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lisa marie corley | greenville, sc

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zzz.musings

Peek 6

Is this a peek at growth or abandonment? I can’t decide.

At home tonight, the faded red-orange cover of an old sketchbook — tucked away in the garage behind a stack of boxes — caught my eye. I hadn’t looked through it in more than a decade, maybe even two. I picked it up, hoping I’d experience some sort of connection to my old self. You know….back when I was optimistic and excited and young and didn’t need glasses in order to see.

Looking at these yellowed pages today, I remember losing all track of time, getting lost in the details of seeing and interpreting. I went through a period of fascination with faces, especially eyes. The fine lines in the iris…the sparkly catchlights. I studied closeups in magazines, my own reflection in the mirror, my friends, my dogs, my pony. My best resources were photographs and my own reflection, though….staring intently at friends and animals, I learned, can freak ’em out just a tad.

Here’s a portion of a page, circa 1984. I’ll resist the urge to critique it. How good or sucky it is, is not really the point. The point is that I loved it so much that time itself vanished. Four hours seemed like ten minutes. Poof.

I still get lost in time today, but never while sketching. Nowadays it’s when I’m writing or exploring with my Nikon or immersed in a cool project at work or learning something new. Is it sad that I don’t sketch anymore? When I moved on, was I listening to my heart or was fear keeping me from the pursuit? Did I run from my bliss or did I follow it?

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Peek 1

So.

(Why do I love to start posts with the word ‘so’? I’m on the verge of annoying myself. I’ll bet ‘real’ writers and professors and other smart people gather on their verandas to sip expensive wines and laugh heartily at dimwitted bloggers who aren’t capable of expressing themselves without using dull, ineloquent transitions. And I’m sure they badmouth the cretins who carelessly use apostrophes where there should be quotes. And start sentences with the word ‘and.’)

(Hrrrmpff. Damn wine-sippin’ fuckers.)

Anyway.

(Yeah, so there’s another unfortunate habit. Shut up, I don’t care what you think.)

I’m going to start a little creative project. Verrrrry frequently — my fear of commitment and general laziness won’t quite allow me to say ‘every day’ — I’m going to post a peek into my world. Maybe it’s a fleeting thought. Maybe it’s dialogue with a lunch bud. Perhaps a photo of a sparkly dogwood tree, a shockingly inappropriate drawing, or a page out of my non-virtual, actualrealworld journal. Let’s see what happens.

Kickin’ it off is something you will see stuck to my refrigerator should you be invited to visit my monkeylair. It lists five promises I made to myself around seven years ago. Five promises born of angst within situations and an environment that just wasn’t compatible with ME. I’d allowed myself to become too influenced by what other people wanted of me, and I was fed up. I crafted these promises based on my own inner voice as well as inspired writings by Joseph Campbell and Bucky Fuller. I hung copies everywhere, and did the best I could to live by them.

Within months, my life had hung some exciting and promising curves, just like my roadhugging Mini on those fun mountain roads. In the process of shifting my stuff around, these simple black-and-white promises ended up packed in a box…. where they languished until late last year.

(I’m pausing while you stare in amazement at the implication of that last sentence. Yes, I hear your brain working on the math. Go ahead. Let the notion carry you to its logical conclusion. It is true. Last year…..I was cleaning.)

I display those personal promises again, this time on that special place o’honor in homes across America. Nowadays it serves as a warm reminder that I do have power to affect change, and — more importantly — as a guide to stay the motherdamnfuck on course.

Sometimes I think that I think too much

Awhile back, StumbleUpon took me to an amusing page in which someone had authored “Perfect Day for a Woman” and “Perfect Day for a Man.” The pre-7am and post-11pm items in the man list made me laugh out loud, but I just sort of wrinkled my nose at the woman list.

Of course I was immediately inspired to consider my own perfect day! The early morning hours came pretty easily to me, but once I got myself dressed in my happy little daydream, I couldn’t narrow down my activities to all-time favorites. Should I incorporate time travel and visits to an alternate universe so that I could get everything in? Should I include the porn? Should I assume a given mood or situation or reality? And how can I say that the morning I’d already imagined would be THE perfect morning? Other types of mornings could be blissful, too. Especially ones in which world peace would be involved.

The possibilities created a dizzying, surreal loop in my brain. Too many decisions! Too much pressure! I couldn’t decide where to take it, so the post languished on my hard drive.

It languished, that is, until I ran across it again this evening. With a fresh, just-get-it-done perspective and a minor tweak or two, I got it ready to publish. Yeah, yeah, I know it leaves you hanging at 9:32am. Sorry ’bout that. But what’s important here is that I’ve now freed myself from pondering perfection — ultimately a waste of time, anyway.

