Manscaping the Manzilian - Part 3
Thursday, July 31, 2008
I don't think I've ever seen a black man get pale before. He grimaced and yelped a little. His girlfriend laughed, "Now you see what I go through for you? And you thought it was going to be easy fool.” His manhood in question, he steeled himself against the next pull. To his credit, he didn't make a sound but his autonomic nervous system took over for him and he began sweating buckets.
Now to get a good wax and not have everything end up a sticky, gooey mess, you have to keep the area dry(hence the powder). So now I am intermittently waxing and mopping, and waxing and mopping. I'm working so hard now I'm sweating and between the two of us, the room has to be 90 degrees. A few more slathers and rips and I'm done with the top and move south.
Side note: For any of you who have had the brazilian, if your esthetician does not use hard wax you are being shafted(pun intended). Hard wax is a stripless wax that is used in the following way: a light coating of oil is smoothed over the skin, the wax is applied and as it cools, it shrink wraps the hair so when you pull it(no paper needed because it becomes plasticy) it removes the hair but keeps the skin from getting irritated. When it comes to waxing the testicles or the labia, this wax is essential or you can very easily end up with raspberries and torn/lifted skin.
This guy probably lost a bet
Waxing his mons pubis, was no big deal because besides the fact that there is less fatty tissue and it's hairier, it looks the same as it does on a woman. Now for the jumping off point. Yes, I was about to wax his guys.
Now lest you come to the same conclusion as my mother in law, that I am some sort of trollopy sex worker, know this. I am very comfortable with nudity, I am also very comfortable with people in general, especially when they are vulnerable because they are naked and I have my clothes on. I think it appeals to my introverted nature.
You know how your mom used to tell you when you were nervous about giving a speech that you should just imagine everyone naked in their socks and you wouldn't feel so intimidated? Well, that's how waxing is, you're sitting there naked on my table while I'm in the position of trying to make you feel comfortable.
So I smooth some oil over his skin(yes, I touched it/them, with gloved hands) and although I appear calm on the outside, I am so embarrassed. I've never been in a situation where a penis in front of me wasn't my plaything. I wasn't attracted to him or wishing the lights were dim and we were alone but the very fact that it wasn't sexual at all made it weird to be in the same room as a naked man, and his girlfriend. At this point, I am trying to be very professional and matter a fact, like, oh yeah, I do this all the time, nothing making me feel awkward here folks.
Plus on top of the discomfort of the intimacy of this service with a near stranger, I am now about to perform a service I never have before and that's enough to make anybody nervous. The first time you do anything is hard, even harder when there's nudity and pain involved. I am having visions in my head of pulling the wrong way and something coming off. But I always say, the worse the experience, the better the story later.(This adage got me through 15+ years of dating.)
So everything is oiled and I position his hand over the dignity towel covering his actual member and I have him pull everything taut toward him and start with the sac wax. The key here, I have learned, is to work in very small strips.
I smooth some wax on, let it cool and riiiip.
He is doing pretty good now because those natural pain endorphins have kicked in, his eyes are just sort of glazed over and he looks a bit shell-shocked. It takes me a while but he is nearly hair free, nearly.
One of the things that makes a brazilian a brazilian is the ass wax. Yes, if you haven't had the bum done you've been shortchanged. So when I was done with everything else, I told him what I tell the girls(I never wax people on their hands and knees like many estheticians, too degrading and not the best position anyhow), "bring your knees to your chest."
He says "what?" and I tell him that I'm going to wax his winker and that will complete the brazilian service. He looks pleadingly at his girlfriend and she returns it with a steely gaze, "oh just do it you've come this far."
The good thing about the butt wax is that although it is humiliating for some people because you know, that's where you poop, the good thing is, it hardly hurts at all. So reluctantly he gets in position and two easy rip rips later I am done.
I remove any wax residue left, smooth on some icy aloe gel to cool down his skin and tell them, "you're done, go ahead and get dressed and I'll meet you up front."
I go up front and slump down in my desk chair, not before grabbing a freezing cold diet coke from the little fridge. All of my adrenaline circuits were pumping full blast so now I am exhausted. Thank god I had my lab coat on because my shirt is soaked. I've perspired so much I am positively dehydrated.
I sit in my chair waiting for them and drinking my soda. There's one more thing I love about the brazilian. Though quite unnecessarily, many people must feel a bit bad that you've had to be so close to their naughty parts, moving aside lips, face to face with parts even their loved ones have never seen so close, in such bright light, so they tip great.
Adonis and his girlfriend come up front, he's no longer swaggering but looks more like a guy who's just had outpatient kidney surgery. He thrusts a thick wad of bills out toward me like it's hush money and I never see him again. There's nothing like your first time.
Boy you guys are a bunch of beggars. I wasn't trying to make you hang on the edge of your seats, ok, maybe a little but more like building suspense. I got the post done but I was saving the last one for Friday when I'm at work doing all the bad things I've told you about just to earn a few bucks. I like to post everyday, keeps me from getting lazy so if I give up Part 3, I'm going to have to come up with something for Friday. Hmmmm. Maybe if I got a few more comments so I won't feel bad when I have none tomorrow since I posted all my stuff today.
I was never one of those girls who went through the horse stage, you know, that time in a young girls life when she gets crushes on horses and does a lot of horseback riding to relieve, uh, the tension of impending puberty. In my house, that was what latenight Skinamax and HBO were for. So as an adult, I wondered if I had missed a pivitol rite of passage. So I found a horse and kissed it. And it was great.
This is a Shire draught horse that is stabled at the beautiful Ranch Los Alamitos Historic Ranch & Gardens where my husband and I did a walking tour of the grounds, house and stables. They also have a pair of miniature horses but this horse was amazing because it was HUGE.
Continued from Part 1
The first manzilian I manscaped was the boyfriend of a client of mine. She told me he'd been shaving downstairs and she was getting good and tired of a razor-burned cha-cha from his 'stuff scruff'.
I told her I had never performed a bikini wax on a male client before but that if he was willing, I'd do my best. I knew it was going to take me longer than usual because I'd have to work slow and carefully(it's not just the top triangle that gets waxed, it's the squishy bits too.)
They were game and she told me she'd be there in case I needed an extra set of hands. On the day of their appointment, I got everything ready and tried to steel myself against the jitters. Why would I voluntarily do this you ask? There is a large gay contingency around the spa and I knew that if I could get comfortable with this service(that very few estheticians are willing to perform) that I could charge more than a female wax and I would have another revenue stream coming into the spa.
