Wednesday, December 31

MARGOT MORGAN WISHES YOU A HAPPY NEW YEAR

FONDUE AND GIFTS

Even though I dreaded it, Christmas this year wasn’t bad. On Christmas Eve my mother set fire to her kitchen, since she was trying to make cheese fondue. It was supposed to be a sober, vegetarian Christmas, the fondue was our contribution to world peace. When the flames reached the ceiling my mother started blaming the Chinese. They were at fault for selling her a worthless fondue pan. Luckily there was little damage, dinner could go ahead as planned.The next day I helped with the laundry. Little did I know that doing the laundry would lead to another shocking event. I entered her bedroom with two clean pyjamas, planning to put them in the cupboard next to her bed. When I opened the cupboard I found a packet containing twelve condoms, ready to be used in case there was a need. Call me childish, but I wouldn’t have been more shocked had I found a needle and some smack. For a few minutes I stared at the packet and hesitated, wondering if I should confront her or not. Should I talk to her as if she was a teenager, the same way that she once talked to me? Or be as blunt as possible and say: “I found a packet of condoms today, what are you doing with those?” To be torn by curiosity and not wanting to find out, that’s how it felt. Later that day I had to ask the question: “Do you have a boyfriend mom?” She did not look at me when she replied. “Those condoms were a Christmas gift for you,” she said. “I just hadn’t wrapped them yet.”

Tuesday, December 23

TASTE

There are a lot of things that make my moto taxi guy attractive, but there are also many things that I don’t like. To start with the obvious: he drinks and smokes too much. Around noon he will have some white wine, and around four, when I am having herbal tea, he’s ready for pastis. This worries me a bit. The other thing is that he likes to clean. A lot. Now I have nothing against a decent amount of hygiene, but this guy doesn’t seem to stop. Last weekend he announced that he would clean the bird shit of his balcony. When I told him bird shit was part of life in Paris, he looked at me as if I came from Mars. Then there are music videos: why does he think I like to wake up to the sound of Wham? The last time I paid any attention to George Michael must have been when I was twelve. Then there are books: the guy doesn’t read more than two books a year, because he says he doesn’t like to dream. In his eyes reading is just dreaming with your eyes glued to a page. Then there is the biggest difference between us: he likes to wear thongs. Maybe this is a French thing, or maybe I’m oldfashioned, but I don’t like a man without a covered ass. Besides that, I can’t date someone with better taste in underwear than me.

Saturday, December 20

LESSONS

My mother taught me that you cannot expect anything from a guy. She thinks a relationship is unpaid slavery, where you have to cook and clean and prostitute yourself for less than you are worth. Lesson number one: do not prostitute yourself for less than you are worth. Lesson number two: at all times, do not forget to show your breasts. If there is one sin in life it is to be ashamed of your body, how could you not be proud? My mother lectured me a lot about the body, how it is equally important as the mind. She also said that if I’d sleep around I’d lose touch with my soul. That would be the biggest punishment, to not be able to connect with anyone, not even with yourself. She thinks the right person is someone who helps you in times of trouble, and who has some mechanical skills. She says that marriage is a prison, and instead of being an inmate, you should be out there enjoying yourself. But then I tell her that she has to stop, that it is time for me to get the latest wonderbra.

Tuesday, December 16

FACTS

Three winters ago I did not know what to do with life. I remember writing it down, clearly, next to my Christmas shopping list. Since then about 1095 days have passed. I fell in love four times and had sex about three times a month. I bought 72 books and changed jobs more than once. I never said I love you, except to my little nephew who is now six years old. (He said it first). I turned down seven men and got dumped twice. I wanted to become a writer, then decided I didn’t, then decided I did. I also wanted to become a stewardess, a professional dancer and a cook. I slept with men I should not have slept with and ignored the ones who seemed too nice. For some reason I thought coming to Paris would make me feel better, would make me feel like I could conquer myself. The only good thing I can say is that in three years time I haven’t lost any teeth. Perhaps some weight and some intelligence, but that’s a fact of life.

