Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Oh, the nerve!

Suddenly I’ve become a shaky lady. Well, that’s better than being shady, for sure!

Two days ago, I paid a visit to a neurologist at Mount Sinai Hospital because I suspect I have thoracic outlet syndrome. No, that’s not one of discount malls on the outskirts of town! I’ve been a computer jockey for so long that my ulnar nerve, which runs down from the spine to the pinky and ring finger, is most likely compressed. So my pinky finger shakes, gets numb, tingly and hot. (If you want to feel your ulnar nerve, strike your funny bone.)

But I digress … I had to wait three hours to see the doctor. Is anyone else annoyed by the fact that a 2:30 appointment means 5:30? This is billable time! Can I send the doctor an invoice? Due upon receipt?

So you arrive, write a Russian novel about your medical history until your hand starts to cramp and then realize your handwriting is just as bad as the doctor’s penmanship, straight from the school of illegible chicken scratch. At that point you answer questions like “have you been treated for this before?” with “no, that’s why I’m here, you dumb ass!” Then you sit your dumb ass down and wait. Yes, wait. That’s why it’s called a waiting room and why you are patient.

Two and half-hours into my appointment, the receptionist ushers me into a second waiting room, where I tested my vision with the chart and fumbled around with plastic skeleton parts. Not knowing what to do next, I sat down on the edge of a chair, put my hands in meditation position and started to perform yogic breathing. And that’s when the shtick started, because it took me a few minutes to realize that the doctor was standing right in front of me watching me with a somewhat puzzled smirk on his face!

The doctor – let’s call him Zhivago -- led me into his office and shook my hand to meet me officially. He then looked at my Russian novel and commented that I had written more than any patient he had ever treated. Zhivago was very impressed with the fact that I knew big words like THORACIC OUTLET SYNDROME, CUBITAL TUNNEL and ULNAR NERVE ENTRAPMENT. “You’re very smart,” he commented right there under the very unflattering fluorescent lights. (How come that sort of compliment never happens under better lighting when you meet a guy at a bar?)

Our chitchat diverted into my personal life, because you know, a good patient tells a doctor EVERYTHING. Shaky pinky digressed into a marathon kvetch: “How am I? You want to know how I am? I'll tell you how I am! What with my weight gain, my travesty of a relationship with my ex-boyfriend, how I sank into depression, had succumbed to anxiety attacks and agoraphobia, how of all the damn psychotherapists on Miami Beach, the one I chose for treatment lived and worked in the same building as my ex-boyfriend, come on, what are the odds? ... " (Why you can only pour your heart out to a compassionate professional after shelling out some bucks, God only knows.) At that point, I didn’t know if I was at a neurologist or a shrink. And then I had to wonder, when you are nervous wreck, who better to cure you than a specialist on nerves?

But Zhivago was very compassionate. “Don't worry, M, everyone’s depressed about something at some point in their lives.” And this was followed by the final obligatory evaluation question: “Are you nuts?”

Pregnant pause. “Nutty, yes, nuts, no.”

Then Zhivago led me by the hand to the examination table like a gentleman, as if he were pulling out the chair for me at a restaurant and saying, "ladies first." Nice touch, doctor!

I’d learn more about this doctor’s nice touch in the ensuing minutes. I had no idea that an initial neurological exam involved feeling up the patient! Not in an OB/GYN sort of way, mind you, which is very clinical and boring – this was far more interesting: fully clothed foreplay!

The first thing he did was to take my hands and put them on my lap. He noticed the shaky pinky. “Don’t be nervous,” he said. “I’m very easy to get along with.” (Yeah right ... famous first words!) Then, after asking me to grab his hands really hard to test my strength, he proceeded to gyrate my wrists and elbows. I looked out the window because he was standing rather close to me. Then he said, “I like to close my eyes so I can feel every sensation.” And I’m glad his eyes were closed because I couldn’t keep a straight face.

Then he asked me to close my eyes and he gently caressed my face and squeezed my ear lobes.

Zhivago: “Can you feel this?”

Interior Monologue: Well, of course I can feel it, you idiot! And it feels amazingly good!

Then the exam went from vanilla to kinky in two seconds flat. He took a pin and started to gently prick me over every bit of exposed skin.

Zhivago: “Can you feel this?”

Interior Monologue: Ooooh, that’s kind of nice …

And like every good Russian novel, this medical exam had a beginning, middle, and climactic end. After tapping my knee with a rubber implement to check for reflexes, he brought out some metal instruments, my favorite being a vibrating rod used for the medical equivalent of an activity that would be appreciated by anyone with a foot fetish.

