Saturday, July 15, 2006
Ladies, welcome to Manola's lounge. Sit back, sip on a martini, slide off those sling-backs and put your feet up on the velvet ottoman. Allow me, oh goddesses, to offer you a tale of caveat emptor -- retail therapy gone bad.
WHY DON'T PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES MAKE AN 'ASSHOLE CONTROL' PILL?
Shortly before I went off the deep end, I decided to take birth control pills to please Mr. Thinks He's Huge, because His Royal Anus couldn't stand condoms. Indeed, something happens when you fall in love with an asshole -- your brain, that otherwise reasonable organ that reminds you to look both ways before crossing the street to avoid being hit by a car -- completely shuts down.
Never mind that you've always gained weight in the past just from even thinking about progesterone. Never mind that you couldn't even talk about hormones without getting bloated. Never mind that you went from junior jeans to bearded circus freak overnight. No, never mind that you're not a fairy prancing about the forest in ballet slippers, like the waifs in the commercial.
"You too can enjoy fucking like a rabbit just by popping this little pill," said pharmaceutical company spokeinthecorporatewheel, Mr. Pack O Lies. "Only .25 percent of women gain half an ounce on this otherwise harmless medication that has liberated women worldwide!"
Liberated? My ass! I really mean it this time: MY BIG CUBAN ASS EXPONENTIALLY MULTIPLIED! I belong to that .25 percent, you snake oil-selling carnival barker! How can it be liberating to sacrifice your health for a man who isn't willing to collaborate with you on family planning and do what's best for the both of you to prevent an unwanted pregnancy?
So the pounds packed on, the fucking became less frequent and the depression turned more rampant.
The formula is simple: You love an asshole. You take a pill to prevent mini-assholes. You get fat. You stop fucking.
WRONG PLACE, WRONG ASSHOLE
And wrong timing. My nephew's wedding was two months away and the entire family, in a most interesting and utterly dysfunctional twist, gave me shit about the fact that I wasn't going to look like a Hollywood hobag anorexic lollipop head, as if I had to be a red carpet silicon and collagen-ridden celebrity skeleton to make myself presentable. Even though I wasn't a bridesmaid, the family rumor mill buzzed about the disgrace of my weight gain and the shame it would bring to the family.
Not only was I in love with an asshole, I'd been born into a clan of loving folk turned suddenly -- because of the stress of the event -- into a pack of irrational yapping prolapsed colons.
My mother wanted to control my wedding wardbrobe, because my arms were too fat to go sleeveless and the fate of the Middle East somehow depended on whether or not the guests at my nephew's wedding gazed upon my horribly deformed upper limbs.
As well, my sister wanted to influence my choice of dress, because God forbid I show a speck of bosom and turn my nephew's wedding into a skank back-alley version of Moulin Rouge, which surely would've exacerbated the effects of Global Whoring on the ozone layer.
So unwittingly, my normal-turned-Stepford-family alienated the crazy aunt -- "Well, she's a writer ... you know!" -- sucking me dry of any enthusiasm I might have about the future of a nephew whom I dearly love. I resigned myself to the fact that my self-esteem was slowly, excruciatingly being crushed into a non-descript blob of fat labeled hazardous waste.
AT LEAST PINOCCHIO BELIEVED WHAT HE WAS LYING AND DIDN'T SHOVE HIS LIES UP YOUR ASSHOLE
On one of those rare evenings in which Mr. Thinks He's Huge had consumed half a liter of vodka and felt affectionate, which was really an unsuccesful ruse -- nay a losing excuse -- to shove his wanker up my rectum -- we talked about what I'd wear to my nephew's wedding. He held my hand and promised that we'd upstage the couple celebrating their nuptials.
"I'm going to buy you the most beautiful dress, Manola," he lied through this teeth. "I don't care how much it costs. Buy something to match the color of your cerulean blue eyes. I'll wear a matching tie. We're going to upstage the couple celebrating their nuptials."
The weeks passed. I stayed on the pill to please him and kept gaining weight, in spite of diet and exercise -- yes -- exercise: an exercise in pointless frustration.
A week prior to the wedding, I was looking forward to buying the dress, because even though I was in love with an asshole, at least he was on my size 14 side. He had mentioned more than once that he'd be the macho man holding my arm, making the family swallow humble pie.
