[about the author]
i actually like speaking in front of large crowds. freakish,
i work crossword puzzles in ink.
i am the american nigella lawson. or maybe the american eddie
izzard. can't decide, really.
i would be a really good mom, but i'm cool with being a really
i am sometimes more perceptive than i would like to be.
i am fiercely loyal. sometimes, stupidly so.
i never play dumb. never.
i am way too hard on myself.
i am a change agent.
i sometimes cross that fine line between assertive and aggressive.
i am not afraid to tell people that i love them.
i am militantly pro-choice.
i am pro-adoption.
i know a little bit about alot of things.
i typically enjoy the company of men more than women.
i am capable of being really mean and nasty, but i fight it.
i am a lifelong cubs fan. do not laugh.
i have been known to hold a grudge.
i have hips.
i am not my sister.
i am lousy at forgiving myself.
i am an indoor kind of gal.
i am a bargain shopper. to the point of obsession.
i am 32 flavors. and then some.
the greatest love of all [or how i learned to stop worrying and love the junk in my trunk]
coach arman sat us in alphabetical order in my seventh grade algebra class. nonetheless, i somehow ended up sitting right in front of greg mason instead of right behind him. there’s probably some joke to be made there about him being a coach, or the fact that he taught algebra and not english, but we’ll just let that slide.
those were the early days of junior high. in those days, we continued to separate ourselves into groups based on the elementary schools we had come from. later, we would separate into different groups – cheerleaders, stoners, band kids. but, then, we hadn’t really come together. then we were still a bunch of scared sixth-graders who had spent their days in one classroom trying to figure out where we needed to be before the second bell rang.
we were having a quiz. i remember that much. i don’t remember what it was about. truth be told, i don’t remember much of anything about algebra. it’s not that i’ve blocked it out so much as it never really made its way in. as comfortable as i felt in english class, i was just that terrified of math.
i skipped third grade. and that’s the grade where they introduce the “x” between the numbers. i remember opening up my fourth grade math book and thinking there was some sort of terrible misprint. all the addition signs had been misprinted as “x.” that year, i was in fourth grade…but was taught third-grade math. and the next year – fifth grade, but fourth-grade math. i understand what they were trying to do, but the bottom line -- ironic as it is -- was that the math simply didn’t work; i was going to miss out on a year of math somewhere along the line. that turned out to be sixth grade. the year in which they, apparently, give you some idea about what algebra is.
anyway, there was a quiz. and i was terrified. i remember that i was sweating, and i was getting a little dizzy when i heard greg behind me.
“hey, smart girl. lean over so i can see your paper.”
i couldn’t imagine he was talking to me. i could not be more perfectly clueless. i could not possibly know less than he did. i could not possibly know less about algebra than anyone on the face of the planet anywhere, including burundi, long notorious for its lack of interest in the field of algebra. there could be no chance he was talking to me.
“come on. don’t be a goody goody. let me see.”
apparently, greg was not in the loop as far as my complete ignorance of all things number-related was concerned.
“hey, thunder thighs. let me see your paper.”
and there it was.
the first time greg mason ever called me "thunder thighs." it wasn’t the last. not by a long shot. i found myself crying in the girls’ bathroom over the years with each new addition to his repertoire. “bubble butt.” “lucy caboosey.”
there’s something that courses through the veins of seventh-grade boys. something mean and thick and greenish-black. aside from enabling them to make fantastically realistic fart noises under using their armpit, it gives them a razor-sharp insight into exactly the most vulnerable spot on a seventh-grade girl.
in the years since, i’ve often wondered if men – and, to be fair, women who engage in such taunts – ever give thought as they grow older to the impact their words might have made on a person. with every class reunion i attend, with every old schoolmate who stumbles onto me on the web and strikes up a reminiscent correspondence, a common theme eventually reveals itself: the lasting way in which those childhood digs stay with us throughout our life. the way such comments color, even if it is imperceptible to the outside world, the picture we carry of ourselves inside.
see, here’s the thing: i’m packing an ass on me. always have been. i was jmo before there was a jlo.
i had hips and curves – below my waist at least – way before most of the other girls did. eventually the top-half curves showed up for the party, but too late to be of any substantive help in navigating the shark-infested waters of adolescence. see, junior high, and high school after it, were the domain of the well-appointed rack. you just didn’t run into too many fourteen-year old ass men. it was the tits they wanted. and, even though adolescence at its most judy blumesque is supposed to be about figuring out who you are and celebrating that, the reality is that adolescence is really all about trying like hell to be like everyone else. so, i did everything i could to try and camouflage my curves.