A Perfect Morning

6:30 Awaken to a soft breeze coming through my bedroom window. The gentle wind, silk sheets, and meditative sounds of ocean waves (yep, I live on the beach) hug me with a bubbly happiness. It’s a vaguely cool springtime morning, and birds cheerily sing in the distance. My concert-pianist neighbor is obviously home from his whirlwind European tour, because “Fur Elise” teases my eardrums in a pleasingly calm sort of way.
6:31 What’s that I hear? Is it *quiet* beneath the piano melody? Yes, it is! Joy! The ringing in my ears has stopped. I bask.
6:40 Sweet mankitties Ozzy and Blue jump on the bed for some quality cuddle time.
6:58 Roll out of bed to discover I’m sore from my strength training workout two days ago. Ahhhh, every move reminds me that I’m alive and healthy! I slip on a robe, gaze around the room, and….wow, the bedroom-cleaning fairy visited during the night. I am amazed at how quiet he’d been.
6:59 Look out the window to witness something hilarious. Perhaps a squirrel is doing something odd with a nut. I laugh heartily.
7:00 Stroll downstairs where I discover that the bedroom-cleaning fairy’s cousins, the pet-hair-sucking gremlin and kitchen-scouring troll, had also visited during the night. They must’ve just left, because there’s a fresh pot of coffee brewing. It smells so good!
7:05 Settle on my pristine blue couch in my pristine den next to yet another breezy, sunlit, open window. There’s a cup of coffee in my hand, my Powerbook is on my lap, and Ozzy and Blue snuggle beside me.
7:06 Surf mindlessly.
7:16 Discover that Apple has introduced another innovative product, propelling the value of its stock into the stratosphere.
7:17 Confirm with my stock broker that he did, indeed, purchase those 10,000 shares of Apple stock for me last week.
7:18 Venture off couch for a second cup of coffee. Eat a light, healthy, yummy breakfast….perhaps slices of honey crisp apple dipped in toffee-cheesecake-flavored yogurt. And an Asian pear so juicy that it dribbles down my chin.
7:25 Continue surfing mindlessly.
7:35 iPhone rings, and it’s my mom. She’s feeling great today, and is excited that she has plans with her friends and my sister. All is happy and blissful back home. We chat for a bit.
7:55 Head back upstairs, throw on shorts and a t-shirt, and attach my Shuffle to appropriate body parts.
8:00 Run on the beach, alternating exhilarating sprints with slow, easy jogs. I see no other humans, so the beach belongs only to me!
8:45 Endorphins, yeah!!!
9:15 Hydratherapy. Some people call this a ‘shower’.
9:30 Catch a glimpse in the mirror of something in my upper arms NOT jiggling….cool, those triceps kickbacks have finally paid off.
9:32 Pull on jeans and a sleeveless top. I’m energized and ready for anything, baby!

Zoo fun, zoo feelings

On Sunday, I met a friend and her sweet lil’ rambunctious 2-year-old at Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia. Hoping to get plenty of entertaining monkey shots for the blog, I took my trusted Nikon with its FABulous zoom lens — only to realize, AFTER I’d arrived of course, that I’d forgotten to insert the memory card. Geesh. But I had my iPhone!

At left is my favorite animal-shot of the day. The blur was not intentional, but I’m glad it happened. It sends my imagination to a happy place. In my head, I’m lying down, looking up, a slight fuzzy-around-the-edges inebriation kickin’ my consciousness…ocean waves and soft, lyrical reggae melodies are bouncing in the background….a warm, not-too-hot breeze moves over my skin. Perhaps I’m just waking up, wondering why pretty parrots are squawking at me…..

That could easily be a dream scene from an episode of “Lost,” don’t you think? Until the birds start using my eyeballs for target poop-practice, at which time it morphs into a Saturday Night Live skit. Ha!

I was expecting the zoo to depress me a little because I hate to see animals in cages. I hadn’t been to a zoo in years and years, back before natural habitats became the thing. I’d been to rodeos and B&B-type circuses more recently, and couldn’t take my eyes from the sidelines where the animals were penned in tiny areas and, from my point of view in the stands, treated unkindly. A rodeo that came to Greenville about 10 years ago was my last. Ugh! I came away from it very sad.

But, for the most part, Riverbanks was happy. The animals are obviously well cared for, and their areas are well maintained. Some habitats appear too small, but rarely do you see something that looks like a “cage.” A lot of the animals really seemed to enjoy interacting with their visitors!

The only experience that bothered me significantly was the gorilla exhibit. You go in a building, and there’s a large viewing area to the outside where the animals are. As I approached the glass, I noticed a large, soulful gorilla sitting on the ground, leaning against a corner where a glass panel met a wall. He was just sitting, listless, gazing at whatever happened to be around him, nothing seeming to really register with him. He’d look over to his right where children and adults were smashed against the other side of the glass beside him….then he’d look to his left toward the bland landscape. Both scenes seemed to hold the same amount of interest for him — or, rather, non-interest. I couldn’t get close enough to take a picture of his eyes, beautifully brown and full of raw intelligence. But I don’t know if I would’ve taken a picture, anyway. It would’ve seemed like an imposition, I think.

