Monday, November 21, 2011
Cruise Control - Part 14: Yinning The Yang
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Note: Continuing with the fever dream from the last episode, then we’ll get back to the real story in the next post…
As is usually the case, Tiffany eventually tired of subtly leading on yet another doomed-to-fail suitor. She allowed Fuchsia to attend to all of her possible needs for a few more drinks, then, when Fuchsia was temporarily distracted whilst attempting to chisel an ice sculpture in Tiffany’s image, Our Favorite Diva leaned toward me and muttered. “I’m bored. Let’s go.”
I considered the implications of travel plans right at this particular moment in time. “Are you sure? Fuchsia will be devastated.”
Tiffany waved a disinterested hand. “She’ll be fine. Besides, we can’t let her get too comfortable and think she has already won me over. We have the whole rest of the week ahead of us, and we need to keep the yearning factor very high or the service will get sloppy. I don’t like drinks where the ice is already melting.” Tiffany grabbed a few things off the bar counter (Tiffany always has things), threw them in her pretend-designer bag, and slid off her stool.
Over near the ice machine, Fuchsia sensed a change in the atmosphere, and she whipped around to face us, chisel still raised in the air. Her eyes were filled with shock, horror, and a possible bit of serial-killer madness.
“Oh,” I muttered back to Tiffany. “Perhaps you should at least lie to her and pretend that we are coming right back. Maybe she’ll calm down long enough for us to get to a Panic Room.”
Tiffany, loving the delicious combination of potential drama and being the center of attention, took her cue and stepped back up to the bar, carefully running one hand through her hair and then cocking her head slightly to one side, permitting the sun to highlight her natural beauty. “Fuchsia, we’re just gonna run snatch up a wee bite to eat. Perhaps we’ll see you later?”
Fuchsia immediately hurled the chisel to the floor (where it embedded in the thick rubber mat, remaining lodged there until later that night when another employee tripped over it and spilled mango juice on a startled couple from Toledo) and then hurled herself at the counter. “I’ll be right here!” she squeaked. Rather trite and mundane words, I’ll admit, but she said it with such passion she might as well have uttered “I shall save my virginity until the soul-uniting night of our legally-recognized same-sex wedding day!”
Tiffany just smiled briefly, then she and her flowing caftan sashayed away, her hair and the billowing material caressed by a breeze that hinted of salt and SPF 70. Wait, something was a bit off. I know these things instantly with La Tiffania.
I caught up to her a bit further down the deck, batting that damn caftan out of the way so I wouldn’t get in my mouth. “Hold up, what’s going on? I can tell by the way you’re not looking at people looking at you that something is wrong.”
Tiffany waved another hand. “I’m fine. Nothing is wrong whatsoever.” Then she hauled off and slapped a complete stranger who was walking by wearing a thong. (Okay, she didn’t really, but she would have done so if there hadn’t been so many dripping-wet witnesses dashing about around the nearby pool.)
I sighed. So we were doing a mood swing, were we? Fine. Best to work our way through this and then get back to the cocktails. “No, really, why are you going all Sybil?”
She sighed as well. “It’s just hard sometimes.”
“And we’re talking about…”
“Everybody always wants me.”
We had to step around a woman with a harmonica (no idea, but you get used to odd little scenes on this boat) and join back together on the other side. “Missy, why are going there? We’ve talked about this. There is just something mystical about you that brings the boys to your yard. And really, this is a problem?”
There was a conversational pause as we arrived at another bar (big surprise, right?), ordered some beverages that were foofy but not too foofy, and slipped onto another set of barstools. Tiffany then returned to her neurosis. “Well, I try to tell myself not to worry about it, but I was on a website the other day, Divas and Dilemmas dot Com, and there was a whole page of people with the same issue. So I joined their club.”
“Their club? There’s a club for this too much love thing?”
“Yes!” exclaimed Tiffany. “Wonderful Women with Wooing Woes. You can ask a question and everybody tries to help you with answers. It’s very supportive, and I managed to make a profile pic that I really like.”
I truly could not think of a response, so I just drank.
“But the bad part about this,” continued Tiffany, “is that a lot of the people keep saying that you have to try not being so attractive all the time.”
“And… this bothers you?”
