the winners

man, this took forever.

Oh, my God. There’s nothing better than the Bust A Groove soundtrack. I am shaking my ass all over the office. You can’t stop me. I don’t care if I only got four hours sleep. Heat has the best damn song. I swear to God. It rules. Rules. Here’s how much it rules. I’m gonna give it to you. There’s my gift for you. Have fun. Happy Birthday Month (If you got here too late, sorry).

Okay, so after a very very close vote, the winner of the splash contest is the “Dig the funkadelic science, yo” splash graphic. You boozy fans gave it a real race with the absolut pamie submission. Congrats to Saundra Mitchell(who also won for fastest contest entry).

Now for the entry awards.

Have fun reading. I did. There were many great entries. Thanks for sharing your stories with me, and taking the time to celebrate two years of this here little webpage.

Oh, man. I just don’t sleep anymore. That’s the new me. Up for twenty of the twenty-four hours.

And Eric just bought a new toy. A CD burner. We may never sleep again, people. Seriously.

Get Real recap up. My last one. No more Get Real. I know you’re all crying and shit. It’s okay. I start Young Americans in like, two weeks.

Hey, if you went to see the Scabs last night at Antones, and you saw some freaks dancing on the left side of the stage…. that girl that totally fell on her head trying to be all cool… that wasn’t me. Just in case you were wondering. I don’t know who that girl was. Freak. Really. Totally made me spill my beer with her strange dancing style.

Jeff is the perfect dancing partner. I don’t want to know what we look like when we dance together, though. When he and Rose are spinning and throwing each other everywhere, it’s like those scenes in the movies when the dance floor clears and everyone just looks with wonder and awe. When Jeff and I dance, I assume it looks like Jeff is trying to re-enact a scene from Weekend at Bernie’s. But I learned last night that if you’re shoes have soft soles, and you’re standing on a puddle of beer, that boy can fling you this way and that and you don’t have to do hardly a thing.

Because of the people I used to dance with… I’m used to leading. I never danced with a boy who wanted to dance. Who knew what to do when holding my hand. So, I find myself struggling to not lead Jeff around. And eye contact. Very important. He’s telling me which way he’s about to spin me, and if I’m not paying attention, someone’s elbow is going into my eye.

But, you know, if you get a chance, dance with Jeff. He makes you feel like Baby standing on that stage nailing the lift during “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.” For real.

First Place

Supervirgin by Elizabeth Donnelly

We all have an inner child. Or inner teenager. My inner teenager happens to think about sex a lot, my inner teenager is charmingly nave, and my inner teenager is pretty darn virginal. But the other day, she put pen to paper, and this came out:

Supervirgin wants the big O now!

by Supervirgin, your local friendly never-been-kissed, ex Catholic schoolgirl

All I think about is food and sex. Yes, food and sex. For one, I spend entirely too much time pondering different types of cheese. I’m constantly singing Prince. I can feel my hormones surging around all day. I look at people on the street, admire their cheekbones or bleached hair, and my head quickly manufactures a relationship and very soon this stranger is next to me in bed, flushed and dewy. At least, this consummation happens in my head.

In addition, I am a reader. I have always devoured any magazine, with a horrifying lack of pickiness. Every magazine I read talks about men and their legendary horniness. What do men have that women lack? Some things, but a Y-chromosome does not make one’s mind become a constant smutty monologue. I think it’s strange that guys get all the credit for sex. Just because they can stick it in anything and come to the big O.

The big O seems like an impossible goal for women. And 17 years of sexual frustration makes it appear like a Holy Grail. Especially when combined with an Irish Catholic upbringing.