It's about the money dahling. If I charge $75 for a manzilian and it takes me thirty minutes on average, then I'm grossing an average of $150 an hour, comparable to what my hourly would be if I'd gone to law school as planned and way more fun.
So they arrived and to my surprise, her boyfriend was a giant, towering(probably 6'6) African-American gentleman. He was also a personal trainer and so was Atlas/Adonis like in physique. I'll admit, I had never seen a black man naked up close and personal. It's not that race makes a difference but for the first manzilian I ever did, I guess I was kinda hoping for a small, mousy, spongy white boy that would lie prostrate to my dominatrix-like manuevering.
We all proceeded to the treatment room and I point to the changing room door and tell him that I needed him naked from the waist down. Yeah, I was barkin' orders that day. I had put a hand towel in there(we call it the 'dignity' towel at the spa) but he strode out, more like swaggered out completely naked, sans a towel of any kind.
Me: There's a towel in there you can use to cover up a bit.
Him: I don't need a towel(obviously this man was very proud of his form, as he should be.)
Me: Well, the towel is for me too, you do want me focused on the area I'm applying hot wax, yes?
Him: Then I'm going to need a bigger towel.
Me: I've already seen you and that towel will do just fine.
We all laughed, a little banter had relaxed things a bit. He lay on the table and it was fucking comical because the table was far too small for him, his legs were totally hanging out. It was like laying a Ken doll on a deck of cards. I had him keep his legs straight and the dignity towel covered his bits and bobs. I had him use his hand on top of the towel to keep everything taut and I powdered the top triangle area.
He wasn't aroused(it does happen sometimes) but the soft dusting of powder seemed to put him at ease. Then I slathered on a strip of warm wax and he seemed to relax a bit more,mmm warm. Then I smoothed the muslin over the wax, careful not to do any unnecessary rubbing(I never have to think about these things with female clients) and he sank into the table as if to say, this isn't so bad. Then I held the strip firmly and pulled.
Continued in Part 3
She can scale Mount Mommy and she has a promising career as a retriever.
Manscaping the Manzilian - Part One
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Years ago, when my husband and I first began dating, he made the mistake of telling his mother that I did brazilian bikini waxing. He likewise failed to leave out a detail I certainly would have, that I also do male bikini waxing.
My mother in law is in her sixties and completely removed from the generation of women and men who do any sort of pubic gentrification, much less use hot wax to take it all off. I will never forget, though she doesn’t know I know, when she expressed concern to my husband, then boyfriend, that there was ‘funny business’ going on at the 'spa'. Yes, my mother in law thought I was making my living giving reach-arounds or worse.
I get asked all the time by female clients if it's ever weird doing what I do. I'll tell you what I tell them. Waxing a vagina is no different for me than waxing an underarm, or a leg, or an upper lip. I'm very matter of fact about it because I've done it thousands of times.
In fact, I feel a sense of pride because there are very few people who are as good at this service as I am. Maybe it's because I'm borderline OCD and I am an anal-retentive, perfectionist Virgo, but when the ladies leave my shop, they look pretty.
I also love my brazilian wax clients because they are a loyal bunch. You wouldn't try a new gynocologist because you saw a 15% off coupon in the newspaper right? These clients are the reason I'm recession-proof. With the economic downturn, I've seen a big decline in purely feel good services like massages, wraps, relaxation facials and the like. But my girls who like it smooth as a baby, they keep coming back no matter how slim the pocketbook gets, because it's part of what they consider their necessary maintenance.
I also like these clients because save for a few of them, they are open, wicked and funny- right up my alley(no pun intended). The occasion lends itself to humor because when you're letting it all hang out, there's very little left that's off limits as far as conversation goes. So no, it's never weird or awkward when I'm waxing a girl.
Here is a sampling(accurate I might add) of women getting waxed.
My male clients, however, are a mixed bag.
He Said, She Said - 5
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Conversations With My Husband
Me: But I don't like criticism(sniffle, blow.)
Him: (Chuckles) But you take it so well.
As I'm focused writing and my husband is pouting because he wants to get laid.
Him: Look at me. I'm typing, typing, typing, typing, blogging, all I do is blog. Did you know I had 4 billion unique visitors today and-
Me: You're just jealous.
As my husband is trying to hump me while I'm reading and pinches my bottom to get my attention because I'm ignoring him.
Him: Do you like that?
Him: What, do you have ants in your pants?
Me: No, they're termites and they eat wood, so watch out.
Oh my, we had quite the little earthquake earlier today, ok 5.8, not that little. The kids were in the living room playing educational games, ok, they were really watching Spongebob. I was in the kitchen prepping dinner so I could fuck off and write the rest of the day when the whole house started shaking.
Now I don't have the best sense of balance, I am one of those people who will occasionally stumble for no apparent reason and everyone thinks I'm drunk or something when really, I just momentarily forgot to stand up normal. So I spent the first few seconds of the quake trying to figure out if it was an earthquake or just a formerlyfun equilibrium moment.
Once it registered that it was an earthquake I spent a few seconds looking at everything moving. Then, my thought was, holy fuck, I need to be by the kids in case this gets bad. Just as I think to do this I hear my eight year old son shout "earthquake" in the placcid voice of the guy who says your order's up at the deli counter.
I run in the family room and swoop up the baby and hug my big kids. They both sqirm away from me, point to the television and say "Spongebob" in a derisive tone that suggests my emotionally charged self is a distraction while they are trying to get their Spongebob on.
I'm in tears as my older daughter says, “what was that?” and my son says "that was an earthquake, I hope we have another one, bigger." I don't know if it's because they are kids or that they've grown up here and perhaps less fazed but the earthquakes still scare the shit out of me. Nevermind that more people die on average in a hostile Wisconsin winter, but the idea of the ground opening up makes me nervous. The good thing about most earthquakes? By the time you get scared, they are already over.
Filed under: I think I peed my pants a little.
And Now For My Victory Lap
Monday, July 28, 2008
Well, I asked and I received, and all I can say is... they like me, they like me, they really, really like me(aww, look at the little blonde crazy girl spinning around with that stupid smile on her face and spit flying from her mouth.)
