she's writing a novel

a lot of her writing tends to be tongue-in-cheek. this is because she grew up in an evangelical tradition which was more concerned about where else she might be putting her tongue.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

shacking up

I met the Russian in the spring of last year. After our first date, and night together (which happened on the same occasion and the explicit details of which I may divulge on some occasion, provided I am drunk enough), he invited me over for dinner. A dinner which he made, from scratch. I don't believe that I have ever witnessed food being made entirely from scratch. I was waiting for him next to pull a quarter out from behind my ear, or a gold brick out of his ass...I was that impressed by what was to me an enthralling party trick: practical magic. Men should take note: take a girl to dinner, and she'll be flattered. Make a girl dinner, and she'll be enamored (but only if you know what you're doing. If you flail about in the kitchen like a guy who was just made over by the Queer Eye crowd, she'll find you endearing. Women also find puppies endearing. If you want to rank higher than a puggle in the eyes of a prospective female lover, learn to cook before using it as a wooing device).

Anyway.

It turns out that dinner from scratch is no small production. We would sit down to eat no earlier than ten, with half a bottle of wine behind us and half a bottle to go. By eleven, I was full-bellied and buzzed. When the Russian put down his knife and fork, he asked me if was staying the night. My head was still spinning from the night before and now it was spinning from the wine; I processed this as a rhetorical question. We went to the bedroom for dessert.

From then on, whenever he had me to dinner, a dinner which didn't start before ten and always involved a bottle of wine at least, he would ask me if I was staying the night shortly after the last bite. And it was always a genuine question; if i had said no, he would have walked me to my car or hailed me a cab. But I never said no.

Sometimes I would make a face of deliberation, and bluff my way through some excuses. And he would wait patiently for me to shut up, and then he would ask me again. He would ask me as many times as it took for me to absorb that this was not intended to create a dilemma; it was simply a yes or no question. And I never said no.

Then it was summer, one of the hottest on record. My second-floor apartment in an old brick house soaked up the heat, and never let it out. I could get no relief from my one small oscillating fan.

But the Russian had air conditioning in his bedroom, and as if delicious food and sex with a gorgeous, brilliant foreign man wasn’t enough to keep me around, the air conditioning ensured that I was a very regular overnight guest.

I have a way of enjoying provocative announcements, and so I casually informed my parents that I was sleeping with a man in exchange for cooler night air. If they were capable of having a sense of humor about such things, they would have shot back with equal nonchalance that, as I was a fairly pretty girl, I should have aimed for one with an in-ground pool while I was at it. But they do not have a sense of humor about these things.

So my father drove me to the Home Depot, muttering that he would sooner purchase an air conditioning unit than see his daughter shacking up with a guy because of a little 105 degree weather.

Shacking up indeed.

By that autumn, I was sleeping over at the Russian’s only on days ending in “y”. And needless to say, it wasn’t the Maytag window unit that kept me coming back. After all, I’m a fairly pretty girl, and I could have had a man with central air.

And then winter…well, winter in my ghetto apartment is cold. And the Russian’s bed is warm.