Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sunday Top Ten: And I'd Die For the Truth in my Secret Life

Today I re-ignite the mission of telling your secrets for you. I realised this's all a bit funny w/r/t Mr. Redacted, 'cause I was, as I may've mentioned 150-200 times, fired following his discovery of sexual references I'd made to fictional characters, e.g., Kit Porter. [Sidenote: Pam Grier is foxy and everything, but if I had a choice of which L Word character I'd most like to imagine fucking herself with a vodka bottle, it wouldn't be Kit. It would probs be Alice, because I'm sure she'd make it funny. Or Dana, because she died, so it wouldn't hurt, because you can't hurt dead people, as they are already dead.]

I'd really like to be number one again in this google search, how can I make that happen? Also, it's trendy for bloggers to write open letters to television networks declaring willingness to cross the picket lines to write television scripts so clearly, Ilene, I don't think you need an open letter to let you know that I am here. Just waiting to turn your show into soft core porn. It's not that I don't support the Writer's Strike -- Haviland does and I sort of just do whatever she tells me to do, so that's that, but I'd cross a moat filled with fire-breathing dragons and all kinds of Tina Fey to have a shot at writing The L Word.

So, if Mr. Redacted was reading this, he'd probably think these were true stories about me, too, because he has a tough time following pronouns. Which'd be super rad 'cause though I'm honest on here about many things, actual sexual experiences and desire of any kind is one thing I'll never be honest about on my blog, ever. Never ever. I feel comfortable talking about sexual things almost hourly, but it's in the significant past tense or it's fictionalized or anonymous or joking or maybe joking but maybe not joking or the at least partially hidden [I learned this from Haviland: how easy it is to say almost everything but to always hold things back, and how important that "almost" is, actually, how the leap between "almost" and "totes" is legitimately huge and significant] ... I'll dance around it forever, sure, but I get more and more queasy about "giving it up" altogether as my readership increases -- because then it's just not as fun for me.

However: dancing around it is fun, as is telling other people's stories. Or who knows, maybe one of these stories is actually mine ... or maybe it isn't ... you never know til you know ... the oddest thing about this is how as I've been working on it, the regular personal emails I've gotten from my friends aren't really so much different from the Sunday Top Ten Secrets emails I've gotten from friends, strangers, readers, other bloggers, and mystery people in disguise.

Haviland told me about Mercedes De Acosta, this lesbian writer who had affairs with pretty much everyone, like Greta Garbo and stuff. Hav loves her and got the title of the solo show she did in '05, "The Real Secret," from this quote of De Acosta's --

"Never shall I be subdued nor the real secret of me understood; passionately and violently my body may be possessed, but my spirit always virgin, will wander on forever unpossessed!"
(Mercedes DeAcosta)
This time, I'm using names from 90's dramatic television series for teenagers, e.g., Dawson's Creek, My So-Called Life and Beverly Hills 90210, cause I ran out of BBC characters and didn't remember any Judy Blume novels that well and Wikipedia was totally unhelpful. Then I ran out of teen soap characters and just started using, you guessed it, The L Word.

I really am going to use something from every one I got, so it might take a while. But yeah -- keep refreshing, I'll churn out a good portion of this tonight. You can keep sending too if you want.

Oh also -- and any of my friends who've talked to me lately can verify this, I'm staying super top secret about everything that's sent to me, w/r/t true identity. Which is hard. But, SIGH, so is life, obvs.

6. The First

The first time was after a soccer game, in the girl's locker room, Andrea's friend kissed her, Andrea responded by punching her friend in the face. It was the best kiss she'd ever had, much better than the two boys she'd kissed before. But Andrea is Catholic and so she knows that The Gays = (Eventual Suffering + Torture) x Infinity.

As it so often happens, time passes. Andrea is seventeen, finishing her French degree at night school, and she applies for a telemarketing position and when she goes in for the interview she finds the office is nearly deserted. It's the last interview of the day and the secretary nods curtly on her way out and directs her to Jim and Cindy's office, where she'll be interviewed.

