Girl With a Tail RSS

"The worst thing you can do is to use the funk of sexual success as a hedge against the appropriate depths of self-horror. Remember, you're probably clever enough to fool someone better-looking for a while. But in the end, you're ugly. That's where you live, and you live there alone."
--Steve Almond



Erin Whitehead - Professional Resume

Erin Whitehead

Enthusiastic over-sharer, able to keep secrets most of the time, punctual because not usually coming from anywhere important, proficient in ice breakers, making out, and phone tag, experienced active listener, wing man, and cat-sitter.

EXPERIENCE (‘94-‘01)

Dave – 29 yr old I made out with when I was 16. He lived in a warehouse with no windows. Walls covered in black velvet and embedded with rhinestones. Shaved chest. First wang I saw (except for my friend’s boyfriend when he pierced it and bled all over his sheets).

Dylan – Kurt Cobain with elephantitis. Rocked an acoustic guitar. Kissed me (Violent Femmes in the background, a Salvador Dali rendition of naked breasts overlooking us) and said, “It’s so great we can do this and it doesn’t have to mean anything.”

Dan and Dave – Cutest guys at Nordhoff. Kissed both of them on St Patrick’s Day because I told them my name was Erin. They were too drunk to remember the next day.

Kevin – Bird-loving science guy I dated. He took me to a Weird Al concert at the Ventura Fair. Famous quote: “I love you tiny breasts and big ass.” I cried.

Blue – A buck-toothed tweaker I made out with on the hood my ‘87 Volvo. Inside the car we had an ongoing war over the parking break – I wanted it up to avoid third base. I still have his bootleg Pearl Jam cassettes.

Adam – Albino guy I made out with at Emerson during a bored depression. I would stage dramatic conversations in hopes of eliciting some kind of emotional response from him.

Ethan – No wait, we never made out. But I imagined we did so much it seems real.

Patrick – Off and on bf for four years. Blames me for his grey hair. Current next door neighbor.


Cat-sitter – Took blood sugar, administered insulin injections, and forced pills down throat of elderly feline named Bridgette.

Extra – Sat on couch eating donuts in oversized scrubs, listening to conversations around me and thinking, ‘this cannot be my life.’

Voice Over – Narrated fetish scenarios for friend’s “classy” website. Improvised “Mmm’s” and “Oh’s.”

Domino’s Delivery – Got lost for approx 2 hours during every 5 hour shift. Got called “Pizza Boy” a lot due to hip, 90’s pixie haircut and required ball cap.

Substitute Teacher - Couldn’t keep track of who was who so would pretend to write notes to the teacher about who was bad when actually writing things like, “Girl in front row will probably be pregnant by 9th grade,” or “Red head boy is both so stupid and so ugly he will never feel up anyone.”  Then I would wish I was them while watching the clock tick.


School of Life – ‘79 – present

Emerson College– Majored in writing with a focus in fiction from an adolescent point of view (or: fiction from the pov of a college student in serious graduation denial)
–    Improvised on a team named “This is Pathetic” which often lived up to its name.

-    crushed on writing instructor who later married a woman named Erin whose music collection comprised more than soundtracks.

-    made Felicity-like tape recordings on the subway in hopes of catching the attention of a dark, handsome stranger.

Knowledge of most Disney songs (Princess part only), dry humping, Twitter.


The Usual Suspects

Sitting in the waiting room of Kaiser Permanente this morning, smoked out of doctor hiding by a salmon colored rash below my left eye (Note to self: One wrinkle cream is sufficinet, three results in pink scaliness which is less attractive than wrinkles), I pondered why this doctor’s office freaks me out even more than most.

I always get the high blood pressure, the neurotic joke-making followed by pulling my arm hair out, realizing this looks neurotic, and subsequently tearing up like a five year-old. But here it’s worse. For one thing, you have to pay a dollar to park and once you’re inside the malllike multi-leveled structure, you feel you’re in for good, they own your car, they own you, you would have to rush the orange and white barrier (“Save yourself, sweet Latino ticket taker, you angel working Death’s toll booth!”) to make a quick escape if, say, they were chasing you with needles…

Maybe I shouldn’t say “you.” Everyone else looked pretty calm. I was congratualting myself on believably pretending to read my book while thinking, “I’m not coming back out, Dear God, I will die in here.” I was staring blandly out the windows at the Glendale foothills, so green under a grey swell of storm clouds that I wanted to take a big, dirt clodden bite, and repeating the chilling words in my head, “Kaiser Permanente, Kaiser Permanente, Kaiser Permanente…” when they morphed suddenly into, “Keyser Soze, Keyser Soze.”

God, I mean that MIGHT explain the sheer terror I experience deep in my core at the mere mention of the place, and the reason I allowed a month-long flu to persist into a 2 month flu citing, “They’ll just tell me to get in bed, take vitamin C, and watch Sex and the City which, hello? I’m already DOING.” (The real fear being they would diagnose a runny nose and minor depression and tell me to go back to work).

But Still. Keyser Soze. I let that one rattle its own mantra a few times and realized my blood pressure was not in fact shooting skyward. I am less afraid of the mafia than I am of the doctor, particularly an HMO, particularly one where you have to pay for parking. This is when they call my name. There is of course that split second where a dumb white flash of a thought says, “Ignore her, just keep reading,” but knee jerk reaction beats out thought every time and I am standing and doing my pleasantly surprised face, ‘Why, that’s me! Aren’t I lucky, not much of a wait today,’ knowing in my heart that this moment may be one of my last.

The Diagnosis: Over the counter hydro-cortizone cream (no more expensive wrinkle creams…okay, okay, I think, fingers crossed). Okay, easy enough, I walk out not feeling too resentful about my parking dollar, thinking maybe these Kaiser folks (Kaiser, Erin, not KEYSER) know a little something about some things, not that I’d trust them to my thyroid or anything.