My friend Steph used to think that she was retarded(her words), I think the PC term is now developmentally delayed, anyhow, she thought she was slow but that her parents were afraid to tell her because they felt bad or wanted her to think she was like everyone else. She seriously walked around with this unsubstantiated suspicion floating around until as late as last week.
I relay this story because it mirrors my own underlying feelings that maybe I'm not as funny as my friends and family tell me I am and maybe my writing is on par with that of a second-grade ESL student.
As my header suggests, I suffer from my fair share of self doubt so it's nice to get a good word from people who are not in immediate physical peril if they say otherwise. So thanks for the great review, I promise I won't let it go to my head...any longer than the remainder of this week.
For those of you who found me other ways,I wanted to let you know what a great site this is. I didn't want to kiss ass before because then I would have doubted anything they said. They are mean, wicked, kind, helpful, snarky, dirty, elitist, plebian, and vitriolic . If you want to make your blog better, you are a masochist and you want a good old fashioned spanking or you just like dirty, rotten scoundrels, give them a read. I'm of the mind that any group that likes me I wouldn't want to be a part of, except for this one. This is definitely like the cool kids lunch table in school, if the cool kids were jaded and smart and spent a great deal of time with their computers.
2. I routinely confront people who are being rude to me or others. Usually several variants of the F-word are involved. I have yet to find an exclamatory word that I like better. Example: I was at the grocery store and it was swamped. To their credit, they had every stand manned but it was right after work and everyone was trying to get their dinner on. I'm in line and there is this woman in front of me that is pitching a fit. She's sighing, rolling her eyes and huffing away. The checker is new, it says so right on her badge. She is working deliberately, focused on what she's doing, not slow just the way someone works when they are new to a register and haven't yet memorized where everything is. So as we move up in line, this woman is getting more and more frustrated and she's eyeing every line, she wants to jump ship but the rest of the lines are just as bad and now she'd be at the end. She's finally had it and says to the cashier who is already totally stressed and overwhelmed at the rush," Hey, do you think you could pick up the pace a little?" Oh, no she didn't. Before my better sense could kick in, I was poking her on the shoulder and she turned around,"If your time is so fucking valuable, maybe you shouldn't come to the grocery store at 5:30. Back the fuck off, and calm the fuck down, she's working as fast as she can." She got real quiet after that.
3. I have a few clients who come in for brow waxes that I dislike. Some are always late and act like it's no big deal, others frequently misses thier appointments, again, no apologies, no extra tip, even though I lose money when people do this. I have recurring visions of just waxing one of their eyebrows all the way off, “Oh, oh, I'm so sorry my hand slipped. What you're never coming back? Okay.” Someday, I might actually do it.
4. When I used to travel for business all the time, I'd use the plane rides to catch up on sleep, reading, whatever. When someone would sit next to me that I could tell was a talker, I'd pretend not to know English, just smile shake my head, look confused until they said, "do you understand?"(me blank look, dumb smile) "No English? Oh, you don't speak english?" Me," No, no English." Sadly enough, this didn't always stop them from talking. Once I fell asleep and I forgot I had feigned a language barrier and when we were deplaning the woman who had sat next to me said, "bye, enjoy your stay in Des Moine," I said, "thanks I'm working the whole time but I'll try." She looked at me confused, that's when I remembered. Oops.
5. When having an irritating cell conversation with someone, usually my mother, I will occasionally “lose” the connection and shut my phone off. Oh, sorry I was in a dead zone.
Do That To Me One More Time, Then Again, Don't
Sunday, July 27, 2008
My youngest daughter walked for the first time today. Those five wobbly steps she took thrilled her, she clapped afterward as if to say, well done baby. Of course, my husband and I were excited too. Still, they feel like steps taking her closer to the toddler she'll soon become and further from the baby she is.
This will be our last child barring any accidents. My overarching feeling is that I am done. I daydream sometimes about having a baby, but the idea of another kid, not so much. I also daydream about more time with my husband, being well-rested and the end of bottles. With three kids, there is never enough time but always more to do, a truly Sisyphean undertaking.
My husband and I frequently feel like we don't have enough time for them individually as it is. Having a fourth would more than likely require us to add to our already expensive house, get a larger car and establish another college fund. More medical bills, more formula, more diapers, more childcare, more, more, more. We are financially stable right now but a fourth child could change that. So, no, I don't think we'll be having any more. But...
I'm having a hard time making that decision definitive. It's not that I'm waffling or secretly want one more baby. In fact, when I thought I might be pregnant a few months ago I was beside myself. I was the one in tears while my husband reassured me that while not ideal we'd be okay. It wouldn't be okay with me, I retorted.
So why is it so hard to get rid of the bags of clothes and boxes of baby stuff that sit in our garage? The bassinet, the swing, the Bumbo, the infant bath tub, the breast pump, the Boppy, the sling. Why haven't I given my husband the thumbs-up on a vasectomy? Typically, I weigh the options and makes decisions and that's that, follow the course. Making this decision just seems so final. Maybe part of me thinks that by getting rid of all the baby gear, I'm tempting fate. That the minute I let go of the stuff, the Fates will sic me with a pregnancy.
Or maybe it's just a little low-grade grief of moving on, accepting that all of the babies firsts are also lasts. The last time I will hold a newborn in my arms and marvel at how tiny they are. The last time I will see my husband at his most tender, carefully cradling a small part of us snuggled in the crook of one arm. The last time I will watch a baby at my breast and feel so connected to life. The last time I will proudly show off the new addition to our families. The last time I will see the first tooth break the surface of my baby's shiny pink gums. The last time I will see a child of mine take her first steps. Yes, I think that's it.
Flying the Farty Skies
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Before I quit my job to go to beauty school and open the spa, I was a total corporate whore. I travelled for my job constantly. In fact, friends and relatives would come visit me in California and marvel at the fact that I didn't know my way around after four years of living here. Know my way around?
I could have drawn you a picture of the typical layout of each of the major 'business' hotels but I didn't know where my local Target was. Oh, you want to go to Mann's Chinese Theater? Haven't been there, don't have a clue where it is but you want to know how to get bumped up to first class or which airlines serve fresh baked chocolate chip cookies on their flights and I'm your girl.
First of all, let me tell you what a pleasure it was to share the MD-80 with you on our flight from Milwaukee to Los Angeles. It was really unfortunate that you occupied the seat in front of me instead of next to me because we could have talked more. Lucky for me you spoke with such vigorous volume that I managed not to miss a word you said, the entire 5 hours.