She looked at me as if I’d lost my mind. “Of course it does. How could I possibly not be beautiful? It just doesn’t work with me.” She then made a sad little face, as if the terrible weight of her personal tragedy was causing endless pain. “I’m just naturally beautiful.”
Tiffany then pulled out her pretend-designer bag, rummaged around, selected several items, applied lip gloss, touched up her eyelashes, powdered some flesh here and there, trimmed one strand of hair that had dared to become slightly frizzy, gargled with some teeth-whitening mouthwash, self-performed some out-patient plastic surgery, and then threw everything back into the bag. “See? Natural.”
I knew exactly what was needed at this point, after years of being groomed by Tiffany in the art of just-say-what-I-wanna-hear. “It must be terrible, the suffering. I don’t know how you do it, but I’m so proud of you.”
She beamed. “I knew you’d understand.” She patted my hand on the bar, but was then distracted by the tiniest nub of a hangnail on one of her own fingers, and reached for the pretend-designer bag again. She hauled out an industrial sander and began to look around for an electrical outlet.
Once the sander was cool enough to be placed back in her satchel without igniting the lip gloss, Tiffany announced a firm resolution. “So, anyway, that’s it for the rest of the cruise. No more worrying about pleasing my adoring fans. No more flirting just to ensure a steady flow of alcohol. No more inadvertently arousing the men folk by simply being in the same room with them.”
We toasted on that.
Two seconds later, one of those men folk, a stunning example with tanned muscles, hairy chest, and tightly-fitting trunks came waltzing down the stairs from the deck above and into the bar, glanced around in a way indicating that he didn’t really know anybody but was just stopping by to see what might be going on, and then slid onto a stool directly opposite from us. Just picking up the drink menu caused 77% of his muscles to ripple enticingly.
I heard a gasp from Tiffany beside me. “Oh my God, I can’t breathe.”
Me: “Why would you want to as long as you can look at that?”
And a years-long conversational theme kicked into gear, a topic that we greatly enjoy, pushing the discourse along with great relish. Tiff: “Do you think he wants me or you?”
Me: “I don’t care, as long as he stays right there.”
Tiffany analyzed the situation with her practiced eye, studying the stud for a few minutes. “I think he’s looking more at you than at me, damn it.”
Me: “I don’t know. He seems to be looking your way quite a bit. Maybe if you weren’t shoving your breasts in the air.”
Tiff: “I’m not shoving, they rise naturally.”
Me: “We’ve been friends too long, and I know their exact elevation in all situations. You are shoving, and you’re going to give yourself back strain if you don’t stop it.”
Tiff: “I’ll stop if you stop.”
Me: “I don’t have breasts, poodle.”
Tiff: “You’re shoving your crotch forward. Showin’ the monkey, mmm hmmm.”
Me: “I am so not doing that. Besides, he can’t even see my crotch, the bar’s in the way.”
Tiff: “He could see it if he really tried, and that’s what you’re counting on, you little stealth slut.”
The man suddenly signaled for the bartender, having decided on a drink. His voice was very deep. We couldn’t hear all of the words, but we could hear the growling.
Tiff: “Well, he doesn’t sound like Cindy Brady.”
Me: “That doesn’t mean anything. I have a deep voice.”
Tiff: “And that doesn’t mean anything. You’re always doing all the gay things wrong. You’re a really bad queen. We’ve talked about this.”
Me, catching another detail: “He trims his chest hair. That’s one for my team.”
Tiff: “It’s not just the gay boys, some straight men do that, too.”
Me: “Yeah, but straight men don’t know what the hell they are doing. They shave everything completely down to the skin, even the guns and ammo, making them look like overgrown 12-year-olds. You’ve got to leave something to hang onto.”
Tiffany gasped again. “He’s getting up!”
The man stood and stretched (okay, he’s obviously a tease) and then started to round the corner of the bar. During his ambling journey, Tiffany christened him “Heath” (because she thought that would look hot on wedding napkins) and I named him “Cliff” just to complete the Wuthering Heights reference.
Heath/Cliff paused right in front of us, his pearly teeth glistening in the sun. “Could I ask you a question?”
“Of course!” Tiffany nearly shouted.
“Have you found Jesus?”
Two beats, as we processed the situation being flipped on its ear.
Then Me: “Well, I haven’t seen him lately. Do you think he’s with Waldo?”
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