And right away Cindy -- Jim's boss -- gives Andrea a look that unsettles her: weighing, measuring, and then a small half-smile that could mean a whole lot of things or absolutely nothing and Andrea is, of course, seventeen, so she doesn't know. Cindy continues to stare at Andrea as she talks in HR-speak, and she watches Andrea blush and squirm. Jim notices nothing. Jim leaves and tells Cindy they'll compare notes tomorrow.

Cindy suggests "Let's move this interview to the couch," and so, they do. "No reason with only two of us to sit at that cold, impersonal conference room table."

Cindy's hand not-so-accidentally brushes Andrea's side. Andrea laughs nervously. Cindy gets braver: asking Andrea how she feels about working with her, working under her, how she feels about working under women and Andrea realises they aren't really talking about telemarketing anymore but she is seventeen and she'd never been with a woman and everything feels, therefore, simultaneously embarrassing and brilliant. Also, Cindy's got this French accent. It's refined. Sexy.

So Andrea starts wanting things that she doesn't want to want, and she's getting anxious, Cindy is still talking, Andrea wonders if this is real or just her imagination, why would a professional woman say these things? Andrea zooms in, then, on Cindy's mouth, then her hands, because that's what she does when obsession startles and takes her over, she just zooms in, fantasizes: what could those lips do to me? And those hands? She feels vulnerable.

"Have you ever been with a woman?" Cindy asks, finally.

Andrea opens her mouth and the word "No" comes out.

Cindy bends over, whispers in her ear: "I'll be the first woman to make you come."

Cindy removes her jacket. Andrea doesn't know what to do with her desire yet -- she's seventeen, remember, and also, never been with a woman, and also, that Catholic thing, and also, just also -- so she submits. She just puts herself at Cindy's mercy, vulnerable and splayed, gives up control because she doesn't know what she'd do with control if she had it anyway.

It happens: her first orgasm. Her first multiple orgasm, actually, and then when she thinks she can't take it anymore, yes, another. Rough and gentle, and skilled, like, attentive, and then, just as Andrea's on the verge again, Jim bursts in. Cindy actually wipes her mouth and says something transparent about putting Andrea at ease, and the whole thing would feel a lot like a porn movie if she'd ever seen one which she hadn't because she is seventeen.

The ease: not so much, as Andrea dresses quickly while they argue, which she can't really hear because most of her senses have dulled into a kind of choral hummm and pulse and she runs to the elevator and needless to say, she did not receive that job, and was scared of women for another six years, but actually, she kinda still is, afraid of women, all the time, at least the strong ones. The powerful ones who think making her vulnerable might actually put her at ease, and who are right.

7. We Didn't Do It
Jen only masturbates in the dark.
Donna never masturbates and never wants to have sex, but you'd never know it. Once upon a time, she did want to and she did, all the time, but now, nothing, and her boyfriend is waiting, and keeps waiting, and she hates him sometimes for waiting and knowing that he always will wait and keep on waiting and what if things never change?
Tina masturbates to porn she charges to her Dad's credit card. She likes movies where girls are humiliated by the men who fuck them.
Brian dated a prostitute.
Valerie used to be a prostitute. She misses it.
Andie still is -- not technically, her job is only supposed to involve "sensual" massages and requisite happy endings. Her boyfriend knew, except he's her ex-boyfriend now, and when he moved out she lost it a little and spent money she shouldn't have spent and so when a regular client offered her $500 for a blow job, something she'd turned down before, from him, even, specifically, she said okay. She'd had a few more glasses of wine than he probably knew. She keeps doing it and she feels awful like guilty for lying to the other girls there and wondering if they're onto her or if they've noticed she's bringing condoms. But now she can't seem to stop taking up that offer, like it was a door and she walked through and then fell, and the worst part is : this is the happiest she's ever been.

