking pink wine 'til all hours of the morning at Eastern Standard.

Incidentally, the reason I've been drinking pink wine is because I'm working on a story about it for the Second Glass. But that's just me turning a recent obsession into a productive tax-time write off. I've loved rose since I realized that it's different from blush wine, but for some reason since the weather turned warm this year I've been obsessed.

And every time I reach for a glass of the stuff I imagine that I'm living in a world where the color scheme of this video clip is the backdrop. A pink set. A pink dress. I care less about the 20 or so men in the background sporting tuxedos. I am far more pleased by the idea of feeling as though you are hanging out inside a big pink cupcake.

I'll bake some in memoriam and honor for you tomorrow, Norma Jean. Happy Birthday!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

donde esta el mathematician?

He's in Portland. I am here, seule. Apparently in his absence my "thing" is to go out on the town with Coco and spend the evening lamenting the fact that our BF's are away.

Not really, actually. We're out 'til all hours. I mean look at us, rolling into Eastern Standard like we own the place at 1:40 a.m. Girl time, really. Both of us love the fact that we don't have anywhere else to be. Do we want last call? Hell Yes.

I thought we were so wild, but all we seem to be talking about 'til 2 am + is our SIG OTHERs. How we love you both, how we miss you both, etc, etc.

Is that what happens when you get older?