Monday, November 23, 2009

Hot for Teacher

I got a phone call on Saturday afternoon from a seventeen-year-old girl named Hailey. She informed me that her friend, a now eighteen-year-old girl named Chloe, was receiving a surprise birthday party that night with the "surprise!" scheduled for 8pm and festivities lasting until "the party gets broken up."

The last time I had been to a party that got broken up was high school, and this, indeed, was a high school party. Hailey told me that a week prior, Chloe had written a preemptive list of the people she would want to attend her party (if she were to have one), and my name was in the top five. Hailey reiterated that it would mean a lot to Chloe if I showed up.

Now, before I go any further, I must admit something: during the process of editing Chloe's essay, she and I talked on the phone--not just about her essay. When I was an English teacher I edited a few of my students' college application essays whose themes usually reflected their lives. To improve the expression of such a theme, one must delve into a student's life, and I did so without ever an awkward moment. After all, back in 2004-5, most essays read like Afterschool Specials. Not anymore. With Chloe's essay, I had little room to pussyfoot around sexual misconduct in a foreign land and the perspective one learns from it. I recall one phone conversation regarding her abusive brother that ended in tears. There's a fine line between being an ear to cry into and taking a teacher-student relationship too far.

Still, I was flattered that I was in the top five. I liked the idea that I meant something to Chloe more than a stupid crush, and I was impressed that her friends were throwing her a party--something that shows she is respected and well-liked. Was I going to go to the party? No. Did I consider it for more than a passing second? Yes.

Lucky for me, I had a date with Sofia that night and thought it best to say so to Hailey, as it revealed that I was unavailable both that night, and to high school girls in general.

The date with Sofia was strange. I met her around 9pm at a bar that had bocce ball. I enjoyed teaching her to pronounce "bocce" and "pallino" in her Panamanian accent, but I think my sense of humor got lost in translation. She laughed a lot, but I could tell she found me silly more than anything else.

When I took Sofia home I got snubbed at the door, destroying my first-night streak. She seemed confident in her decision so I didn't press. And, in the back of my head, I was toying with the idea of wishing the 18 year old a "happy birthday" in person.

As I drove home, I called Chloe. Each unanswered ring sped my heart beat, made me question what I was doing, and took me closer to the point of no return.

She didn't pick up. Who knows if the music was too loud or the realistic possibility of seeing me with the law on our side scared her. Either way, her cute outgoing message ended my night, and I am so glad for it.

Friday, November 20, 2009


It was a woman this time, not a girl, making eyes across the room. They were enormous and brown and easy to spot. She had amazing posture, gliding from the counter to her seat like a salsa dancer, hips caroming from side to side.

Because Van Halen concerts are few and far between these days, coffee shops are the next best place for me to meet interesting girls. This time I was there with my friend playing chess, a sure way to turn off any sexy lady. Well, except for this one.

I had a little extra dough on hand from the bonus essay I edited last weekend and tried to psych out my chess partner with a little uncommon generosity. I went up to buy him another cup of tea and checked to see if the woman noticed my cash tip.

Now, before it seems like this happens all the time, I must qualify: while I do occasionally find a teenage girl ogling me because I have certain qualities that her hairless boyfriend lacks, sustaining eye contact with a full grown woman for longer than a full second is rare.

However, this benevolent creature, this Latina beauty, was giving me a down and dirty, unquestionable eye fuck.

My chess partner was getting annoyed. I was taking forever with my move and wouldn't let him turn around to check her out.

Then, her friend got up to leave. I panicked. Would I have to chase after her? But my salsa queen didn't follow. She hugged her friend from a sitting position and pulled out a book. She glanced at me again before opening it and then settled into her pillow chair. If ever there were an opportunity, this was it. I had always fantasized about how a coffee shop pick up might go down, and I was about to enact the classic "What are you reading?" scenario.

Yet, I froze. I couldn't concentrate on two chess games at once. I was actually winning the one I was already playing, and if I tried for the girl, my friend would beat me for the eleventh time in a row.


But as the moments passed, her posture changed. She seemed agitated. She couldn't have read more than three pages when she tossed the book back into her purse and got up to leave.

Just as my friend grumbled "check mate" I knocked my king over and ran after her.

She was already outside and down the block a ways when I stopped her.

"Sorry to chase after you like this, but I noticed you, um...looking at me, and...well, I couldn't let you go without finding out your name..."

She gave me her number in what I found out later was a Panamanian accent. I played a nerdy trick where I didn't write it down, adding a touch of suspense and earning a questioning smile.

As she turned the corner in her car, I grabbed my pen out of my pocket and scribbled the ten digits on my hand before my brain betrayed my penis yet again. Sofia's the oldest woman I've ever wooed. If that whole sexual prime thing is really true, I may be in for a schoolin'.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I agreed to edit the girl's essay. I was curious. And the $200 per page Wendy offered was the right rate. At worst, I'd talk to Chloe on the phone. I wouldn't have to see her again and fear the minor temptation.

