Saturday, January 26, 2008

Sometimes, Image is, Indeed, Everything. But What's Really Being Communicated, Well...

Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string. Accept the place the divine providence has found for you, the society of your contemporaries, the connection of events.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson,
from Self-Reliance, 1841
OXFORD, Ohio (ZP) -- He told her, bluntly, that he'd slept with her first-year roommate as well as her best friend, two women mere days apart back in November, because she'd got kind of fat. He didn't care what she thought, didn't care that she loved him, he was going to spend his last semester in college sowing his oats and seeing women who wouldn't damage his rep.

I read the email, aloud, and tell her that, yes, obviously, her ex-boyfriend is one of those goddamn collar-popping, limp-dicked, pieces of motherfucking catshit chachballs I've often written about here in Oxford Fucking Ohio.

I declined her offer to show me his picture. Frankly, the guy's email turned my stomach to the point where I was ready to quite literally beat the living shit out of him.

I hand the very pretty, healthy-looking sophomore another wad of toilet tissue. She points out that she did, in fact, gain eight and a half pounds during a rather rough Fall Semester. When he quit calling her at home over Winter Break, she knew their relationship was in trouble. The strain of it all pushed her weight up a bit farther - she gained another ghastly, obscene pound and a quarter.

The poor woman's been sobbing for a week, off and on, depressed not only over a failed relationship, but over the fact that she'd ballooned to a beastly 126 pounds.

She goes on to explain that she hasn't been able to eat, sleep, or think clearly for seven days - she's terrified that, well, maybe every guy's noticed how much weight she's gained. She's been taking so much Adderall that one of her professors actually pulled her aside after class to inquire about her emotional and physical well-being.

She took her first shower in more than three days moments after I'd confirmed our "appointment" an hour earlier. She apologized profusely for not shaving her legs, for not drying her hair, or for putting on much makeup. She barely remembered to pull on her lucky track pants and Uggs boots when she exited her room for the first time all day, just long enough to sneak me into her residence hall.

For ten minutes, she tells me about all about how she managed her weight like a sadistic nutritional accountant, how she'd counted every single gram of fat and every single calorie for most of her high school career. But no matter how hard she tried...

* * * *

She jumped up off of the corner of her bottom bunk, bent over, and pointed at why, exactly, she thought she'd been dumped by a rather-worthless sounding prick.

"Look. My ass is fucking HUGE! I got cellulite every-WHERE! Who would want that?"

I looked. I saw nothing but a very nice ass attached to rather attractive girl, a very pretty face staring back at me from over a shoulder. She tugged down one side of her track pants, pulled up the leg of her boxers, showed me the four dimples at the crease between her ass and thigh.

Here is this emotionally wrecked, tired, angry woman, with quite possibly one of the greatest asses in the history of college sophomoredom here in Oxford Fucking Ohio, and she's telling a 29-year-old single librarian about how gaining less than ten pounds has ruined her, driven her rather wretched-sounding boyfriend into the arms of other women, and how this one electronic voice in the wilderness just must agree with her thigh-cheese-equals-troll assessment.

"Chica, I probably shouldn't say this, but I think you know you're not fat, know this cat was a cocksucker, and that this Ms. Perfect shit just makes you look like a dumbass."

There is no way to describe the looks some very pretty sophomores can give a guy when they know, deep down, that that guy may have a point.


"Well... this ain't really about getting dumped by a douche. Sounds to me like this is about how you see yourself as a person..."

It's amazing, sometimes, the sheer maturity and wisdom I'm able to demonstrate, even with a nice ass in my face.

* * * *

She sat back down on the bed.

I waited for her to call me what blog readers who've mistaken me for some College Girl Crusader or Small Town Defamer often call me - a fraud, a huckster, or, usually, a fucking creepy asshole. Worse, there are some folks who are just appalled - downright DISGUSTED - to learn that, well, being a blogger makes one more of a village idiot than any sort of role model.

When I display the same sort of honesty offline as I often display online, many folks are taken aback, shocked. Yes, I swear like a drunken sailor, say completely inappropriate, insensitive, very un-PC things.

What one reads is what one gets - and if a reader asks a certain blogger to make a housecall to talk, that reader isn't in for any sort of bullshit Blogebrity routine. In all honesty, I don't have time for that ego-stroking, narcissistic horseshit - I work too hard at my day job and know too many good people in this town to behave so, well, stupidly.

She didn't say a word.