Are vibrators the answer? From what I’ve read, they’re supposedly wonderful. But the idea of sticking a buzzing mechanical rod into my nether regions sounds a bit fruity. Vibrators are battery powered, right? Or they use an electrical plug, yes? It just seems like a strange recipe for trouble. I was taught to never combine electricity and wetness. It seems like a mantra to live by. Yet vibrators are portrayed in films as a fun toy, super useful. Check out the vibrator dance scene to “We Got the Funk” by Parliament in the Slums of Beverly Hills. Very pro-vibrator. Any vaguely feminist rag is pro-vibrator. But have any of these girls taken the time to think about what a vibrator is? An electric plastic rod. “O” yes! Vibrators are a confusing subject to me, with conflicting ideas. It’s a world where there should be a tour guide.

So how can a woman find sexual satisfaction without resorting to a meaningless physical relationship with risk of pregnancy or AIDS? We want the big O! Well, first, the one change I would make if I ruled the world would be a glowing neon sign by the (mythical?) G-spot. Also, the clitoris can be a needle in a haystack for many people. Or at least for stupid people. That enigma leads to women faking it. So what can ladies do?

What can ladies do? I don’t know. But, in the meantime, I’d ride my bike a lot, or maybe take up horseback riding. There’s a reason the Irish refer to sex as riding. There’s a reason men are referred to as stallions in romance novels. Bikes give satisfaction! Horses = SEX!!! Why are little girls fascinated by horses? It’s all very phallic.

It’s all very phallic, indeed. Outside of my work, the Big Dig rages on. Supposedly, 80% of the cranes in the USA or even the world (though I would suspect the former) reside in Boston. Cranes are also phallic. There they are, just sticking straight up in the air, eager to please. Yet I have never once seen a woman stop outside one of the sites to peer into the construction. I have only seen men do that action. Yesterday, as I strolled by a site, 7 men of different ages, colors, and creed stood against the chain link fence, faces and noses pressed to the site like little puppies pressed against the pet store window. Another day, I saw a man recklessly wedge his head in between two Keep Out walls, all to see the Big Dig. Why does it seem like construction only caters to men? Why do men get off on construction sites? Women have to claim the visual pleasures of the many cranes and sweaty brawny boys of construction.

In search of a definitive answer, I turn to Cosmopolitan. The magazine. Or “Cosmo” for those fearless, fun females in the know. There’s another scantily clad woman on the cover, while the headline trumpets, “Our most Sexalicious issue yet!!!!” “Five amazing new Sexariffic positions that will have him begging for more!!” Sexciting. So I turn to the positions page. I guess that in a Cosmo girl’s world, it’s four on the floor, the double-backed monster, the horizontal monkey mambo with the Cosmo girl on top. I could picture the magazine’s ideal girl: long haired, (as if that requirement is the be-all of female sexuality) pouty lips and short skirts, leafing through the magazine and taking all the advice seriously, ordering her man around and her sassy, long haired femme fatale friends. Hell, if the Cosmo girl ruled the world, there’d be no war! The girls and boys of Cosmo would be practicing the new Sextastic! positions each month! I couldn’t agree with that ideal. It just doesn’t seem feasible.

In conclusion, I have found two ways for satisfaction in this oft-lonely world. (Maybe three, if you count the Afghan Whigs and the Catherine Wheel [and my new boyfriend D’Angelo- ed.] as a separate category. Sexy, sexy, music for girls.) I ogle bike messengers daily. I’ve taken up massage.

There is something about the bike messenger. They are all a lanky breed, designed to push all my buttons. Their sexiness, their control of the bike, their flying in the face of death daily, it’s a beautiful sight. I respect the bike messenger because I know I could never be the bike messenger, and with that basic desire, I can fully admire them.

And massage is amazing. I know a little Shiatsu, the healing touch, and it’s heaven to my poor back, afflicted with a stressful job in the computer business. Shiatsu is a way to pleasure anyone with breathing and hands. Like sex, without all the getting off side effects. So learn Shiatsu! Use it as an excuse to touch your platonic male friends who you would secretly like to jump!