i was self-conscious.
i was all curves and roundness and hourglass at a time when the ideal body was getting leaner and meaner. over the years i clung to words like “zaftig” and “voluptuous,” hungry for the positive implications they carried. i reminded myself that men adored marilyn monroe and her shapely shape, and vowed that, when i grew up, i would live in a place where those men were as plentiful as daffodils in april. sadly, it turns out they do not corral those men into discrete geographic areas.
like many young women, i developed a very unhealthy relationship with my body. fighting against it at every turn. where it wanted to be straight, i wanted it to curve. and where it wanted to curve, i wanted it to curve less...or more...depending on the curve. it was a never-ending fight. honestly, i hated my body.
we weren’t on speaking terms for most of my teens, straight through my twenties.
several months ago, i felt like i wanted to regain a sense of control in my life. i decided, with the company of a wonderful friend, to have a go at the south beach diet. diets have never appealed to me because i had accepted years ago that, no matter how much weight i lost, no matter what i did, the shape of my body would never fundamentally change. even at my smallest, i have hips. even at my lightest, there is still junk in my trunk.
after a few months on the diet, a friend stopped me in the hallway.
“wow! how much weight have you lost? you look fantastic!”
“i don’t know.”
“what do you mean you don’t know?”
“i don’t own scales.”
that evening, i came home and dropped my purse on the chair outside my bedroom door. as i headed into the bedroom, i stopped short. propped against the wall outside my bedroom, is a mirror about five-feet tall by three-feet wide. i looked at the mirror without looking into it.
i tentatively stepped in front of it, as though i might sneak up on it and trick it into showing me something other than what i expected.
i was shocked by what i saw.
yes, i was smaller. definitely. but that wasn’t what shocked me. what startled me was the way my t-shirt clung to my chest. the way it showed off the taper of my small waist. the way the skirt fell, caressing the gentle rise of my hips.
i turned to the side. there, reflected back at me was my undeniably flat stomach.
i was curious. i couldn’t believe what i was seeing. couldn’t believe i hadn’t thrown up yet.
i wanted to see more.
“what the hell,” i said as i raised my arms over my head and pulled off my t-shirt. “here goes nothing.”
next came the skirt, followed by the bra and, last but not least, the panties.
and then, a deep breath as i stood up.
there’s something about seeing yourself naked that is so shocking and fascinating that you simply cannot look away. it’s the looking in the first place, i think, that is really the hardest part.
i couldn’t remember the last time i had stood naked in front of a full-length mirror. and suddenly, much to my surprise, for the first time since that day when i first heard the phrase “thunder thighs,” i saw my body and didn’t hate it.
the surprisingly sharp angles of my collarbones. the graceful lines of my neck, my hands, my small waist. and, of course, the languid and undeniable curve of the small of my back as it transformed itself into something else entirely.
i saw it, finally, not just as my skin, but as an embodiment of who i am. for better. for worse. full. and lush. and capable of great and fantastic and amazing and wonderful things, frankly.
oh, it’s not perfect. not by a long shot. but, aesthetically, I see beauty in all of these things now. a bulge here. a stretch mark there. the scars that never faded, reminders of the time i actually went so far as to surgically alter my body because i was so convinced that it was the outside, and not the inside, that defined me. but those things are now more than imperfections – they are parts of me. just like the birthmark on the inside of my thigh. just like the mole on my shoulder. just like the love i have for my family. just like the way i never ever remember to take the trash out. just like the fact that i am a really good swimmer. just like the fact that i don’t fight fair, or nice.
this morning, i looked at the calendar and noted that my thirty-fifth birthday is quickly approaching. it’s been an amazing year. this year, i have learned truths about myself that i never dreamed or imagined. i know myself with a clarity and honesty that lets me celebrate my strengths and recognize my weaknesses. i’ve come to feel comfortable with who i am. confident in claiming my place in this world. at peace with the life i have lived up to this point and filled with joy at the prospect of what lies ahead.
and, finally, i get it: i could never really love my body – not my thunder thighs, not my bubble butt, not even my now-spectacular rack – before i came to know and love the person inhabiting it.
| [tell me about it] | [link to this entry]
every day i do not get fired is a freaking christmas miracle
we had a department meeting this morning, as we do every friday morning. eventually, we came to an agenda item that isn't exactly within the scope of our department's responsibilities, but our manager wanted to make us all aware of it anyway.