Sigh…

After a few minutes, he seemed to show a bit of bored, mild disgust with the crowd, and slowly rose and ambled away.

Double sigh…

And, gosh darn it, I missed a ‘neverdone’! I could’ve fed a giraffe. Oh well.

Magicalmonkey and you

Funny thing #1
A friend tells me that last week he stood in front of the mirror at home, pondering a semi-drastic plunge — shaving his entire head. He figured it wouldn’t really be THAT extreme, since his current closely-cropped haircut made him nearly bald, anyway. But he put away his razor, deciding to first contemplate the mechanics and maintenance.

The very next day, he logged on to mm and read the April 9th post. Decision made.

“You guys would never look at me the same way again,” he laughed. “And everyone I know does it. My lawyer does it. A lot of my friends do it. I just can’t. Not after reading your blog.”

Ha!! So mm is now affecting people’s actions in the real world? That’s funny stuff.

Funny thing #2
It’s also amusing — and flattering — to see mm references elsewhere in the world. I’ve noticed the obscure and not-so-obscure comments on your own blogs. A ‘superhero’ here, an ‘innuendo’ there….It’s fun, it’s cool!

Then there are the non-virtual references. Every time a co-worker says or does something a little insane, a mm reader invariably slips by me and asks, “blog post?” And frequently, those “in the know” refer to mm in conversation, all of us getting a giggle that it escapes the notice of others. One of my favorite allusions occurred while playing that gift-swap game at our office Christmas party. My boss pulls me aside and whispers, “See that red package with the big bow in the center? You need to get it….it’s PERFECT for you.” There was a hitch when someone chose the package before it was my turn. I laughed my head off when she opened it to reveal a crystal monkey. Of course I had to steal it from her.

Funny thing #3
You! I go for months with only occasional feedback about my blog, but the minute I share philosophical wonderings about its purpose and existence…..I get post comments, e-mails, voice mails, and people grabbing me next to the coffee machine at work. Ha!! No one wants me to change a thing. Not one person has said, “You know, Lisa, you might have a point about watching what you say.”

Instead, I get the distinct impression I am feeding your inner deviant. And you like it.

Not all comments have been posted on this blog. One friend e-mailed, “Like Popeye said, I yam what I yam. Jezel Pete, I am a m.monkey fan since day 1, even day -1 if that is possible….I cringe a bit sometimes when I read mm. But that’s the fun, isn’t it?!…..Being under a microscope always affects what you do, but that is no reason not to do it. Be yourself.”

My link-deleting bud — who loves and encourages mm, by the way, and is one of only a handful who has been a faithful reader since the beginning — e-mailed an intriguing, eloquent analysis which may inspire a future post or two, not only on mm but also her own blog. A small excerpt: “It’s not that we wish to censor our world; we wish to censor how the world sees us…..We get so tired of being told what we should and shouldn’t do, how we should think, what we should be, that most of us learn to fake it and go about our business without another thought. Harmless self defense or a sham that destructs our very civilization and destroys the truth of who we are?”

(Hmmmmm. I’d vote for sham, I think, but not such a destructive one. Maybe one that just tinkers with our individuality a bit.)

Rest easy…
I’ll continue to take magicalmonkey on journeys inspired by whatever is on my mind when I am struck with a mood to write. Luckily for you and that inner deviant of yours, aberrant topics seem to percolate in my brain quite often. But please don’t be too disappointed if, on some days, I discuss the importance of getting enough fiber in your diet. Or if I get a bit introspective and start quoting my favorite philosophers. Or I share a recipe for a yummilicious fat-free, no-mayo chicken salad.

Blogging dilemmas

Just a casual conversation
Back in February when a good friend launched her own blog, it was a pleasant, warmfuzzy surprise to find a link to magicalmonkey on her home page. She’d said something really sweet like “My friend Lisa is deranged, but that’s why I love her….her blog keeps me laughing.”

Awwwwww, see what I mean? I told you it was sweet.

Then over some yummy lunch sushi this week, she told me she’d removed the link. “Are you insane?” she laughed. “My whole family reads my blog. I can’t have them clicking on magicalmonkey and finding…that……”

She didn’t finish her sentence, but I know what she meant. And you know what she meant. We had a hearty giggle and went on to another topic. Later, I checked out her latest post (she finished a 10K…I am beside myself, I’m so impressed!) and these were the first two sentences I read: “Not long ago, my friend Lisa debated the merits of becoming a superhero. I was going to put in a link to her blog, but it is not remotely safe for work or general decency, so you’ll have to find it on your own.”

