Thursday, May 29, 2008

"I'm glad that you are trying to stay positive."

There was something suspiciously metaphorical about Ms. K's car, which was in need of a jump-start. Marooned on a Brooklyn street corner, her two year old Jetta's battery was dead and for added effect a $45 parking ticket was tucked neatly under the windshield wiper.

Blurg. Blurgity blurg.

As we surveyed the damage, car hood propped up like a white flag of surrender, I began to wonder if it wasn't just the car that wouldn't be going anywhere anytime soon. You all may remember that earlier this month Ms. K and I had decided to move in together sometime around the first of July. With only a month until this deadline, we've become acutely aware the despite our best efforts the Universe is not playing along. Or at least it's making us work fifteen thousand times harder to make it happen.

First there's her long sought after job that she barely makes any money at and the subsequent lack of funds to pay her bills -- let alone money to move. Then there's my less that ideal financial situation, which I'm trying to remedy by drumming up some freelance web and graphic design work. And finally there's the car. $200 for a new car battery, a can of WD-40, metric socket wrenches, and a parking ticket. (Don't get me started on the price of gas.)

My point is that it looks like both of us need a jump-start, a surge of energy to get the gears whirling in our lives and our goals that much closer because we're both tapped out.

Can we have that please?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

"Ladies, can I ask you a question?"


In British English it can mean dim witted. In American English it mostly refers to the girth of something, perhaps a steak. In American slang, thick is an adjective used to describe a woman who has meat on her bones in all the right places, specifically the bootay.

A couple days ago Ms. K and I were crossing Bedford Avenue just as a man rode up on a bicycle. He slowed down as we approached, which I initially thought was because he didn't want to run us over. But then he opened his mouth to speak.

"Ladies, can I ask you a question?"

Crap. Normally I don't engage weird bike riding strangers in conversation, especially since I had a good idea about his angle, but I hoped that perhaps he was lost and was looking for some friendly directions.

"Uh, yeah," I responded as he looked directly at me.

"Is your thick friend single?"

For a moment I was confused . . . and possibly offended as a woman generally never wants to hear herself described as thick. But then I remembered that in some circles thick is a complement. Was he referring to Ms. K? Probably not as she is a little thing and I'm the one with the badonkadonk.

I laughed nervously and answered, "No, I'm not single."

He looked disappointed. "Lucky guy," he said before riding away.

We walked off and laughed off the encounter. I playfully punched Ms. K in the arm. "Hey honey, you're a lucky guy."

But I'm the gay lady that attracts weird guys. Or on the subway. Or at the car wash. Or in cabs.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

"What don't you like about me?"

Although I previously ranted about the Carrie Bradshawification of New York and at the risk of sounding like hypocrite, I actually like the show Sex and the City. (I once blogged about shamefully reading He's Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys, which is by a former SATC writer.) For all its unforgiving looks into the mating habits of four single New York women in their 30s, the television show is well acted, brassy, and smartly written. I never watched it when it was on television, but now that some clever person has uploaded episodes to YouTube (and, alternately, Surf the Channel), Ms. K and I have been rewatching the series in anticipation of the upcoming SATC movie.

Last night, as embarrassing as it is to admit, Ms. K and I made cosmos -- the first I've probably had since 2002 when it was still socially acceptable to drink one. We had been having dinner at one of our favorite restaurants when she admitted to having a craving for the cocktail. We grabbed the ingredients at a nearby bodega as if they were contraband and we were making some sort of back ally score, sneaking off to enjoy our shame at home where no one could judge us. I broke out the dusty martini glasses and we drank our pink booze in bed, the shades drawn and the laptop open to YouTube.

Although we've only made it through two seasons, the show has provided fodder for conversation. When Carrie and Mr. Big laid in bed and listed the things that they didn't like about each other, Ms. K decided that she wanted to play too.

"What don't you like about me?" she asked after the episode had finished. Like in the show, the question was good natured, but a potential minefield.

"I don't know," I deflected. "What don't you like about me?"

"You didn't answer my question."

I had to think about it and as Ms. K smoked a cigarette out the kitchen window, I said, "You lose things."

"Yes I do but somethings I don't really lose things and my lady blames me for it."