I would also like to thank you for, how do I say this, accenting the seats around you with the unusual and exotic smells of your airport shop hot dog, mounded with fragrant sauerkraut. Not only did it's fruity aroma permeate better than half the plane but I had always been curious about what one would smell like as it announces its eventual descent. Thank goodness the lingering summer cold I had that had rendered me unable to breath through my nose abated just as we were flying home. Otherwise I would have been robbed of this unique sensory delight.
I know how important it is to aid your circulation, avoid deep vein thrombosis and get up from time to time. I only wish I could have provided you with more of my personal space. Your Docker-clad crotch and huge rotund ass in my face, because something was wrong with the space in front of your seat, was the perfect accoutrement to my Granola bar and Bloody Mary.
Oh, and the belching, let me not forget that. As I read my book in the precious 40 minutes my daughter would certainly nap, I could not have chosen a better addition to the ambiance than your gusto burps that no doubt signified the great pleasure you took with your culinary feast. Not to mention the constant sucking up of the contents of your sinuses, I only regret that perhaps I gave you said summer cold when you steadied yourself several times by putting your hand on my armrest as you doggedly did laps up and down the aisles. I'm sure you would have procured a Kleenex had the bathrooms not been a staggering fifteen feet from your seat.
So thanks again and I hope we fellow travelers are lucky enough to share the friendly skies sometime in the near future.
5 Reasons I'm Gross
Friday, July 25, 2008
1. I will eat a piece of gum that has tumbled in the bottom of my purse with a bunch of lose change.
2. I sit on public toilets and it often results in a wet bottom because other people squat and pee all over the seat.
3. 10 second rule? How about 10 minute rule.
4. I will stick my babies entire foot in my mouth, two days after her last bath.
5. I will pick out the “good” raspberries in a moldy container and eat them nom, nom, nom.
Great Balls of Fire
Thursday, July 24, 2008
It's father/daughter, quality"one-on-one" time.
The last few weeks have been replete with meh. Nearly everyone I've come into contact with has been overwhelmed, lackadaisical and truthfully, a bit cranky. Even online it seemed as if a cartoon, frowny raincloud followed everyone, hovering just overhead. I'm new to this so maybe it happens all the time but blogs I've read and enjoyed were shutting down left and right, the resounding message,"It's too hard." Others abounded with apologies for the lack of or quality of posts
I think a fog has lifted. The last few days it seems as if people are getting back into the groove. Everyone seems nicer replacing their angst with zen. I know it's been pretty mellow around our house. The big kids have been good, the baby has been happy and sleeping well in spite of a summer cold. My husband and I have not once morphed into The Bickersons in spite of the fact that my summer sitter is traipsing through Israel at the moment leaving me to manage the kids and the business on my own and he is swamped with work. Even the cats have been fraternizing peacefully. I don't know if it was a full moon or Mercury in Retrograde or simply a resounding, communal blah but I'm glad it's past.
Walk Like a Man
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
This guy(scroll down to Switcheroo, Jul 7) wrote a pretty interesting piece that got me thinking about what it would feel like to inhabit the body of a man for a day. Not the chemical part of the equation, I'll skip the testosterone and such, just the physical body.
I want to know what it's like to feel less physically vulnerable. As a guy I'd walk through a quiet, deserted, basement parking lot without having my keys in the 'I could stab you in the jugular if I needed to' position. I am 5', ok, probably 4'11 so I would love to feel the physicality of being bigger, taking up more space, I'd like to think I could be rather intimidating. I might even pick a fight to test out the goods, here's where some of that testosterone might be helpful.
I want to know what it's like to wear comfortable, figure-forgiving clothes and shoes made as much for comfort as style. I want to leave the house with minimal grooming totally confident that I'll get a gold star for my shower, shave and good shoes. To enjoy a day without tweezers, volumnizer, concealer, though I might not be able to break my lipgloss habit, ok, I'd switch to a lip balm(less sheen.)
There would definitely be some self-exploration. In fact, I might need an extra day for that. I would get a blowjob so I know why it makes you men do almost anything. I would get laid a lot in those two short days. I'd instill in women a sense of security, choice, and enough bravado and push to keep from becoming "the friend". I would make her feel so gorgeous and enchanting that she'd let me do anything, probably even give me a backdoor pass, yeah I said it. The ladies would be helpless to my charms, how could they not, I'm a woman, I know what works on me and though we are complicated, fundamentally, we're not that different.
But I hope while I'm living my own version of Freaky Friday, I don't get pulled over because without my tattersons front and center, I'd definitely be getting a ticket.
Oh yeah, she's got rhythm, sorta.
I got lambasted the other day for being too negative, I know, I know, I need to get over it already but that's not one of my strong suits. It's bugging me in part because I know who she is. I've only been doing this since May and I don't have that many readers so it's easy enough to find out who's online at the time a comment is logged and guess what, you were the only person on the site at that time, so anonymous you are not. Anyhow, I digress, last time I'll mention it.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
1. The bebe sleeping through the night.
2. My husband waking me up and handing me a cup of coffee.
3. Checks in the mail(thank you economic stimulus package, more please?)
4. Dreaming of having a cleaning lady.
5. Spontaneous, hot sex.(More like to happen if 1-3 have been met.)
6. The calm 5 minutes when I've caught up with all the chores, appointments, to do lists, before it starts all over again.
7. Clean bill of health at the dentist.
8. A new lipgloss.
9. A good hair day.
10. A good ass day.
11. A couple of hours spent doing something fun with the kids.
12. An hour spent alone.
13. Clean sheets
14. Getting them dirty.
15. My husband's laugh.
Monday, July 21, 2008
My friend Heather and I attended the same university. Heather and I had been friends since highschool and took as many college classes together as we could. We sat through Earth, Air, Fire and Water together, I had thought it was about the band of a similar name, turns out it was a science class, go figure. We took at least six Criminal Justice classes together, no doubt hoping to be a modern day Cagney and Lacey.
Our sophomore year we signed up for a Greek and Roman Mythology class. It was a large lecture of easily over 300 people. We spent most of the time listening to the Professor, a diminutive, quiet woman in her early sixties, as we furiously took notes. The remainder of class was spent looking at slides of artwork that related to the figures of mythology.
