Welcome back, loyal readers. Thanks for crossing over with me to the new URL.
Starting over is never easy. Six weeks after the site-wide shut-down, I’m still mourning the archive I curated in my modest corner of the blogosphere. Together, we navigated a chaotic game-board of relationship quandaries: fake bisexuality, sexual roommate tension, Oedipal footsie, to name just a few… Two years of awful, misguided weekly advice; of petty, belligerent comment trains from my favorite idiots and trolls. My surrogate family.
I’m too depressed to revisit and rewrite the topics listed above, but if you’re new and you’ve navigated to this page via desperate keyword search for guidance, I’ll give you bare-minimum quickies:
Fake bisexuality: In what way does this affect you? Weird. Stop it.
Sexual roommate tension: How about don’t go for it? For the love of god, just don’t.
Oedipal footsie: …Hey, you know what? As a nod to the readers who have been with me (why???) all along, I’ll leave this saga just between us. Love you, degenerates.
You’re thinking, “She really expects us to read through this fellowship garbage?” And you’re right. Snap out of it, Granola. So here’s the new URL’s inaugural write-in:
Granola, how do you get her to notice you?
“Her”? I’ve got a “Her” in mind. Here: a bacon-and-eggs free-associate from the breakfast nook while I fire up my gossipy cerebrum.
I know you. You’re perfect for this write-in. You surged up from the past just to fill the role, so let me draw you how I see you:
Ten years and suspicion has scalloped the hood of your brow. Ten years and the flesh has freckled at your throat. Ten years and you fished “severity” out from the hat, a trick in your blue boudoir, the type of woman who strokes her knuckles like the hilt of a knife. Let’s chop carrots.
…So, Thursday already. The Granola-post-Thursday we all once knew. I’ve been putting it off.
So while I’m typing, I’m germinating on this rumor I’ve heard: this rumor that attraction just flukes its way into razing the fuzz that pads an everyday gaze. (“Did you hear? Fascination has been going around jazz mixers just grabbing folks by the neck!”) Puh-leaze. But also thank you. You. You! You dummy reader, whoever you are. Thank you for hoisting yourself off your quilts today and buying into this shit rumor. I can’t just fellate my own arguments, you know. I get lonely.
So, I could explain to you how we humans evolved, as a species, a handy-dandy knack for threat detection and nonverbal communication. How our individual subconscious absorbs peripheral stimuli. Neuroscience and stuff. Sorry, it’s a vocab-casserole of bloggerish research waaaaaay beyond the fun-and-games of rumor-peddling. But maybe that’s boring. Eventually, the twisted advice blogger (me) has to start regurgitating those distorted teeny-bopper flirtation tips for needy perverts (you). We struggle with the same undertaking: Eyefucking is hard work.
Listen. This is important:
You can pull this off without saying a word. I promise.
Let’s limber up with this week’s activity.
…A simulation, to sketch in the white space of immersion:
Let’s say that on a Sunday night, across the black shadows and green glow of a seedy coffeehouse scissor-show, you spot the blade-like curve of a woman’s cheek. Across a murky archipelago of uncomfortable wrought-iron tables, you spot the polished shell of a nose. And a distracted semicolon mouth punctuating the curve’s rim. So briefly.
And by the way–the scissor-show is a scissor-show. Really. Shearing snippers kiss a crackly microphone, an upright bass scoops up the slithering, zippery half-tempo. So much texture to this soundscape. It’s percussive, ominous times at the coffeehouse, and the thing is well-attended.
But anyway, why is she here?
A) Wait around to be noticed? Or,
B) Trust and follow the intuition of your own noticing?
You choose B, and you choose well.
…Let’s say a woman hunches waiting for service over there, a woman hiccupped out from a time-fuck (time is fucked). Right now, time is half-immersed in re-run clicker-glimpses: one girl out of a baker’s dozen lined up for a sadistic judging panel. A late-night airing of Next Top Figure Skater.