I laughed. But, my brain already abuzz with near-regrets about the blatant filth in my last post, I also started to ponder.

Have I crossed the line?
You know, I’m well aware of my own tendencies to push taboo-buttons. Among my favorites are chuckling at inappropriate humor, mentioning society’s unmentionables, and questioning general groupthink assumptions of the status quo. While I like this part of my personality and certainly make no apologies for it, I have no desire to truly, truly offend. I think people should be free to create any world they want for themselves — even a rose-colored one — and, as long as they don’t try to detrimentally impose their world on me or unwilling others, they should be allowed to live within it blissfully.

Now, that doesn’t mean I’d never good-naturedly share an idea or two for consideration. :) But to gratuitously offend someone? No. I’m not about that.

When magicalmonkey was born, I knew that some dicey topics would be in its future. So I promised myself a few things: I’d control who received the link, I’d balance the taboo with the not-so-taboo, and I’d take care not to “cross the line.” Well, it’s almost a year later, and of course not one of these has evolved as I’d planned.

I knew the link thing would be out of my hands to a degree, but I guess I just pictured only 4 or 5 of you out there, all people who know me well in the non-virtual universe. Even at my worst, you’d just be chuckling, “tsk-tsk-ing” to yourselves, shaking your heads, and muttering “there she goes again.” But lately I’ve begun to develop a picture in my head containing another category of people — those of you who, although we may have met, your main impression of me is magicalmonkey. That bothers me a little because I fear that the raunchy, edgy, nonconformist part of me — and it is only a part — has found a happy, inviting outlet in this blog. In fact, in the last month or so it’s almost completely taken over. There’s been no balance.

So now I find myself wondering all sorts of uncomfortable things. Should I go back and delete offending posts? Should I make — force, if necessary — an effort to achieve balance? Should I shorten the taboo-leash? Take the blog in another direction entirely? Start another blog? Retire this one? Throw caution to the wind and delve even deeper into my scary parts? Stop blogging altogether?

Sigh.

My gut
You know, I don’t really want to change magicalmonkey, despite my slight melancholy that it’s too inappropriate to be shared with the “respectable” crowd. And, believe me, I do understand — completely, I understand. My own family knows nothing of my blog, and I’ve sheltered some old friends from it, too. I hate that I still wear masks, but I can’t get rid of them. I guess no one can.

Ultimately, this is a space where my creativity roams, and I do not, not, not want boundaries on that. My quandary, I suppose, is whether my own personal journey-without-boundaries should be public.

My gut is also wondering if I’m getting WAY too philosophical about a tiny little inconsequential blog. It is wondering if I’m just subconsciously delaying the doing-my-taxes ordeal.

Dammit. I guess I better go.

It is no accident that you are reading this

At some point during college, I was thumbing through an art magazine and ran across a black-and-white photograph which I found particularly engaging. It was dark, a bit bleary and mysterious, containing a silhouette of a nondescript, generic man. Underneath the photo as an integral part of the image, photographer Duane Michals had — in a quick, confident handwriting — incorporated these words:

It is no accident that you are reading this. I am making black marks on white paper. These marks are my thoughts, and although I do not know who you are reading this now, in some way the lines of our lives have intersected… For the length of these few sentences, we meet here. It is no accident that you are reading this. This moment has been waiting for you, I have been waiting for you. Remember me.

This was a powerful concept for me at the time…..I mulled it over for weeks, and began to look at the things around me in new ways. Every experience, conversation, gesture, magazine article, song, novel, poem, painting, photograph, TV show, class lecture — became supercharged with potential. Each moment of my life was destined just for me. No other person in the world had the same set of experiences, and no other person would interpret these experiences the same way I did. I had a unique, truly unique, existence which I could turn into something meaningful. All I had to do was be present enough in each moment to recognize — and remember — the important stuff.

I really love this particular epiphany. It lurks in my constant subconscious nowadays, and has become an integral part of me. I believe there is potential wisdom — even potential soul — in every event, every friend, every stranger, every adventure, every boredom, every search, every dream.

A friend once held out an upturned hand to me, offering a fleeting moment of comfort in the middle of a freakin’ crazy-insane college weekend. The image of his hand — and the tenderness, honesty, and vulnerability it represented — froze in my head more clearly and brightly than my Nikon could ever document. It broke my heart when, fourteen years later, I sat beside his hospital bed in trauma ICU as he lay in a hopeless coma…..tragically silent among a thick circle of blinking, beeping, ultramodern medical technology. I held the same hand he once offered me.

All those years ago, something inside me recognized a significance of a moment, a person, a friendship. I still look for those moments. They make life richer, more dimensioned, more purposeful, more fulfilling. I hope I know what to do with them when they happen.