It was probably six weeks or so into class on the day in question. Like I stated before, this was a very big class and it was already well established that you didn't raise your hand to ask a question or comment during the lecture. If you had something to ask you waited until after class or you saw the professor during her office hours. This was pretty obvious to almost everyone.
That day was a slide presentation day and we were looking at statues and painting of the deities we had recently covered.
“In this slide we see Demeter, Roman name Ceres, from whom the name cereal isA hand shoots up from the crowd. The girl belonging to the hand sits only a few rows from us so I have a good view of her. I see the professor look at her with her hand up and look away, continuing her description.
derived. Remember she is the goddess of agriculture, the harvest and mother of
Persephone. She is typically presented holding tufts of grain or corn. You also find her frequently alongside her daughter as expressed in the seated statue Demeter of Cnidos, circa 340 B.C., the cult statue from her sanctuary at Cnidos.
Here we have the Greek god Eros, Roman name Cupid, the personification of love. Eros is relatively easy to recognize in art form because he is usually represented as a winged youth armed with bow and arrows as we can see in this earthenware circa 500 B.C.
In this slide we have a partially recovered statue of Priapus, god of regeneration and fertility. Son of Aphrodite and Dionysus, he is frequently represented as a grotesque
little man with an enormous erect phallus-"
"Even today, you'll find statues of Priapus in many of the gardens of Greece-"The girl starts pumping her hand up Horshack style. Again, the teacher ignores her as she meanders up and down the aisles clicking toward the projector. But this girl, she believes she has a great question, a question that everyone else is just dying to know the answer. So her hand doesn't go down even though it's awkward at this point because she clearly isn't catching the fact that though the Professor has seen her hand up she hasn't called on her.
Finally, realizing this girl's hand wasn't going away on its own, the Professor looks at her and says,
"Yes," drawn out a little.Now just close your eyes for a moment and imagine what a lecture hall of three-hundred, twenty-somethings looks like giggling and snorting en masse. We were practically rolling in the aisles. It was a sight to behold because you know the power of that many people laughing, it's palpable.
“What's a phallus," she asks, loudly and clearly(a few quiet chortles can be heard)
"A phallus is a penis dear."
It took a good five minutes for every one to calm down, which doesn't seem that long until it's a room full of people guffawing, it's like being at a red light. The laughter slowed to a din and then the teacher said,
"Ok, everybody, let's get it together and move on."Funny yes but not even the best part. The best part? About twenty minutes later my mind starts to wander and I start reliving the scenario in my head again. I'm enjoying it, I'm really picturing it, remembering the details and I start to laugh a little. No audible laugh, just the air through the nose pop pop sounds of suppressed laughter. Then Heather sees me and she knows exactly what's going through my mind and she starts trying to stiffle a laugh now too because it's totally quiet at this point.
We are emitting almost no noise but eventually, tears are rolling down our faces and the row in front of us notices and starts going into the stiffle too. Then the row behind us notices because our shoulders are shaking so hard, and they fall prey to it. Then it's our whole section and then it spreads like the wave at a stadium across the lecture hall until everyone, save for the girl and the professor are again rolling in the aisles.
We laughed so hard I was worn out afterward and had a dull rib ache. That poor girl probably never opened her mouth to ask a question again. Good times, good times.
It's Heavy Ain't It
Sunday, July 20, 2008
My anniversary is coming up and I have been thinking about when my husband and I first met and how I came to know he was "the one". If you read this blog much, you've probably figured out that I adore him. I don't talk about it much or I relate it in a funny way because getting to this place has been a long and sometimes bumpy road. There are times I feel guilty that I'm so happy because I know so many good people who deserve love but haven't found it yet. I remember the time before him when I was really lonely, ready for love but it eluded me. I had friends falling in love, getting married, starting families and while I was happy for every one of them, I wanted that too. Beep. Hi Chris, It's me again, I haven't heard from you, I left a message earlier today. Maybe your just busy with all the wedding stuff. Ok, call me.
My life has been serendipitous. Maybe it's that I handle change well and am generally a look on the bright side person, maybe it's just luck. I have a nice family and I grew up in a safe place. I've had the opportunity to get an education. I've had good jobs and lots of doors open to me and I've had people step up to help me when I needed it. I always felt my life would turn out good, maybe not the way I imagined, but good. I had moment after moment of grace, except for one area. My love life was not blessed by the same ease, opportunities and nice people.
Sometimes I picked the wrong guy, sometimes I was the wrong girl, laden with baggage that made earning my trust impossible and my needs unfillable. I got to a point where I thought maybe this was the one part of my life that would suffer for all the abundance of good things in the others. The broken part of me thought something was wrong with me, something made me fundamentally unlovable or at least difficult to love. I thought I was too neurotic, too complicated, too needy, too distant, too bossy, too moody, too insecure.
The hopeful part of me saw a sliver of light. If so much of my life has worked out great even when sometimes it didn't look like it was going to, how could this be any different. Maybe I had to wait a little longer, maybe I had to work on me and fix things that I had always assumed someone else would fix for me.
So I spent time alone, on me. There was therapy, introspection, confronting some things so I could get past them and shelving others for a time when I was stronger. I also took a good hard look at my contribution to the relationships that didn't work.
I wrote a long letter for myself. Though I am not a religious person, it was kind of like a give it to god moment, if I could write it down maybe I could let it go, give up my will to make things happen. I acknowledged and detailed my greatest fears. That I would end up alone, that I would pick wrong, that I'd never find someone who could put up with me much less understand me. I also wrote down what I wanted for love, not so much a list but feelings.
I want to feel safe, I want to feel loved, I want to feel like I could be me assets and flaws and not feel like someone was going to leave. I wanted someone to adore me, protect me. I wanted someone to take care of me and let me takes care of them in return. I wanted to feel like one half of a whole. Then I put the note away and I waited.
It was about four months later that I met my future husband, I liked him immediately. I wouldn't say it was love at first sight because at this point, I didn't trust my instincts with regard to love. So I tried to keep my expectations in check and just go with the flow, not the easiest thing for me in any realm. He called when he said he would, he did everything he said he would. We saw each other more and got closer. We talked about the fact that neither of us was seeing anyone else and we weren't going to.
Just a week before I was to leave town to go to Wisconsin for my mother's wedding, he asked me to go to Vegas with him. He told me he'd like to get me my own room that he wanted my company but understood if I wasn't comfortable going. Not comfortable? Obviously, he didn't understand any boundaries I had were shaky at best. I said yes, and no, he didn't have to get me a separate room, we were adults, we could keep it PG-13 if we chose to.
