Thursday, August 23, 2012

Bad Credit

I’ve never been very good at choosing the people I get involved with; from lovers to roommates, I’ve managed to snag myself some real losers.  While I can trace my bad choices in men to my Daddy issues (thank you, 25 years of therapy!), I’m still trying to figure out how I can blame him for some of the truly terrible roommates I’ve chosen over the years.  I’ve lived with a raging coke addict, a girl with OCD, the hooker fondly remembered here and sticky fingers Suzy. 

My co-habitation with Suzy started out well enough.  We met in the incredibly stupid, unbelievably boring English 101 class all NYU students are required to take during their freshman year.  Suzy and I bonded over the fact that our fellow students were idiots who didn’t know how to write a paper and that we were pretty sure our scores on the English portion of the SATs were higher than the Professor’s.  So basically, our friendship was forged on the fact that we felt ourselves to be intellectually superior to, well, everyone.  We began to hang out together all the time, and found we had quite a lot in common, such as preferring to spend our afternoons at Happy Hour rather than in class.  Naturally, when the school sent out a notice that it was time to choose roommates for sophomore year housing, Suzy and I jumped at the chance to live together.  We envisioned hours of fun decorating our glamorous dorm room on the corner of 26th Street and Ghetto Ave., and spending our weekends at all the hot clubs willing to let us in if we gave the doormen blow jobs.  

Our rooming together worked out well at first, mainly because I was happy to be living with someone who wasn’t charging the men she brought home.  Then one afternoon, while I was enjoying a nap (AKA sleeping off a hangover), the phone rang.  In my half-awake state it took me a minute to understand who was on the other end, but slowly I started to come to consciousness and figure out that it was MasterCard calling to tell me that someone had used my credit card and charged $7560.00 at Rampage.  They thought this seemed out of the ordinary because most of my debt was racked up at bars, nightclubs, and the bodega where my dealer dropped off my blow (what can I say, I am a creature of habit.  Bad habit, but still…).  They wanted to know if I had recently gone on a shopping spree.  Now, if I were going to go shopping for clothing and spend $7560, it sure as Hell would not be at Rampage.  I may not have good taste in men, but I have excellent taste in clothing.  For that kind of cash I would’ve at least gone to Miu Miu or bought myself a couple pairs of Manolos.  I started reading Vogue magazine at the age of nine so, no, MasterCard, I did not recently spend over $7000 on tacky clothing made of synthetic material assembled by some malnourished 10 year old girl in a Malaysian sweat shop.  Give me a little credit here (no pun intended).  I filed a fraud claim with MasterCard and hung up the phone, perplexed.  I didn’t remember losing my card recently.  Sure, I suppose I could’ve been so drunk that I left it at one of the bars I frequented, but I only went to places where the bartenders were hot dudes, and I couldn’t imagine any of them stealing my card and buying clothing at Rampage.  When I checked my wallet the stolen card was there, sitting in its well-worn little pocket, just as it should be. 

That’s when I started to put the pieces together.  I’d noticed Suzy had been sporting quite a few new outfits in the past week or so.  While my drinking schedule had kept me so busy I hadn’t had a chance to check them out/ borrow any of them, they looked as though they could’ve been purchased from Rampage.  So I started sleuthing in her half of our dorm room.  Sure enough, she had a whole closet full of cheap clothing with Rampage tags still attached.  A little further digging in her desk unearthed the receipt for said purchases with my credit card number and my forged signature.  Talk about a bad friend!  Not only was Suzy stealing from me, but she also didn’t even know me well enough to realize that I would never, ever, spend that much money on clothing made out of rayon. 

I never spent another night in the same room with Suzy.  I packed my stuff, filed a report with the campus police after showing them the receipts with my obviously forged signature, and they arrested her.  For the rest of the year I spent my nights sleeping at random guys’ apartments, always with my wallet tucked safely under my pillow.  Somehow I eventually snagged myself a really great roommate; a lovely and talented girl who enjoyed very dry martinis, jazz music, and Vogue magazine.  As for Suzy, last I heard she became a lawyer; which I guess just means that she figured out a way to steal from people legally.  