"we're out of space. we've filled up all of the available offices here, but they're still bringing on new people. now, when we move to the new offices next year, this won't be an issue, but, until then, we have a serious space problem."
"so, what are they going to do?"
"well, they're going to start doubling people up in offices."
"yes, it does suck. but we all just have to make due for a while."
"a while being a year."
"more or less."
we're chattering around the table, discussing various office configurations, and trying to decide which would be the least onerous.
"i don't want to face someone all day long, man, that is weird."
"well, how about sitting there with your back to someone else all day? it's like you're pretending that there isn't someone right behind you. that's even more weird."
"okay, well, what if your back was to them, but they were facing you?! they'd be, like, staring at your back all day long. that has to be the creepiest."
murmurs of agreement begin to ripple around the table.
"you know," i say, "i think there's a solution we're overlooking here."
"yeah. i mean, you've been to ikea, right?"
"well, i'm sure you've seen the ikea loft bed. it has a bed with a ladder that goes up to it, you know? and underneath is a work space where you can put a desk and a computer and stuff."
"are you saying we should put loft beds in offices?"
"no. last time i was there i saw that they have this new thing. it's sort of a variation on the loft bed thing. it's a loft office."
"a loft office?" my manager asked with a smile on his face.
"you kill me," said one of my coworkers.
"i'm not kidding you guys! i swear. here, let me show you how it works," i say and head to the white board.
"okay," i say, picking up a marker. "here's your office. well, here's an office. let's say it's a partner's office. and here's our partner. happily billing away."
"let's say his office is twelve feet in height."
"i don't know how tall rooms are. i'm bad at weights and measures. blame my liberal arts education. we'll say twelve feet, okay?"
"where's his coffee?"
"um, someone's bringing it to him. okay? now, here's how the loft office from ikea works..."
"wow. it has stairs?"
"yeah. i mean, the loft bed had a ladder, but this is for the workplace, and, you know, a ladder in the workplace has serious osha implications. plus it just doesn't scream 'professional,' you know? so, yeah. it has stairs instead. and this platform up here? that's 100% mdf. the high grade stuff. plus, it's cool because you can do a custom paint job on it. like, you know, flames...or maybe even faux marbling or something."
"well, stencils like, what? like, hearts and chickens? no. this is a professional office, man. keep it real."
"well, you said flames."
"well, what i want to know," said another coworker, "is about the space breakdown. i mean, that loft office..."
"let me stop you there. we like to refer to it as the 'mezzanine.'"
"okay, whatever. so, the mezzanine...how tall is that?"
"well, again, i'm not so good with the weights and measures, but i'd say..."
"...that's probably about right."
"that's not even enough space to stand up."
"well, you don't need to stand up to file, man..."
"does he have coffee in his hand?"
"actually, it's gruel."
"all i'm saying is, you put a couple of filing boxes up there, and this guy can knock out a full eight hours of billable work. document review. redacting. sure, you're gonna have a few workers' comp claims, what with the hunchback potential, but we're totally maximizing space."
"and you can get this at ikea? 'cause i don't remember seeing this at ikea."
"well, like i said, it's a new item. but i'm sure i remember seeing it there. it was the name i remember. you know how funny the names are at ikea."
"oh my god. you kill me."
"it was the umlaut that did it, wasn't it? i thought that was my masterstroke, honestly."
| [tell me about it] | [link to this entry]
["part ii?" you say. "part ii of what?!" part ii of this. that's what.]
“julia! get over here, girl!”
"julia! where is that girl?!"
i could no longer hide behind the potted palms and i was too far away from the exit to try and make a break for it.
i had no choice. i begin to walk in the direction i am called.
“what’s up?” i try to ask as nonchalantly as possible.
“here she is! see? isn’t she cute? i told you she was cute. and she ain’t had a date in a long time. a long time. i mean a long…”
“yes, i think we all understand. i haven’t had a date in a while.”
“not a while, baby, a long ass time. you passed ‘a while’ about six months ago.”
standing there in the clutches of my friend with the alleged skirt was one of the bartenders.
and he looked very afraid.
as well he should.