So I went to Wisconsin. And I didn't hear from him. Three days into the trip I called and left a message on his phone. I tried to keep it light but truthfully I was worried. Maybe he regretted inviting me to Vegas, maybe he thought we were moving too quickly, maybe he met someone else. A hundred different reasons floated in my head, none of them good. I was so confused, he just didn't seem like someone to just eighty-six me even if he was feeling wonky.
After my call, I did not hear from him. I was miserable. I put on a happy face because I didn't want to be a downer at my mom's wedding, it was really tough. My mom had asked me to sing at her wedding. Getting up and singing a few songs about love when you are sure that a person you might just love is done with you is miserable. I felt tears well up but at least the occasion provided good cover, everyone thought I was just happy for my mom.
I tumbled around a tiny thought in the back of my head, maybe he didn't call me because he lost my number or broke his phone or maybe he got into a car accident and he's in the hospital somewhere, maybe... The realist, the one who's read The Rules and He's Just Not That Into You, knew better.
Occom's Razor is the principle in science that states that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. It was unlikely that he dropped his phone, or fell and knocked himself unconscious causing some kind of intermittent amnesia. It was more likely he'd had a change of heart.
So I tried to forget about it and have fun, didn't happen. I cried a little as the plane landed in Los Angeles. I was sad, I felt like yet again, my instincts were wrong. I got home and unlocked the door to my apartment. The cats greeted me at the door, whiny from my absence. My cat sitter had piled up all my mail on the desk where the phone sat. As I removed the mail piece by piece, I realized that I had 10 messages. I pressed play.
Beep. Hey Chris, it's me. I hope you check this phone for messages. I dropped my cell phone and it shattered into like a million little pieces and I've lost your mobile number. I went to the place and tried to have the numbers retrieved but the whole mess is hosed. I hope you get this, please call me and give me your cell and your mom's numbers. Ok, I hope you're having a good time. Talk to you soon.
Beep. Hi Chris, It's me again, I haven't heard from you, I left a message earlier today. Maybe your just busy with all the wedding stuff. Ok, call me.
Beep. Hi, it's me. Hope I'm not bugging you but I'm a little worried I haven't spoken to you. I sure hope you check this machine. Ok, bye hon, I'll talk to you soon.
Beep. Hey I got your message but you didn't leave your numbers. I'm guessing you haven't checked this phone for messages. Oh god, you must think I'm such an ass for not calling you. If you get this, please call me.
There were six more messages but I stopped there and picked up the phone to call him. That was it, I knew I was in love. I had missed him so viscerally and was so relieved to know he wasn't different that the person I had first thought he was.
So we went to Vegas and there were no separate rooms and the weekend was not PG-13. We had fun, we came home, we saw each other more. We began to intertwine our lives, I gave him a key to my apartment, he wrote a check to cover the cost of a car I bought until my money in a cd was freed up. He asked, I said yes and soon we were returning to Vegas for our second time to get married.
My husband is the best man I know. He has taught me so much about love, tenderness, trust and committment . He has helped me learn communications skills I never got from my parents, neither of whom are great communicators or deal well with conflict. He has taught me to fight fair and forgive easily. I trust him implicitly and I have given my heart to him freely knowing with absolute conviction that he won't trample it.
Supersize My Hostility
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Ok, tomorrow is Friday and I'll be at work so in lieu of posting a carefully crafted piece of irreverent, slice-of-life humor, I'm giving you a verbatim account of my recent interaction with a Fast Food chain when I stopped to get a Diet Coke because the baby kept me up half the night and I needed to make sure I wasn't going to fall asleep while I waxed my clients lady business.(see hardly carefully crafted, in fact probably the longest run on sentence ever.)
Drive Thru Guy: “ Hi and Welcome to McBurger Sovereign, would you like to try our new signature Southwestern, Tuscan-style Buckin' Rodeo Breakfast Burger with supersize Bacon?”
Me: “No thank you, can --”
Drive Thru Guy: “Well, then how about our new Everyone Loves Chicken for Breakfast Fresh and Tasty Chicken Patty Melt Wrap?”
Me: “No, no thank you I'd just like a diet coke please.”
Drive Thru Guy: “Can I supersize that for you?”
Me: “No, I'd like a medium.”
Drive Thru Guy:” You can get a large for just 25 cents more.”
Me: “Fine, give me the large.”
Drive Thru Guy: “Do you want fries with that?”
Me: “No, really. Just the soda.”
Drive Thru Guy: “Okay ma'am, that will be $1.47, please drive around to the second window.”
So I drive around, have my money ready, get the soda, navigate the scary left turn to get me headed in the right direction and start cruising to work with just enough time to get there and set up. I find my straw, unwrap it, shove it in the plastic x on top of my soda and take a good long draw.(Spits it out) It's a fucking Coke, I hate sugar soda, hate the taste, abhor the calories, the film it leave on my teeth. I like the caffeine and the chemicals but no sugar. I cannot take another sip. Of course I don't have enough time to turn around and tell the asshat to get me what I ordered, no doubt I'd have to go through the Rodeo burger routine again and I don't have that kind of time. All I wanted was a little pick me up on a workday. I have the feeling a crack dealer would be more reliable with the customer service/product delivery.
In the spa business, I spend a good deal of time around women. We usually chat as I'm ripping hair from their nether regions and what do we typically talk about? Their love life.
Many of these women are looking for love. Well, they say they are. It amazes me the giant laundry lists of must-haves many of these women have. Now, don't get me wrong, picky is ok, in fact preferable but you have to be picky about the right things.
I have a client who has lamented many times that she's not married yet. Now I do not say the following to be shallow or mean but as an honest assessment of her dating handicaps. This woman is in her early 50s, at least 60 pounds overweight, not pretty in a classic way, not attractive in an unusual way, unemployed(she's in school part-time for some unemployable degree) with her parents still paying her rent each month. She lacks anything in the way of an appealing personality, she is not funny, she is cheap, whiny, entitled and arrogant. Her stand out feature is she is very intelligent and articulate.
She said she never meets any men and it depresses her because how is she going to get married if she can't even meet men. I suggested she use one of the many online services like J-date(she's Jewish), or match.com or eharmony. I told her that I had many clients and friends who had met very nice people this way. You know what she said? She said oh, I've looked and the guys online are all fat and bald. For all of her dating handicaps she's going to write someone off because of their appearance?