Einstein, consciousness, and sex

Back in the heat of the summer, I shared with a couple work buds a quote which I found pretty insightful. Delivered to my browser’s home page via iGoogle, it was by Albert Einstein:

No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it.


When the quote appeared on my screen, I suppose it spoke to me because a group of us at work were about to dive into a series of creative problem-solving exercises. We’d been given an advertising/branding concept to which had been attached a specific visual element or two, and it was our task to translate it into practical design guidelines/templates/whatever. While each of us saw strengths in the “givens,” we also saw challenges.

So reading the quote made me feel better about those challenges. We were bringing to the table a new consciousness.

Instinctively, I also saw a different type of meaning in the quote — that, if you have a problem of your own creation, your ability to solve it will be greater if you can somehow look at it with new eyes. Gain a new perspective, change your position to view a new angle. Bring to the table a new consciousness.

My previously mentioned work buds, however, stared at me blankly when I explained this to them. They’d liked the quote when I recited it to them, but apparently they’d translated “consciousness” as a separate person or group, an entity outside of the problem-creating source. Their interpretation: No problem can be solved by the same person who created it.

They seemed to see my point after a minute or so, but the enthusiasm for my interpretation was a bit lukewarm. Their reaction has hung with me, prompting an echo of a question to tickle my brain now and then. Is it too Pollyanna-ish of me to believe that someone can so radically change their own perspective enough to solve their own problems?

I’m not saying it would be easy…..and maybe it would be impossible for people unable to break free of “self” for a minute or two. But it sure paints a bleak picture. It’s an image of the masses running on a supergiant hamster wheel, all of them fruitless disciples of one self-help discipline after another. All destined for ultimate failure, despite their fleeting light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel moments. They’re zombie pale. They’re wearing dark, dingy grey that has yellowed from prolonged exposure to the blinking, buzzing florescent lights above their heads. Remember the opening sequences of Tom Hanks’ Joe Versus the Volcano? It’s that sort of vibe, this bleak picture in my head.

Well, recently I decided to google Einstein’s quote in order to understand its context. One site used the quote in support of prayer. Many sites used it as part of a call-to-action for humanitarian causes. Other sites, most of which seemed a little more scholarly than the rest, had slightly different wordings. Then…payoff! I found several sites which included the next sentence that came out of Einstein’s mouth:

No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it. We must learn to see the world anew.


Cool. I still don’t know the context in which he uttered the sentences, but apparently he did NOT mean to imply that people couldn’t solve problems of their own making. That’s exactly what I wanted to hear.

I feel better.

By the way, I put sex in the title just to make this entry more intriguing. Sorry. It was wrong to tease you like that.

That weird bathroom lump of nastiness

For some reason I’ve conditioned myself to go to the last stall when using a public restroom. In the women’s bathroom at work, I follow this habit without thinking. I close the door, turn around, and sit. My eyes wander a bit, and it never fails — I catch sight of this snot-colored, sticky-looking glob of mucouslike mess about half the size of an M&M. And if that’s not enough, attached to it is a curly strand of dark hair that loops around a couple times and hangs off each end about 2 inches.

It’s been stuck to the backside of the stall door for at least two years.

A few times I’ve considered sucking up my squeamishness and scrubbing it off — I mean, it would be better than looking at it for another two years, right? But it’s quite strange. By the time I walk five feet to the sink, which would be an ideal moment to dampen a paper towel and turn around to remove the offensive substance, I’ve completely forgotten about it. And it stays forgotten until the next time I enter that stall, close the door, turn around, and sit.

Only today did the temporary memory loss fail to happen. Because this time, I thought…..blog entry.

How could it have gotten there? Do the glob and the hair have the same DNA? If I worked in a crime lab, I’d stay late one evening to test them. Maybe someone came to work one day with a really severe phlegm-laden cold, and had a deep, gutwrenching sneeze. Maybe her hand didn’t make it to her mouth in time. Maybe she conscientiously cleaned most of it off the back of the door, but missed one small spot, which — while she leaned over to wipe a particularly large bit of unpleasantness from the floor — pulled a strand of loose hair from the top of her head.

Or…..maybe someone actually planted it there. It might be a sociological experiment to test how much nastiness women will put up with in the workplace. There could be a camera hidden in a ceiling vent to record people’s reactions.

Or…..maybe ….

Hmmmm, never mind. Those appear to be the only two scenarios I can imagine.

A reunion, absent angst, and ADD

I thought I knew what to expect earlier this month when I attended my high school reunion.

It had been planned as a series of day-long events — meet at the alumni house for a pre-lunch drop-in, swing over to our old fast-food hangout for lunch, piddle the afternoon in whatever pursuits your mood dictates, and then meet at a nice restaurant for dinner that evening. I was looking forward to catching up with old friends, sharing a few of my own what-are-you-up-to-now stories, and laughing nostalgically about the good ol’ days. Maybe even squeeze in a bit of tender reminiscing.