Instead, she sat cross-legged, picked at the lint and blackened dust bunnies that had defiled the fur tops of her Uggs. She stared down towards the hornet's nest of sports bras, crumpled jeans, coats, comforters, and sheets that we were both sitting on - she mumbled an apology for not tidying up before I'd stopped by.

I figured that was my cue. I said I'd leave her alone, thanked her for, well, keeping me entertained via her intoxicated late-night instant messages, and reminded her that, well, my office door at the library, is almost always open.

Without looking up, she reached up and grabbed my arm, squeezed. I sat back down, put my hand on her shoulder. She asked me to stay. So I did.

And, once the emotional hysterics that go along with being jilted were well out of sight, we had a nice, brutally honest conversation about why one doesn't take time off from college because of a douchebag, how one sucks up that rage and turns it into scholarly fuel, and the importance of never, ever letting something as trivial as a temporary low self-image get in the way of making good, emotion-free decisions.

I even recommended that she start a blog about her experiences under a pseudonym, document her struggles so that maybe, sometime in the future, some other sophomore in her position might find it and go, Holy fucking shit! This girl really knows what I'm feeling!

Hell, blogging has done wonders for my own concept of self-worth and self-esteem issues - why not pass on that experience to others? College women need to get online, need to share not just their musical tastes or fashion tips or bullshit political ideologies but personal experiences as well. Venting does a body good - and sometimes it's equally rewarding to simply read about an experience that let's a random stranger know that they're not alone in this world.

As we talked, she held onto my arm for dear life. I was the first person not a mutual friend or family member she'd spilled her guts to in a long, long time. She told me why she reads this silly web site has more to do with how I handle certain information more like a priest taking confession than a blogger - I don't use names and carefully conceal identities, so, therefore, spilling one's guts is less of a risk than, say, posting something to a MySpace or Facebook account.

That's why she asked me to stop by, made an afternoon appointment. She needed to confess her sins - and my openness about my own, batshit insane personal life made me sound like the perfect holy man.

In all honesty, I showed up only because I was terrified that I may be asked to administer Last Rites.

* * * *

Suddenly, mid-sentence, she asked me if I was hungry. I lied and said that, well, a nice hot toasted roll - one of the Local U.'s signature culinary treats - sounded abso-fucking-lutely scrumptious. Actually, the very smell of those things makes me nauseous, but, well, I was just on my game enough to realize the question about hunger was more self-directed.

Getting a Local U. girl who's been starving herself for a week may, in fact, be the single-most important contribution I've made to the Oxford community, professionally or as an everyday citizen, in more than a year.

As we hiked down towards the student union - she was craving a slice of pizza - she stopped me with an Ugh! Hold on. That's so annoying..., turned me on my heels like a wayward toddler, and started adjusting my cockeyed stocking cap and tangled mess the hood on my sweatshirt had become. She went so maternal on me, this woman barely out of her teens, that she even licked her thumb before she slicked down my disheveled eyebrows.

"You know, you have gorgeous eyelashes. There was this girl in my history class last semester who told me that she had a crush on this guy who worked at King..."

Suddenly, she stopped cold, pulled herself into me. The first-year roommate, one of the two boyfriend-fucking Jezebels, was on her cell phone, pacing, right in front of the student union doors, a mere thirty feet away. I started to turn and look, but, well, serving as a human shield left me with only the risk of sweatshirt strangulation as the very pretty, image-conscious sophomore clung onto my collar for dear life.

"Ohmygodohmygod... if she sees us together she's gonna think... she's gonna tell everybody... fucking whore!...God, she's s'posed to be in Cincinnati ... don't DON'T look... she's looking... FUCK!"

It took me, in my so not an undergrad mindset, a good thirty seconds to figure out what, exactly, that ferret-faced Ms. Thang, clad in her trendy North Face jacket and skintight black pants, guarding the entrance to a student union food court could possibly assume, or who the everybody was she'd possibly tell.

I laughed. Hard.

You know, the sight of a cute girl ducking into the chest of a 29-year-old librarian with supposedly gorgeous eyelashes probably is something to gossip about - if you're a catty, rodent-looking Cincinnati rich girl with nothing better to do than to fuck my blog readers' boyfriends because you were, like, soooooo wasted at beer pong parties, like, two or three times, accidentally.

I thought about it for a moment, pondered and weighed the potential risks to both my professional credibility and, well, my fine, upstanding reputation (go ahead and laugh, dammit!) as an online writer. I then strategically twisted in such a way as to position my mouth at the ear of the very pretty, way-too-young sophomore, twisted in such a way that Ms. Rodent Face would have a clear view of both her former roommate's face and my constantly graying stubble.