Zhivago: “Take off your shoes, please. I’m going to test sensation on the soles of your feet.”

No interior monologue this time. I just let it all out, with a very giggly, high-pitched “ooooh, that tickles!”

Ah, yes, so sad is the condition of being chronically single, that a visit to the neurologist gives you cheap thrills.

So will this Lara see her Doctor Zhivago again? Oh yes indeed! He gave me plenty of opportunities for additional poking and prodding: Thyroid, just in case the old gland went the way of the tortoise instead of the hare. MRI, just in case a tumor made its way into my brain like a meatball in the old noodle. Oh, and a nerve conduction test: that’s when they attach sensors to your body, sort of like an electric chair that doesn’t kill you.

I can only imagine what the second visit will be like! Who wants to be a nervous wreck when you can have nervous bliss?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

My Big Fat Famous Cuban Ass

Why is everyone obsessed with my ass?

This year I put on weight after going on birth control to please my ex, Mr. Huge. BIG MISTAKE, and I mean BIG. I got depressed and fat, but fortunately enlightened to the fact that when women fall in love, we also fall stupid. I'll never do anything again to please a man who doesn't respect my body!

But I digress .... now I'm working with a personal trainer -- and I mean work -- he's busting my ass into marathon shape! So in spite of the fact that I was blessed with a great figure, right now it's concealed in a soft, cuddly layer of blubber. And I already regret the day when in just a few months, the topic of my ass will be "so last year."

You see, I am now wearing size 12 petite jeans and they're still a little snug. My mother wants me to buy bigger jeans and I don't know about you, but buying the perfect pair of jeans, regardless of your size, is like getting a master's degree in personal humiliation. It takes weeks of research! And I wonder, what's the big fucking deal? So what if my ass is big now? Who really gives a rat's ass? It's as if my entire person, mind and soul included, is overshadowed by this monstrosity that clings to my backside, like a tumor. I'm not supposed to wear these fat jeans because apparently, God forbid, you can see that I'm fat and I have to hide the fact from the world, like David Copperfield making the Empire State Building disappear in a little black dress.

Horror of horrors! The repercussions of this are tragic! BOTTOM LINE: in my current state, you can bet your ass no man will even look at me! No man will ask me out on a date! No man will ever marry me or want to be the father of my children! In short, I'll never be someone's piece of ass!

And if all they see when they look at me is that Mount Everest of a rump, how will they even notice my shimmering blue eyes? My ability to saunter in stilleto heels? My big boobs? Yes, how come no one complains about the size of my boobs? For heaven's sake, isn't the possession of tits and ass a valued commodity?

The only people who pester me about my ass are the people who care about me the most. Someone's always trying to chew my ass about my jeans. "What did Maria wear? Is she making an ass out of herself in those jeans?" My ass is blemish on my otherwise impeccably perfect self; the Scarlet letter ASS I must wear because of the heinous crime of being well-endowed in the rear; oh the shame I cause to my family, all of whom have perfect supermodel bodies, of course!; so I'm not the black sheep, but the morally reprehensible black ASS of the family; oh woe is me, all I'll ever amount to is an apprentice to Kirstie Alley!

(And let's not even get into arms. Yes, arms. I've got enviable arms. And my mother, whose triceps have been long neglected, thinks that I have to cover arms and ass in black in order to be presentable.)

Here's what the people who don't care about me the most have to say about my ass:

1. My gay friend, Mr. Gerald Kosher, thinks I look adorable. And I do. He says, if a man doesn't haul ass to love and adore you as you deserve, he's not worth it.

2. My personal trainer, Mr. Tough Nuts, continually tells me I've got a great figure and athletic body with much grace and flexibility. He continually praises me on my form. Today, he patted me on the back and said "you're solid." (And no, he's not just saying that because I'm paying up the ass for personal training.)

3. The other day at the gym, I went to the restroom and when I came back out I went to the cardio room to get my ass in gear on the treadmill. The woman on the bike and I started gossiping. She confessed that "girls will be girls," and that my ass had been the subject of conversation between her, another client and my trainer. She said that they -- these two skinny, tall gals -- admired the "firmness, height and lift" of my ass!

This is me, my ass and I. Love it or leave it. You know the phrase, "as long ass you're happy." Well, I am happy in my kick-ass body. So BUTT OUT!