Friday, December 12

OUT OF PLACE

Moto taxi guy didn’t have a kitchen, just a watercooker and a microwave. When I suggested to have dinner he surprised me with three gifts. The first was a small incense holder in the shape of a young boy. The second a notebook with Japanse calligraphy on the outside. The third a book by Edward Said I had read before. “Out of Place,” I said, gently stroking the cover, “thanks for getting this for me.” He almost looked as if he blushed.
For some time I figured there was some mysterious connection between these gifts, that the hidden message was: “You’re out of place, but so am I so just relax cause you can always read.”
Or: “You’re out of place so take a hobby like calligraphy.”
Whatever the message was, it didn’t sound like: “you’re out of place but I don’t care.” However, looking at the baby photos of Edward Said made me feel very sad. Perhaps happiness would hit me later, somewhere in a café or a restaurant.

Wednesday, December 10

LIKE TWO LIPS

For a while I thought I was lonely, that’s why I called my moto taxi guy. He picked me up from hotel V. and kissed my cheek. That was what I wanted: a distant kind of intimacy. We drove to the Eiffel Tower and had a frappuccino at Café Alma.
He spilled some coffee on the tablecloth and then he said it was my fault. When he said it I smiled, but I wasn’t sure if a stain on a tablecloth would be such a drama for me.
His appartment was clean and full of light. There were some African statues in the living room, next to a table made of glass. We drank champagne out of glasses shaped like flowers, they looked like they had not been used before. When I undressed he asked: “what is the best thing anyone has ever said to you?” and I answered: “a guy once wrote we were like two lips, unseparable. Of course we broke up straight away.” Afterwards I looked at his art collection; some French painters I had never heard of before. He played some Ben Harper and while he did I wondered if I felt fulfilled. Then he told me that he had a child, a boy who just turned thirteen. He touched my shoulders and I tried to open up to him, to tell him something personal, a small confession that would sound like a small truth. But all I wanted was to close my eyes and tell him I would leave.

Saturday, November 15

INTELLECTUALS

This morning I decided that I want to be an intellectual. If I lose my beauty I have to be able to compensate with intelligence. There are days that I miss being normal, being able to wake up early and feel in control of my life. At this point there are only a few things that remind me of normalcy, like brushing my hair or calling a friend or folding my clothes. I had a coffee at Hotel V. and ate two small croissants. Everything in Paris seems to be about size these days. There are mini croissants and mini pains au chocolat and mini viennoisses. The girls wear mini ballerina’s but their scarfs are big as blankets and their bodies look like skeletons. They look like life is easy and perhaps it is for them. Since I want to be an intellectual I decided it makes sense to read. The bookstores are open from twelve to midnight, so I bought Newsweek, Figaro Magazine and Paris Match. After some hesitation I also bought a book with a pink cover: “Souvenirs érotiques d’une femme vénale”. Maybe intellectuals don’t read books with pink covers, but I thought it was a start. The cashier was a young man with curly brown hair and big sad eyes. He touched my hand when he gave me my change and it felt like there was contact, right there, in a separate reality.

Thursday, November 13

BEAUTY

Met two gay men who work as technicians at La Comédie Française. For some unknown reason they seem to have grown fond of me. Today we had coffee and sandwiches at La Place Collette. It was a beautiful day, so sunny it hurt, and nothing could ruin what I felt inside. One of them asked: “Margot, have you slept with French men before?” The way he asked me sounded like he asked about some favourite dessert. Of course I lied and said no, because it didn’t feel appropriate to talk about my flings. I could hardly remember what it felt like to be part of someones victory. What would happen if I’d lose my looks, I thought, would Paris turn into a place I would avoid? At this stage, beauty was still more important than intelligence. In France beauty meant survival, unless of course you were a man.
We finished our sandwiches and a small band started playing in front of us. There was a light breeze, and for a few seconds all the paper money they had collected went flying through the air. That moment everything was perfect, there was nothing that I wished would change. I would accept the loss of beauty, provided that it stayed there, everywhere you looked.