With the bike messengers and massage, I have achieved satisfaction of the mind, body, and soul. Which is an imperative achievement on the quest for the big O. In fact, it’s like these years of study have led to my BA in mind, body, and soul satisfaction. The big O is similar to a PHD or MBA for woman. It’s a goal that will come, if you work for it. Porn is not neccessarily the way, dopey boys are not necessarily the way, so what is the way, oh guru?

Tantric sex.
(Simon the Brit in GO) “Tantra, bab-ee!”

Well, no. Or maybe yes. I don’t know the right, perfect way to the big O, or the sacred path, as some may say. But on your personal way to achieving a PHD or MBA in the lady art of the the big O, ride your bike a lot. Ride your horse often. Get to know your body well on your way to your BA. (The first step, really.) And don’t forget the power of positive thinking. I’m actually expecting the big O to knock at my door any day soon, whether it be in the form of a man, my hand, a vibrator, or even spontaneous combustion. (Whoo! Hot like fire, baby!) Meanwhile, I continue positive thinking. I chant my own personal mantras, like “The big O is coming!” “The big O is coming!” “The big O is coming!” Daily, weekly, monthly…”The big O is coming!”

Thank you.

Second Place

this is my political manifesto by Xenia

This is my entry for Pamie. This is my brainstorming. This is my creativity. This is a part of me. This is funny. This is serious. This is political. This is personal.

This is shopping.

Shopping.
I hate it.

Well actually, let me explain.

I love it .
That’s why I hate it.
I love money in my wallet, change in the weather, feeling good about myself, need for clothes shopping. ( don’t even think about getting me to go shopping on those days that I am not feeling good about myself I am smart enough to know not to do that… Feeling not so good about my clothes is another story- that doesn’t reflect on me directly, entirely… I can go shopping then. That simply means that I am smart enough to know/feel that my clothes aren’t quite right anymore and I need to break them up with some new stuff. You see the difference? I feel good about myself/ my judgement, I feel not so good about my clothes… It’s a fine line, I know…)

So anyway, the other day, I had one of those dreaded dreadful shopping experiences that I always have in the back of my head as a possibility but it seems on this occasion had not taken into account. I was just feeling too good. ( As it turns out, I was dangerously close to losing it entirely, I just hadn’t caught up with my inner self yet…) Never mind that I had read Pamie’s entry on shopping just a week or so before (May 4th, very funny…). Never mind that, I was about to discover (re-draw?) the map for myself…

So I went out, money in wallet, spirits high, in search of the perfect article(s) to supplement my wardrobe and welcome this ever increasing glorious springtime. Hopped on a train, sunglasses on, feeling pretty cool even though I was wearing last seasons clothes ( clothes that ended up being all the more comforting and cool-as I perused that racks of brand new latest fashion items. “See, I do have great taste after all!”) One good thing about the shopping experience it is possible, even if you don’t find anything you like, to leave feeling good about yourself.

But I digress.

So feeling good about myself and all set to feel even better, I launched myself into the world with the sole aim of finding myself some new attire

First mistake.

Don’t rely on shopping. It won’t be relied on. Just like I discovered, just like an immature boyfriend, it’ll turn on you just when you are feeling good about yourself. Yep, shopping is like that.

You got to keep your wits about you.

It’s a big (often bad) shopping world out there and if you’re not careful you’re going to get burned.

You should never make a long term commitment to a piece of clothing unless it will fulfill the following criteria:

Ask yourself:

Will this piece of clothing stand by me in good times and in bad?…
(Will it help me to feel good about myself when I am low? Will it make me glow when I’m not? Will I get a rush of warm tingly feelings when I open up my wardrobe and see it there not just when it’s new and shiny either, we’re talking multiple washes here, and it still be my garment of choice…)

…in sickness and in health…
( can I wear it comfortably around the house? Can I wear it to workout? As pyjamas? Will it transform, with the help of a fine string of pearls, into the most elegant piece of after five wear I own making the transition from day to evening wear effortlessly? Can I take it rock climbing? What about mountain climbing? Will it serve as a perfectly good piece of daywear? Will it improve my health? I know, I know… it’s difficult. But try to make sure that the article fits at least one of the criteria there, that made it easier didn’t it?)

