Like a picture I observed for a long time, one close up

My roommates present and future are creating wonderful things. Shadowbox press just released Woody’s Chapbook, and John’s biggest show to date is tonight at The Mercury Lounge.

Their endeavors look good side by side. Maybe they should be the ones living together.

I thought that today, with Protestants and Catholics setting aside differences and guns in Northern Ireland, I would take another virtual stab at problem solving.

This just in:

dear trybecca,
given the nature of your blog, which outlines the evolution of a woman in her prime, i thought you might have some insight on a recently evolved situation i’m facing in my life….

ok – so in the past year or so, i have lost A LOT of weight. you could possibly equate it to losing karen carpenter, right before she died (how does it always come back to karen???). anyway, i have always been a social ‘binge’ drinker if you will, in that i drink to get a buzz or to get drunk when i’m out with friends at a bar. truth is, it’s just fun. but after losing the weight – i find that i’m drinking like i always did – out of sheer habit – expecting my body to metabolize the alcohol in the same way it did before the weight loss, and it doesn’t. now this wouldn’t be a huge problem, except that i have found that the part of my brain that kept up my inhibited side seems to disappear when i drink this much. basically, i’ve
done things that i never thought i would do in this state – licked men’s (that is plural) ears without a sexual advance present, literally gone up to men and just started tonguing them… and the truth is, sometimes i don’t even remember doing it at all. my friends tell me the next
day, under a gale of laughter, of course. they don’t understand how hard it has been for me to make this adjustment for my new body – they just think i’m a cheap drunk! though i know that avoiding the booze in its entirety is not the answer for me, i do know that it’s my job to try and learn my new drinking limits, but i am finding that this is a process that is taking time. in the mean time, beyond telling them, how can i convince my friends that this
uninhibited crazy sexual animal they see their friend turn into is a really just a challenging new symptom of my weight loss?
apparently not in my wildest dreams

Dear I’m Not an Alcoholic, I’m Just Skinny,
Let me begin by congratulating you on the weight loss!

Yes, you’re stuck between a margarita-on-the-rocks and a hard place. But the best part of hooking up is remembering it. If you’re blacking out and relying on your friends to piece together the exploits of the uninhibited sexual animal–well, where’s the fun in that? You could just stay at home with a bottle of Trader Joe’s, pass out, and have your friends invent embarrassments.

Socializing and drinking go hand in hand, not tongue in ear. Maybe after you read this you’ll think twice before approaching strange men, or at least pick a canal-less body part to probe. Licking the chin, while not as sexy, is certainly safer.

I like the Rilke poem “I Am Much Too Alone in This World, Yet Not Alone.” I was re-reading it today and what you wrote me sprang to mind. If I am a woman evolving, it’s because I’ve come to court the particulars of my personality and my sexual choices. I haven’t always been proud of those choices. I’m still not always proud. I’m just trying to be more cognizant of detail, and when I am, I like how the world isn’t quite as blurry. It’s exciting, being on the drink of thirty. I mean brink. These things take time, you’re right. Be safe, but don’t be too hard on yourself. Hey, I’m the girl who had a one night stand with a circus clown!

Alcohol is awesome, but listen to Rilke: “I want to describe myself like a picture I observed for a long time, one close up.” I aspire to this. If you meet men, and continually can’t articulate the beautiful self that is you in any coherent way—if you can’t describe that picture, or if you’re forgetting it because you’re drunk— you’re missing out. You “want to be among those in the know, or else be alone.” That means if you’re blacking out, put on pajamas and watch 50 First Dates instead.

You’re just getting used to a new skin, which sounds tougher than expected, but hang in there. Give yourself permission to fall in love with your new body, but set parameters. You’re aware of your behavior, which means you’re a smart cookie. Have a friend cut you off when you start eyeing ears. If you have a couple friends who are willing to be on ear patrol, you don’t have to worry about justifying future tongueing. Here’s to nipping this in the Budweiser!

Also, I suggest avoiding drinks with straws because you’ll get drunk faster.

Good luck,


3 responses to “Like a picture I observed for a long time, one close up

  1. I feel obligated to point out some very important things regarding the issue of getting liquored up and atypical behavior. Might I also add:

    -if you know you are likely to get flirty or forward while under the influence of C2H5OH; you might make it a point to 1) hang with people who you trust to stay with your throughout the binge. 2) make it a point to not go to places where people don’t know you well. This is the most important rule.

    -know that men, as a rule, need little encouragement to take notice of women. A two second passing bored glance at the wrong man could mean the beginning of a non-stop several week campaign of getting hit on by him. Women who appear drunk will get the attention of true gentlemen (even complete strangers) who want to make sure you get home safely as well as complete dirtbags who will want to take advantage of you during the little chemical vacation before it wears off. Unless both options sound appealing, I’d suggest having those friends you came with stay close by. Stay with the group.

    -Carbonated beverages will make your body absorb alcohol quicker. I am not sure of the science behind drinking from a straw, however. Also, a good rule of thumb is to eat something solid before a night of drinking. It doesn’t have to be a big meal either. Lunchmeat or a decent amount of nuts (something with protein which is harder for your body to break down) will help slow things down.

    -Pace yourself with the drinking. 12 ounces of beer – 6 ounces of wine – 1 ounce of liquor (pick one) for each hour will keep things going for most people. Do more than that, and your liver won’t be able to dance fast enough to break the alcohol down. Sticking to beer will make it easier to manage, but you may find yourself jonesin’ for mexican food shortly thereafter. Don’t get all high maintenance and worry about which drink has less calories either. There will always be time to diet in the morning.

    -Oh, my suggestion for any drinking wardrobe is that it be something you don’t care if it gets stained, torn or lost. Leave the fancy jewelry and heirlooms behind. You can’t focus on drinking AND be a fashion plate at the same time.

    -Get a designated driver and make sure they stay sober or they can be trusted to stay sober. DUI arrests are only career moves for Paris Hilton. For everyone else, it is something to avoid on all levels.

  2. avoid drinks with fruit juices! the sugar speeds up the process…

  3. Two talented guys. Makes me wish I’d taken a different path when leaving school. It just wasn’t encouraged in 1980’s England. Leave school, get a job. Ho hum.

    Drink is great when you learn to control it rather than it control you. Just enough to loosen up is my favourite, you know that early evening feeling, 3 or 4 drinks in when you think you can rule the world but still have a touch of self consciousness. I tell my older boys who I know have started to drink. Don’t be the joke throwing up in the corner, be the one who likes a drink but stays in control. The ladies won’t want to kiss a boy with bits of regurgitated lunch round his mouth!

    David “at work and needed a break” Ross

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