Wednesday, November 12

DILEMMA

Waking up at Hotel V. on Boulevard Saint Germain means being faced with a daily dilemma: should I have coffee at Les deux Magots or at Café de Flore? After a few days in Paris Les Deux Magots seems a lot nicer than the neighbouring cafés. The waiters are cuter and they serve their coffee with the nicest chocolates. Back at the hotel I called my moto taxi guy, asking him how much he would charge for a trip to the main sites. He must have known it was a booty call, his voice started to quiver when he told me the price. In the end I told him I still had to think about what he was charging me.
I took a bath and used four different towels, including the one I threw on the floor. Then I thought how long I could continue to live this way, and if I would ever grow tired of casual sex. The next day I ate two strawberry pastries and the guy at the shop asked me: “Are you in love, or did you lose someone you love?” It was a joke of course, but part of his joke must have been the truth. Then I thought: was I really in love, or just in love with the idea of losing my love?

Friday, October 31

SACRIFICE

A few weeks ago my boss announced she is sending me to Paris.
She said she wanted me to represent the company.
This means I get to stay at one of the nicest hotels in town, a place that under different circumstances I could not afford.
I plan to take a bubblebath twice a day and order chocolate covered raspberries by phone.
Representing the company can be hard work, but it’s a sacrifice that I’m prepared to make.

Friday, October 24

TWO DREAMS

Lately the dreams I’ve been having are freaking me out. Some of them are about sex, which may not surprise you, but not in a healthy, wholesome way. The first dream features Name Deleted, who’s taken me on a minitrip to a remote village somewhere. The village is completely empty, there’s almost nothing to see, except for a small church and a local restaurant. While walking he whispers: “I think we should do it right here, outside, right on the street.” I look at him and say: “Are you crazy?” And when he shakes his head I start to run. After a few minutes he catches me and drops his pants. He’s out of breath and so am I but when he pulls my body into his I look down and discover there is nothing there.
The second dream features Mr. Dress, who’s invited me to party at his place.
When I get there, it turns out that his house is a perfect copy of Hugh Hefner’s grotto, only instead of water there are clothes and books. The grotto consists of two layers, connected by a small staircase made out of wood. Both layers are completely cluttered, there are books right up to the ceiling, and clothes everywhere on the floor. I ask him: "How can you live like this, how can you live your life inside a cave?" He tells me that he doesn’t care, but that I left my favourite sweater, somewhere in between his books.

Thursday, October 23

WHAT TO WEAR

Wasn’t feeling too great today, so decided to hit the shops. Needed to buy a pair of sensible shoes and a raincoat, but instead I came home with:
-a grey turtleneck (Why? Because I don’t live on the Côte d’Azur, that’s why).
-a purple turtleneck (When grey becomes boring, purple will do the trick).
-a flimsy red top (Not to wear to the office, but on a hot date with Nicolas Sarkozy).
-a sand coloured top, size extra small, just to show off my boobs.
- a black and white stripy shirt, because every girl should have a black and white stripy shirt.
There were a lot of skirts that I liked, but I didn’t bother trying them on. If I buy a new skirt, it means I have to look for new boots, which is a pain in the neck. There’s a big difference between sensible shopping and therapy shopping, even if both will make you feel good. So now I'm feeling like the sweater queen.

Thursday, October 16

SHORTCUT

Had dinner and drinks with C., who just returned from a short visit to Berlin. She told me her boyfriend rented two bikes to cycle through town, which she enjoyed. On the last night they stopped for a beer at some Beer Stube, where after some nervous hesitation he proposed.
“He proposed to you at a Beer Stube?” I ask. “What kind of man would do that?” She said he popped the question in a somewhat clumsy way, saying: “How would you feel if I would ask you to marry me?”
To which she responded: “I guess I would feel very happy and more than likely I would not say no.”
He then finally dared to ask 'the real question', to which she said Yes.
“Please don’t turn into Bridezilla,” I tell her, referring to other girlfriends whose only topic of conversation is their special day. Date and venue are fixed, but there’s still a lot that needs to be done. While talking I could not help but wonder: is marriage a shortcut or a detour to happiness? I tell myself I have to focus on my career, even if having a career is completely meaningless.