“go on now! talk to her!”
she pushed him toward me, and smacked him squarely on the ass.
“don’t be shy! now i’m goin’ back to the bar.”
as soon as she had turned around, he bolted for the stairs and i stood there looking around to see if the railing on the roof might be loose anywhere so i could throw myself off the top of the building with the least amount of effort.
at that point, my soon-to-be-liberated coworker approached.
“girl. i only got two more of those bitches to tell to fuck off, then i’m ready to get on up outta here.”
she seemed to be leaning a bit to the right.
“you know…that sounds like a great idea.”
“yeah. i think we need to go out and get our dance on.”
yeah. that’s exactly what we need to do. sure, one of us can’t walk in her shoes and one of us is listing worse than the titanic, but, yeah, we definitely need to go get our dance on. for real.
about then, my phone rang. i pulled the phone out of my purse and looked down into the blue glare of the screen.
it was my new boss.
but why would he be calling me when he’s here at the same party? why would…he…
i don’t know how i didn’t notice it before, but a quick look around confirmed what my gut was telling me. he wasn’t here anymore. and no one else was, either. no one but the three drunk hookers and the staff of the consulting firm.
“how are you?”
“i’m fine. how are you?”
this was maddening. just say it already, dammit! say i’m fired! say something! quit making small talk!
“i just wanted to call and wish you good luck this evening.”
“yes. well. thank you.”
“i’m sure you’ll come and see me in the morning.”
as i hung up the phone, i could hear one voice clear as a bell.
“girl! mary j. blige got the same. damn. shoes! that’s how you know they’re bad!”
i spotted my soon-to-be-outta-there coworker propped against a rail. one of the consultants was talking to her with a concerned look on her face. i made my way toward them.
“julia! girl, she was the last one. i’m ready to get the fuck on up outta here.”
i smile at the consultant.
“thanks for the invitation. it was a very nice party.”
she smiled. a forced smile. a smile that screamed “we hate you, we have always hated you, and as i look around and see the catastrophe you have rained down upon us, i am reminded of all the reasons why we have always hated you and why we tried very very hard to get you fired.”
“well, i guess we should probably head out. i’ll just round everyone up…”
“that’s it, baby! open up a bottle of that champagne! yeah!”
“come on now! fill my glass up! don’t be shy!”
“is there a bathroom, by any chance?”
“at the bottom of the stairs there are two guest rooms that are open. we reserved those so you can use those bathrooms.”
“damn! this is some good shit!”
and with that i gather the ladies and wrangle them toward the stairs.
“shit, i can’t walk down these stairs in my shoes.”
“well, just carry them.”
“i can’t. i got my hands full, baby.”
and how i didn’t notice that before, i have no idea. in one hand is her green bag and a champagne flute. and in the other hand is the bottle of champagne.
“okay. well. give me your shoes.”
so, with one soon-to-be-passed-out coworker leaning on one side of me, and the green shoes in the other hand, we make our way down the stairs. one of the guest rooms is immediately in front of us and there’s a chair in the hallway outside the door. the bathroom is occupied, so i deposit the listing coworker in the chair and go into the room to sit down. she of the alleged skirt follows me in.
“this room isn’t all that nice, you know?”
“it’s okay. sort of small. but it’s an older hotel.”
“well, it ain’t all that, that’s all i’m sayin’,” she said, the champagne bottle still in her hand.
“well, they have some nice stuff, though,” i say, getting out of the chair. “this is a really nice umbrella.”
“you want that umbrella, baby?”
“no. i mean, i do need an umbrella, but, you know, you can’t just…”
“gimme that umbrella, baby. that umbrella is yours.”
“but, we can’t just take it, i mean, someone has to pay for it…”
and then i realized: those consultants who hate me very much and tried very hard to get me fired…they will be the ones who pay for it.
“girl, the bathroom’s open. you go on ahead and go. i’m gonna look through the drawers in here. see what else i can find.”
i return to find her putting stationary and pens into her green bag.
“let her go,” she said, motioning to our friend in the hall.
so, i sent her to the bathroom and deposited myself in her chair in the hallway. the elevator doors opened and two men got off of the elevator. they had been at the party earlier and spoke to me as they walked by. i told them that if they needed the restroom the other room was open. one of them went in while the other stood in the hall and waited. after a moment, he spoke to me.
