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 DorĂ©e. 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.