However, when I received Chloe's email on Sunday, I hadn't noticed a second set of digits below her phone number.


I'm so used to seeing business extensions and secondary phone numbers that it slipped past me. At first I thought it had something to do with the due date of the essay. Then I spotted the 91. This was Chloe's birthday. And it signified the date that she would turn 18.

How coy.

Although I can't publish Chloe's entire essay for obvious reasons, I must share a tidbit that I liked. This is yet unedited by me:

I asked Christian in broken Filipino, "What will you do if you can't box?" He looked at me like he had never heard such an absurd question. I thought he was mad at me for asking.

He had over ten Manny Pacquiao posters on his bedroom wall. Last time I was in his bedroom, he had kissed me which was daring for someone in his village.
Things get around quick in Nueva Ecija, and if I told anyone, he probably would have lost his privileges at the gym in Palayan, which my host father's uncle owns.

I kissed him again before he could get madder. I could tell that asking insulted him, that someone in his position, who has given his life to following the Pacquiao dream, can't think of anything else but boxing and leaving poverty. I hoped that my kiss would quench his anger. He looked out the window to make sure no one saw. Being in a situation like this three days before I went back home would only make it harder for me to leave.

He sneaked me out the back door and we said our goodbyes. He told me that he didn't want me to leave, and that his sister, who I'd become close to, had told him to propose to me so I would stay. He told me that his parents approved, and that his parents said my host parents would say it was okay as well. But he told me that he wouldn't propose. He knew that I'd say no, and that he had no delusions over that I was a western girl with western hopes and dreams, which didn't include marrying a poor boxer in the Philippines.

When I didn't respond, he knew that he was right. But I realized something in that moment. I originally went to Nueva Ecija to gain a different perspective and look into a neworld...but I soon realized that I had become part of it. It wasn't enough to gain an appreciation of the world around me. I had to understand what to do with my role in it.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


This Saturday was my mom's annual birthday dinner party during which she bakes and serves her signature pound cake. My mother, being a retired architect, is big on ratios, and pound cake's 1:1:1:1 brings out the egalitarian in her. As per tradition, four families each bring one pound of sugar, butter, egg, or flour and my mother bakes while everyone stands around eating whatever dinner my dad has prepared.

While three of the families are preset, one is always a wild card. This year introduced Wendy, a new friend my mom made at her last miniature convention (that's a convention for collectible miniatures, not a miniature-sized convention) who brought her husband, 17-year-old daughter and 14-year-old son.

The cake wasn't in the oven before I felt the seventeen-year-old's stare. Although my sister was trying to make small talk with her, the young girl's eyes betrayed her intent to participate. She was a beautiful girl with long wavy hair, blue-green eyes, and a thin, loose dress that showed her body nicely. Although she was a visual treat, I avoided eye contact, and turned my attention toward the conversation about the prospect of UCLA beating USC this year based on transitive property (since UCLA beat UW and UW beat USC).

You see, I've been subjected to this misguided gaze before. Out of college I taught 11th and 12th grade English at a private school for two years, and there were always a couple girls in each class who would concentrate on me more than what I taught. The girls were only four or five years younger than me at the time, so my defense was simply never to make eye contact with the starers, especially the pretty ones. Thus, I kept my job.

While the cake was baking, my mother, the troublemaker that she is, called me over mid-conversation to talk to Wendy's daughter, Chloe. My mother thought this would be an excellent social pairing since I was an English major in college and Chloe needed help with her college application essay. Additionally, it turns out that Chloe's English teacher is the same one I had ten years ago, and had recently read one of my essays aloud to her class. I pocketed that nugget to enjoy at a later time and suggested he edit her essay like he did mine, then attempted my escape.

My mother grabbed onto my arm. She said that Wendy was willing to pay me to edit Chloe's essay, and reminded me that I could use the money. As one would expect from a smart girl practiced at being pretty, Chloe didn't say anything at this point. She just half-grinned and watched me squirm.

Then, the timer went off. My mom was gone, off to the oven, and Chloe and I were left alone. Luckily for me, my threshold for rudeness is exceedingly high, so I literally looked above Chloe's head as I turned toward the other room before making a lame excuse and returning to my cousin, who was telling the story of his recent engagement.

Once the pound cake was out and everyone was eating, Chloe's eyes finally returned to their rightful resting place and I relaxed. Little did I know, my mother had already promised Wendy that I would edit her daughter's essay.