But as was to be expected, three days prior to shopping, Mr. Thinks He's Huge put on indifferent airs, picked an argument out of his dossier and like a prisoner of war, simply disappeared. And truly, there was no war to speak of. Nor a prison.
I brought the now infamous dress alone on a Saturday morning at Macy's in Aventura Mall. My heart, which was now barely beating like road kill on its last breath, sunk deep as I peered into the mirror at the woman wearing the soft yellow empire-waist dress, wrapped in flowing, fading turquoise gauze.
I looked at her yet didn't recognize the face or the body. I had let others tell me who I was supposed to be, what I was supposed to look like and what I was worth based on their idea of this boundless thing called a soul bound up in a body that had put on extra pounds to please its lover. I shrugged my shoulders at a gorgeous dress that meant nothing for an event that had been spoiled before it even happened.
The dress was supposed to mean something for someone, but instead, it became ordinary, dirty and inconsequential, like a smelly kitchen rag tossed into the hamper.
Automatically, without feeling, I wrote a check for $150, knowing that I'd have to ask my family to cover the cost of the dress.
That was a good day, wasn't it? Admitting to my family that the man who would walk with me, arm in arm, down the aisle and to the first row of pews, was an asshole who didn't keep promises. Admitting to myself that the man I was in love with wasn't worth the little scrap left of my heart.
But at least I kept my promise of not showing the now infamous dress in public until the ceremony.
It hung patiently, waiting to be embodied, in my closet.
AN ASSHOLE IS JUST AN ASSHOLE
Mr. Thinks He's Huge finally returned my phone calls on Monday. He rang and spoke cooly: "I'm penciling in my agenda. When are we having dinner with your brother? Oh and did you buy the dress?"
No offer to compensate me for the cost of the dress, no enthusiasm about seeing the dress, no looking forward to the wedding. Was it a question of money? Surely, an honest man would've been honest.
I swallowed my humble pie. I was going to have to put on a face and go through with this, reluctantly, because when I had sent out the rsvp, me plus one had been an important number, considering that one of my nephew's cousins had refused to attend because she was not allowed to bring her boyfriend. See, only those who were officially attached were encouraged to bring guests. I had branded my disaster as official.
The day of the wedding arrived.
Guess what? I drove there alone, because Mr. Thinks He's Huge was late. He never walked down the aisle with me, arm in arm, to sit with me proudly, on the first row of pews. He missed the entire ceremony and showed up just in time to drive to the reception.
It's just as well. I sauntered down the aisle in my four-inch heels and and sat next to my other sister. Before I could say hello, pain melted and we giggled, sobbed like idiots and felt such love and joy, What the heck -- the moment had finally come -- we were here for my nephew and his bride. I forgot all about Mr. Thinks He's Huge, the dress and my family's arrogant humiliation. I let the love wear me. The dress was just an accessory.
After the ceremony, ironically, I was the belle of the ball. My sister even said: "Why, you're positively glowing! Your dress is absolutely stunning! You don't even look fat."
Why? Because I was happy, bitch. I wasn't going to let anyone get in the way of this celebration. And yet, it was the best and worst of days, because in order to rejoice in the wedding, I had to push aside this festering canker in my heart that dared called itself my the love of my life and then I had to put on a face for a family which, instead of accepting me for who I was at the time, tried to turn me into the laced-up lab rat I could never be.
BODY DOUBLE NOT WORTH THE TROUBLE
My dress was a beautiful shade of yellow, draped by a fading turquoise gauze. But I was color blind. More importantly: heart blind.
A few weeks after ny nephew's wedding, I'd been off birth control and Mr. Thinks He's Huge was pulling one of his morning suck-me-and-fuck-me pranks. Instead of pulling out, he came inside me.
I lay in bed, stone cold mortified. He got up out of bed, put on his pants over his still leaking penis, looked evasively at the mirror while he brushed his hair back and said "well, you can take one of those morning after pills."
I had two choices: 1) risk a pregnancy from a man who claimed he had been cheated into having two children by his former girlfriend or 2) my health, by taking what is essentially a month's worth of hormones over a period of 72 hours.
The choice was simple.
My nephew and his wife are happily married and happily, my family's momentary lapse of reason has long ago subsided. They've come to accept the nutty wordsmith crafting away in her little Miami Beach hovel.
And several moons ago, during one long, dark night, Manola was born ... it's good to laugh when the laugh's good ... fractured and imperfect, laughable and loveable.