And by the way–re-run means re-run. Really. More context: just the night before, you’d depression-binged that show, triple-chinned and horizontal under your quilts. Season fifteen? No, season eleven. You know that woman. That girl. Nineteen or so at the time, she’s polite; limber like a chiropractor’s mannequin; wrist-wringingly grateful to be chosen number nine of thirteen that week (out from a time-fuck). A thirteen-girl gallows of sad, semicolon mouths dripping for trash TV; cheerless validation, then un-validation: “Who’s really got potential? Who really wants this?”
No one really wins. Cultural commentary and stuff.
…Sorry, back to me again. Granola. Next Top Figure Skater is all I’ve watched the last six weeks, so I can’t help falling into it. Into this. I couldn’t help recognizing Lisa Powell, season eleven’s forgettable fourth place. No wonder my gaze snagged on that sharp corner of the bar.
But not too long channel-surfing, or else we’ll lose momentum.
…Some blocking, to flesh the Z-axis of immersion:
Let’s say black shadows between that woman’s distant shell and your own dowsing nose are deepening a cramped crowd of trendy, oily noggins. There will be no better or worse time to brave the eddys and wave for a second drink.
A.) Take your sweet time shuffling your stack of potential approaches, re-crossing your legs, and psyching yourself out? Or,
B.) Take advantage of the woman’s suspended moment alone, and slog through those long-limbed black shadows towards the murky bar?
You choose B, and you choose well.
Let’s quantify fifteen-inches’ space between a shifting right collar-socket (yours) and a rolling left elbow-joint (hers). Fifteen inches: perfect distance for a succinct character study; semi-starlet’s elbows resting on the bottom of the frame so one hand can stroke its double’s wrist like the pommel of a dirk.
(But wait, note to self. I can just imagine the inevitable write-in now: “Gosh, Granola, in my little simulation I’d put Lisa Powell to my left. You know what that means? My version obscures the hand where a wedding band would go. This added layer of mystery sharpens the suspense and overall quality of the scene, but you’ve taken me completely out of the moment. You almost had me there. I’m losing interest.” Oh, please. Don’t you want to see how this ends? Pull a simulated stool out-of-scene and take a seat. To the left, to the right, or wherever you want to be. Blocking’s not that serious. Anal.)
…That character study, to humanize the anatomy of immersion:
Let’s say the black shadows and green glow oscillate like an optical illusion around this introspective portrait. One year, two years, four, six, and eight years–give us ten years and distraction has weathered the creases of that semi-notable brow.
A.) Moodily ogle your drink, banking solely on the allure of your irresistible bone structure? Or,
B.) Indulge in your undeniable noticing?
You choose B, and you choose well.
People don’t notice when you watch them. Not really. Try it sometime and stare all you want, a loaded gaze is the hardest thing to prove. She can’t screenshot the way you appraise the melting-bronze splinters of her milkmaid braids; the green shadows separating the black crust of each individual, formerly-notable eyelash; the twilit architecture of the wrist twisting the straw, or the straw twisting the froth. What are you drinking? Puh-leaze. There are more serendipitous ways for one woman to say hello to another. What will she respond to?
…But not too long shuffling best-case-scenarios, or else you’ll lose this moment, tracking the minutiae of your unsuspecting neighbor’s peripheral movements: the spidery machinations of her chapped hand whiling away at a tumbler of ice cubes. Spend five minutes tracking and you’ll find a scene seethes with tiny interactions. For example, barkeep Brian’s inattention doodles a sour temper across the woman’s soft, puckering mouth.
(In all those bed-body hours wallowing on the monochrome side of the screen, how had I not until this moment auto-zoomed in on that soft, puckering mouth?)
…The example’s first take, to deepen the scene of immersion:
Let’s say a woman huffs for service the same way you huff for service. The same way plenty of women huff for service. We all huff for service. Service, please! Hello!!! Fractals sprouted out her interactions become your interactions, if you’re paying attention.
If you’ve chosen well so far, the following happens:
Her acrid glare goes dowsing left, as if to say:
Is anybody else seeing this? Yes, here you are.
In the face of shallow intimacy, you raise your eyebrows. And you’ve found it, the click into place: she rolls her eyes. Sets the sequence.