Reverse psychology has been a great boost to my ass-esteem. People who care about me who mean well: you're a pain in the ass. All of the assenine comments I've heard lately about not showing my elephantine back side to the world actually make me want to wear those jeans in proud defiance!

P.S. Thanks for caring about me ...

Sunday, November 27, 2005

The Bachelor Flu

Why are so many single men emotionally unavailable?

- It's the bachelor flu -- a mandemic!

How do you surgically remove a boyfriend?

- Misterectomy

Monday, November 21, 2005

Sex Does Pay

While pounding the cyber-pavement today on Career Builder, I found a Miami Beach job announcement that, with a base pay of $80,000, sounded too good to be true:


Our company is looking for an experienced, focused, creative individual who will show optimal artistic skill as a Web Designer. Job includes health benefits and life insurance.


Applicant must have a 2 year degree, and must know how to operate the following: PhotoShop, DreamWeaver, HML, JavaScript, Flash, PHP (basic). Must also be able to provide a portfolio.

And it was. Do you see me working for Bang Brothers?

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Sex, Truths and Sticker Tape

Should lovers tell each other about their past sex lives? Huge, my ex, never minced his words. Today, driving by the Roney Plaza, I remembered Huge's tawdry description of having sex with two chicks when he was living there during his "bachelor days" many years ago. And this memory, which doesn't even belong to me, led me to the conclusion that your lover's past is never uncharted territory.

For example,Le Bouchon, a quaint little French bistro in Coconut Grove, where Huge went regularly during his "bachelor days" for lunch because not only was the steak with pomme frites excellent and well-priced, but because the waitress would give him a blow job in the bathroom. On the other hand, my experience at Le Bouchon consisted of a second date with a man whom, I would eventually learn, suffered from erectile dysfunction. Is that fair? But I have to wonder, was Huge's claim just an other order of steak and bravado?

Mapping out my own history in HoBe, there is a tiny beer joint just off Lincoln Road just brewing with memories, The Abbey, where I first met Huge in 2003. A year later, he asked me to be his girlfriend and we christened the commitment with a few amber bocks in the dark, smokey room where we first met. He held his arm around my waist and boasted loudly to all customers present: "I love this woman. We're together and we won't be with anyone else." Famous first words.

But The Abbey resonates with sordid stories, just like its poor acoustics. Before becoming Huge's girlfriend, I had met a gorgeous hunk of burning love on We made an impromptu New York style date at The Abbey around 11 PM. Easy for him, he was originally from the Big Apple. He looked like Robert Downey Jr, but even better, with the sort of biceps and quadriceps you only read about in romance novels ("generous, muscular loins and arms that could easily prop you against the wall!"). The retired surgeon-become-investor and I hit it off immediately. And after a couple of Chamays, we hit it off some more -- in his luxury high-rise apartment at The Waverly. I lost a pair of $40 cubic zirconia studs that evening, but in the morning all I could see was the stud who humped me, sitting naked on the sofa with his laptop as loin cloth, checking the first bell of the stock market.

Huge's history at The Abbey pales with mine in comparison. He would go to the girl's bathroom because it was a) cleaner than the men's and b) "it smells like pussy." I agree with a and don't agree with b, since I've peed at The Abbey many times -- and while not the powder room at The Ritz, the Abbey's toilet is completely inoffensive -- but if you're a man who's not getting any, I suppose that's as good as it gets. Or maybe you're just a man who can't get enough. As my brother puts it, "men are sluts."

Huge's love for the smell of a woman backfired once. One evening, to his surprise, a lesbian accidentally opened the bathroom door while Huge was inside. Her furious girlfriend, clad in a black leather jacket, put up her dukes against him, accusing him of making advances on her woman. Nothing like a jealous lesbian to put a man in his place.

But sexual desire takes awkward detours. On one of those nights Huge did not spend with me and I felt neglected, I took myself to the old watering hole for a little solace. Next to me sat an attractive twenty-something French man from Toulouse who spoke English well enough, although we all know they master the art of the tongue. My would-be French lover walked me to my car and showed me how to parler francais with a few, passionate and furtive kisses. In my "bachelor days," I would've let myself get to know France even better. Who knows, he might have been the first course followed by croissants and café au lait in the morning. Huge never knew about this and he never will. Isn't that much more elegant than a blow job from a waitress at a French bistro?