Knowing my philosophical tendencies, I’d prepared myself for what I thought would be inevitable — an involuntary brain-vacation in the midst of it all, a sort of pensive out-of-body experience in which I’d examine my past, my present, my future. I’d question the choices I’ve made….mull the big-picture life directions to which I’m now committed, like it or not….compare my moderately irregular life to that of my childhood friends….reassess the outcomes which my future seems to hold. Angst would surely be involved, but, I reasoned, perhaps I’d earn some sort of enlightened insight. Yay!

But it didn’t happen. I even waited for weeks to finish this blog entry, on the chance I’d have some sort of delayed reaction. But still, nothing.

Was I expecting introspection because books and movies so often make reunions a catalyst for internal strife? Probably. But do books and movies make reunions a catalyst for internal strife because it so frequently happens in real life? Probably. So why not me?

Maybe I’m simply satisfied with my life. End of story. That’d be pretty freakin’ awesome, wouldn’t it? BUT what if I’m repressing my dissatisfaction so deeply that I can no longer find it? That’d be sad. But…..maybe not — I mean, really, what would be the difference between deep, effective repression and having nothing to repress? Wouldn’t the end result be the same? My brain is bouncing with the yin and yang of it.

Oh well. When my psyche needs some introspection, I’ll trust the universe to whack me with a sign. You can’t force that sort of thing.

You know what did happen, though? I had an attack of ADD in the middle of the evening’s dinner. All of a sudden, I was done — and I mean DONE — with chitchat. I was drawn toward the intricacy of the restaurant’s high ceilings….toward the pretty candle flames….toward the softly lit bue-and-yellow-balloons….toward the miscellaneous table decorations….anything and everything that was non-human. Geesh, why does that happen to me? Maybe I should go into training for social events like runners train for a marathon. I need to develop an ability to push through the edgy intolerance and continue to focus, to enjoy the fun around me.

Before that, though, I did have a GREAT time! We shared a ton of old memories and laughed a lot. I really enjoyed hearing how everyone’s lives have turned out. And I was elated that there seemed to be so much joy and success among us all. There were a few people with whom I would’ve loved to talk more, but for some reason it seemed appropriate to keep the conversation light and superficial, and to spread my time equally among everyone. The last time we got together as a group, it was in 1988 during our 8th-year reunion. This time it was our 27th. I hope we do it more frequently from now on.

Barbie tortures revisited

By semi-popular demand, I am now addressing the….umm… Barbie confession. In case you didn’t catch the 16th item in “Lisa 101,” my very first blog entry ever, here it is again:

My Barbies lived through precarious times. I used to strip off all their clothes, tie their hands and feet, and then stash them somewhere dark and scary, often leaving them there for months. I never did that with Skipper, though. Only the grown-up Barbies.

That item caught a friend’s attention, who asked, “Was this your way to say that only a consenting adult would be allowed in such play?”

You know, I wasn’t old enough to know what a consenting adult was, so….no, I don’t think that was it at all. I stripped Skipper’s clothes off too, but never tied her up or hid her in dark places. And the clothes thing wasn’t sexual — I just didn’t like clothes or shoes, so I figured Skipper wouldn’t, either.

(Freaky flashback sidebar: When I was about 6 or 7, playing in my backyard with only distant farm animals as witnesses, I stripped off all my clothes to see if my dog Bingo would look at me funny. He did.)

As a child, I hated — I mean HATED with a pure, clean, blue-hot heat — being told what to do. And it seemed like anyone bigger or older than me considered it an inalienable right to boss me around. They were able to do this to their black, unbelievably self-centered hearts’ content without fear of punishment or retribution of any kind. I seethed. Well, I’m exaggerating a teeny bit — I actually led a somewhat idyllic life back then, compared to some — but at times I did become brooding and rebellious. When I fought authority, authority always won. Dammit.

Perhaps my passive-aggressive way to get back at them was to take my adult Barbies and make them as vulnerable as I felt, disabling their ability to move, speak, see….

I dunno. That’s my best guess.

That explanation doesn’t involve sex, though, so it is no fun at all. This is much better:

In a previous life I was a beautiful impoverished maiden who was forced into the sex trade by a dastardly, depraved sovereign. I had to perform well in order to ensure that my little sister, Skipperophelia, would be allowed to live comfortably as a lady-in-waiting to the king’s second wife. I performed so well that I became the most renowned dominatrix in the land…..and, of course, I learned to love my work. I loved it so much that it made a permanant imprint upon my soul which MUST be manifested somehow within each of my lives.

How hard are your (private) edges?

You had to know this was coming. I mean, with all the talk in the previous post about ENTIRE body shaving…..geesh, you just HAD to know I’d take it a step further.

