"jesus, i don't have anything appropriate to wear to church." i stood back and surveyed my closet, barefoot and naked save for the high-waisted spanx panty stretched up to my tits in order to force my liver and kidneys closer together while giving my dimpled meat carcass a smooth and buttery appearance, juicy j bumping loud on the stereo in the other room. helen looked on, amused, awaiting her opportunity to cover the one clean article of clothing i could find with hair that would inevitaby entwine itself into the fabric within seconds of having come near her grizzled fatness. i tried on this new black and white dress i let a salesgirl talk me into because i wanted her to think i was cool. "you really think the lion of judah is trying to see that much unpasteurized cottage cheese?" helen asked while i tried to find a suitable pair of non-orthopedic shoes. i blanched and glanced down to see more leg than i show to go swimming. i gasped in horror. "OMG I DON'T EVEN SHAVE THIS HIGH."
being a single woman is like being a motherfucking bad advice depository. every asshole on the bus who just happens to find herself currently sharing bedspace with some drooling neanderthal is always in my grill offering unsolicited relationship advice. advice that is often unquantifiable, because people never really tell the truth about how shitty their boyfriends are in real life. an analogy: i will never let anyone with bad makeup give me advice at sephora. i know it's happened to you bitches. one minute you're trying to decide if that philosophy microdelivery peel is worth it (it so is) and the next some garish beauty beast is coming at your face brandishing a teal eyeliner like a weapon. and you're trapped there, helpless under that harsh overhead lighting that makes everyone look like walking death, while she talks your ear off about all the new matte lipsticks they just got in stock that you totally might buy if an adult woman with brown blush haphazardly applied to the sides of her head wasn't the one trying to sell it to you. so stop telling me what to do since i can't prove your boyfriend isn't fucking the chick he shares a cubicle with or whatever. once or twice a week i get an email or twelve from someone's worried aunt trying to "help me" in my quest to "find a husband," and that shit is totally fucking stupid. is that really what you've gleaned from reading this shit, janice? that i wanted you to send me a listicle you copied from a match.com article about meeting your perfect mate? NAWL, BRO. this blog is about twerkin for a taco, although i appreciate your concern.
so i decided that i am going to follow every piece of bad advice proffered to me when it comes to all of the places in which i'm obviously not looking for attractive singles to date, because i am a writer of hilarious jokes. i'm going to hike my tits up, scrape off my man-repellent, and troll every single place i heretofore have turned an ignorant blind eye: while surveying plump organic nectarines at the farmer's market; while huddled around the water cooler gossiping about last night's episode of gossip girl; while barely maintaining my sweaty grasp on the pole as the train jostles me around like popping corn during my morning commute; while lingering in the frozen food aisle at the grocery store trying to determine which lean cuisine i already tried and hated. college, the gym, coffee shops, intramural sports teams, car shows, the frequent-flyer lounge at my local airport, blood drives, improv classes, in line at the DMV, best buy, the driving range: the world outside my apartment is a veritable smorgasbord of men just waiting for the chance to try to hear the small talk i'm making over the deafening music in the bar i picked because no one i know in real life would ever see us there. and i am going to try to meet every single one of them, one magazine article suggestion at a time. because science.
i'm no stranger to the father, the son, or the holy ghost. see that little dirtbag in the ill-fitting red tablecloth and cotton candy pink coat posing awkwardly in the vestibule of fisher memorial ame church after the 1989 christmas pageant scheming on how to get that apple out of jessica's hand without anyone noticing? HOMIE THAT'S ME. i have been baptized by fire and washed in the blood of the lamb, brothers and sisters. from age zero to "smart enough to understand rudimentary biology" i was in that church two to three times a week, my adolescent soprano singing earnestly along with droning hymns about jericho's tumbled walls and the mighty fortress that was our god. my mom didn't even really care about religion, she just worked nights at the hospital and was thrilled to get my ass out of the house for nine hours on a sunday. i grew up in a SERIOUS CHURCH. no television screens, no flailing women littering the aisles possessed by the spirit, no gym shoes or blue jeans: we were there to WORSHIP THE LORD, and that worship most certainly included neither tambourines nor smiling.
