Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2002
Alex started dating Tiffany after he and I returned from London. That was way back. '96, I think. I don't know the historical details of their "thing" but it finally ended months ago , after several attempts at rekindling the sexual desire, when Alex had finally had enough. The effort far outweighed the advantages.
In the thirteen months prior to October 2002, my own efforts had rewarded me:
Not the sorts of adventures in promiscuity most people want to hear about. Although exactly the kinds of experiences I think everyone ought to explore, especially if they aspire to write for a living. But those are neither here nor there. Maybe another entry, some other time.
Not that I thought a fling with Tiff would be any more fulfilling an experience. It had been thirteen months. And that's really embarrassing when that lonely guy odor is detected by friends and family who normally wouldn't tell you. Like bad breath; or bad hair day; or spinach hanging from your teeth. It's as if my lack of sex life were a festering mole on my face. Geezuz.
Months and months ago I walked through Alex's front door to find him on the phone. When I'd returned from the kitchen with a glass of water I noticed that he hadn't said a word since I walked in. I asked if he was on hold with some kind of customer service. He twisted his face into an expression of utter disgust and shook his head. I was afraid something was really wrong. Alex held the phone out to me and I could hear Tiffany's incessant squawking half-way across the room. At the time, Alex had been trying to get rid of her by not responding to her. That is, not responding in conversation. He still picked up the phone when she called. I hated having a great laugh at his expense, but I did, in the loudest, horsiest guffaw I could muster, complete with Louis Skolnick gasps for air. Hopefully it was loud enough for Tiff to hear. I doubled over from the effort trying to let her hear what we - Alex and I - both thought of her, even though she would never really know. Even the least subtle of points, such as my vocal performance at the phone, seem actually to be deflected by Tiff's amazing aloofness. When I'd stopped laughing, my throat rather soar, Alex and I both listened to her reaction.
She. Was. Still. Talking.
Alex aimed his finger at the disconnect button as if Jedi lighting would burst forth and solve his Tiffany problem care/of the local utility system. Instead, since we had no immediate plans (that I recall) I thought I would have to witness for myself this phenomenon of mentality known as Tiffany. I'd heard his stories; I knew his reasons to get away from her, but I'd never actually had a conversation with her by myself. I assumed he was exaggerating for the benefit of my amusement over a pitcher at the Brass. Notsomuch.
Tiffany has this most unnatural ability to exist among other human beings without the slightest ability to consciously interact with them. Us. Whatever. No matter what the subject at hand, no matter how many others participating, she will inflate those shrill pipes of hers, above all other voices in the party - indeed, above all sound in the very building - and launch a monologue that has absolutely nothing to do with the present conversation. The kicker is, she will always interject with some asinine phrase of American dialect, intended as a clever segue to whatever random brain fart she's having at the moment.
She cannot contain a conscious thought in her mind without it spilling out of her mouth. (Sometimes I wonder if any of them are unconscious thoughts.) Think about that. Think of all the thoughts you have to yourself in your mind during any given day; those random, meaningless dialogues we all have with ourselves as we navigate our routines. Now think of every single one of those thoughts falling out of your mouth, uncontrollably, to a room full of people, without restraint, without timing, without editing, regardless of its appropriateness! Add an unwavering shrill voice and child-like giggles at the end of each statement. There you go. That's Tiffany.
I sat in Alex's kitchen with the phone to my ear - so as to allow his blood pressure to peacefully return to normal in the living room - listening to Tiffany talk. And talk. And talk. It was like listening to one of those political campaign messages, a mindless machine. Except I was fascinated, absolutely riveted, that I was really listening to a thought process emanating from somewhere inside a human mind. The noises I heard came from the organic clusters of human brain cells, although the coherency was absolutely lacking; random, meaningless. Thoughtless. As if a poorly written computer program had compiled them in response to my sparse cues.
I guess if there were a single word to sum up Tiffany as a person, it would be unaware. See, I began that sentence thinking I would describe her as 'thoughtless'. Except she's not. She just has too many thoughts and seems unable to integrate those thoughts with social interaction. Her mind is like a record that began skipping when she was twelve years old. The noise keeps coming out, but no one has taken the time, the considerable effort to help her adjust to her peers. Sadly, I imagine, behind her eyes, there are scenes playing out repeatedly that happened when she was younger, and those scenes no longer have correlation to her external reality. Whether it was her parents' divorce; whether it was a creepy uncle. Maybe it's just plain immaturity. Maybe it's a chemical imbalance. I really don't know. But there's something in her head that's preventing Tiffany from growing beyond that phase of adolescent self-absorption.
This is the analysis that is coursing through my brain as I sat listening to Tiffany talk at me from the other end of the phone line. And what conclusion do I come to? Easy lay.
Fuck you. It's been more than a year!
Somewhere in her ramblings that night, Tiffany told me about her work as graphic designer. (?!) She'd studied at the most prestigious department of the local Community College and was searching for employment, based on her two-year associate's degree, while paying the bills as a manager at a discount clothing store.
"Graphics design, you say? Tell me all about that!"
If there's any way to lower a person's guard, it's flattery. Not just that spoonful of generalized compliments which we all like to hear. No. To lower someone's guard, you'd have to know what they like, know what they value about themselves and their aspirations, and know how to talk about just that. Ladies; Girls; Young women, take notice: Unmarried men younger than thirty generally socialize in their pants. Don't, for a second, believe anything otherwise. Don't fall prey to that sexy voice, even if - no, especially if he says anything particularly flattering. Here's the misconception: sex is not the only thing men are thinking about, unless they seem abnormally attentive. I know plenty of women to whom I have no sexual attraction whatsoever, though I may find them extremely attractive as persons. There are women I want to screw, and there are women I want to know; to work with; to learn from. I interact with each of them like Jekel and Hyde. If a man respects you, he won't try to flatter you. Compliment, yes. Flatter, uh-uh.