Monday, October 13

NIGHTMARE

Terrible nightmare last night. Dreamt I had to give a reading somewhere, but I couldn’t speak, no sound came from my mouth. I looked at the pages and none of the sentences made sense, the words looked like they were bleeding off the page. Then I stare at the audience only to discover almost everyone is drunk. In the crowd I discover an old friend from college (Name Deleted), who is now a well known writer. He hands me his book and says: “Here read from this.” I rush through the pages, start reading at random, but there’s hardly any text. A little girl in the audience looks at me, and I make up a two minute story, something for children, even if it’s totally ridiculous. I look at Name Deleted and think: did we sleep together once? Then I remember: Thank God we didn’t, but we came so close. In the end I finish reading and the lady who organised it comes up to me. I tell her: “I wasn’t feeling well.” She says: “maybe you should have cancelled.” And then I faint.
Only to wake up in my own bed.

Sunday, October 12

RADIANT

I was still feeling very sexy when I went back to work. Sometimes the feeling can last for days, sometimes it wears off the moment you switch on your computer and are confronted with your files. So many reasons to run back home. One of my colleagues, a sweet girl from Belgium, noted that I looked radiant.
Whenever I look at her I want to give her cookies and milk.
“Anything out of the ordinary going on in your life?” she asked, her eyes filled with curiosity.
“Nothing special,” I said. “I just bought a webcam, that’s all.”

Wednesday, October 1

BOUNCE

Early in the morning C. called to ask if I got home safe and to see if there were any details on The Night with Mr. Dress. I told her we had sex four times: once in the shower, twice on the carpet and one time against the wall. She laughed and said this made her think of a song: “I bounce her in the kitchen, I bounce her in the hall, I bounce her everywhere she wants, she’s like a rubber ball.”

Monday, September 29

PARAGON OF BEAUTY

Not a day goes by without the joy of spam.
This morning I found a message in my inbox about a non existent book.
'Your new book has brought a lot of excitement to our editorial staff,' it said. 'It's certainly this year's best in it's genre. You seem to never going to quit surprising us. We have made a contract with you and and guarantee that the first edition will total at least ten million copies. Enclosed is the approved and edited copy of your amazing book. Thank you for this paragon of beauty.' The thought of bringing excitement to editorial staff keeps me going through the day.

Sunday, September 28

SHINE

My mother called to tell me that I have to watch my weight.
She also suggested that I’d put some raw eggs in my hair.
Just to make it shine.

Saturday, September 27

CHANGING PLACES

For no apparent reason I went for dinner and a movie with a guy from Lebanon. Half way through the movie he whispered: ‘do you mind if we change places?’
‘No, but why do you want to change places?’ I asked. He explained that he wanted a woman to sit to the right of him, just like when he was driving his car. We changed places, but for some reason I could not concentrate on the movie any more.

Thursday, September 25

WAR ZONE

Last night I shared hot chocolate and a strawberry dessert with my cousin, a sixteen year old knock-out who is still unsure about what to do with her life. She has gone through an awful summer, spending one week at the hospital for surgery and two days at intensive care.
Now that we know our genetic make-up is the cause, we are more connected to eachother than we were before. We talked about her brother who is currently in Afghanistan, where he works at the military hospital. Despite living in a war zone, he has managed to fall in love. Then she showed me her black scooter, which she wanted to be pink.

Tuesday, September 23

HEAVY

When my boss asked me if I wanted a fixed contract I hesitated to say yes. She wants me to work more hours and if possible five days a week. I wanted to tell her that I needed time to write my next novel, but instead I swallowed all my thoughts. The only valuable excuse to work less hours is if you have children or become pregnant. While the conversation became heavy I realised there's only one way to escape the office: pregnancy.