I whispered, slowly, into my chestwarmer's ear that she had nothing to worry about, said sweet nothings about how learning to tune out gossip comes with maturity, and told her, well, that she shouldn't give a flying fuck what others may think.

She giggled at my use of the phrase flying fuck (she didn't believe anybody actually spoke such things so casually) and whispered something back about not wanting people to ask questions. Again, she played right into my not-so-sinister plan of attack.

I could feel the stare. Just the type of stare I'd counted on, one of those soul-rupturing glares that catty gossipwhores tend to give people when they think certain things, when they assume that they are now entitled to do whatever they want with certain information, regardless of courtesy or consequences.

So, like clockwork, I pushed the very pretty sophomore back into an upright, chin-up position, told her that the time had come to say Fuck it and to march right past Jezebel No. 1. She sighed, agreed, and we double-timed it past the loose-lipped (in more ways than one, apparently) sentry. My blog reader, the trooper that she was, shoved her hands into her pockets and stared at the ground.

I just grinned a very stupid-looking grin. My plan was working.

I stood as straight as I could, puffed out my chest, and did my best Dirty Old Man impression, acknowledged the gawker with a well-timed, jaw-shattering S'up.

And how that other woman stared. She even had the beady little brown eyes of a ferret.

* * * *

Over a quick bite, I let my very pretty, supposedly hefty, 126-pound dinner date in on the intricacies of my, well, strategically placed movements, mannerisms, and whispers, on the use of a quick and controlled burn to manage someone else's need to perpetuate rumor and disinformation.

It took her a bit of time to grasp the concept. After she'd pondered it over the remainder of her very bad cappuccino...

* * * *

"So what you're saying is that she's gonna tell him and his ego's gonna be smashed?"


"That's weird."

"Okay, lemme put it this way: how do you think most guys react when they're hearing rumors that their ex is potentially fucking an older guy?"

"I'd be fucking pissed."

"How would you feel, in his shoes, if one of your gossipy mutual acquaintances was spreading rumors ..."

Silence. And then, the wondrous Eureka! moment.

"Oh shit. So he's gonna look like a total ass and I'm the mature one, right?"



As I walked her back to her dorm, we discussed all sorts of things, ranging from other forms of data manipulation in interpersonal relationships to her new-found obsession with G.I. Joe comic books and online poker.

A guy she knew, too, grad student, had invited her over to hang out, watch a couple of old 1980s movies. She wasn't sure about his motives, but, well... she wasn't ready ... she didn't really like him that way...

"Well, sounds like you're getting ready to upgrade to business-class there, chica."

She didn't seem to get what I was getting at. I let it drop, wished her a great weekend, and promised I'd have something new for her to read sometime Saturday afternoon.

She reminded me that I don't use real names and that she'd be really mad if I slipped up. I reminded her that, well, I really didn't need to be reminded of anything.

* * * *

I'm supposed to mention, somewhere, that Mr. Super-Prep was born blessed - I am sorta like a priest, after all - with a really, really tiny...


Would anybody believe me if I swore she asked me to include something about how his imagination resembles a Vienna Sausage?

Length and width, apparently. That's a serious lack of imagination.

And to think...

There are people who ask me how, exactly, my not-so-secret life as a blogger has helped build up my own self-confidence and sense of personal image.

I'm completely comfortable with my imagination, actually. Way overactive at times, but, well, I'm working on that...


- # # # -


Anonymous said...


cooper said...

Jason you crack me up. The last thing college girls need to do online is blather on about their pathetic and not very interesting lives, and non problems. Really college is for learning that all that shit means nothing, and that there are more important things in life than a dick less ex-preppy boyfriends, checking their face-book account fifteen times a day, and what black dress to wear to the formal.

Then again that college seems to be something like what one might find in a more contemporary Pleasantville, and though I know places like that exist, and people actually go to school in such places, it's often hard to really comprehend.

The ZenFo Pro said...

Dude, ya just don't know how hard that post was, really. I felt like I had to go undercover.

What's so pathetic, really? Or uninteresting? What you or I might find to be a "non-problem?" Yup, college is for learning about how that stuff is less important. Sadly, there is nobody willing to teach such things outside of a goddamn classroom - it's the peer- and experience- based learning model that fills in that void.

College is about experience way more than it's about curricula. That won't change. And I don't think it should, either.

I once I once had a faculty member here at the Local U. walk up to me on the fucking street, tell me that she almost filed a formal complaint against me at work, because I *gasp!* have been known to go out drinking with some mythical group called "Our Young Scholars." Bitch made it sound like I should be telling students to stay home and study their asses off on Saturday nights, with Bach playing in the background, over a cup of Earl Fucking Grey. A faculty member so respected in her field as a scholar, and so completely worthless when it came to empathizing with the very real need students have to unwind and relax.