“so, where do you work?”
i had just answered him when i saw something that burned itself into my mind so deeply that i will never forget it. ever. not as long as i live. probably even after i die, i will remember it. i’ll be sitting there, wherever you sit after you die, and i’ll be having a perfectly nice conversation with some other dead person about how much i like a good risotto or about how i like it that you can watch moonlighting and wkrp on television whenever you want to now that you’re dead and then, right in the middle of that, this image will come screaming back to me, ruining what would surely be an otherwise nice afterlife.
“girl, i have to pee so damn bad i have to hold onto my cha cha to hold it in! damn!”
and there she was. standing outside the room in the hallway with her alleged skirt up around her waist. one hand firmly planted on her cha cha and the other hand still clutching the champagne bottle.
and then the elevator door opened. and out stepped a woman and two young boys, one of whom exclaimed almost immediately, “awesome!”
they were quickly scuttled back onto the elevator and you could actually hear their mother repeatedly hitting what i assume was the door close button.
the man in the hallway made some sort of noise. or maybe a comment. honestly, i don’t know. i was sort of not there anymore. i had gone to my happy place. a place where there wasn’t the front of someone else’s butt right there on full display in front of me.
at that moment, the bathroom door mercifully opened.
“girl! smell this!”
few things will strike fear in the heart of me more quickly than someone coming out of a bathroom and telling me to “smell this.”
she walked over to me, paralyzed in my chair there in the hallway, and shoved her hands under my nose.
they smelled lovely. thank god.
“yeah, i noticed that they have molton brown stuff in there. that’s good stuff. i….”
“is it real expensive?”
“well, not horrible. i mean, it’s about thirty bucks or so for a bottle of hand soap that size. i bought some on my trip to london in the fall. i don’t know why, i mean you can buy it here, but, anyway, the stuff i got is not that scent, it’s a different one, more….”
but she wasn’t listening. she had turned around and gone back into the bathroom which was currently occupied by our friend and her cha cha.
i became aware that the man down the hall was explaining to his friend what he had missed while in the restroom. complete with reenactment of the “holding it in” stance. he then headed into the bathroom himself.
about then, my two coworkers emerge from the bathroom. they’re arguing.
“well, you take the soap and i’ll take the lotion.”
“come on, girl.”
“julia, tell her to give me the lotion.”
“um, honestly, she stole it, so it’s technically hers.”
despite the fundamental wrongness of the whole thing, i thought that seemed logical.
“fine. hold this.”
and she hands me the champagne bottle, which i hold in the one hand i have that isn’t holding her shoes, and walks straight into the second guest room’s bathroom. the one with the man in it.
“’scuse me, baby…what? calm down, baby, i ain’t gonna look at it. not like i ain’t seen it all before anyhow. i’m just gonna take this soap and this lotion.”
i can’t quite make out what he’s saying, which is surprising, really, given the volume level at which he’s speaking.
“please. you weren’t gonna wash your hands anyway. i know you weren’t. and if you really do wanna wash your hands, you can just use that soap right there in the shower. damn…that is a nice washcloth. ‘scuse me, baby.”
oh my god oh my god oh my god.
after a moment, she comes out of the room. she’s carrying the following:
- one really large bottle of molton brown hand soap
- one equally large bottle of molton brown lotion
- one umbrella
- one washcloth
“girl. i got me an umbrella too. and now you can keep your damn soap and your damn lotion. i got my own.”
“i want an umbrella.”
“well, that umbrella is julia’s. there’s a nice robe in the bathroom, though.”
oh my god oh my god oh my god.
“well, that’s mine.”
“okay,” i say, standing up. “no. no robe. we are not going to walk through the lobby of this hotel with a robe thrown over your shoulders like you’re fucking james brown live at the apollo. no way.”
“damn, girl. you need to drink something.”
“baby, drink you some of that champagne.”
and, really, that seems like a fine idea. so i raise the bottle to my lips and take a drink.
“see, that’s better, isn’t it? let’s go, baby.”
and so we get onto the elevator. as the doors close, i take another swill out of the champagne bottle in my hand, wondering if i can drink every bit of it before the doors open on the lobby.
“my soap is more full than yours.”
“well, my lotion has more in it.”