i spent ten real minutes sweating and not cursing ("oh, crumbs!" "gosh, darnit!") while trying to locate the NIV bible i know for a fact is hiding someplace in my apartment just in case the rapture comes and just in case jesus is real and i need to prove that i know where ecclesiastes is while kate idled in the driveway below, smoking cigarettes out of her car window. we arrived at the church early, both sporting heavy black sunglasses and multiple tattoos. kate was wearing her mom's elastic-waisted khakis and a strand of real pearls while i was wearing the same black pajama dress that is basically open to my navel that i always wear. i should pray for some new clothes. we were greeted enthusiastically by a woman whose widened, horrified eyes belied the open-mouthed smile she'd accosted us with. kate filled out the visitor card she gave us with her real address and phone number (sucker) while i counted all of the walkers and scooter chairs filing in through the handicapped entrance.
"are you my new boyfriend?" i wondered aloud as a portly gentleman dressed head to toe in a magenta suit right out of steve harvey's circa 1998 wardrobe strutted past me, tipping his magenta fedora in my direction. we sat in the back so i could inconspicuously instagram proof that i had set foot in an actual church and read the 17-page program/news bulletin we'd been handed upon entering. to kate's amazement i sang along with all of the songs, some shit you just cannot forget, and managed to take communion without bursting into flames. long story short, i'm still single. and so are you, because your new boyfriend is not:
...the dude with the family. every hot dude at church is married. the young minister dude, the dude taking the kids downstairs for sunday school, the dude who drives the van to pick up the canned goods for the coup kitchen: all 100% married. which is why they are at church, because their wives make them go.
...my grandmother. my grandma was one of those important-looking ladies who sat in the front row at the church in a white skirt suit and white silk blouse, a starched white doily affixed to the top of her wig with straight pins, a shiny white glove on each hand. she wore compression stockings and sensible black pumps and she looked exactly like her good friend ernestine, who wore the exact same uniform but was an usher, so she stood at the back of the church with one arm folded behind her back, a handful of programs tucked within. my grandma had a key to the church, a key to the safe and, most importantly to me as a nine-year-old, a key to the cabinet in which the grape juice used on first sunday was stored. sometimes i would get what was left over after i'd spent two hours after church washing out all of those tiny little glasses we'd used during communion and that was the best day ever. anyway, she's dead now. so i guess what i'm basically trying to say is that church is for old people.
...the recently rehabbed crackhead. maybe this is just black church, but there's always some dude fresh out of hazelden wearing somebody else's ill-fitting donated good clothes trying to holler at you from the first pew when he really should be focused on getting his life back together. we are happy for him, absolutely, but maybe the best thing for him to get addicted to next is jesus. and not you.
...the ambiguously gay choir director. a few years ago i went to easter service with my sister. i love easter sunday. because i love pretending that jesus is a pissed-off zombie who comes back to life to exact revenge on all those assholes who sentenced him to death. and all those badass bible verses about his death are the jam. if you set the wrath and vengeance parts of the old testament to a mannie fresh beat i'd play that shit at the club TONIGHT. "your dead will live; their corpses will rise. you who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy, for your dew is as the dew of the dawn, and the earth will give birth to the departed spirits." i like to recite that shit in my sam jackson slash daniel day lewis in "there will be blood" voice loud as hell while i'm heating up a can of pork and beans for dinner. my sister elbowed me sharply in the ribs with a shiv she'd fashioned out of a couple dehydrated palm leaves, "hey. i hear that the dude playing the organ is single. you should holler at him." even though my dude's rendition of "press toward the mark" is the jammingest i've ever heard, i cut the hardest side eye i could muster at her and said, "YOU MEAN THE GENTLEMAN IN THE TIGHT-FITTING SALMON PANTS? NO THANK YOU, PRAISE BE TO GOD."