Wellfuckin 50mg

Wellbutrin commercial: all its characters look healthy and happy. Forty plus somethings driving across the Pacific Coast Highway, horseback riding ... ah ... just think of all that you'd be missing if you weren't on Wellbutrin! And I mean ALL that you'd be missing, because with the least sexual side effects, Wellbutrin is the viagra for the horniness impaired.

Anyway, what the fuck is a sexual side effect? Does that mean you get multiple orgasms or longer erections? Or that you get a side order of blow job with intercourse? No. On Wellbutrin, apparently, you experience being horny AND happy. And not just that -- you clearly have a loving, sexual partner with whom to quench your insatiable sexual thirst, which you'd be wasting otherwise, in your pathetic state of depression! What's wrong with you? You've got someone wanting to fuck you and you're just curled up on the couch being depressed? SHAME ON YOU!

What's more, if you take other anti-depressants, you will be cut off from your erogenous zones like a full-body epidural. Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft are the equivalent of a genital lobotomy. But caveat emptor: Wellbutrin may cause seizures. Heck, what's a little seizure now and then, if you can fuck your way to happiness?

Why don't they show the real face of depression? Sitting in your apartment. Dark circles under your eyes. You haven't washed your hair in days. Half a bottle of vodka sits next to angry letters to your ex. The voodoo doll is only half full of pins.

I wish my life was a Wellbutrin commercial. If I was in a mutually loving relationship and was getting laid, I wouldn't be so fucking depressed in the first place!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

LA Normal

A little gem in an email from my friend Carol, who is visiting LA for the first time:

"The people are actually very normal in comparison to the ones I have met in Miami."

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Wax and Pap

Seven months after breaking up with her boyfriend, with whom she had faithfully spent most of her mid-twenties, my dear friend Boobette had already sowed her wild oats. I lived vicariously through my younger alter-ego, also a writer. Ten years her senior and a veteran of South Beach, I listened attentively to mini-me. "I'm such a ho," she told me one day with a pang of bewilderment. "I slept with more men in the past seven months than I have in my entire life!" And that's when it all started, because I immediately blurted out, "well, that's because you live in HoBe!"

South Beach is a flat-ass barrier island with some very pretentious pretentions. No other city in the world has a diet named after it. The REAL South Beach Diet consists of half-priced cosmos at Balans, served in those cute glass tumblers. Balans is the only joint with two happy hour sessions. The traditional afternoon cocktails (seriously, who's happy at 5 PM?) and then 10 PM to 12 AM, which is that lovely liminal time when every pumpkin turns into a princess!

But I digress, like SoHo in New York City, South Beach has claimed the coolness of being abbreviated, because God forbid you should expend the minimal amount of linguistic energy it takes to complete the two-syllable name South Beach. The "th" and "ch" are the equivalent of bench pressing an elephant with your tongue, let me tell you! How do people living in multi-syllabic countries manage? Switzerland. Lichtenstein. Madagascar. Republic of Mickey Mouse.

In the tropics it takes a lot of energy to pronounce multi-syllabic words. It's just not that easy to multi-task. Try saying South Beach in a complete sentence while lifting a piña colada to your lips and rubbing coconut oil on a freshly depilated ass!

(By the way, for those plucked chickens out there, isn't it creepy to have your privates waxed by beauty school dropout? Wouldn't it be easier to combine a pap and wax appointment? A drive-through pap 'n wax would be so convenient!)

The nonsense is endless. For example, south of 5th street is a neighborhood now dubbed SoFi. At the 3rd street Starbucks you can WiFi at SoFi. Well, if I was a developer, I'd create residences south of 5th called SoFu, short for So Fucking What? But I live near 41st street, which puts me right smack in MidBe, and since the area is populated by orthodox jews and catholics, the phrase OY CHRIST! is not uncommon. Don't get me wrong. I adore my JewBe. So much better than SoGo, as my landlord put it -- two miles south of us -- it's Soddom and Gomorrah! North of the 41st parellel is NoBe, which is really ChéBe, where the only language spoken is Argentinian and all the men are gorgeous long-haired soccer players named Alejandro.

(I'm serious. When my friend Lorelei was not yet a mommy, back in the day when we earned our mettle as HoBe veterans, we took a scientific survey. Every long-haired specimen with tight quads and gluts was named Alejandro. No joke! We'd drive by an SUV (of course) and I'd open the window and ask, "is your name Alejandro?" And the tower of testosterone behind the wheel would say, "how did you know?")

Imagine that. Al-e-jan-dro. That's four syllables! I'm exhausted!