…for richer and for poorer…
( Is it reasonably priced? Does it tread that fine line, that huge divide, between high couture and bargain basement chic? Between Versace and opportunity shop? some of the most famous designers have been influenced by “opp shop” fashion you know…)

…love, honor…
( Self explanatory… But not to seem like these attributes are unimportant they are in fact the most important of all/of the lot- I will go into a little detail if you will permit me: Will this article of clothing hug me? Does it feel nice on my body? Will it respect me in the morning? Will it wait for the right moment to be worn and not yell and scream and sulk when I have not had opportunity to wear it yet? Will it suit me and only me and refuse to be worn by anyone else? ( I know, it’s a possessive kind of love that I have…) Will it make me feel special? Will it look up to me, respecting my opinions about accessorising? Will it feel good about itself on me?- and not wish it was over there, on that teenish-20something tight skinny thing… You know the one, the creature that looks like she just stepped out of a “women’s” magazine…)

…and obey…
( Will it obey? Will it? How often? When? Will it do it’s own washing? Cooking? Will it hang itself out to dry? Start it’s own spin cycle so I don’t forget and leave my clothes soaking for a couple of hours longer than necessary? I always wash my clothes on the gentle cycle (needs you to manually choose the spin cycle after the “wash” part is over) because it saves my clothes and water. )

…till death do us part…
( Will it last for as long as I like it? No less and no longer? As long as it lasts for as long as I still like it it is good… If it lasts longer, then it is not so bad because at least I can give it away though unfortunately this giving away is usually accompanied by groans of “yet another buying mistake…”)

Ask yourself these things, they are all important qualities for the long term and need to be addressed. If you are buying for the short term then these can be adapted to suit, you can afford to make more mistakes.

(Ask yourself too, is this the woman I want to be taking advice from when it comes to clothes? She seems a little messed up to me…)

But dammit, I’ve digressed again… Isn’t that a funny word… Digress.

Digress, digress, digress…

The point is.
The lighting…
Oh, the lighting….
I went into the shop feeling good and came out feeling wretched.*
What went wrong? The clothes all looked so good on the hangers… They fulfilled nearly all of the above criteria… It was all I could do not to leave the store in tears- needless to say, I wasn’t silly ( or desperate, or hopeful…) enough to try any other stores. That one just about did me in.

-Quite literally, because though I hadn’t taken it into account, the next week was my “premenstrual” week so you can imagine the crying and disappointments and self recrimination that went on… It took me a good week and a half to get over! And I am not a fat person. I am actually thin. I just need a little more exercise. But you try telling that to miss “premenstrual” and see how far you get. You have to listen to a whole lot of wailing and you have to be really convincing and even then she won’t really believe you she’ll just file what you say away for future reference ( when she feels better), just because it is probably the better option than suicide. ( a lot less painful and troublesome and anyway, she’d miss this life if she had to let it go…)

*for a pretty exact analysis of what I was feeling I point you to the aforementioned Squishy entry and the forum afterwards…( sorry, I have no idea how to do that thing where it takes you there immediately… something to do with html?) Hey wow, I did it!

So what is the story with the lighting in shops? Don’t they know that if they had better lighting then we would be far more likely to buy their stuff? Is it that they are so damn rich that they can afford not to think about these details? I would think not. They may be rich, but I would think they would always be interested in getting richer.

Is it the lack of space in there? Does being up close to a mirror with three other walls ( or two walls and a door, or curtains, or two walls and a curtain…you get my drift…) surrounding you create extra cellulite? I don’t think that that could be it, though I could be wrong, not having tried the experiment in my own home.