In the ointments aisle of Rite-Aid I turn into a stalking predator. It seems cortizone cream is used for more than just rashes of the eye, and there is not a box in sight without the large word ANAL or ANUS or RECTAL. I fucking refuse to buy something that says that. I have in the past, despite my (let’s face it, unhealthy) youth-obsession, refused to buy the skin-tightening Preperation-H because God forbid the check-out girl think I have hemmoroids.

Damn it. I skulk, squint-eyed, looking for a box with the SAME ingredients but a DIFFERENT use. When other people invade the (MY) aisle, I sashay browser style, “Can’t quite find what I’m lookin’ for,” and my eyebrows say, “Ha, certainly not this shelf.” My territorial pacing frightens away an old man who I think is probably after the SAME product I am but for a DIFFERENT purpose.

I finally settle on one that only has the words anus and rectal in small print on the back, along with other words like eczema, rash, and poison oak— things I am much more comfortable with. I throw in a box of Air-Born to show that I am ailing, not hemmoroidal. As I leave with my bag of purchases I am certain I now feel an itch on my eye BALL, not LID, and that the fucking HMO “doctor” has, as usual I suspect (har, har), misdiagnosed me.


Mr. Sensitive

I think a certain amount of self-awareness is fine, necessary even, so you don’t walk around like a schmuck with no concept of your effect on the rest of the world. But let’s talk levels. Have you noticed that people who pride them selves on being ultra self-aware — super in tune to their every emotional whim, conscious of each thought bubble — are more selfish than aware? There are two major categories: The I-feel-ers and the Do-You-Hate-Me’s.

Take my friend, *Craig for example. Craig is an I-feel-er. Craig, do you want to come over for dinner? “I’m feeling like my body needs to be home. You could come to me.” Craig thinks about why he does things, why he thinks things, why he simply is… A LOT. Right, I know, we ALL do that. We’ve been taught, too late in life probably, that the blood bath that is childhood fucked us up good and that now, our job as adults, is to unfuck ourselves. And to do that, we have to turn inward. INward, I said, not UPward as in your head is up your ass thinking how comforting your anus smells and what traumatic event (shared bath with the farting cousin at age 6?) caused you to think that. Being self-aware doesn’t have to translate to being UNaware of others. I’m so happy for Craig that he is always exactly certain of what he wants to eat, where he wants to go, and what he wants to do. I would be even happier if he learned the words ‘What do you want to do?’

Here’s the other kind — the Do-You-Hate-Me’s. This kind is harder to spot because they appear, initially, to be extremely in tune to you. To everyone. They read behavior, they listen closely, they watch your every move… to see how it relates to them. Try to vent about your life to one of these people. Me: “I’m so tired of making plans and then getting flaked on.” Person: “Wait, are you talking about me? I don’t flake, I mean, sometimes I might not call back, but I have a good reason. Like this one time…” And then guess what? The conversation is about reassuring HER. Listening doesn’t count when you’re listening for hidden meanings pertaining to YOU. You are not actually sensitive when you assume every tone, gesture, and glance is about YOU. This kind of person will hear you say you have a cold, your car got a flat tire, and you’re overdrawn at the bank then ask if you are mad at them because your tone sounded like you might be. This person assumes you hate them if you respond to the comment they made under your facebook status. These people describe themselves as sensitive when really they have never listened to anything anyone said without relating it back to themselves.

Listen, I come from a large extended family, each branch of which boasts it’s own brand of self-righteous bullshit. We span everything from My-parenting-is-better-than-yours to My-pallela-beats-the-shit-out-of-your-taco-bell to My-political-activeness-(activeness?)-is-superior-to-your-sad-bumpersticker-support. Mine is social brains. Just because you’re book smart, street smart, or even therapy-smart, don’t mean you got social smarts, which to me is the most important kind. So go think about that. And how it relates to YOU.

*name has been changed to protect the *sensitive.
*word has been changed to protect the douche bag.


Nice Fucking Work

A few years ago, in an attempt to calm my road rage, I traded giving the finger for a sarcastic thumbs up. I only ever felt like an idiot anyway when I would flip the bird — angry people always look worse than the person who angered them, it’s an unfortunate truth. A cool thumbs up says, “Way to go, Jack Ass. You didn’t make me angry, no, I’m simply NOTING your stupidity.” Which seemed better, until tonight when the DOUCHE BAG parked on the red curb in front of Rite Aid, blocking the entire lane, forcing me to wait for not three, not four, but FIVE oncoming cars to pass before going around, self-righteous thumb already poised, my expression saying “Nice fucking work,” turned out to be… a tiny, sweet looking old lady. As I left the parking lot I could picture it — she wasn’t feeling well, not at all, and her tiny old husband took her to the doctor. They both had trouble walking and then sitting in plastic chairs. She reached into her purse, fished a bit of used kleenex from between a lipstick and a package of lifesavers, and blew her sore, red nose. Her husband, blurry-eyed, patted her shoulder. Finally the doctor saw her. He was short and impatient, she was kind and apologetic. After making her wait an hour, he prescribed some antibiotics in under two minutes. By the time they got to Rite Aid it was dark and they had not eaten supper. “I don’t feel well enough to go in,” she told her husband. “I’ll get your prescription,” he told her kindly, pulling up to the red curb and getting, with difficulty, out of the car before hobbling on an artificial hip into the store. There she sat, alone in the car, the blur of commuters on Glendale Boulevard in front of her, thinking of times when a silly thing like a head cold wasn’t such an ordeal. Her head hurt and she was hungry and trying to think what she might have in the kitchen to make. Then I drove by. Man, sometimes I hate myself.