This might be her happy ending.
Helena hooked up with her friend and he has a girlfriend, a serious one, that he lives with. She never thought she'd be that girl, but it could happen again, which is bad/wrong/ tempting.
Tim was sleeping with his best friend's sister for five years. Nothing ever came of it but his best friend won't speak to him anymore and he doesn't know what he misses more; his best friend, or the girl.
Bette's had two abortions and she'd have another if it came to it, she just doesn't want to go on the pill and get fat.
Alice once spent a New Year's Eve bent over in a small supply closet getting fucked in the ass by a stranger.

And if Claire asked Alice to (she has), if she wanted it (she does), and if Alice could make herself do it (she's tried), Alice would hit her for real, and it would turn her on.
When Antonia was 17, her mother said, offhand [but it stuck]: "When I was in high school, I worried I'd die a virgin."

Antonia laughed to herself--she hadn't been kissed yet but she wasn't in a rush, she had romantic faith in the world.

Now she's 24. And a virgin. She wasn't ever abused, if you're wondering, she's just got a lot of walls made from fear, self-protection and that twinge of concern that it might hurt. She's waited too long to fuck some horny freshman at a college party so she needs it to mean something: but what will this hypothetical boyfriend say when he finds out? what if it bleeds? Will she ever find anyone she trusts enough to meet the standards she's been elevating over time?

Some of her friends know but not really. I mean, she's made out with guys before. She finds that now, especially among her college friends, people just assume she's not a virgin because she is, after all, 24. I mean, wouldn't you assume too? Haven't you?

You shouldn't ever assume anything, is the real secret.
8. Fix You Up

Kelly's parents think she's a psychologist with her own practice and that she's in a long-term relationship with her housemate, David. David is gay, though he puts on quite a show for Kelly's parents every Christmas. It is Kelly's show too because she is also gay.

There are some shreds of truth, like that Kelly's got a master's in psychology, which isn't altogether irrelevant to her actual job: she owns a tattoo parlor, and it's going so well and she loves it so much and has no independent desire to finish the medical degree she's been doing in pieces towards the eventual goal [not her goal, her parent's goal for her] of becoming a psychiatrist, the real kind.

Kelly's avoided a relationship for six years to avoid coming clean to her parents. Other things she hasn't told them: She owns a Harley, she plays bass in a metal band. That all these things are facts, and not questions.
9. More For Me

Lindsay's got your dream job and it's an unfulfilling nightmare. It's your dream job if you want to be a writer but it's not your dream job if you don't, or never did, and aren't sure how you got so lucky/unlucky because it is WORK: it takes hours and hours and hours and often HOURS to think about what to write, and then there's the writing part, the editing, and it's never ever ever worth it on any level ever. She doesn't think she's good enough naturally or artificially and she doesn't think she stands up to her co-workers, they've got resumes boasting self-started NYC magazines, published books, hosted radio shows. She can't quit because she needs the money. Every day feels like a huge numbing waste of time. No one knows how much time she thinks she's wasting, they think it's easy. It's not easy. This is what she wants to scream: It's not easy.
Angelica's one of those firey people who gets passionate in political discussions, which's why you might think she's passionate about her studies and her work. But she doesn't burn for it. It's not what she dreamt of being when she was a child, it just came to her, there was no alternative, so she just did what she did.
Shane never finishes anything, never follows through on anything, never does anything. She just changes her mind a lot. There should be a pool going for how long her current job might last. A conservative bet is "until next summer." It's sort of because she needs change like Riese needs smack, but sort of because she's got other ideas of what she'd like to do with her life and would like to do every single one of them, and because once things aren't new anymore she gets rather bored with them, although she'd like to think that this could just be it. This could be her career for the next twenty years, like she could marry someone and that'd be it for the rest of her life, but she's probably too restless for that.