Now if you spend a lot of time on your physical appearance and you're in really good shape, I think you have some leverage in seeking that out in a partner, because hey, fitness and looks can be a mutual interest, right? But when you have not put effort into these areas, to expect that field of partners to be available to you isn't impossible but it is unrealistic. Generally someone who puts time and effort into this area is going to expect you to do the same.
I have another client who has dated and talked about marriage(with me) with regard to her last 5 relationships, each one lasting about a year. Even though she's deeply in debt, she will continually shop out the $10,000 engagement rings. She has spent a lot of time over the course of our conversations talking about how big the ring should be, why she deserves it, blah, blah, blah. Not one thing about why she wants to build a life with any of these guys. She also talks about what kind of wedding she needs and whether her parents will be able to afford it and what steps they should take to make sure they can. All very entitled and I'm sure, a giant scary turnoff for the guys.
If you care more about the wedding than the guy, you are headed for trouble. If you have your whole wedding pictured in your head and the only variation from partner to partner is the face on the groom and the name on the invitation, it's not looking good. Not that most women didn't have our fantasy weddings picked out in our head and our list of what would make the “perfect mate” or how we thought our lives would go. But when you are in love with someone, you adjust all of this, give up some of it and most of it just ceases to matter because the wedding, the ring is not what it's about.
I also have a client who is having an affair. Unhappily married with three boys, she was probably vulnerable to the attention of another man. Where did she meet the other man? He's one of the dad's of a boy on her son's soccer club. He is also married. I don't know if there is a certain thrill in the covert nature of their clandestine meetings or just a diversion from the misery of her current situation but I just don't get it. She talks about him and he sounds just like the husband she has now.
Of course he seems more interesting, more attentive, more successful, more attractive, more everything. They are in the courting phase. Unlike the pile of marriage shit she finds herself sitting in, her boyfriend and her have never had to share the responsibilities of children, the stress of financial problems. They have yet to disappoint each other in any fundamental way, he hasn't withheld affection, she hasn't withheld sex, welcome to movie love.
I'm going to slip on my armchair therapist shoes for a moment and say that until you allow for the fact that real love can come in a variety of packages you are destined to be lonely. Until you loosen the grip of your fantasies about weddings and jewelry and focus on what you can bring to a partnership, you are destined to chase away the good ones. Finally, if you've picked wrong, you need to fix your picker or you are destined to pick the same wrong partner over and over again.
Top 10 Ways to Avoid Getting the Mother-In-Law of the Year Award
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
2. Give your 4 year old daughter a haircut without asking and take off 3 inches that you've spent the year carefully trimming and growing out.
3. Offer to pay for a cleaning lady for you.
4. Invite you to her house for a party and then ask you to bring your own food.
5. Tell you she'll "babysit" the kids, "if it helps you."
6. Call your house to talk to your husband precisely fifteen minutes before the kids go to bed so you are stuck getting three kids thru the bath/bedtime routine all by yourself while she holds him phone hostage.
7. Smoke a cigarette with your kids in the room, argue the impact of second-hand smoke.
8. Take your kids to the county fair, load 'em up with massive amounts of sugar, give them caffeinated soda, keep them up an hour past their bedtime and then drop them off and run.
9. Two words, ant farm.
10. Offer to change the baby before you leave her house for a long drive home and then put a swim diaper on instead of a regular diaper.(Note: if you are not a parent or haven't used swim diapers, the design of them is intended to let water(ie.pee) out and keep poops in so the diaper doesn't absorb all the pool water and become like 30 pounds, used on dry land, they are about as effective as leaving the baby with no diaper at all.)
That's Smog Sweetheart
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Southern California has two features that are the chiaroscuro of it's existence. On the light side is the weather and on the dark we have the traffic. Southern California boasts an almost 9 month summer. Our winter consists of three, sprinkly, vaguely cloudy days scattered somewhere between January 27th and February 2nd.
This being the case, it never fails to amuse me that our local news providers all have Weather Centers staffed by Meteorologists, Doppler Radar and their respective Storm Choppers. Are these where the C- meteorology students go, because in SoCal, the job is just not that hard. Case in point, an actual news cast:
Ok, that's it for the news, now to Dallas Raines(his real name btw) at the weather desk.
What's the forecast for tomorrow Dallas?
Well Brent, it's 85, clear and sunny, again! (Pointing to the map)
We have sun over here, and sun over here, and more sun over here, and there's a chance of sun through the weekend, but stay tuned because according to our Super Doppler Radar, there's a .07% chance of hail tomorrow.
Or, if you frequently watch these weather reports here some stations focus on some other area's weather, because you know, who doesn't get fired up when it's raining in Albany.
What they do talk about often during the weather reports are wildfires and earthquakes. These are not weather events, they are disasters So why don't they just replace the weather coverage with disaster coverage. The news media clearly love propaganda and panic-inducing teasers so why don't they just roll with it.
Ok, that's it for the news, now let's check in with Dallas Raines at the Disaster and Carnage desk.Then there are those news weather tracking helicopters. Never mind that these choppers are more frequently commissioned to track freeway pursuits, chases and shootings, Maybe they call them Storm Chaser and Storm Tracker and Weather Chopper because they can't really say Man Down/Man on the Run Chaser Chopper 7, 50 Car Pile Up on the 710 Back Off or the Viewers Will See Carnage Chopper or Hoping to Catch the LA PD Beating Someone Down Again Copter.
Who's in for a world of hurt this weekend Dallas?
Well Brent, hold on to your hats Northridge because another big one's coming your way, hope this quake doesn't catch you while you're sleeping.
And have your disaster kits ready to go Malibu because the brush fire, it's burning bright. Death tolls are expected in the low 70's and the fiscal damage point is right around 40%. Back to you Brent.
Thank goodness we have these regal birds in our service lest we miss salient news items. I can think of no better addition to the archives of news history than the sight of OJ Simpson's white Bronco steadily making its way down the 405. That that footage was denied an Edward R. Morrow Excellence in Broadcasting Award is a wrong that can never be righted.
On the darker side of Southern California you have the traffic. We boast some of the largest and most scenic, 12 lane parking lots that can be found anywhere in the world. Do you know why so many of the people in SoCal are in such great shape? They gave up waiting for gridlock to clear and just abandoned their vehicles and walked to their destinations.