(Now, should you have the same designs on his bod as he has on yours, then this is all moot. By all means...have fun. After all, that's what it's there for.)
I was operating under this mode of flattery when I'd made plans with Tiff to look at her portfolio and show her my reel. (Yeah. Right. Like I have a reel.) Several weeks after the phone conversation in Alex's kitchen, I'd driven 30 minutes to her house to "check out her portfolio." I'd told her that I was interested in her work because sooner or later, as I accrued more and more production work, I would need to know people who could work in graphic design. Which is entirely true. See? I'm not a liar.
Tiffany's designs and illustrations conveyed the same impressions of her talent and ability as her conversational skills do of her stunted emotionality. Her work stunk like a fart in a car. It reminded me of the drawings my sister made when she was eight years old. (Um... not that Angela's artwork stunk when she was eight. Uh...oh, shit. It's just Angela drew like an eight-year-old when she was eight years old. Tiffany, on the other hand, is twenty-five. I only bring it up because I could hear Angela's voice in my head saying, "Well, maybe she's just..." I know. Angela's got a 'well maybe' for everyone. But this time, I'm just not havin’ it.)
Tiffany showed me everything she had. Fucking e v e r y t h i n g . All of it complete crap. Including the baby pictures. Another example of 'completely unaware'. I couldn't see the training Community College was supposed to have given her, except in how to use certain computer programs. Maybe, I thought, she could illustrate fantasy books for eight-year-old girls. Otherwise, she had no idea what she was doing. And, to that end, I really felt bad for her. I'd love it if she became wildly successful in graphic arts. It would be one more successful artist I know. But I've watched over the shoulders of working artists; I've sat in while they negotiate with their clients. I know what kind of work it takes to pay rent as a graphic artist. Tiffany will never pay rent with her work.
When I'd had enough, I insisted we go out for drinks and "catch up" on the couple of years she and I had been incommunicado. I drove to a restaurant/bar with sidewalk seating around the corner which I knew would be deserted. Honestly, I wasn't ready to run into anyone at my usual haunts who might recognize me and later accuse me of being on a date.
She had a margarita. I had a Long Island. She's a sipper. I'm a drinker. I pulled the straw from my drink and tossed it on the table in mid-sentence for emphasis. Yeah, what a pro.... Eventually we ended up watching my "reel", which is nothing more than an embarrassing compilation of the shit I'd worked on in college. I guess I don't have any latitude to criticize her work when my own couldn't even get me an interview in this town. We ended the night after a couple of wrestling matches on the living room floor.
That was the ice breaker that led to similar games the next time she came over to "watch movies." And, oh yes, we watched them. And the DVD extras. Really. "The Others" is actually a very well made movie, but I kept hoping for Tiffany to pop out with something like "...and this one time, I stuck a flute in my pussy." After the second movie ended (I'm now clocking the afternoon at four hours!!) we sat there talking for a bit. Then the old wrestling routine. Okay, so we had comfortability in physicality. What's missing? Oh, yeah. The kiss. After all that time spent with her hands in her lap, she was amazingly receptive. She grabbed the back of my head and shoved her tongue down my throat as if she were snorkeling in the ocean! Normally that would have been impressive, flattering and quite arousing. But no. I'm not kidding when I say she kissed me like she was practicing CPR. Nonetheless, we spent three hours on the couch, fully dressed, figuring out how the other's mouth works. Nothing came off because her "aunt" was in town; although I assumed it was too early for her to be shedding anything in front of me. She's rather conservative that way, so I thought. Still, it was a much needed refresher course. We had dinner at one of those over-priced suburban strip-mall restaurants because it was what she was familiar with. I cursed the vile corporate chain for installing one of their poop-shoot outlets in the middle of my beloved inner city. In the end Tiffany walked me home and, before she left, tucked me and all my nakedness into bed.
Our second interlude, another rehearsal anticipating the end of my drought, was at her house. The plot: I needed to design a banner for my diary - which was legitimate - and she had all the software to do it. Designers in graphic arts tend to have these things lying around, just waiting to be "borrowed". She opened the front door wearing a yellow tank-top cropped up to her boobs and tight white jeans. Thank gawd we weren't going out. Yet how nice that she would wear something so... um, accessible.
After a short interval of face-sucking she asked why I hadn't yet taken off her bra. I cannot describe effectively enough my excited surprise without the emphasis of cartoon sound F/X. But let me try. From the day I met her, Tiff has been a wonder to behold - as long as I could shut out the noise. She's one of those blessed creatures who doesn't work for her body and seems only vaguely aware of what a magical vision she is. She carries herself with confident posture on a tall, athletic build, with broad shoulders and a generous amount of "padding" in all of my favorite places. Her musculature is far from toned, but her flesh is quite dense, filling out her shoulders, arms and thighs to delicious contours. After a day at the beach, years ago, when Tiffany and Karyn frolicked in the water in bikinis, it became one of my goals in life to one day get her naked. Ever since, that particular fantasy has been very effective at encouraging a finish with every single lover of mine. Including Karyn.
At last, she and I lay on her bed together, J-bird naked. She drew her fingertips across my bare shoulders, arousing the little hairs on my neck, and down my chest and stomach, sending little shots of electricity towards her obvious destination. As I shifted my hips to allow her hand free access, Tiffany gathered my entire package in her palm and gripped me in a tennis player's vice. I couldn't even scream. In breathless shock I stared at her, pleading with my eyes, What the hell are you doing?! She stretched her neck upwards until I could feel her breath on my lips.
She clenched her fist a degree more for emphasis: "Not without your raingear."
...to be continued.
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