Monday, April 27, 2009


It was the end of a long hot session. I’d spent the entire day in my kitchen, completely clearing out every base and top cabinet, every last drawer. Hauling cast iron cookware to far regions of my apartment. Sifting through and clearing out decades of grimy assundry crap. On all fours, under the sink, up and down the stepladder until the cupboards were all clear. The demolition guys were due first thing in the morning, was an 85 degree Sunday, I was feeling disgusting, sweaty, and satisfied with my progress.

I got into the elevator hauling two Hefty’s of recycling down to the basement. I live in the penthouse, my neighbor, Steve, Joan’s wife got in the floor below. I was slick and rank, all tied up in a do-rag, wife beater and Old Navy sleep shorts. “Heyyy,” he said in a tone that was disturbingly reminiscent of “The Fonz”. “You look pretty sexy.” I looked up from my bags, with a “ppfft!” (He’s giving me crap, to top off my trash). But he was focused on my gestalt, taking it all in, “don’t try to deny it, you know you look hot.”

He was headed to the basement, too – with one deconstructed box from a small camera to recycle, his wife running a pretty tight ship. Upon landing at our subterranean destination, he held the door for me, as though we were entering an expensive nightclub, looking at me like I was wearing a low cut silk Versace. He dispensed of his 1oz. of cardboard and returned to the elevator, I began sorting my two bags of paper, plastic, glass; emtied tequila bottles, sticky Triple Sec, a cheap menora, vegetarian cookbooks from a phase. I noticed that he was holding the elevator door open; I was barely through sorting bag one. “Steve”, I called out with feigned appreciation, “I’m gonna be a while.” “Nope,” his voice thick, “I’m holding it for you.” Indeed.

This isn’t the first time this ironic attraction has occurred. I was in my twenties. It was a humid August morning in Connecticut, the heat never relenting from the night before. I was at the beach at 7 AM, sneaking a smoke away from my parent’s radar sense of smell. I hadn’t showered, my face was slick, my hair in desperate need of shampoo. My body: perspiration on top of dried perspiration mingled with tanning oil. The Red Alpha Romeo broke my smoking solace. It approached slowly, like a cop looking for teenagers in the act. It was a convertible, the 30 something man drove alongside me very slowly without stopping. He was incredible, I instantly regretted my obviously unwashed state. The car stopped just a few feet ahead of mine and slowly slid back towards me, until our windows met. That was the day I realized that fashion and perfume advertising is The Big Lie.

I have bought 600 dollar dresses, spent countless hours coiffing my hair, nails, and nether regions. I have a virtual wine cellar of French fragrances. But none of that has panned out quite the same way as a day of ignored hygiene.

Is it the scent you put off, that calls to every Tom, Dick, and Pepe Le Pew? Me, fully doused in a thick coat of pheromones that no money can buy? Or is it the fact that when I’m literally dripping in disarray that I simply don’t give a shit, that the last thing on my mind is game? So, is being filthy dirty the unintended ultimate game?

You could never go into a dinner date dabbing your juices behind each ear. Or wearing panties fresh out of the dirty clothes hamper. Still, my elevator encounter, and delectable drive by guy make me think about it. But the fact is, you just can’t plan those soiled encounters, they happen serendipidously – after a long day of weeding, or waxing the car – it’s the fruits of your labor, squared.


  1. Very nice piece.
    What you do so well...
    Almost qualifies as a short story.
    Not that it needs to.

  2. Thank you so much for your comments/compliments.
    Very much appreciated. Now off to live/write some more.... :)