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Monday, July 12, 2010

Dance With Me

My wife has observed that I have this tendency to utilize the literary device (gestalt? I forget what it’s called) where you start out talking about one thing and then meander off in another direction only to circuitously wend your weary way back to your original idea. It probably won’t surprise you to know that this isn’t intentional, or purposeful, or my intelligently and deftly applying skills honed in any number of creative writing classes and workshops I could have, and should have taken. It’s just the haphazard, comfort-seeking way in which my brain works.

Or, rather, doesn’t.

That said, I will confess I had an idea for what I was going to blog about before I sat down at the computer, but I made the mistake of sitting down at the computer with an ice-cold can of Diet Coke and a bowlful of peanut butter M&Ms and I thought to myself, “Holy shit, if I don’t immediately write on my blog about how fucking fantastic peanut butter M&Ms and chilled Diet Coke are, well, then goddamn me to Hell.” And so, I’ve just got to devote a few lines to my snack, even though it has nothing it all to do with what I wanted to blog about for today, and I doubt very much that I’ll be able to gestalt this shit back around at the end. But who cares?

You can’t find peanut butter M&Ms everywhere, and that’s just as well because, if you could, well, they wouldn’t be as special as they are—would they? When we spot that orange bag, we go for it. Now, our house, being basically an eighty-two-year-old furnace with a quaint hole in the kitchen ceiling, keeps pantry food at a comfortable, slightly-toasted temperature. This propensity is especially preferred when it comes to two bad-for-you snacks:

Cadbury mini-eggs, and, you guessed it, Harvard Gal: peanut butter M&Ms.

Your dubiously-aligned teeth pierce the candy shell and just absolutely sink into the pre-warmed mookie goodness and instantly pleasure splinters go shooting through the windmills of your mind. There is a Hebrew phrase that my father taught me that sums up this sensation perfectly. You are supposed to say it after an especially good, satisfying, heavenly meal, and, in English transliteration it looks something like this: “Chhhat-tsee-tsee-un.”

Translation: Half-a-fuck.

Yes, children, consuming warm, mookitty peanut M&Ms is, for most intents and purposes, equivalent to half-a-fuck.

There’s nothing more I can say, though, about the merits of Diet Coke. In caffeinated or CFDC variety it is, without qualm or question, the perfect libation. Definitely ‘nuff said on that score.

‘Kay? Thanks. Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.


So, anyway, on Sunday morning, my wife and I woke up, as we fortunately always seem to do, and she turned to me and asked me if I went to any dances in middle school. I laughed, because that’s a nice thing to do when your wife asks you a question.

“Yes, I went to one, when I was in seventh grade.”

“Did you like it?” she asked me.

Sad to admit it, but I laughed again. When I was done, I replied,


As she asked me more similar questions, I realized that I had attended exactly one dance in middle school, one in high school, and one in college. And people say I never give things a fair chance. Fucking people— always talking smack.

I don’t remember much about the middle school dance. Clearly, I didn’t actually dance with anybody. I mean, that’s kind of a given. I do remember that I, along with three other awkward gimps, got in trouble for sitting on a rolled up gym mat. There was no sign on it that said, “NO AWKWARD GIMPS MAY SIT HERE,” at least, not that I recall, but I suppose it was just one of those unwritten, unspoken rules that you and your three other awkward gimp compatriots were just supposed to know. Well, we didn’t, and we got sent to the assistant-principal, Dr. A. Dr. A was a severe--looking, skinny, dour woman whose face was contorted in such a way that it always looked like she had just swallowed a cup of Halite. She walked with a cane and I can recall being very afraid that, if I said the wrong thing in her presence, she would break it against my neck.

I mean, really-- why do they even have dances for middle school students? Is it just for the teachers and the adult chaperones to have something to laugh at so they can feel better about themselves? We're all so fucking terrible looking-- gawky, mawky, mawpish, mopish, and just awful. We barely know the opposing gender exists, so why does this painful ritual exist? Isn't it just an attempt at prematurely sexualizing us? I'm surprised FOX News hasn't jumped on this idea yet.


Hahaha. Shut the fuck up, FOX News.

In high school, I was convinced by some friends (yes, I had a few back then) to attend a Halloween dance.

“You’ll get to wear a costume,” one of them said. This was enough to make the sale. I came in an Army officer’s dress uniform that I had picked up for twenty bucks at a thrift shop. The pants were large enough to clothe five of me at the same time, and my mother did a hack-job on the waistband so that they would stay up through the evening’s festivities. The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” army policy was just beginning to take hold that year, and I wore a name tag that said, “Hi, My Name Is Ham-Pies” and I spent the evening dancing the tango and other absurd dances with my gay friend, who was wearing a yellow polyester leisure suit. I wonder why I wasn’t asked out by a girl that year.

The college dance I attended, though, was quite special. It was the formal ball hosted by the theatre association. I mean, “formal”? “Ball”? How bad could this be, I reasoned with myself. I was dating a girl at the time who had been begging me to go to the dance, and I was very much against it. But the words “formal” and “ball” kept swirling around in my brain. I had conjured up images of my classmates in enormous hoop-skirts, massive mounds of cleavage pouring out of Victorian-era dresses, hair in ringlets, and the budding men in gleaming black patent leather shoes, white gloves, long coats.

If you’ve ever doubted the brain’s capacity for fantasy, doubt no more.

I ended up renting a tux for an absurd amount of money at “After Six Menswear.” Not only did you have to pay to attend the ball, too, but I plunked down $189 on a hotel room. I can remember, very, very vividly getting dressed in that ridiculous tuxedo in front of the full-length mirror in our hotel room and, as I affixed the bullshit fake bowtie, my girlfriend came up behind me, sat down on the bed and looked at me with a smile, but with her brow furrowed and said,

“You’re going to be so handsome when you can buy clothes that actually fit you.”

She was so sweet—- but not quite as sweet as a peanut butter M&M.



  1. They have peanut BUTTER M&Ms over there!? Bah. You have everything over there. Except universal heathcare, 'BOO-YA!', as you would say.

  2. Substitute Diet Coke for Diet Dr. Pepper and you have yourself a regular old party at Maria's place. Plus, put those things in a bag of hot popcorn. Delightful!!!

    Have you tried M&M pretzel? A more calorie-conscious if not just slightly less delicious choice.


  3. I have tried the pretzel M&M. It is inferior. It has a delightful little crunch, and a hint of that sweet/salty contrast that is so endearing, but it's so subtle on the pretzel flavor that all you have is a crunchy M&M. I'll stick with my peanut butter variety, and just let Mr. Apron eat most of them, as he is wont to do anyway.


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