Before I head in the obvious direction, I’d like to take a little side trip — ass hair. Personally, I don’t remember that phrase ever entering my consciousness, but a friend touched on the subject recently.

“You know,” he said, “there’s a theory that all body hair radiates from the ass.” Apparently, on many men it’s at its wild & wooly thickest there at the supposed origin. “God, you wonder in the locker room if some guys are trying to hide small mammals back there.”

I had no idea what to say to that, so the conversation pretty much ended there — well, after the uproarious laughter subsided. I was curious to see if this was a topic that others thought about, so — you guessed it — this morning I googled “ass hair.”

OMG…..this led to so many fits of uncontrolled laughter that my cats are now staring at me with a mingling of concern, curiosity, and borderline fear.

One college student, facing a personal hygiene problem which never, ever, EVER occurred to me, has issues which repel, horrify, and amuse all at once. A wannabe male stripper asks his female roommate to assist with his problem (“when Joseph disrobed, it appeared as if a small dog had curled up on his buttocks to take a nap”) the night before an audition. On YouTube, three friends argue while playing cards, and come to a profound conclusion that “your ass hair doesn’t have any friends.” A reporter for an internet site attempts to conduct a serious, informative play-by-play while having his ass waxed by an apparently sadistic female who continually yanks “roadkill” off his nether regions and shows it to the camera.

I learned that ass hair seems to be a concern for most men, whether for hygiene, logistic, or vanity reasons. I also learned that ass hair doesn’t really enter the radar of most women….in my search this morning, their comments are almost nonexistent on the topic, unless they are referencing a male friend or significant other. My guess is that women are not that concerned with men’s back-door area since it really doesn’t serve a purpose for us.

OK. Now that my abs have rested a bit from the belly-laugh workout and my cats have found sweet little slumber spots on my couch, we can turn to the final topic — or at least *my* final topic — relating to body hair.

The Brazilian wax.

I’m not sure why, but in the last 6-8 months this has come up in casual conversation with a lot of my women friends. One person heard that one of her colleagues undergoes this procedure regularly. “Oh my God,” she said, “can you imagine how much it would ITCH when it started to grow back?”

Another woman I know endured the procedure herself. “It was very weird getting it done,” she said. I mean, you’re spread out in all your glory in front of a stranger. “It really helped that she [the waxer] was very professional.”

Yet another friend has a friend who tried it for the first time many months ago. The two of them had gotten into a fairly detailed conversation. “I really wondered,” my friend shared, “if men’s obsession with the Brazilian had a connection to pre-pubescent girls.” Frankly, I’d wondered the same thing, so I leaned forward to hear this other woman’s take on it. “But my friend’s husband said no, absolutely not. There’s nothing little-girlish about a woman’s body, even with the pubic hair gone.” The waxing was so “very well received” by the husband that my friend’s friend has kept it up. Ummmm……quite literally. ;-)

As I thought about it more, I wondered if men learned to like the Brazilian because, in all likelihood, their favorite porn stars do it. I’m more comfortable believing that than the thing about little girls. That just creeps me out.

I found an informative article on a college newspaper site. Going completely hairless is a growing trend, and not just among women. A few excerpts:

Danielle Nobbs goes to Studio 505 to get her bikini wax…..[she] explains that this is all worth it because she likes how a Brazilian wax looks and feels. “It’s not only about how it looks,” she said. “It’s about bringing my sexuality out in the open. Women are brought up that sex and their private parts are bad or dirty. This kind of gets things out in the open. My private parts are not hidden anymore, and I shouldn’t be ashamed,” she said.

This trend occurs more often among women, but according to USA Today, increasing numbers of men are removing their pubic hair also. “I shave completely down there,” said senior Chris Baldwin. “I prefer women who shave, so I figure they would prefer it if I shaved also. It’s a trend that’s common and acceptable among college males and females. Shaving seems cleaner and more maintained.”

Brandon Ratcliff, a SCSU student, agrees. “I don’t shave but I trim,” he said. “I like to clean it up and make it look presentable for the opposite sex. I prefer women who don’t shave completely down there but leave a landing strip. Completely bald makes me feel like a pedophile. Also oral sex is much better with someone who shaves.”

Not everyone who shaves their pubic hair has a boyfriend or a sexual partner. “I don’t have sex but I still shave,” said Lesley Christianson, a junior at SCSU. “I like how it feels, and besides I look at it this way: it’s like having a summer home and mowing the lawn every once in a while in case you have visitors.”