“well, i got more shit in my purse you don’t even know about.”
and the doors open and we step out into the lobby. i have the green shoes in one hand, the champagne bottle in the other.
my goal is to get across the lobby as quickly as possible and avoid all eye contact. i’m halfway to my goal, speeding toward the doors. i can still hear bickering behind me and then, my name.
i stop dead in my tracks. i feel sure that everyone in the lobby has stopped what they’re doing and they are now looking at us. how could they not?
i see two employees come out from behind the desk, a look of utter fascination on their faces.
“baby, take your umbrella. this bitch keeps tryin’ to take it from me, and i keep tellin’ her that this one here is yours, and the other one is mine, but you better take it before i have to beat her back with it.”
and she walks over to me, slowly…slower than any person has ever walked, i’m pretty sure, and hangs the umbrella off of my forearm.
“there, baby. now gimme my shoes. i can’t go outside barefoot.”
no. of course not.
and, with that, we make our way across the lobby and out the door. as they pile into the cab ahead of me, i turn and look back.
the entire staff of the hay adams has gathered at the door, watching incredulously.
before i turn to climb in, i raise the champagne bottle in their direction and wave, the umbrella swinging on my arm.
as the door is closing and i begin to settle in, i see a flash of green streak past my face and there is suddenly a leg next to my head, where a leg should not be, stretching toward the cab driver.
“baby, look at my shoes. mary j. blige has these same shoes. these shoes are bad.”
| [tell me about it] | [link to this entry]
is that a big bottle of molton brown soap in your purse or are you just happy to...oh. it is a big bottle of molton brown soap in your purse - a tragedy in two parts
so, the hay adams is a pretty swanky place. it’s chi chi and frou frou and all those sorts of fake-french-sounding words.
very important people have rendezvouses there. and such. and there’s a kick-ass view of the white house from the roof of the hay adams that is supposed to be very...well, very kick-ass.
i, of course, had never been there. because i am not chi chi. nor frou frou. nor very important. nor do i have rendezvouses. so, when i got the invitation from the dreaded consultants – the very consultants who dismantled our department and made me a very very sad woman for a number of months...in a row – and saw that they were having a party at the hay adams i was very excited. even more excited because, you know, i was invited. it was being billed as a “client appreciation” party. and i thought, “well, by god, if anyone needs to feel a little appreciated by you motherfuckers, then it’s me.”
of course, by “feel a little appreciated” i mean get really drunk and eat as much expensive food on your dime as i can eat without getting sick. well, to be fair, i thought i might eat so much that i would actually get sick. and then go throw up and come back and eat even more expensive food. just on principle.
i am very principled.
on the day of the party, as i walked through the reception area of our office, the receptionist stopped me.
“julia, you goin’ to that party tonight?”
“that one at the hay adams. girl, i’m goin'.”
and i didn’t mean it the way it sounded. i was just surprised. i mean, i spent months taking it up the ass from these people. i expected some free shrimp. but i wasn’t really sure how the receptionist scored her invite.
“well, i heard some people talking about it.”
this was a revelation to me. an epiphany, really. i mean, i had never really considered hearing people talk about something as an invitation to attend. for example, i’ve heard people talking about the academy awards. but it never crossed my mind that, by hearing them discussed, i was invited. i thought of all the great parties i missed over the years by not employing this tactic.
heck, i’ve driven by plenty of cookouts. and gone home hungry. needlessly, apparently.
it just never crossed my mind that the mere knowledge that an event is taking place is tantamount to an invitation.
“so, you’re going to go, then?”
“hell yeah, i’m goin’. free food. free booze. what time you goin’ over there?”
“well, it starts at six, so....”
“okay, good. i’ll go over with you. meet me in the lobby at six.”
i have no idea how these things happen to me.
the bottom line is that now i’m going to this party with a coworker who was never invited. and, going with us is another coworker who is leaving the firm as a result of the consultants’ actions. basically, she’s decided to get drunk on their free booze and then tell all of them to go fuck themselves in light of the ass-reaming they delivered to us on a silver platter. but it’s cool because they actually invited her. and she would definitely feel appreciated if she could tell them all to go fuck themselves.
of course, since the consultants basically railroaded my existing department out the door, that meant that the department was filled with new people. my new coworkers. and they were going to be at the party. so, this would be the first time i would be seeing any of them, including my new department manager, outside of the office.
i wracked my brain trying to come up with a scenario in which the evening would not be a complete disaster. i was disappointed when i couldn’t think of a single one. disappointed. but not surprised.
so, my uninvited coworker and my soon-to-be-not-my coworker meet me in the lobby at six and we decide to take a cab over to the hotel. this is actually an executive decision, made by the uninvited coworker because she is wearing green stiletto pumps that have a heel approximately nine inches high. the idea of walking over to the party, when proposed, causes her much anxiety.