"Fair enough," I said remembering the time last month when I accidentally took her keys and then blamed her when she couldn't find them. "But I need to stay like five steps ahead of you while taking mental inventory of everything in anticipation of the inevitable question of 'Where's my???'"

She seemed keen to test my skills. "Okay, where are my car keys?"

"Both keys are on the nightstand."

She gave me a wink acknowledging my prowess.

For the record, in addition to my cat ownership, Ms. K dislikes that I take forever to get ready in the morning -- especially when we have to be somewhere and especially when I'm holding up her intake of caffeine and/or nicotine. That's when Ms. K gets cranky. "It isn't [just] that you take forever to get ready," she clarified, "it's more that you seem to think that the time when you should be getting ready is a good time to do other things like be with the interweb or clean up."

There are worse faults to be had, right?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

"Rouge . . . I can resist your charm no longer."

Ms. K reminded me, after reading my previous blog entry, that my stimulus money really should be going towards our moving fund. Yes, honey. That's what I had in mind when I said savings. It's nice to know that while I can't fund my money into bolstering a foreign economy let alone my own, I can fund my debaucherous and ungodly lesbian lifestyle. Thanks, George Bush.

But part of me starting fantasizing all the silly, unpractical things I could buy with that money. A case of my favorite bourbon? Summer clothes? A fancy hair cut? A dinner at one of my favorite restaurants? Sex toys? A trip to Amsterdam? Weed?

A girl can dream.

Anyway, a couple of days ago I was poking around my email folders when I found some of the original messages that Ms. K and I exchanged. Her very first words to me on July 7, 2007 were:

"Rouge, as much as I hate to be the girl who emails anonymous bloggers, I can resist your charm no longer. I stumbled across your blog as a result of clicking every hyperlink I was led to today in an effort to put off doing any actual work."

I thought back to all our nervous early email exchanges and our burgeoning courtship through one drunken date after another. Hard to believe that it's almost been a year. Recently Ms. K made an offhand comment that she never wants to leave the city. Although not a new sentiment, this made me smile remembering all the first dates I went on previous to Ms. K and how so many of them had already planned their next move out of the city.

Now I'm thinking such serious things like using my tax stimulus to get an apartment with my girlfriend. I've come a long way since the days of OFAG. And Ms. K has come a long way from her former apartment on the Upper East Side, defecting all the way to The Brooklyn. So much change; change for the good. It might take a lot of hard work, but she and I will get our own place together sometime this summer, continuing something that started from one innocent email exchange.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

"Rocking the HD"


Where's my stimulus check?

Everyone else seems to have their blood money courtesy of Satan George W. Bush and I want in on the action.

While I patiently wait to get stimulated, has been really helpful in getting me prepared to help the economy. Per the suggestions of its readers, I could buy:

* An HD television (Made in China!)
* A trip to Mexico
* Ikea bedroom furniture (Yay Sweden!)
* An assault rifle (Yay 2nd Amendment!)

While these are lovely ideas, I think I will save the money after buying some new makeup from Sephora, a French company, and getting this little guy. (But that rifle looks might-tee tempting.) However should I decide to change my mind, this "George Bush Memorial Dyson" vacuum looks like a nice idea.

Monday, May 19, 2008

". . . for a brief moment, you can see the interwoven whole."

I had one of those powerful moments of clarity this weekend when the proverbial curtain got pulled back and I saw the inner workings of Universe. I saw the cogs, the gears, the wheels grinding. I saw their intricate quantum parts, but I also saw how they were working towards a greater purpose. I saw the missteps and the triumphs in my life and knew with razor sharpness that those events got me to where I am.

There was peace with this realization. I felt the release; I felt the turn towards a new direction; I felt that I was starting a new chapter in my life. The last time I had such a powerful epiphany was in 2003 when I came to New York for the first time. And looked what happened after that one! I up and moved to New York within a year.

I should note that tonight marks the Scorpio full moon and its energy has been active for a couple days now. This quote sums up exactly what I felt:

Sometimes full Moons feel like the end of an Act in your ongoing life story. This is true both on the personal and the global scale. It's like in a movie where all the plot points are pulled together, and for a brief moment, you can see the interwoven whole. [link]

Dear readers, the house lights are dimming and the curtain is rising. Get comfortable because the next Act begins now.

Friday, May 16, 2008

"I love and adore you and I would be lucky to be in any union with you, civil or hostile."