I reckon it must just be lazyness and a general slipshod “she’ll be right” ( excuse me, I’m half Australian) attitude. But this is surely not good enough! I say, shoppers of the world unite this experience happened to me here in Athens, Greece, proof that what Pamie and you all described is not just an American phenomenon though it may well have originated there…

Shoppers unite and demand better lighting. We could go into shops and ask them, are they aware of their lighting problem? ( we can pretty safely assume they have one, though I have been in stores that actually had very flattering lighting, strangely enough, though I don’t think they were the “chain” type stores…) Wouldn’t it be good not to deal with this kind of stuff anymore?

Needless to say, issues like fabric quality, clothing design and practicality could all be addressed in the same way…

Yours hopefully,
Xenia

Third Place

Great Expectations by Joy

The other day I arrived at my apartment after a fruitful shopping trip at Aquarium World. I took a large paper bag full of fishy accessories and a 25-pound bag of gravel out of my trunk. I had to set the paper bag on the ground in order to lock my car, and then I hefted the bag of gravel onto my right shoulder, picked the bag up with my left hand and headed for my apartment. Up the stairs. To the third floor.

Fortunately, the man who lives right next door to me was heading up the steps at the same time. Great, he will probably ask to help me, I thought. Did he? Was he a gentleman? Did he swoop in like a knight in shining armor, tossing the bag around as if it was just a single feather before draping it over his manly shoulders? You guessed it. Nope. He walked right by me, not even saying hi, how are you, kiss my foot or anything. He didn’t offer to help me with part of my burden, not even the lesser-weighing paper bag full of goodies. He just passed on by up to his own third floor apartment and left me slowly climbing the steps. Did I mention I had a 25-pound bag of gravel on my shoulder? Chivalry was deader than a doornail and rolling over in its grave.

Was I wrong to expect an offer of help? Was it presumptuous of me to think just because a person lives next door to me they should offer to help me carry a heavy load up the steps? Do I look like I’m in such great shape, a man would assume I didn’t need his help? (I can answer that one…NO). After all, I’m the one that purchased too many items for one person to carry easily. I wasn’t at Aquarium World thinking, It’s okay if I buy all this stuff and a big bag of gravel because when I get home, someone will be there to help me carry it up the steps. No, I bought it soley with the assumption that I would be responsible for getting my purchases to my own apartment.

Then why did it bother me because he didn’t offer to help? Because he was there, that’s why. Because he lives right next door me. Because I think it’s good manners. Because it would have been a good way to break the ice and get to know your neighbor (obviously he doesn’t want to get to know his neighbor). Would I feel differently if it was a female neighbor? Or if I was a man? I have often offered to help a man with a door or a package when his arms are full.

Maybe he’s shy. Maybe his momma didn’t raise him to help a young lady with a 25-pound bag of gravel on her shoulder. Maybe he has a bad back. Maybe I have ticked him off by playing my TV or stereo too loudly.

Every time I see this man now I wonder about his life. He lives alone. I can hear him getting ready for work on the other side of my bathroom wall. I can hear the shower running. I can hear the “tap, tap, tap” of his toothbrush on the side of the sink when he is done brushing his teeth. I can hear him lock his door and go down the steps in the morning when he leaves for work. Whenever I see him, I always smile and say Hi, how are you doing? He answers Good, how are you? but at the same time he is unlocking his apartment door and getting inside so fast he must think I’m an ax murderer or something as equally heinous. When I speak to any of the other residents of my building, we at least share a few more words than that. And a smile isn’t going to kill you for crying out loud.

Another time I came home with several bags, and a man who lives on the first floor offered to help me with my many bags. No, no, that’s okay, I have it, I told him. Secretly, I almost accepted his assistance. I didn’t because I saw The Neighbor walking towards me, and I just wanted to see if he would perhaps offer to help me this time. Guess what. He didn’t. Nope. Now, I’m an independent single woman, and I can–and do–take care of myself. I’m not counting the one time my boyfriend had to change a light bulb for me. I’m short, okay? It just would have been nice, you know. Nice. You don’t see too much of that. I challenge you to do something nice for someone today.

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