What a moment. This is why you’re here out of the condo in the first place. This moment is a deadline in and of itself.
Here you are.
(Why is it that this moment, this very moment right here, I’ve been experiencing all week in parallel tandem with a different moment in Part Number 8?
The moment where Lisa Powell grabs my hand and sucks the first three fingers behind her teeth?
Sudden as a slap, this glitch ahead. This glitch of overlapping images. Talk about time-fuck.
Why is it that we’re in this scene, striking eye contact over a shared interval of poor service, and in parallel tandem I’m glitching even further to a flicker of square, buttery light? Beyond a master bath doorjamb, straight through to a swollen mouth tonguing drowsily around a twist of dental floss?
And, aimed over the blade-like curve of a cheek:
There you are.
…Oh god, I’m so sorry. What’s my excuse for breaking scene? An uncontrollable bodily reaction towards women who practice diligent dental hygiene?? What a disaster. There I was giving you advice. Here I am instead, bacon-and-eggs free-associating, all the while my finger-pads are thrust in the memory and dripping down a set of once-noted, semi-recognizable molars. Memory. Here I am wiping saliva across my cheek, here I am trying to type. Time-fuck. Why is it that this part happens in parallel tandem with every line of writing I try to complete this week? Fuck my grocery list.
Isolating a memory of eyefucking from its inevitable sequence of fractalling events is hard work. Here, but I’ll try again. A reminder, for the sake of immersion:
Okay, anyway. Black shadows. Green glow.)
…Some world-building, to raise the stakes of immersion:
Let’s say the between one twenty-dollar bill, two rum-pistachio freezes, three more fish-hook glances, and four speaker-towers hauled into coffeehouse corners at the scissor-set’s abrupt end, you spot emerging from the stage door a pair of black-haired, brother-and-scis-ter(ha) musicians. The reticent hottie blinking Morse code for “go for it, I dare you” over those straw-twisting knuckles: of course she’s come to suffer poor service at a small-town coffeehouse to support fellow semi-nobody friends.
Quick! Before the ducking, approaching pair bursts the membrane of this moment:
A.) Coax her into the world of your night out, taking a total gamble on her not hating it? Or,
B.) Seek out a subtle reach into whatever her night’s comprised of?
You choose B, and you choose well.
You look up warmly beyond the dune of a barely-noteworthy shoulder, and who should zero in on your solicitous eyebrows but a sweaty pair of jazz-fusion wannabes? Who else should wedge crumpled boot-tips modestly into a cramped fifteen inches between two corner barstools? And Lisa Powell–if looks could kill, scissor-fusion might just take off posthumously. Creative notoriety tends to work out that way, doesn’t it?
The column of stage speakers stacked near this corner of the bar are doing their species proud, and the jelly of your fatty tissue has gone fizzing from sheer volume. Lip-reading is your best bet, now. The scissorist’s mouth is shy and wet. The bassist’s mouth is shy and wry. They’re trying to casually qualify, to you, a stranger, what’s now clearly a forced friendship with Lisa Powell. We saw her on that one reality show and somehow tracked her down for our first music video. Have you seen it? Or something like that. Try to keep up: you don’t catch their names quite as confidently as you’d caught their eyes.
And speaking of confidence: how is it that the green shadow of a polite, limber figure skater shrugs herself into that black shawl one could easily mistake for boredom? The familiarity of that creeping scan for exit signs that you spot in the minutiae of her distraction catches you unprepared.
(Oh, Lisa Powell, season eleven’s forgettable fourth place. How have these ten years reduced you to an outsider like me?)
…Some subtitles, to ease the rapid sequence of immersion:
Let’s say a woman glances around the netting that engulfs a conversation the same way you glance around the netting engulfing a conversation. The way plenty of recluses glance around the netting that engulfs a conversation. We all glance around the netting that engulfs a conversation. Escape, please!!!
If the sum of all your loneliness has brought you to this moment, the following happens:
Her ceiling scan goes drifting down:
Is anybody else floating away? Yes, here you are.