Chloe just emailed it to me. It's called "Two or Three Things I Know About Myself." Time to forge one of those Delivery Status Notification Failure emails and have a disciplinary talk with my mom in the morning.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Why Can't This Be Love

After getting raped/taken advantage of/made awkward love to on Friday night, I decided to go out to the city's Halloween parade on Saturday with a friend to try to forget about it.

I washed my clock t-shirt from the night before and altered my outfit from "Wasted Time" to "Father Time" by throwing on a white beard and keeping alcohol out of my body.

The parade was winding down at around two in the morning, and I had the ratio of drag queens to Max from "Where the Wild Things Are" near 3:2, respectively. Then, plodding solo down the street, arms outstretched with yellow and red dynamite, face painted blue, walked a man with a forlorn look on his face, like he was going to use that dynamite on himself.

Then, it hit me.

"Awesome! Pierrot le Fou!" I shouted.

Jean-Luc Godard's "Pierrot le Fou" was the film that awakened me to the French New Wave and holds a special place in my heart. The film geek in me had a catharsis.

The guy immediately turned around. I couldn't tell for sure, but I thought I saw his eyes swell with tears. He spoke as if a thousand tons had been lifted from his back:

"You're the first person to recognize me all night."

His arms raised from a cry for help up to a cry of victory.

We hugged, and then parted sadly, but proudly.

If this isn't a good use of Craigslist's missed connections section, I don't know what is...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Girl Gone Bad

A friend is a friend until she rapes you. Then it's just awkward.

How does a woman rape a man, and can you even call it rape? I believe the answer is yes, though I also believe that a man getting raped by a woman simply cannot be as traumatic as any variation of a woman getting raped by a man. Then again, I have only this experience to go by.

I went to the CalArts Halloween party on Friday night. My friend Jeff is a grad student there. Full of the weirdest art students in the nation, CalArts is known for their annual Halloween party, full of ornate costumes and dance floors pounding with experimental trance music. Sounds like fun, no?

My friend Sally who just moved into town had heard about these parties and invited herself along. She was a good friend, and offered to drive, so I thought nothing of it. The more the merrier.

I went with the easy, last-minute choice to dress as a pun, and concocted "Wasted Time." All that means is that I would wear a t-shirt with a large clock drawn on it and get wasted.

And wasted I got. So wasted, in fact, that I experienced my first black out and ended up in a pool of my own vomit on my friend Jeff's bed. "That can be dangerous," my sister said today when I recounted the story. Yes, yes it was, but not for reasons of asphyxiation or alcohol poisoning or any of the normal threats.

I awoke at three in the morning to my friend Jeff's new lover punching me in the chest. Maybe she was punishing me for puking on where she thought she would be sleeping, or maybe she just wanted to take advantage of a helpless, passed out dude. Either way, it wasn't fun. I groggily asked her to stop and she got one last sock in before retiring to the floor with Jeff who was himself too drunk to worry about his sullied bed.

My friend Sally had to drop her sleeping bag on the floor next to Jeff and his horrible sex buddy. Before long, through my dazed state, I heard sex sounds coming from Jeff's area. I tried to fall back asleep, turning toward the less vomitous region of the bed.

If waking up, incapacitated from my drunken, blacked out state to a girl I'd never seen before punching me wasn't enough, what happened next really stamped the night as the biggest mistake with alcohol I've ever made.

My friend Sally, who, admittedly, had been the number three in a threesome I had with one of my girlfriends in college, decided that this was an apt moment to get laid by me. Whether she was inspired by Jeff and company, or just thought it was okay since we had done it before, I don't know, but I never wanted to have sex with Sally that night, especially not in a half-conscious state.

I remember her crawling up into the bed, directly into the vomit. I remember wondering what the hell she was doing. I remember waking up again to her hand fondling my penis, making it hard. Then she started moving her leg across my body to mount me.

I was awake enough by this point to know what she was doing. I had to make a quick decision. I had two choices. Either I would say "stop," risking her embarrassment and rejection and possibly the end of our friendship, or say "put on a condom," letting her do it and hope it gets slotted under the category of silly moments in our sexual history.

I quickly told her to put on a condom just before she slipped me naked inside of her. I had one in my backpack. She complied, thankfully.

After two minutes I got soft. She stopped, crawled back onto the floor. It was weird.

The next morning, Jeff assisted me in tossing his sheets and duvet into a plastic bag for me to take to an unlucky dry cleaning service. The ride home from CalArts in Sally's car was torturous: silence sprinkled with forced chatter about the radio and the automatic windows.

I haven't spoken to Sally since Saturday morning. I don't know when I will. Knowing her, she probably won't confront me about it, so eventually it's going to be me calling her and preemptively forgiving her, without saying those words exactly. Any semblance of normalcy in our friendship will be difficult to achieve in the near future.

Should the word "rape" be reserved for something other than what happened Friday night? I don't know. But I do know that I was violated, and that what happened was not my choice.