Sunday, September 21

QUIET DAYS

During summer, my mother lives in one of the smallest villages of France. The village consists of a few houses, some farmland, and has no church. The garden overlooks a large meadow, where coffee coloured cows spend their quiet days. The cows all end up as meat in the supermarkt, which changes the way I look at them. My mother spends her days saving wild cats from starvation. On the picture you see one of them.

Friday, September 19

DADDY

“I want you to call me daddy,” he said, while pressing his lips against my face.
“What do you mean, daddy? Big daddy, sugar daddy, sweet daddy or something else?”
I tried not to sound too astonished, but felt slightly afraid.
“Just call me daddy,” he said, and started to undress.

MORTAL SIN

In the end M. and I broke up over Puccini. One night he invited me to visit a concert with him in Amsterdam. The strange thing is that I don’t even remember which concert we went to, or what the music was like. All I remember is standing in the foyer and talking about Puccini.
M. said that to like Puccini was a mortal sin, like saying you liked a fishburger over real fish. Instead of moving on to the next subject I felt upset, as if Puccini was a distant relative of mine.
We argued during the entire break, and when we went back to the remaining part of the concert I knew that everything we had was lost.
After that I never listened to Puccini anymore, not even once.

Wednesday, September 17

DELICACY

Last night I had dinner with S., a friend from Brussels, who recently went through an ugly divorce. We hadn’t seen eachother for about four months, of which she spent one travelling through China. She said the cities were different than she imagined, but she liked Hong Kong a lot. Then we talked about fried chicken feet, a local Chinese delicacy.

Monday, September 15

PIMPED

Due to circumstances I had to be in Leiden today. Our office would like to recruit a stagiair, so I went to visit Leiden University. Being back after ten years felt a bit strange. Everything I used to know had obviously been pimped. The old bookstore where you could buy cigarettes had turned into a literary cafe and the lunchroom looked a lot more colourful than it once was. I could not help but wonder if I had been pimped aswell, and if so in what way. On the way back I bumped into my old roommate, now a mother of two. She said: ‘you haven’t changed at all,’ which I guess should be considered a compliment.

Saturday, September 13

CREEP

Today at the supermarket: a stranger approached me while I was picking out fruit. He said: “you seem to be the kind of girl who likes a good banana.” I was wearing a dark jacket, trainers and jeans, so nothing too provocative I thought. He smiled and looked at me to see what I would say. “It’s always good to eat bananas now and then,” I said, quickly grabbing some from the pile in front of me. What a creep.

Friday, September 12

DISCIPLINE

This may sound funny, but I’ll be joining a convent in 2009. A Buddhist convent in Belgium, to be precise. My stay at the convent will not last for ever, the contract that you sign with them is for ten days. During those ten days you get up at four and basically meditate the whole day. At half past nine it’s time for bed. One of the reasons why I plan to join the convent is because I need more discipline. The other reason is that I want to see what ten days of silence will do to me.

Tuesday, September 9

CHAOS

Last night I went to see Caos Calmo with C. It wasn’t a great movie, but doing nothing for a while was nice. C. and I talked a lot about SM. Apparently there's a secret code by which one can recognise if one is in to it or not. Something to do with a necklace and a chain of course.
The best part of the movie was the soundtrack, which in this case was enough. The movie is about pain, and how one can be waiting for it to come. I would not mind having Nanni Moretti as my dad, I thought, but perhaps he is too young.

Sunday, September 7

RIPPED

This morning I started reading a book by Paul Auster. On Sunday morning I like to wake up slow with Paul. Before I could start reading his text, my attention was drawn to a small message on the inside cover. “Note” it said. “If you purchased this book without a cover you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher, and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.” First I checked again to see if my book had a cover, and this was the case. Then I thought: is there someone going around in New York ripping off covers? Is there a secret delight in not reading the book, but taking the cover home? Did this person have a love affair with Paul Auster, and is ripping off his covers a way of getting back at him? Did she yell at him and say: "I’ll strip all your books if you don’t leave your wife?" And who reported them as unsold and destroyed? So many mysteries.