10. I Can't Take It
Emily thinks she might be an alcoholic but she still drinks.
Jen says she's just a social smoker but it's strategic: she finds another smoker amongst the group (an excuse!), and steps outside 'cause it'd be awful if they had to smoke alone, obviously.
Marina drinks or smokes pot every single night. No one knows, not her roommate or her girlfriend, because they think it's just her personality. She thinks she hangs out with her pothead friends too much. She has no immediate intention to change any of this. It's fun.


cait said...

on superficial note, i love the 90210 names, but for real

'You shouldn't ever assume anything, is the real secret.'

gave me chills

rocketdyke said...

i like these, and they kind of make me sad.

Crystal said...

I'm really digging this secrets thing, nice one.

I checked out the Mercedes De Costa page and it said she had long-term liaisons . That phrase is sorta funny and kinda pleasant, but also makes me associate sex with tertiary education. Anyway.

Rebecca said...

I share a secret with someone on this list. Wow.

And I second what Cait said about the chills

dorothy said...

I'd like you to write my life story. You take the things that people have hidden for fear or shame and make them beautiful truths not secrets at all. You see the humanity. You honour your secret sharers.

Totally still my hero.

some say shay. said...

i really like the secrets idea, and your retelling of them.

Lozo said...

this was the most depressing thing i have ever read. please stop.

i mean, $500 for a blowjob with a condom on? that almost made me cry. but then i started masturbating in the dark again, and i felt totally better.

Haviland Stillwell said...

"You can never assume you're as visible as you feel"...

Nice references, Riese-ling.

Also, #6, whoever you are - HOT. Srsly.

kazzie said...

dude, you rocked this so effin good. dead set.

riese said...

cait: Thanks! You might also have chills because I have your scarf.

rocketdyke: Yeah ... I think most people tend to scream their happy secrets from the mountaintops sooner or later?

crystal: At least they spelled liaisons right, which is more than I can say for the benefits of my tertiary education.

I always think about the dangerous kinds.

rebecca: That is awesome ...

dorothy: Can you write the blurb for your life story? Because those are totes awesome things you just said about me and I think it'd make a hot cover blurb.

some say shay: thank you.

lozo: Not everyone's secret is like your secret about having these crazy wild sexual dreams about me. Nor does every secret involve specific sexual positions .... Well ... okay. most of them do. But those are coming (ha! coming!) tomorrow.

haviland: I'd like to name a drink after you, like I have riesling, you know? Or maybe a diet soda? Also, re: #6, I know right. None of my job interviews go like that, except the part where I don't get hired.

kazzie: oooo every time you comment you have to use the word "dead set" deal? deal. HOLLA.

andie said...

@lozo-it's totally worth it.,, ;-)

The Brooklyn Boy said...

The powerful ones who think making her vulnerable might actually put her at ease, and who are right.

Dear god, this is thrilling stuff to read. The concept of vulnerability putting someone at ease is truer to my life right now than anything I've written recently myself, while trying to sort it out. You've done such a good job with it, I'm only certain about one of my submissions being used to this point. I see hints in others, but there's doubt and I feel like they're shared - if they're being used.

You shouldn't ever assume anything, is the real secret.

Lozo said...

it's not a secret if i blog and tell you about it. reverse cowgirl, fyi.

and "you shouldn't ever assume anything" isn't a real secret. it's common knowledge. there are cliches about it. ass, you and me?

these posts really do make me sad. i'll let you keep that 20 bucks if you stop.

asher said...

"That all these things are facts, and not questions."

that's so beautiful it hurts to read.

(and i could be antonia. my antonia? except for the male pronoun).

dorothy said...

Ah, but the beauty of you writing it is that it's not nearly so painful to write about others as it sometimes is when you write about yourself.

dorothy said...

And damn my lack of parallel construction in that comment.

Rebecca said...