Okay, I'll admit it. Deep down inside, far from my hard, bitchified exterior, I am a big softie. Some readers may remember me getting a little teary eyed after reading this. So I got a little teary eyed again when I read yesterday that the California Supreme Court struck down the state's gay marriage ban and ruled that,

". . . the opportunity of an individual to establish -- with the person with whom the individual has chosen to share his or her life -- an officially recognized and protected family possessing mutual rights and responsibilities and entitled to the same respect and dignity accorded a union traditionally designated as marriage . . ."

Yes, it's a mouthful of legalese, but it means that The Gays can get their marriage on in the state of California. And not some sort of half assed, second class version of marriage. Not a civil union or even a hostile union. No, marriage. The whole shebang and rights accorded with the word. You'll forgive me for being a little teary eyed.

So way to go, California. Way to reclaim your mantle for being the most forward thinking state in the nation.

As an aside, a straight friend of mine recently told me of his wedding plans, explaining that he was mostly leaving the details up to his fiancée, but that he had two requests. One, not to spend tens of thousands of dollars on the day and two, not to get married in New York state. When he said that, I asked why? What did he have against New York besides being a Boston Red Sox fan?

His explanation touched me beyond words. "I'm not going to get married in a state that doesn't let everyone get married," he said.

The wedding will take place in Massachusetts, the first and until just recently the only state in the US that affords marriage to everyone. Maybe he should think about getting married in California too.

PS: Congratulations, Ellen and Portia.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

"Why don't you quit school and . . ."

Sorry for a lack of updates, dear readers. I have been trying to think up inventive ways to whore myself for the money that I'll need to move this summer. There's my previously mentioned waitressing idea, but those in my life have pointed out that I have never waitressed before. Touché!

I once worked in food service, a hellacious summer working for Dairy Queen at the ripe ol' child labor exploiting age of 13. They paid me in cash and I got to wait on cranky, sunburned tourists who came from the nearby beach, one of whom told me I should "quit school and become a prostitute" because I fucked up the cash register while ringing up his order for an ice cream cone. Apparently, in his mind, my teenaged stupidity was only good for the adult services industry.

My manager thankfully overheard after I made the guy repeat it because I was far too shocked and thought maybe I heard him wrong the first time. He was dutifully kicked him out for being a misogynist asshole and I ran into the back, bursting into tears. The manager's Greek grandmother then tried to console me with her very limited English before resorting to a hug.

If that ain't experience, I don't know what is.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

“Fort Whitey.”

Reading the New York Time's piece on the McKibbin Lofts today reminded me of my life three years ago. I was new to New York, having transplanted myself from Washington, DC to Bushwick, and living in some sort of industrial demilitarized zone that some silly person had named "East Williamsburg." While I didn't live in either of the twin loft buildings on McKibben Street -- known as The Dorms -- I did live on nearby Varet Street in an old four story building that had been a knitting factory in its former incarnation.

Life in "East Williamsburg" was rough. Paper thin walls afforded marginal privacy and peace of mind. The next door neighbors reckoned they were a band, but couldn't play to save their lives. My lifeline, the L train, was constantly shut down. There was no elevator, so each day was a climb as I ascended four flights of industrial stairs to get back home. There was a basic shortage of services in the neighborhood except for places to get wasted on $2 cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon and snakebite shots. Whatever illusion of urban bohemian cool I had quickly evaporated with each insanely high gas and electric bill.

Anyway all this talk of moving lately and my tentative Craigslist searches reminded me of the last time I had to find a new apartment. It wasn't pretty.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

"We all have to cut corners, you know."

As I mentioned previously, Ms. K and I are going to move in together sometime around July. Should we decide to leave Lefferts Gardens, we're laying the groundwork by researching neighborhoods and rental rates. We have a fondness for Ditmas Park due to it's proximity to the Q train and desirable cost of living. The neighborhood also contains one of our favorite restaurants in the city, The Farm on Adderley.

On Sunday afternoon we drove the car down there for some urban exploration before parking it on a side street and continuing on foot. We were interested in checking out the stock of old apartment buildings down there and assessing our options. Way back in 2006, as some of my long term readers may remember, I dated/slept with this girl named Val for all of a month. She lived in Ditmas Park in a well maintained elevator building along with her 80 lb dog. She had a HUGE one bedroom for all of $1,200 a month. For New York City, this is what we would call a steal.