Thursday, September 4

SOFT SPOT

I know this isn’t trendy, but I have a soft spot for my boss. When I’m moody she tells me: “Margot, you’re moody today, did I do something wrong?” Never in my life has someone taken full responsibilty for my moods. To have a boss who’s insecure feels like a novelty. She usually comes in late, around eleven, saying that she overslept. She then enters her office, creates chaos, and calls some of her friends. At twelve she’s more or less ready for work. If she’s happy she will make you laugh but if she’s angry she will slam the door and blow up in your face. She hugs you when you’re overtired and she cries if you decide to quit your job. Out of all my bosses she is the most human boss I’ve ever had.

Tuesday, September 2

SEVENTEEN

On Sunday afternoon my mother and I went to the beach. She just returned from London where my brother employed her as a babysit. One of the things she keeps telling me is how she would like to be seventeen again, and that she would move to London if she had the chance. Ever since death is in our faces her energy levels are up.
When I asked her what she wanted to drink she answered: “Sangria.”
“Are you sure?” I asked.
“You saw what happened to your grandmother,” she replied, “today is the day to live your life.”
So I ordered a jug of sangria, and some mineral water for myself.
After a few glasses she started to tell me about her plans for this year. Her plan is to rescue the orphans in Georgia, by sending them our worn down clothes. Their parents are alcoholics, she said, the children live their lives out on the streets. While walking back I had a flashback, the same thought I had when I was seventeen. What if my parents were normal, would I feel much better then?

Sunday, August 31

CHICK FLICKS

My Italian friend A. came for dinner this weekend. I like this friend so much I used to think I was in love with her. She’s always happy and so beautiful it hurts. I gave her a book by Dr. Phil for her birthday. Not that she seems to need Dr. Phil, but it might be nice to know he’s within reach. We talked about hairdressers, chickflicks, her studies and interrail. Then she showed me what the best way to make pasta is. (First you add a lot of water, and before the pasta cooks you start to stir.) During dinner she said: “If I feel down I’ll buy lingerie, it makes me feel more feminine.”

Friday, August 29

AUTOBIOGRAPHY

In the beginning there were five of us, my mother and father, my two brothers and myself. I was the youngest and the only girl. It felt natural to be together, as if we’d live this way until the end.
My brothers were ten and twelve years older than me; a huge age difference which did not seem to matter much. They loved having a little sister, someone to tease and play with, someone you could impress your girlfriends with. While growing up my brothers seemed like Gods to me. They would throw me in the air and say: “Margot, you were an accident.” Even if this was true, I felt accepted, knowing that I was their favourite accident, the one they had been waiting for since they were born. My parents were distant figures, mysterious creatures, locked in a world I did not understand. Their world was seperate from ours, a place we could not enter yet.
Since I was tall for my age my mother would correct my posture by saying: “Please Margot, don’t slouch, you’ll end up looking like that guy from Notre Dame.”
The rules were simple: don’t slouch, walk straight, show your breasts. This was one of the earliest lessons I learned: to treat the world as my catwalk, pretend I was a model showing off her non existent breasts.

Wednesday, August 27

SECRET CRUSH

I think my colleague has a secret crush on me. Every morning, when I enter the office, he stares at me with hungry eyes. Sometimes he goes to the kitchen to make me a coffee, which by the time it gets to me tends to be cold. We drink the cold coffee and talk about the weather, as if the weather has a major impact on our lives. He then pretends to be busy, which I must say he does very well. The days he likes me most are the days he talks about his girlfriend. That’s when I know he really cares.