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Well, dear reader, I am with child.  I am pregnant, preggo, knocked up, pg, have a bun in the oven, whatever you want to call it, I am expecting a baby.  Apparently I have reached the stage in my life where I have decided to make the ultimate commitment and have a child.  Considering that most mornings I can’t even commit to a hairstyle, this is a pretty big deal for me.  On the one hand, I appear to be in a place in my life where this seems to be a rational, adult decision: I’m married, I no longer live in a studio apartment on a questionable block in East Hollywood, and I’ve learned to save money instead of buying shoes.  On the other hand I don’t really feel “grown-up”, I tell jokes about sex for living, and I still haven’t gotten comfortable reacting to a positive pregnancy test with joy instead of horror. 

As I’m sure you can imagine, a woman with my checkered past has experienced her share of pregnancy scares.  Despite the fact that teen pregnancy seemed to rip through my high school faster than a bad case of head lice, it’s a miracle that I managed to make it to the age of 18 with an unmolested uterus.  However, I apparently felt it was my duty to make up for this fact when I moved to New York for college.  In my oh-so-impressive quest to sleep with every single sleazy and inappropriate man on the island of Manhattan (as well as several from the outer boroughs), I often found myself whiling away the hours at NYU health services sheepishly explaining my reckless lifestyle and how exactly I forgot to take my birth control pill yet again.

My first pregnancy scare happened just a month or two after moving to New York.  At the time I was “dating” a guy who was an older, somewhat successful talent manager, who had several bad habits that included not returning phone calls and a cocaine addiction.  While I didn’t find Mitch’s late-eighties hairdo and booze-bloated figure particularly attractive, I did get turned on by his Platinum Amex and his willingness to share his stash of blow.  Mitch and I went out for a few dinners followed by some extremely mediocre sex, after which Mitch did blow off of his nightstand.  Several weeks in to my “relationship” with Mitch, I realized that my period was six days late.  Ok, I admit it, I wasn’t the most responsible person when it came to remembering to take my birth control pill or enforcing the whole “no glove, no love thing.”  Yes, I am horrified by this now that I am older, somewhat more responsible, and trying to imagine how I’m going to explain my dangerous and embarrassing behavior to my offspring.  But at the time I was more horrified by the fact that I might be carrying the child of a coke fiend who’s last name I didn’t even know.  When I called Mitch to tell him my period was late, I tried to be calm and not turn into the screaming harpie I was on the brink of becoming.  I said, “Mitch, I just want you to know that my period is late and there’s a chance I might be pregnant.  I’m going to health services this afternoon to find out.”  I can still hear Mitch’s response in my head, all these years later.  “ I’m sure you’re sleeping with lots of other guys and just want pin this on me.  Don’t bother calling me if you are pregnant, because it’s not my problem.  In fact, don’t bother calling me ever again.”  In point of fact, I wasn’t actually sleeping with anyone else, but being accused of doing so made me feel dirtier than when I’d done it with Mitch in the alley behind his office. 

When I hung up the phone, I felt as though I was in an ABC after school special about what happens when you don’t practice safe sex.  Here I was, 18 years old, alone except for some friends I’d only known two months, and accused of being a dirty whore by the one person who was willing to sleep with me but not take responsibility for what could happen.  Mitch may have been living in the adult world but he sure as hell didn’t act like an adult.

When the nurse at health services told me that I wasn’t pregnant, I cried with relief, and later, as I danced home through Washington Square Park, I vowed that I would never again sleep with a guy like Mitch.  Of course, I tend to be a bit of a slow learner, so it took me many years, many horrible relationships, and one pregnancy scare that didn’t end so happily for me to finally get it right.  So I guess I’m as ready as I’ll ever be to have a child.  I just hope that if it’s a girl she has better taste in men than her Mother.  

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