Sunday, November 06, 2005

Embracing frivolity

Today, to reward myself after a bruising week wherein I arose @ 6 AM to teach art and self-esteem to inner city sixth graders, and also did a passel of outcalls, and also volunteered to sell raffle tickets at a benefit in a bar in Manhattan, I slept in, made cranberry/orange/buckwheat pancakes, and then in the impossibly warm, sunny afternoon, biked across the B. Bridge to the South Street Seaport, to cash in my coupon at Victoria's Secret. I figured I'd get something practical to replace the old disgusting trashed bras, surviving from my last undergarment adventure at the outlet mall in San Marcos, and then splurge on something frivolous.

Once again, after nearly an hour of circling the store, I realized that if I am ever to own a drawerful of exotic lingerie, I will have to start consorting with discriminating European billionaires. The reason I don't get into sexy underwear has nothing to do with uptight prudery, whatever a certain insecure jerkwad (you know who you are) might have to say about it, and everything to do with an emotional allergy to black-and-purple polyester. Particularly polyester with a $78 price tag. I mean--plastic sequins, scratchy bows in bumpy places, excessive padding, badly-constructed hooks, hot pink chiffon ruffles with black ribbing, lurid blue spandex, orange nylon, stiff black-and-fuchsia fake corset thingies? Hello? This is not sexy. If I were a lingerie designer, I would be all about foamy layers of silk satin and Brussels lace, in shades of antique ivory, smoky bronze and dusty rose. Things that a Venetian courtesan might own. I know there are cubbyholes on the upper East Side that sell this sort of thing, at prices comparable to what I paid for my car, but there you go. The pink and lavender cotton bikinis I finally settled for weren't too terribly depressing.

I say the week was bruising, but it was magical too. I kept having those moments where I realize that I am living a life of infinite variety, wonder and intrigue. Driving way the fuck out Atlantic Avenue just after dawn, for example--there are all sorts of manmade constructions out there that you can't even tell what they're FOR. It might as well be one of those lucid dreams where there's stained glass in the library shelves and scrolls of eggplants underfoot. Then I get to wrestle with a pack of beautiful brats with names like Daysia, Hakim and Solange, teaching them to layer pastels and make Chinese paper puzzle books; then Horley and I go for strawberry pancakes at Tom's Diner, full of fifties kitsch and seasonal decorations; then I get a call to massage a startlingly handsome, mysteriously quiet man in Brighton Beach. My Saturday evening clients shower me with homemade chocolate macaroons and invite me to next month's tea party. Life is good.

Friday evening I had a wonderful time selling raffle tickets to the few hapless souls who turned out for the open studios closing party, simply because it never occurred to me not to. Commercially speaking, the event was a failure. All the sponsors flaked, the bar pre-empted the film festival for basketball, several unrelated events were happening simultaneously on the same turf, and most of the artists left when they found out there wasn't any free beer. I do not understand the Manhattan predilection for throwing parties in commercial establishments, where you get to pay for the privilege of screaming yourself hoarse over music you didn't choose, fight strangers for uncomfortable chairs and run the constant risk of being thrown out if your clothing isn't hip enough. It's worse than my seventh birthday party at Rollerland, and that is saying a lot.

But dammit, I spent Friday afternoon bleaching my hair and digging out the glitter gel, and this was not going to waste. I primed my pump with a fancy beer and commenced saying fatuous things to strangers, who quickly became friends. Before long I was channelling Universal Love, always a thrill. Renee asked me if I'd lost weight, and Jerry's brother was flabbergasted when he found out I'd been an adult for eighteen years already. Yes, I HAVE lost weight--the burden of carrying other people's shit. It means I can be friendly to everybody without having to calculate how much it's going to cost. What joy, what fun! I kept breaking off to do hip-hop or salsa in the middle of the floor, regardless of whether anybody else was dancing or not, and skipping through the room like I did when I was four. Do I look silly? Do I care?

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