Sunday, August 24

TATTOO YOU

Getting the first tattoo was painful, getting the second one was worst. Sebastian held my hand when we entered the shop in New York. If I had to remember the joy and pain men inflicted, I might aswell decide to get it on my skin. A bearded guy brought out a book with lots of pictures in it. He looked at me and said: “You seem to be the kind of girl for multiple piercings, are you sure that this is what you want?” Of course I wasn’t sure, how can anyone ever be sure about wanting more pain. Besides that, I hadn’t slept on a normal bed for ages, it was impossible to make a rational decision at the time.
The bearded guy took out a pencil and started to draw. Sebastian started to comment on where exactly it should be. He followed the movements as if all of my skin belonged to him.
I felt like I would slip straight out of consciousness, right there, before it was too late. But when the needle touched my body I relaxed.

FRIENDS FOREVER

Last night I met my old highschool friend C. for dinner. At age eighteen we travelled to Spain together where we lived for more than a year. We spent about three months in Malaga and then decided to try our luck in Madrid, where we were both employed as au-pairs. Looking back we both agree it was one of the happiest moments of our lives, a time when we didn’t think much about life but just lived it, jumping from one fun experience to the next. She said: “I still have that picture of you when you were trying out bras in the supermarket.” The basis of this friendship is that we both look up to eachother, we have a mutual admiration which may not be based on fact. She always thought I was great with people, I always felt she made friends easier than me. Of course our lives are differerent now, we’ve changed and our desires changed aswell. Our desires are focused on a better career, a nicer house, the furniture we cannot yet afford. Gone are the days when we jumped into fountains and sang in a band. Such clean cut desires we have, you could almost put them in a vase.

Monday, August 18

BREAKING HEARTS

Some men are are just too good at breaking hearts. Take Sebastian for instance, a good looking guy from the United States. We met when he was juggling on the streets. I took him home because he needed a shower, and from then on I became his friend. The summer afterwards I flew to Charleston, South Carolina, where I became a part of his life. This meant: tracking from city to city by greyhound, or if we had no money we would hitch. Our goal was to make it to Cuba, but we never made it there. We slept outside, on the beaches of Key West, curled up on blankets that I brought from home.
We’d make love underneath the palmtrees, buy pineapple for breakfast, smoke about two packs a day. And most important of all: we would juggle, as if juggling was the only thing on earth.
Sebastian would throw burning sticks in the air and I would lie beneath him, trying to avoid the flames.
Sebastian would scream: “Ladies and Gentlemen, Come Have a Look!”
People would gather around us and throw out their coins and dollar bills.
Everybody would say: “We Want More!”
We’d go back to the beach and smoke marihuana, maybe we’d swim naked if we got the chance.
Little did I know that he had about five different girlfriends, all at the same time.
Sebastian juggled women, just like he juggled sticks.
When I confronted him he said: “Don’t be offended. I love you all.”

Friday, August 15

DATING WITHOUT DRAMA

It’s hard to date without drama these days. The Oxford Advanced Learner’s dictionary describes a date as a “meeting with a person of the opposite sex”, but maybe this is stretching the concept too far. I miss the days when the rules between men and women were cristal clear. You were asked by someone to go out for dinner and could either accept or decline. When accepted, you’d exchange basic information about your life, (never too much) linger over one glass of wine (never more) and perhaps you’d end the evening with a kiss. That was it. Both parties had about five days to digest the experience and decide if they wanted more. Then the phone would ring, a gentle voice would say: ‘How are you?’ and you’d answer: ‘Fine.’ Light and breezy, but a bit mysterious perhaps. The voice would say: ‘So are you free on Saturday Night? You would sigh, flick through the pages of your diary, sigh again and say: ‘I’m very busy but I guess that I have time.’ Those were the days.