As Ms. K and I will be combining menageries, one of those old pet friendly buildings seemed like a good place to being our search. We snooped around various places and wrote down addresses on a small notepad. At one very 1960s looking location, we saw a piece of paper taped in on the glass of the lobby advertising an available 1 bedroom. The Super was there to let us in and we nearly died as he showed us the apartment's HUGE living room, HUGE eat in kitchen, linen cabinets, walk-in hall closet, another hall closet, and HUGE bedroom that could have easily fit a king sized bed, four dogs, seven cats, a desk, and a dresser. Did I mention this bedroom had two more closets? And it was only a block away from the organic food co-op and subway. All we would need was $3,600 to move in.

Shit. We're broke. Like seriously fucking negative money broke. How the hell are we going to move this summer??

We left the building excited, but slightly depressed as the real hurdle to moving showed itself to us. I actually began to think about asking my parents for a small loan/gift/whatever* -- like $2,000 -- but knew I was risking a lecture and a dent to my self esteem. When I called my mom yesterday, I tactfully asked for the money before going the "Just deduct it from my inheritance" route.

She laughed at first, but then began the critical onslaught.

"Why don't you have the money? I thought you were doing well with freelance?"

"I had to pay my taxes and I think one of my freelance clients might be drying up."

"You're 30-years-old** and you have bad credit," she scolded me. "You need to start getting your act together. How is it your brother has $20,000 saved up??"

"I don't know. Maybe he's involved in something shady?" I mumbled.

"He's very frugal with his money," she added tartly, glazing over the fact that he lived at home till he was 25. "We all have to cut corners, you know. It costs me $70 to fill up my gas tank. Why don't you stop going out so much and cut back on all the $10 drinks?"

What my mom doesn't know is that I have already cut back and that I'm in a debt management program. I hardly go out (except for Date Day on Sundays) because I can't afford it. That's why I never see my friends anymore. Look, I wanted to tell her, I have never asked you for anything since moving to New York. Instead our conversation petered off into mutual disappointment. "I'll tell your father," she said cryptically.

When I hung up I felt dejected. I felt like a 30-year-old** failure. I loathed myself for having to ask for her help. I seriously wanted to cry. And still felt broke.

Plan B, thy name is tequila.

* God, this makes me sound so entitled and bourgeois.

** Twenty-nine, FOR FUCK'S SAKE. TWENTY-NINE!!!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

"Sounds like the universe may be making the decision for you."

Universe: 2. Rouge: 0.

Right. The lesson is to never tempt fate. Or is it that everything happens for a reason?

Yesterday morning Ms. K and I revisited our conversation about moving in together. Was this something we wanted to do? Was it too soon? When would this happen? These questions were tempered by the fact that Ms. K has been in limbo -- her dog has been at her brother's house in Pennsylvania, her stuff has been in storage since January, and she's been crashing with me since late March. I can understand that she's yearning for some sort of permanency. But there's also a financial factor to our reasoning. Could we save money on rent? Could we afford to move? Was it smarter for her to get her own place until my lease was up? Could we wait another year to live together?

Getting into this conversation right when I should have been on a subway train for work was a bad move and I ended up being more than an hour late to work. We opted to continue talking over lunch at the Shake Shack to answer some of the questions we raised that morning.

Then the Universe decided to make the decision for me.

When I got to work I saw that my landlord had emailed me again. His elderly, asthmatic, cat adverse grandmother will be moving into the house this summer. My cats, unfortunately, were going to be a problem. He wasn't being douchey and forcing me to leave -- in fact I could tell he felt awful -- but I understood the predicament he was in. Lord knows I wouldn't want to be responsible for giving a 87 year old woman a respiratory infection.

I was left with three options -- (1) move out of my apartment of three years; (2) get rid of the cats; (3) or stay in the apartment with the cats and risk killing an old lady. These were all awesome options.

So I am choosing to move out this summer . . . and to move in with Ms. K! It seems like kismet. She needs a place; I will need to move unexpectedly. We could wait, but since she works bar hours we'd never see each other. So we will continue to talk serious logistics -- especially about how to get a 100 lb golden retriever and two frightened cats to get along.

Ditmas Park here I come?