“girl, i am not walking anywhere in these shoes! did you see my shoes! look at my shoes, girl! i love these shoes. these shoes are bad. look at how they match my bag.”
and, she was right. they did match her bag. but that didn't change the fact that she could not walk in them. i don’t mean that as a criticism, by the way. just an observation. i, myself, own numerous pairs of shoes which i cannot walk in. so, sure. i’m on board with that.
we climb into the cab and i notice that her skirt – if one call really call such a paucity of fabric a skirt – was, um...riding up.
around her waist.
“oh, girl, my ass is hangin’ out.”
and it was. her ass was definitely hangin’ out. and so was the front of her ass.
i’m sort of in a stunned state as we make our way through traffic toward the hay adams. my two fellow passengers are chatting away, talking about how much they’re looking forward to the evening.
as we pull up in front of the hotel, my coworker’s alleged skirt decides to head north for the summer, and i, and the bellmen, are given quite the view. as she tugs her hem back down, she asks one of them, “you like what you see, baby?”
he smiles and says “you know it.”
suddenly i think about the scene around me. i mean, i’m getting out of a taxi cab at a hotel with a woman who is wearing green shoes with a nine-inch heel and an alleged skirt. i’m not a guest of the hotel.
the smile on his face and the “hey, how you doin’?’” he gives me as i climb out of the cab make it clear: he thinks i’m a hooker.
my soon-not-to-be-my coworker says to him, “baby, we’re here for a party.”
and he smiles at her and says, “i know you are.”
i feel compelled to step in.
“no, really. an actual party. our consultants are having a party here. client appreciation.”
and, really, who am i kidding? i can’t even blame him for the smirk on his face. i just walk into the lobby and over the to desk.
“excuse me, i’m here for the [evil consultants] party. can you tell me where that is?”
about this time, my coworkers make their way into the lobby. my friend with the alleged skirt, loudly exclaims, “gottdamn! this place is beautiful!”
i smile at the desk clerk who is eyeing us en masse rather nervously. of course, i'm a little irritated by this. i mean, you work the desk at a swank hotel in dc where senators and heads of state routinely stay. you haven't seen a bunch of hookers in this lobby before? oh please.
“the party?” i repeat.
“on the roof.”
“girl! did she say on the roof?! shit! that is some nice shit...on the roof...damn...that is first class.”
i thank the desk clerk and we make our way over to the elevators.
you know that scene in pretty woman where julia roberts is in full ho regalia and she’s standing there with richard gere waiting on an elevator and this older couple is standing there and they’re looking at her disapprovingly because, hey, she’s in full ho regalia?
it’s like that.
when we get upstairs, there is a minor scurfuffle about the fact that my coworker with the alleged skirt doesn’t seem to have a nametag. to me, this seems fairly logical. she didn’t have an invitation, ergo, she didn’t have a nametag. however, my coworker with the alleged skirt would not let mere logic stand in her way.
“here. i’ll just take his,” she said, reaching for the nametag of another guest. “he probably not coming anyway.”
she promptly turned the nametag over and wrote her name on the back.
“there. now where the bar at?”
“where the bar at, indeed,” i thought.
i was probably two drinks in by the time my new coworkers arrived.
i hear my new manager asking my soon-to-be-ex coworker what she’s doing there.
“i came to tell these bitches thanks for fucking me over.”
“really?” he says.
“yeah. i came over with julia.”
and, right on cue, the coworker with the alleged skirt comes up to the bar.
“hey, baby, get me another one of these...and this time, make it potent. you hear me?”
my new manager then tells her that he didn’t expect to see her there.
“oh, i love a good party.”
wait for it.
“yeah. i came with julia.”
i try to get as far away from my new manager as i can while not dangling off the actual edge of the roof. i try burying my shame in glass after glass of champagne and plate after plate of asparagus and crabcakes.
then, through the gaussian blur of the humid summer air and copious quanitites of champagne, i hear it. someone is calling my name in a voice that could fairly be described as "going up to eleven."
for the record: everything from this point on is squarely my fault.
well, maybe not my fault.
but i accept full responsibility.
not in a legal sense, though. legally, i deny all responsibility.
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