I was, in her assessment, hip and with a style all my own, classy and sophisticated and, well, cool as shit to hang out with. And she laughed, yes, laughed when I asked for an apology, when I asked if she was deranged or insane or had spent her college years living in some other college town...
If I'm the heppest of the hepcats here in trendy Oxford Fucking Ohio, well, for fuck's sakes, some Scenester version of the Apocalypse must indeed be upon us.
Her roommate, this quiet little thing with a pixie cut, clad in skinny jeans and those ballerina shoes that tend to make women's feet look enormously long and narrow, a self-described fashionista, concurred.
The evidence, Miss Pixie claimed, was the originality of my rather talentless paintings, my collection of strange and curious DVDs and books, and, well, the fact that my apartment is apparently decorated in a postindustrial minimalist fashion...
Part of me was insulted and, yes, part of me was dreadfully awestruck. To be talked about like some sort of online sex symbol in one's own apartment, by two very fashionable women, is abso-fucking-lutely disturbing.
Now that fucking creeps me out.
* * * *
I sat on my living room floor late Tuesday night, dealt out the cards, and listened as two college seniors, two women who were in the know about the latest Panic! at the Disco albums and the latest Rufus Wainwright tracks, called me, quite possibly, the hippest, suavest motherfucker in all of Ohio.
After dealing out the last card, a King of Coins that followed The Devil, I grunted something about the girls both being full of shit, that I needed to concentrate to do the reading.
I proceeded to explain to my lovely young reader that she may want to indeed reevaluate her current relationship with the cat from Dayton - the cards revealed an unhealthy, codependent pattern and a lust more about maintaining image than actual love.
Little Miss Pixie grabbed her arm as I spoke, gasped about how, yes, that guy was indeed a cocky jock chump, and that, yes, the cards were indeed tapping into some esoteric medium...
* * * *
"This is so weird. I feel like I know you, but I don't. So you let random people who IM you...?"
"Naw. Figured ya'll were safe. Hell, we've spent two years IMing back and forth about all sorts of shit - this town's small enough that I figure you'd have stabbed me by now if you were one of the crazy ones..."
"So you've really had blog stalkers?"
"Let's put it this way - I'm getting fucking tired of cleaning lipstick off of my fucking truck and replacing the fucking mirrors..."
The reader seemed shocked. I explained that, well, there are prices to pay when one writes about things that involve somebody else's potential scandal or excuse for histrionic melodrama.
Writing, after all, ain't easy - or necessarily hip, suave, or sexy. Actually, writing online nonfiction is probably one of the most dangerous hobbies in all of Oxford Fucking Ohio.
* * * *
Miss Pixie was staring me down for some reason, eyebrows scrunched up, forehead crinkled like a tossed-off dress shirt.
"Are you sure we haven't met before?"
"Pretty sure. You've prob'ly seen me at work."
"Wait. Didn't I interview you once...?"
"Maybe. If it dealt with library renovation or some event or -"
The reader interrupted the exchange, hushed the roommate with a friendly Shut the fuck up! He's reading my cards!
The two women, the savvy, hip chicks who'd shown up late and were disappointed in the fact that the hardest booze I keep in my apartment is herbal tea, listened contently as I finished reading the spread.
I'd have made a fairly decent fortuneteller in another life, believe it or not...
* * * *
Through tiny desktop speakers, the Mp3 player let loose a fierce, full-bend acoustic guitar riff - French songstress SoKo's "I'll Kill Her."
Both women seemed fascinated by the worldliness of the songs on my playlist - everything from South American baile funk to French pop, from Palestinian hip-hop to Ratatat's latest remixes, from, yes, American bands like the Meat Puppets and the Melvins to Australian and European downbeat music...
Hey, who is this? seemed to be a common refrain voiced over nearly every song. In Oxford Fucking Ohio and in many American college towns, popular music is often defined by what's played in iTunes commercials, what's peddled by television execs on network dramas and comedies.
Even the highly fashionable, I explained, even young women who think they're pushing boundaries in terms of art and music, are usually just regurgitating somebody else's marketing. If one's sense of style can be boiled down into a bumper sticker or some quirky image on a retro teeshirt, well, one's style is nothing more than hollow capitalistic vanity masked as a creative, independent statement.
The fact that being true to one's artistic tastes and pleasures, true to oneself, has become nothing more than selective corporate branding supports the theory that, yes, we are at the end of that era that held 20th Century Western Pop Culture up as one of history's great creative benchmarks.
There will never be, ladies, I stated, another Great American Novel, another Great British Romantic Comedy, another French Literary Renaissance ... The Developing World has been out-imagining us whilst we play Guitar Fucking Hero and fiddle with our DVRs...
... Being sexy or fashionable is about giving meaning to insignificance and irrelevance ...