Traffic is so bad here that unlike the unnecessary weather reports, we desperately need the on the hour traffic reports, even on Sundays. Statistically, there are 4.9 cars for every resident of L.A. County and they made a blood oath/pinkie swear to drive them all at the same time. Don't ask me how it's done or to verify these statistics but let me tell you I've seen this with my own eyes. LA is the only place I've ever lived or visited where you can have total gridlock at 11 in the evening.
There is also the problem of the emissions of all of these vehicles. Let me just say that when I first moved here, I was amazed that the mountains were in such close proximity to my apartment. Driving to work everyday, I would see their majestic gray peaks in the horizon. While carpooling one day with my boss, I asked him what range that was, pointing at the horizon in the distance. Mountain range? That's smog sweetheart.
He Said, She Said - 4
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Conversations With My Husband
At the airport on the way home after a long 10 days of chasing our eight month old around my mom's un-childproofed house, no sex because the baby slept in our room and a whirlwind of family visits.
Me: Hey, what do you want to do when we get home.
Him: Um, go on vacation.
As we listen to my mom, her mom, and my stepdad upstairs.
Me: I don't think she ever stops talking.
Him: You stop talking sometimes, like when you're mad and it's scary.
In the car as he's having a conversation with my stepdad talking about which states let you carry a concealed weapon.
Him: Yeah, maybe I'll get a permit for a concealed weapon.
Me: You already carry a concealed weapon, it's in your pants.
Him: I suppose I could use it to pistol whip someone.
Me: Just keep it away from me.
I Kissed a Boy
Thursday, July 10, 2008
I don't remember how I met him, he wasn't friends with any of my neighborhood friends, he was just around and then he was around more. I would be babysitting at the neighbors and he would just appear walking to the park with us, nibbling from the kids plates as we all ate lunch on the front porch. He would just appear, when my friend Leah and I rollerskated on the smooth entryway to the Catholic school at the end of the block, our cheap, battery-operated boombox blasting out INXS, George Michael, Terence Trent d'Arby, and Belinda Carlisle. He was just around and then somehow he became my boyfriend. Very sneaky those eastern Europeans.
At fourteen, me having a boyfriend mostly entailed Jack hanging out while I babysat and coming over in the evening to make out in the screened porch attached to our garage. We went on like this through a whole summer, fall and winter. I remember the morning I woke up to a foot of snow. Have a good day, love Jack, carved into the powder covering our driveway. It was the first romantic thing a boy had ever done for me.
Jack is one of those people I still think about. There's no regret, no unrequited love, we were just two teenagers taking the first shaky steps toward adulthood. I remember him clearly but I knew so little about him that I can't speculate much about what happened to him, where he ended up. I know he was very poor. I know he was a bit of a wandering stray. I know he liked to watch me rollerskate. I know he was a good kisser. That's it. Nothing to google there.
Things I Hate (but I am generally a very positive person, really.)
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
I hate when some bird disembowels himself over my freshly washed car, or anytime for that matter. You know, the craps that look like they ate a bottle of white out and a handful of blackberries.
I hate music that has what sounds like my cell phone ringtone in it.
I hate that news in general sucks and specifically, I hate the scary reactionary news teasers, “the food that might be poisoning your family right now, news at eleven." Hey, if it's such a threat, maybe you should just tell me now.
I hate folding fitted sheets.
I hate the goddamn baby gate. I am about 5 feet tall and I, in the process of trying to climb over it, spill coffee almost daily and frequently come close to dropping the baby and/or my laptop. The kids fuck around on it and the cats fight through it.
I hate when I drop my favorite and almost new blush on the floor and it crumbles into a million, messy pieces. I also hate that instead of dropping another twenty bucks for a new one, I will use the broken one for months even though it makes a mess of my purse, makeup drawer and travel bag.
I hate when my kid's school posts a notice about lice going around and for the next two weeks, I can't stop itching.
Conversations With My Husband
As we are hunkering down to watch a little television after dinner.
Him: Do you want to watch another episode of Star Trek?
Me: No, but I'm going to get rid of the captain's log here in a minute.
As we watch Love in the time of Cholera with Javier Bardiem during a scene where he's weeping after being jilted by his lover.
Me: That's so sad, she totally broke his heart.
Him: Yep, that's why he had to kill all those people in No Country For Old Men.
While we are watching television and an interview comes on with the Penis Puppeteers.
Me: Oh, remember these guys, these are the guys that twist their junk 'til it looks like things like a wristwatch and cheeseburger?
Him: Oh yeah, kind of like the Vagina Monologues, where they get the vaginas to talk?
Me: That is not what the Vagina Monologues are.
Off To Chicago
Sunday, July 6, 2008
My grandmother is staying at the house and will be taking the baby today and tonight. We gave her the specifics when it comes to her feeding, napping, and the rest. My family has been giving her little bits of "people food" so we had to go over the no dairy, no peanuts...
Grandma was regaling us with all of the things she used to do with the babies so husband put on the notes they asked us to leave:
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Blogopera #14 - Big Wooden Bed
Thursday, July 3, 2008
“Come to bed,” he said and we staggered from our island and walked to his bedroom.
I stood like an obedient child as he undressed me, pulling my dress over my head and sliding my underwear down my legs until I stepped out of them. I stood watching him while he undressed.
He sat on the bed and pushed himself back and held his arms out motioning for me to come to him. I crawled across the bed and he pulled me onto his lap. I lazily wrapped my arms around his neck and rested my head on his shoulder.
He moved my legs to rest behind him until we were both sitting Indian style, me wrapped around him. He slipped inside me and I tightened my legs around him as he used his hands to pull me to him until his whole body moved against mine.
Sleepy with wine and full, we made love unhurried, languorously as if underwater in the big wooden bed built with his hands. He cupped my buttocks in his hand and thrust into me, circling his pelvis against mine each time our bodies connected.
My legs started to shake and I grabbed his shoulders tight as an orgasm ripped through me. I went limp like a ragdoll, spent from the exertion and he used his own strength to hoist me on and off his lap, impaling me until he climaxed.
I climbed off his lap and collapsed next to him looking at the ceiling. His hand moved across the rumpled sheets and grasped mine.
“You make me happy,” he said.
“You were happy before,” I retorted.
“Not like this,” he said.