I found a blog entry in which a woman describes her first Brazilian. She decided to have it done because she was going on a lengthy, scantily-clad trip in which she didn’t want to be bothered with shaving. Waxing would last 3-6 weeks. Most disconcerting were these comments:

It hurt like a mother fucker. I let out a pretty hefty yelp at least twice. And yes the waxer had my legs open, fidgeted with my labia, ripped my pubic hair from the corners of every available space on my “privates” and even asked me to sit up doggie style, while she made sure all the surface area was completely “handled” correctly. My skin was swollen, red, and burning directly after the waxing. I was instructed to take ibuprofen and put arnica gel or cortaid on my suddenly prickly-pubic- chicken skin to reduce the initial swelling.

Yikes!! But there were some interestingly encouraging observations:

It felt totally great after about 24 hours! The smoothness of my own skin “down there” was titillating to say the least. I couldn’t believe that it could be so soft. And yes, I found out a few days later that it increased sensitivity in all the right places at all the right times, which made up for any pain or discomfort that I experienced.

Well now, that is *hands-down* the best reason I’ve come across. Enduring pain for pleasure is totally understandable. Am I right? I mean, that’s not just me, right? You feel that way, too, I’m sure…. right?

You agree, don’t you?

Hello?

How hard are your edges?

While playing the lively game “Who Would You Do?” with a friend, she revealed that she enjoyed flirting with a mutual acquaintance. I was a little befuddled by her choice, because I never gave him a second glance. Yeah, he’s nice…..has a great smile….is attractive. But, I said, he seems too……gee, I don’t know….. metrosexual, I guess. I just wanted to mess up his hair and get him dirty. It would also help, I told my friend, if he had some sort of interesting perversion.

Fast forward to weeks later. The few times I’d seen this person, I’d entertained myself by imagining him with a laced leather thong and a skull-and-crossbones nipple ring under his clean-cut attire. When that got boring because of its extreme unlikeliness, I would try to figure out his appeal. Or, rather, non-appeal. There was something just a little……off. Ever-so-slightly askew. Out of register. Soft. Maybe even girly. Not gay, mind you……just…..hmmmmmm. I couldn’t put my finger on it at all.

Then it hit me. The man has no hair on his arms.

I looked around. Yep, arm hair there….and over there…..yes, and the women, too. Arm hair everywhere. Nothing wrong with arm hair. Some people’s arms had quite inconspicuous hair, but you could tell it was there, even if it was just a slight fuzziness. Like you blurred their edges by a single pixel in Photoshop. But this man had hard, smooth edges, which apparently translated as “unnatural” to my brain.

I know that competitive bodybuilders do the hairless thing. But bodybuilding would not be this man’s reason, unless he’s a brand spankin’ new apprentice.

I mentioned this mysterious hairlessness to a male friend, and he said he knows a guy (not the same person, by the way) who shaves his entire body every two weeks. Just to be sure I understood, I asked, “ENTIRE body?” And my friend nodded a wise, I-know-exactly-what-you’re-asking “yes.” My first question was why.

“Well, he CLAIMS he’s allergic to his own hair. But I think it’s because he wants to look like a human instead of a manimal. He is one hairy son of a bitch.”

O….K…..sure. That’s reasonable, I guess. After a few seconds of imaginary scenarios, my second question was how.

“His wife,” was the simple answer.

Fast forward once more — to tonight, as I succeed in convincing myself to work on a blog entry rather than work out. True to my OCD nature, I am compelled to perform proper research before posting. I google “man shave arms,” and locate a site in which people are sharing their opinions on the matter:

i hate hair, except your eyebrows, eyelashes and head. if the arm hair is out of control, i think it is okay to man-scape-i know a couple guys who do and two who shave it off completely. what you want to do to improve your body is cool by me-as long as it makes you happy. i have been shaving my arms for about 8 years now- i love it!!

Yeah I have a couple of friends who shave their arms..nothing wrong with it. they just want to wear watches and stuff without the pain when hair gets stuck in the belt of the watch..

Only gay guys do that. But girls should shave their arms. I do (I’m a girl). It’s the lady like thing to do.

I know that some bodybuilders, wrestlers, athletes in general do it for a cleaner look. Or maybe they just have obnoxiously hairy arms lol!!

My cousin does it…but I don’t understand why because when it grows back it feels nasty! She has to keep doing it because they grow back thicker! I suggest you don’t do it if you haven’t already.

Stubble arms vs. normal arms. Who shaves their arms? That is just retarded. Are people really that bored?

If you are self conscious about your own arm hair, wax them. By all means, do not shave them! Imagine how super gross the stubble would be. Plus, shaving results in thicker grow back. Waxing can eventually reduce how thick your arm hairs are if done frequently.

Well, then.

I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions. Me? I’ll probably steal sideways glances at people’s arms for awhile, just because I’ll be amused to wonder what the reasons may be if I see a lack of fuzziness. Eventually I’ll get bored with the notion and move on to something else.

Or maybe the thought will infect my brain until I have no choice but to take the plunge myself.

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