As I finished reading Miss Pixie's cards, continued intermingling my cartomantic interpretations with my pop culture rantings, I felt like my words were being interpreted as some sort of stupid Hipster version of the Sermon on the Mount. To say it was an awkward, downright uncomfortable feeling would be an understatement.
At least, well, SoKo now has two new fans here in Oxford Fucking Ohio. Baile funk? Not so much.
The American Millennials Rising Generation, that fantastic illusion of a perfect generation that's been pitched by academic hucksters and public radio poseurs for almost a decade now, just isn't ready for Brazilian women singing songs in Portuguese about fucking random guys on the dance floor.
One day, maybe. But only after those same young liberated Americans realize that nobody gives a shit about our reality television, our celebutante cuntflashing, or our steroid-filled athletes anymore...
Until that shit's well behind us all, ain't nobody bringing sexy back to this continent.
* * * *
Miss Pixie suddenly remembered how she knew me. The sounds of music so, well, foreign, freed up a bit of memory.
"Hey, this is kinda weird, but did you have an Italian girl living with you, like, two years ago? Like Italian Italian? Like not American? Like my age?"
"Um... yeah.... for 'bout a week..."
"Oh shit! You're that guy! I guess I have read your blog before. For a class, dude! Yeah, we were supposed to do a blog and...yeah... that was fucking hot!"
"Well shit, chica..."
You know, everybody still asks where I got the Liverpool jersey...
- EPILOGUE -
The agreement at the end of Tuesday night was, well, that I was to write something about spending yet another pleasant evening alone with two very attractive young Local U. women, reading tarot cards, discussing pop culture, and drinking herbal tea.
I told them that, yes, as always, no names would be used and that, yes, I would include something, somewhere, about how both women have boyfriends and that it was - in case anybody asks or it turns out we know some of the same people - completely platonic and innocent.
And, for the record, this has been one of the hardest posts I've felt obligated to write in a long fucking time. Obligated, because, well, I was asked to document something that's really quite a normal evening alone for me - save for the sexy/suave/cool talk.
I'm not hip, nowhere near being suave or as sophisticated, and, well, the sexy ship left my port a long time ago. I am, however, comfortable enough with who I am not to give a flying monkeyfuck about any of it.
To write about certain normal things, it turns out, is sometimes a lot harder than simply making a promise. By Saturday afternoon, I'd cranked out four very different drafts, the ZenFo Pro / Real World Jason personae painfully clipped and chopped down to tepid puddings full of random fragments thoughts.
I just don't handle being called a sex symbol well. If I've become a sex symbol because of a stupid blog, some fashionable demigod of Ohioana Web lore, then I can't help but think the whole world's gone fucking insane.
Saturday night, frustrated, I hit up my favorite watering hole to help cure me of my tragically un-hip writer's block. A good, peaceful night surrounded by the drunken chest-beating chatter of fratboy cliches and shallow College Girl stereotypes was just what the doctor ordered...
I knew that, yes, the mental blockage was about melt away like dirty snow the moment I ran into a cheerily intoxicated, newly mustachioed Mr. Chops.
Discussions about exes and anal sex and bawdy texts in the middle of the night were amongst the first signs that, yes, there may still be some writing left in me after all, that I'm just a normal, rather boring dude pushing 30 who writes as a fucking hobby.
Look... I have no fucking desire to bring sexy back. Hell, I think it's high time mainstream culture took that puppy out back and shot it, point-blank, in its pampered, Let Them Eat Tabloids face...
And I'm certainly no sex symbol. I'm a librarian.
* * * *
It was at the downstairs bar, huddled in a corner and after my first Long Island and my second pint of beer, that my Fuck that Shit! confidence was restored.
An aspiring novelist buddy and I sparked up a very manly, borderline shitshow conversation about the trueness of writing about truth and beauty, that wondrously sexy ideal pitched by the poet John Keats...
... You know, one of those I would so fuck the shit outta that... conversations that drunk writers have at times, those sophisticated I dunno, something about the way her shirt just clings... sorts of oh-so-sexy, intellectual debates only fucking writers and sex symbols have in crowded college bars...
Both of us, well, had hit some serious roadblocks in our extracurricular creative endeavors - and we were both trying to drink and think our way back into that groove, that splendid amalgam of imagination and invention. We both tried, in vain, to maintain some level of academic critique, to commiserate, but, well, too many cute girls kept flowing through the door, kept pushing their breasts together and out of their too-tight tops...
And for some reason, over the course of way-too-many drinks, over a night's worth of intoxicated promises of dinner-and-a-movie dates with a sorta shy, Girl Next Door bartender, after being briefly molested by a marvelously intoxicated gay man who just loves him some Britney and Xtina...
... My writer's block, thank the gods, cured itself! Go figure.
A normal, boring Saturday night out on the town was all it took!
Now that's fucking sexy and suave and cool as shit.
- # # # -