I spent a portion of last night singing along to Bad Religion's "Sorrow" with a 21-year-old woman in a half-empty bar at midnight. Last Thursday, I stayed out way too late, drank way too much, at an open-mic night not just as a show of support for those artistically inclined "Young Scholars," but because, well, I knew I'd probably be the only person with a terminal academic degree there to cheer on some brave amateur performers.

Fact is, every university in this country bills itself as some ivy-covered Pleasantville - and it's all just worthless propaganda.

I know there were girls just like this at your alma mater, too, chica. They're everywhere - and they may dress, act, and talk like the "Preppy Masses," but they have the potential to be strong, independent women. And their stories, as they try to reach that potential, are just as real and valid as anything any other blogger - including myself - would vomit onto Cyberspace.

Anonymous said...

okay yr comments are already too long but that was absolutely awesome.

Curiosity Killer said...

Seriously. What you did is incredibly noble and intelligent. Esp the part where you suggested she start blogging about her fears -- and there indeed will be other girls who will discover her who also share these fears, anxieties, and asshole ex's. Every now and then, we all need a little moment and a little space to digest and reflect on our situations.


Curiosity Killer said...

Ironically enough with the swearing and cussing of course... that's the cool thing about ya. LOL

Lex said...

okay. gotta say it.

you washed your FACE with a flavored lubricant for THREE MONTHS! your soooo smart and read a lot and you mean you never ever read the fucking LABEL?

sorry couldn't help it. smeeled blueberry muffins and thought you were in my livingroom or something :P

seriously as a woman who works in fashion its fucking ridiculous that girls anywhere think theres some ideal weight. fuck that shit. and fuck any guy who calls 126 pounds fat or 136 pounds fat or 226 pounds. we're all different and thats were beauty lies.

The ZenFo Pro said...

Lol. Thanks :)

First, the cause of your, online issues, needs to be fed a million shards of broken glass and forced to drink Tang mixed with goat piss. Somebody else I know is having a similar problem, not necessarily with her blog but with another online social networking resource. And, while I'm at it, fuck that tool, too.

Um. Sorry. Let's just say I so empathize. Anywho...

Yeah, there are actually very few Oxford bloggers and, esp. in this town, it'd be nice to see personal stories and tales, even differing perspectives. At large, too. I really do think the so-called blogosphere needs that sort f variety in order to stay a viable medium.

Muchas gracias :)

Speaking of annoying blog lurkers (kidding), ya know, I just figured out where you *learned* about that...

Somebody's been diggin' through my archives.

Yeah. Thanks for sharing, chica. :P And you wonder why that knuckle-dragging boyfriend of yours hates this web site.

And, yep, I'm actually in your bedroom right now - I'm a ninja - digging through your nine million vibrators, looking for some sign of dignity ;P

Lol. I'm joking. Do stab me.

Curiosity Killer said...

I agree with you. What we need to hear more personal stories from different parts of the world, no matter how small or large.

As for my current online issue - it seems to have died down. Woohoooo! I was starting to get bored listening to myself bitch. LOL

Dances With Books said...

Ok, I did laugh at the notion of you having an upstanding reputation (then again, you did tell us to laugh). And yet you are among the most thoughtful and decent people out there.

Just 126 lbs.? What in the name of humanity was that guy's problem? Oh well, hopefully in the end, she will end up the one looking good.

Steph said...

You're a good guy.

Jay said...

Suddenly, I think I've given up sausages for good.

Coyote Mike said...

You have more guts than me, my friend. I've come close to having one of my students open up like that, but I always keep a step back.

But I would have paid for both your lunches just to watch rat-face crumble.

The ZenFo Pro said...

Lol, ya, the that's sorta what blogging was intended to be used as - nothing more than personal journaling. Somehow, over the last few years, it became this media phenom, with everybody and their mother trying to become famous. Who gives a shit, really?

It's really funny. Not really that thoughtful - the Local U. is rather well-known, regionally, for being a refugee camp for the entitled and, well, shallow. The culture puts probably more pressure on kids to fit in, to tune out their own individuality and to become, well, Stepford perfect clones.

Sez you. Thanks anyway :)

Wha? There are women who don't like Vienna Sausages? I mean, c'mon, now...

That's, what, eight inches in those cans??


Oh yeah. This was an embedded gonzo-style assignment. Felt really cool, actually.

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