Wednesday, August 13

RAGE

Work is doing my head in. I’m not sure if it’s work itself, my colleagues, the stuffy environment, the undrinkable coffee or the fact that there’s no men. Whenever I look at the piles of paperwork in front of me I feel despair. The fact is that most of my energy is not devoted to work, but to the power struggle that goes on.
In every office there is a struggle for power, especially when there are many girls.
Being in power means being on top, being able to come late, leave early, write condescending e-mails to colleagues, boss people around. It means being able to consume other peoples time without giving anything in return. It means that you can leave your dirty plates and cups in front of you and someone else might pick them up.
I always wanted to think I was beyond the power struggle, but I’m not. It might take a few years at the Shaolin Monastery to be detached. I try breathing techniques, yoga, practice extreme politeness and have a zen approach to life, but all I feel is rage.

Monday, August 11

HANDSOME STRANGER

Compared to that trip, this one was quiet. While waiting for a taxi at La Gare du Nord a stranger spoke to me. He was wearing a dark leather jacket and a blue scarf. ´You need a taxi­­­­? ´ he asked, while studying my face. It´s always a risky business to trust handsome strangers, especially when travelling alone. ´Sometimes you need to trust people,´ he said, as if he could read my thoughts.
The stranger took my trolley and attached it to his motorbike. ´This is my moto taxi,´ he explained, ´after this, you´ll never want anything else.´
I could not help but smile at him. Somehow this stranger must be heaven sent, I thought, someone who knows how much I like to ride. We set off with matching helmets, still talking through the microphone that was attached. ´Don´t go too fast,´ I´d say while holding on to my baguette of La Brioche Dorée. I love driving through Paris, especially past endless traffic jams.
´Are you meeting somebody special?´, he asked as we slowed down.
´Kinda,´ I answered, which was partly true. ´He´s not my boyfriend though, he´s just a friend.´
´If I were to meet you I´d show you around Paris,´ he said. ´I´d show all the sites you´ve never seen before.´ Anyone can tempt me with well chosen words.
When he dropped me off I paid him the amount he asked. ´Look at your hair,´ he said, ´you still look good.´

Monday, August 4

TRUTH OR DARE

Last time I was in Paris I slept with two men.
It was my thirtieth birthday, I was drunk on gin-tonic, and I met some friends at Le Fumoir. I cannot say I really like the place, nor do I dislike it, inside my brain is just a vague and foggy image of that night. Drinking beer or wine seemed so bourgeois, that’s why I opted for hard liquor, even though I know I cannot handle alcohol.
The waitress kept on bringing huge glasses, she was a nice looking girl, one of those skinny french women who never age. All I remember was watching the day fade as we spoke, the motorcycles that were whizzing by outside, people kissing eachother on the cheeks, rushing in and out eachothers arms. I felt relatively happy, content with life. Each time I was there I told myself I’d move to Paris, change my life drastically, break the continous cycle of the relatively tranquil days I had.
Only in Paris, I thought, could one really liberate oneself. The strange thing was that, despite this visit to the European Capital of Fashion, I wasn’t obsessed with my looks anymore. For the first time in ages I felt confident.
Perhaps it was this new found confidence that made me act much younger than my age.
I remember playing truth or dare, kissing a stranger on his mouth and thinking, ‘such dry, clumsy lips.’ The guys around me laughed, they ordered more drinks and softly pulled my hair. It didn’t matter much that people stared at me. At three in the morning, I asked if one of them could drive me home. His name was Jean-Marc, he had been married for five years and had a child.
After driving around Paris for half an hour, me sitting on the backside of his motorbike, it dawned on me I did not recognise where we had gone.
It was clear that we were heading for his house, not my hotel.
Since his wife and child were away for the summer, things started to make sense.
At his place, everything happened very rapidly. His friend was there, a young Italian, the stranger that I’d kissed before. I remember greeting his friend and taking my coat off, not thinking much about my safety, being happy, being drunk.
My friend lit a cigarette for me and I accepted it. I remember lifting a glass, laughing, falling into someones arms. I remember feeling four hands, not knowing which belonged to whom, feeling weak, unable to resist. Two bodies pressed themselves against me and the only thing I thought was: “Just let go.” I felt completely alone.