It was difficult to read what you wrote about your father, but it was very moving. I had a dream the other night he was dead, and this was comforting to me when I woke up. It was the first time I dreamed he was dead. Not just gone, not mysteriously alive again. I don't know how to live without my dad. I haven't voluntarily left my house in three weeks. I know I have said this before, but reading your writing about your dad gives me hope. And reminds me that I am not the only one who has ever felt this way.

riese said...

andie: nicceeeee.

bb: thank you. and yes, just one so far.

lozo, lozo, lozo: cliche. yes. I often deal almost exclusively in cliche. That's true. I hope/strive to give cliche an honest voice ... or I guess, make you think "this might be tripe, but this is the best tripe i've ever tasted." Sometimes I fail ... and tripe is just tripe. I'll totes cop to that, as well as being overly sentimental, emo, trite ... it is, after all, easier to make your audience to cry than it is to make them laugh (ding! cliche!), which is why I hate Patch Adams and most movies made for girls, like StepMom or whatevs. And um, that dude who wrote "the notebook." It's just lame and old. I hope I'm not like that, but maybe I am sometimes.

Soooo .... I was gonna just respond to your comment with something offhand like "but a blowjob is extra" or "you can't buy me off with twenty bucks," and chances are, you'll respond to my response with something that totally undercuts me, is totes clever, and makes me look super duper emo, which is fine, that's why I like you and your writing, you're usually pretty spot on & clever, and you're really good at comebacks and arguing. That's what keeps our marraige and g-chats so spicy. Also, because of your penis.

Butttt LOZO. Of course there are a lot of cliches about assumptions. There are a lot of cliches about people, love, war, tragedy, drama, sadness, happiness, sex, arguments, compromise, emotions, and just about every major human feeling or action that exists.
Are you still reading? Naked girls! Lesbian sex! Okay. Hi.

Basically I just want to say that your point about assuming making an ass of you and me is totally irrelevant. Of course assumptions are dangerous, everyone knows that, that's like, not a cliche about assumptions, that's the definition of the word "assumption." So I don't know really how to talk about any words without addressing their definition, and also, the real secret thing referenced an earlier quote, obvs, whatever. You're just gonna need to do better than that.

sooo I can't stop because I have to finish them, there's ones I havent' donneeee, and also because you told me not to and I'm the boss.

But here's the deal: I'm gonna try to make the entire next blog totally LOL-funny. I've got some tragic material, so this'll be a challenge. But if I can make you LOL consistently while reading the next Secrets blog, then you get the twenty bucks I owe you from loosing our last bet ... or you know ... whatever you want ... another 20 bucks? I think I'll win this time, though, seriously. Or you can set the stakes ... whatevs you want.

Or you know ... you could just say something clever and dismissive, I'm totally prepared for that. BRING IT ON.

asher: omg, amazing purposeful or accidential MSCL reference.

dorothy: That is totally true. didn't notice the parallel grammar thing, I can barely spell.

rebecca: I think about you and the unspoken people like you when I choose to write about it, and I think that helps me too. I actually was out all day today -- not for work -- for the first time in ages, so there is, indeed hope.

asher said...

intentional. i fear typing this for it will soon have a 'long wait' and never be available, but blockbuster online is finally stocking MSCL. instead of sleeping, i watched the pilot last night (and by last night i mean from about 430-515am).

in a similar vein i read a ryan adams quote in which he described jesse malin's music as 'so good it hurts my feelings.' i like that as well.

and you. and your words. i imagine you're a great leaner.

Razia said...

Only at auto-win can you get surprise posts in the comments section.

This secrets thing could quite possibly be the best thing since top tens, although it totally is sort of a top ten so it's like double the goodness. You know what will make them even better, if Stef did those stick figures on paint again to go with the secrets. That would rock. Not saying your choice of graphics are bad, you know I'm like your #1 graphic fan, but yeah...stick figures are great.

Oo Lynnie oO said...

hi, hey, hello!
this whole secret thing is such good stuff...

as for me, i don't have any secrets. [that was a lie] i guess the only one i have is that im proud of the fact that i'm a really good liar. [or was that just a lie?!] now you don't know what to think. be f'reals...i'd say "this" is sorta kinda secret, which is why i love the internet. So...

Dear Riese, you are my secret. Love, Me

ps; that facebook link is tempting

Lozo said...

i love you!