In the face of uncomfortable intimacy, you want to look away. And it’s found you, the click into place: she nods towards the door. Sets the sequence.
What a moment. This is why you never leave the condo in the first place. This moment is an extended deadline in and of itself.
Here you are.
(Someone wrote in and asked me how to speak to strange women at public events. I don’t know, I really don’t. I’m lost because tonight I’ve foregone my cochlear implant to prove a point. She’s lost because, hiccupped out from a time-fuck, is that sad, semicolon mouth. It’s in a semicolon’s nature to pause a narrative mid-sentence.)
…A plot device, to accent the escapism of immersion:
Let’s say that by this point, everything’s been said that could be said. Can we crawl out from this black hole, now? Something has to happen. Anything at all.
Now’s the time to fan out that stack of potential approaches. So…
A.) Announce your cigarette break in the vague hopes of being followed, effectively dipping out-of-scene? Or,
B.) Pointedly ask her to bum one, opening up an excuse to share an isolated moment hunched together against the elements?
You choose B, and you choose well.
Blue shadows, red glow, drowsing taillights, and glistening concrete. This is the first time the woman reaches for your hand. Not the last time. She reaches here to take your fingers and shield your match from the night. And watches the hanks of hair falling across your cheek as you bow to suck in with wet intent.
(I wonder if, this week, Lisa Powell has been replaying and replaying and replaying this episode the same way I have.
I wonder if this moment, this very moment right here, Lisa Powell has been experiencing all week in parallel tandem with a different moment in Part Number 8.
The moment where I dodge her chin and suck the freckled throat behind my teeth.
I wonder if she immerses in the memory of seducing a practically-nonverbal sundress wearing a pair of dancing eyelids. Of choosing all A’s in a limber activity of her own.)
Is it so selfish to withhold the final outtake for just the two of us, Lisa Powell and me?
To guard the climax of immersion?
All I will say to this end is that–when my very own hallway throbs with the look of predation slung over the blade-like curve of a woman’s cheek; when the woman’s kiss-rumpled, semi-notable features point their impolite appraisal towards the square of buttery light left flickering beyond the master bath doorjamb, the puckering swirl of cheerless bedsheets illuminated on the opposite side; when the lamps beneath the shelf of that semi-notable brow twist back, sharply, to my lids–my lips–my left lateral neck muscle, which her wrist shoots out to hook, pulling closed a space of fifteen inches, reeling me in to crash against that freckled throat; when I’ve committed to each and every nerve impulse that’s electrified this startling attraction to season eleven’s forgettable fourth place; and when I can’t shut out the green, glowing title screen rippling on the wall behind her–it’s then that I understand why I bought the condo in the first place:
To find tugging every once in a while–submerged here in the monochromatic murk of my own boudoir on a taut, live line—-the rare, fleeting moment; the rare, fleeting question:
Are we slicing among these black shadows together? Yes, here we are.
Here we are.
It’s true: ten years and anonymity has eroded the costume of her brow, the type of woman who clamps down on three fingers like the keen blade of an ice skate.
Someone wrote in last week:
Granola Jones, I think I read somewhere that Lisa Powell enjoys the company of women. Can you find out?
And I had to cock my head at the timing of this long-obscured name’s resurfacing.
Let’s say I hoisted myself off my quilts for the first time in days.
Let’s say I sat upright for some research; trawled for musicians and performers posting events among Lisa Powell’s modest, public channels; left the condo for an expedition; wielded my tools and snipped through the netting that engulfs isolation.
It’s now Thursday morning. I’m under a lot of pressure here, guys. This is my first post on a new blog. A comeback has got to be more, bigger, better, and I’ve got to top myself to keep relevant through the trials of reinvention. So my tricks have to metastasize.
Thursday. Tick-tock on the timer. What else could I even post?
A.) Pretend, in my own quiet place, not to have remembered season eleven’s forgettable fourth place? Write about the utter slush pile of red-rimmed bed death instead? Or,
B.) Rise to the occasion?
How did you do?
Tally your results in each column here: