Ah! Je ris de me voir si belle en ce miroir! (A little treatise on the art of coquetry)

Mind you, I  do not claim to be an expert on flirting , but here´s my 2 cents on the subject. Never mind the articles about the art of  flirt that tell you that the most important thing is poise, self-assurance and a bright smile.  I beg to differ, the most important thing when engaging in a little harmless flirtation is a mirror and the fact that you actually take a look at yourself.

I took a dose of crazy (again) and traveled to Colombia in a company of 3 young men (of whom 2 were considerably younger).

Needless to say that the topics of conversation were somewhat  scarce whereas the conversation itself was lively  (or rather expressive) when encountering fine specimens of  Colombian sights. Then of course our idea of sightseeing  differed considerably, I was more architecture and landscapes, they were more big boobs and tight bottoms. Anyway, good times were had and they proved to be a delightful company to travel with indeed.

On my way home I had scheduled a quick visit to Miami.  As I had already flown to Bogota via U.S.  I was prepared for the strange questions I was most likely going to be asked at the immigration. What I had not anticipated that this time the person asking the questions was undoubtedly the most gorgeous immigration officer (or whatever they are called) that has ever walked the earth (or at least Miami International Airport at that given moment).

Even his uniform was steaming handsomeness:  his shirt was without a wrinkle, the very buttons seemed to sparkle, and  his shoes had a bright shine. (Actually when questioned about this last bit by my friend, I had to confess that I  actually did not see his shoes, but am sure they were immaculate as well.)

Maybe it was the testosterone overdose that I had been exposed to for the last 3 weeks or the glass of white I had with my lunch on the plane or the sleep deprivation but suddenly I was feeling very, very, very flirtatious indeed (uncharacteristically so).

So when Officer Hots´ questions went (in my  mind at least) from borderline flirtatious to almost intimate I took an unscheduled leave of my senses and engaged in a conversation that went something like this:

Officer Hot (With keen gaze. Officer Hots´gaze was positively smouldering, the whole time.): Are you travelling alone?

Me: Sir, indeed I am. (Deer in the headlights.)

(In order to save some time when we were past the questions of my chosen itinerary Helsinki-Amsterdam-Miami-Bogota & vv, and we had established that no there are no direct flights from Helsinki to Bogota the conversation continued followingly.)

Officer Hot: What were you doing in Colombia?

Me: Erm..visiting friends. Seeing the country.  Rumba and all that. (Shy smile, a little wink.)

Officer Hot: So you were travelling alone in Colombia as well?

Me: No, I was travelling with 3 young men, friends. (Play with hair.)

Officer Hot: Why are they not travelling with you now then?

Me: mmm…different timetables, different interests. (Airily.)

Officer Hot: I see. You´re staying at Winterhaven on South Beach?

Me: Indeed I am, sir. (With conviction.)

Officer Hot: And you´re staying in South Beach for 2 days, alone?

Me: Yes…but hopefully not for long. (Playful smile, batting of the eyelashes, thinking of saying “why, are you coming to pick me up later?”)

Officer Hot (keen, perplexed, a little smile): I am sure that you will enjoy your time in South Beach. Welcome to Miami, mam.

Me: Well thank you. (That was probably the most seductive thank you ever uttered at the airport, at least that day.)

When I left the airport there was  a swing in my gait and a smile in my eyes and corner of the mouth. I was happy, I was confident, I felt good with a capitol G. There is nothing like a little flirty exchange of words with a gorgeous man – in an uniform – to send one soaring. 

Unfortunately that high only lasted until I got to my hotel and saw my reflection in the mirror. My hair was tousled lopsidedly, I had smudged mascara around one eye, pasta sauce on my t-shirt, and a krakatau of a zit just waiting to burst under my left nostril. All that was missing was a piece of parsley between my teeth and a pink eye and I would have been set for the crazy lady award.

Luckily with a help of cosmetics, some powerful voodoo and a big mojito I was able to get pass the humiliating memories of my flirt exercise, which by then did not seem to be  smooth at all,  but rather  “not quite in touch with reality” type of behaviour.

Enough said.  When flirting, always, always play a little peekaboo with a mirror first.

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Impossible missions: adventures in apothecaries abroad

Here I was thinking that having to mime constipation in a small Brazilian pharmacy up in the northeast a few years ago in order to make the apothecary understand that my friend was in pain and indeed in need of medical assistance to help her to pass her … product, would presumably be one of those “once in a lifetime” type of moments when I found myself in a similar situation in Jakarta.

(Why (and how to) mime constipation you may ask. Apparently our pronunciation of the portoguese word for it was not convincing enough. 15 minutes of performing a la Marcel Marceau did the trick to entertain the crowd (yes, there was a crowd ) and to get my friend the medicine. Which, by the way, is probably the most efficient drug I´ve ever encountered. The moment she touched the package, she had to go. To my knowledge it is still unopened.)

But back to Jakarta. A couple of weeks ago I had to leave for Jakarta quite unexpectedly on a business trip. The departure was so sudden that I did not have to time to check my calendar for my next expected visit from Aunt Flow. As luck would have it, of course I got my period (not to talk about the cramps) while in there. And of course I was not sufficiently equipped in the feminine hygiene products front. That is to say, I had not packed my mooncup with me.

(I have been using mooncup for a good three years now and I absolutely love it. It is hygienic, environmentally friendly (as it is reusable) and in the long run it saves you a lot of money. Ladies reading, if you have not heard of mooncup before google it now and try. Or if you have heard of it but are hesitant, google it and try. I warmly recommend.)

Even though I suspected that a mooncup might be hard to come by in Jakarta I decided to try. After all, they have Dior, Chanel, Vuitton et al. in every self-respecting mall (obviously not a backwater joint then), so I thought there might be a small chance of acquiring one. (Mooncup that is. Although I did come across such a beautiful red leather bag by Dior that my heart skipped a beat. For a second or two I toyed with the idea of submitting myself into a imprisonment by a debt and buying the bag, but I came to my senses quite quickly.)

So I there I was, trying to explain a) what a mooncup is b) what it looks like and c) what are it´s benefits to a fascinated (or perhaps i was mixing politeness and slight embarrassment with interest?) crowd (yes, there was a crowd, again) of pharmacy workers dressed in pink uniforms while my colleague & friend (male) was laughing his arse off behind the shelves. (His moment of miming would come later when we tried to find a place that would cater for male waxage as well.)

After having to explain the principals of mooncupping for the umpteenth time both verbally & with sign language I decided to surrender to the circumstances and buy “regular” sanitary towels. But either they have not heard of the size zero pads that fill the stores in Europe or my choice of pharmacy in Jakarta was poor but the selection of the sanitary towels was slim whereas the towels themselves were not. (The thinnest things I could find were more reminiscent of a cushion that anything else. Why, tape one of those pads to  your neck and you´ll have a handy neck pillow that supports your head and doesn´t slip on long flights!)

Lessons learned: when traveling always, always pack for all kinds of leakage (or lack of it as was shown in the case of Porto de Galinhas) or be prepared to mime for your, or for your friends medication.

Do you remember the first time?

Lilacs

There are couple of firsts that usually take a girl completely by a surprise & that she´ll remember for the rest of her life.

The first surprise is  the sudden flutter of butterflies when a girl is being kissed on the lips for the very first time. The second is the time she´s being accidentally fisted for the very first – and hopefully last – time.

My first serving of the second kind was on my very first visit to a gynaecologist at the tender age of umm.. fifteen or sixteen.

The whole thing was sort of an out-of-body experience of utter humiliation: there I was buck naked, on a table, feet on straps [ladies, you know the drill] looking down & seeing a bald head of an elder male doctor bobbing up and down with metal specs and spatulas glistening in the fluorescent lights when suddenly & without any, and I repeat: any warning the good doctor conducted quite a thorough examination of my uterus via the one place that is similar in both sexes, the big pucker, if you will.

Lilacs
These lilacs have absolutely nothing what so ever to do with this story. I just find thinking of flowers very soothing.

As I was sliding and slipping out of the doctors office  to the car where my parents were waiting [it was a combined first-visit- to-a-lady-doctor- &-hey-let´s-go-and-greet-your-grandma-while-we´re-at-it kind of field trip] I was sure I would never get rid of the confusion and shame that the examination left me with.

Turns out, I was right.
Isn´t it strange how  the tiniest choices can set a tone for years to come. For example, if I had not gone to that doctor who told me take off all my clothes – and surprised me with his fingers –  I might have not been under the impression that it is the norm, always, to go naked as a jaybird on the exam table. Then maybe, just maybe, in all of these years I might not have felt like a person of lesser value & deeply ashamed after each examination I have had ever since.

Actually, I only found out that in fact it is NOT the norm to  go completely starkers about a year ago while discussing about healthcare with my friend from Texas.

I said something like I would appreciate the American modesty every now and then and would like not being always so totally ok with nudity when for example at lady doctors. And I would gladly pay a little extra for a disposal robe of some sort.

To this she said something like oh my gosh I have never heard of anyone doing that, and why oh WHY do they ask you to take off all your clothes? Only then would the err of my ways start to unravel. 

[ Although, come to think of it, her shock might have been a tad too dramatic as she´s no stranger to strange encounters on the steel cradle either. She told me that she too, had been surprise butt-fingered once by a very dubious Dr. Midget. Yes, that was his name.]

This left me very worried indeed, so I conducted a survey amongst my lady friends about the fact, and turns out, 9 out 11 do not go in the buff, but kind of switch between upper and lower body nudity during the examination. Only one of my friends was of the same school as I. Well, actually she does leave her ankle socks on because her toes get very cold very easily. But I guess ankle socks do not count.

Anyway,  as we grow up we are led to believe that the lightning does not strike twice. I placed all my faith in that saying and after years of non-action [or at least action that was pronounced beforehand] at that front I started to relax a little bit at the appointments. That was until fate threw a certain doctor on my path. Let us call her “Rita Raines”.

The first time that I met her had actually nothing to do with, you know, downstairs. Instead I was waiting to be called in for a blood tests, and had been waiting for some time, when a door opened and this remnant of a 70s disco queen with big frizzy hair, baby blue eyeshadow and some very, very potent prescription glasses motioned me to get closer.
”Welcome, welcome” she hollered at the door and ushered me to come in. I looked around in the empty waiting room as and asked “me?” to which she replied with a somewhat irritated tone “yes, you. You. Come in.”

As I got into her room I paid attention to the lovely old furnishing – dark wood, long, white, airy muslin curtains – and I was thinking to myself that I had never, ever had my blood drawn at a such prestigious environment. 

I sat down, started to roll my sleeves up, when she suddenly lift her gaze from the file she had been reading and asked me how I had been doing lately. Fine, I answered, but as the look in her eyes seemed to demand more information I volunteered that I had come in for some blood tests. Upon hearing this she pulled back on her chair and asked me “you are not YOU, are you?” as if I was some evil impostor from daytime TV!

Perplexed I answered I guess am not I then and quickly retreated to the door as  she chased me away from her office to the arms of a nurse trying to locate me in the lobby.

Couple of years later I made a reservation for my yearly check up at the same hospital and only requested a woman doctor rather than a man.

You can imagine the cold fist of fear that grabbed me by my insides when the door opened and “Rita Raines” called me in. Without going into painful details as to what happened after I had completely disrobed, as I trust you, my dear reader, can deduct what the grand – and surprise – finale of that examination was. I vowed there and then to only go to doctors recommended to me by friends, not famous for their delicate fingerwork. But that´s beside the point.

What is not off the mark – at least not too far off – is another wisdom we are told: third time is the charm and that everything is connected.  Although am happy to report, that this time the victim of southern advances was not yours truly, but my dear friend Ms. Bobby Socks. She had made an impromptu appointment with a gynaecologist, stripped down to her birthday suit, gotten thoroughly examined, fisted & confused. I met her later the same day, and even tho this was a different medical centre she had gone to, she had only to say “I had the strangest experience at the gynaecologist today…” when I uttered: “Let me guess, Rita Raines.”
And indeed, it was.

Father and the Far Away Love

The other day when I sat down to contemplate sorting out my collection of pantyhose -85  liters of them to be exact- according to their class: fancy or everyday, season: winter, spring, summer or fall, all I´m gonna do is… –  and condition: mint, to be thrown away, can be used with jeans (general raggedness, but still wearable), can be used with boots (damage under knee), can be used with skirts of certain length (damage over knee), can be used with pumps (damage restricted to toes, soles or heel, so that the shoe covers the holes): I came into the conclusion that the sins of the fathers do have a long arm indeed.

[Now, some of you might ask yourself, what does 85 litres of pantyhose have got to do with my dad and his supposed love interest? Bear with me, I am going somewhere with this. At least I think I am.]

In essence, I am a child of the depression, despite the fact that I have never lived in times really lacking food or other supplies.  My parents have though, and ever since I can remember, they have recycled  everything to the borderline of mania.

At one point my father even took out the hard plastic balls of the old-fashioned deodorant roll-ons’ as “you never know what you can use them for”  – in fact he did find good use for them later so who am I to judge- and never have a seen a short enough cord made out of sturdy material that it would be deemed not fit to be stored and saved.

My mother set an example on how to get the most use out of socks – when the heel is worn through one just flips the sock upside down so that the heel is on top – that my dear sister-in-law happily embraced.

[Now, some of you might want to shout out hoarders! at the top of your lungs, but this is not the case. They only ever buy what is absolutely necessary.  Contrary to their spendthrift offspring: me. ]

But back to my father and to the epitome of his  philosophy of thou shalt not waste.

A couple of years ago I started to notice a strange, sweet smell lingering in the air at my parents house. Imagine what bad flowers – and I mean bad, flowers with darkest soul – mixed with rotting fruit smells like and you have the scent nailed.

This puzzled me greatly, as usually my mom does not use any kind of household products that are scented neither have I ever known her to use perfume.  After a careful process of elimination I had traced the source of the scent to my dad.

This puzzled me even more.
Questions were flying abound:
a) why was my father subjecting people to this malice
b) had he lost his sense of smell
c) if he had still the full use of his sense of smell question a becomes relevant again
d)  could it be that he thought he smelled nice and
e) if d was true and c was plausible as well, did it mean he had lost his marbles and
f) and most importantly: what on earth was he lathering himself with?

I had tried, very subtly, to question my mom about the smell and what was the source of it and did it not make her ears bleed to be sleeping and living with it, but I had gotten only a “you know your dad can be a bit stubborn at times and do you want another pancake, dear?”, which I did, of course.

I could not let go, and as smells and scents are one of the most powerful memory triggers I dawdled to my dad, who was working on something at the garage, took a deep breath and prepared to be plummeted to a trip down the memory lane.

When I was a little girl, my sister – who is ten years my senior – bought me a perfume as a present from one of the trips she made with her school. I had entertained the idea of rosewater inside a delicate crystal bottle, something that I had most likely picked up from L.M. Montgomery books.

Instead I got a flat brown bottle, that held  good 4o centiliters of somewhat exotic smelling eau de cologne.   There was a sticker on the bottle depicting a long haired girl running on a meadow. The scent was named “The Far Away Love”. After couple of hearty splashes of the scent, the bottle was left to gather dust on the shelves of our bathroom.

Now as I was sniffing dad, a sombre suspicion rose: father had run out of aftershave and by a stroke of luck stumbled upon a substitute.

And sure enough, when I went to see if  “the Far Away Love” had survived more than twenty years of preservation, the bottle was still there, but this time there was not a speck of dust on it and it was  more than half empty.

“Daughter! Don´t you dare throw it  away, it functions perfectly well as an aftershave!” my dad cried out in protest when I stomped up to him with the bottle in my hand and a question mark in stead of my head.  “Are you deranged, you should not be allowed within a thousand meters of any living being wearing that equivalent of airborne toxic waste! Just watch me do it, old man!” I lovingly  yelled back whilst pouring the stuff to the ground.

I would love to conclude the story by telling that it ended with us wrestling for the bottle, but instead I end it with this morale:

With this background, is it any wonder that sorting out pantyhose is always an undertaking.

ps. I love you dad. I love you mom.

The coming out post

I have decided to stop living a lie.

I am never going to be a person who runs. Or jogs.

Running has been on my “things to take up”-list for I don´t know how long.

I think about it almost as much as I think about cleaning.  (And I think about cleaning a lot. All those handy ways to keep ones overstuffed apartment spick and span all the time.)

But no matter how good my trainers are (quite), no matter how potent the testimonials about the joys of running given by born again runners are (very), no matter if the weather is perfect for a little sprint & wiping off the awful guilt of not spending every waking moment outside when sun is shining (utter perfection): I still would not go for a run.

Frankly, I find running boring and monotonous.

There are monotonous things in this world, such as popping bubble wrap or watching nail varnish dry that gives me great joy indeed, but putting one leg in front of the other in a rythmical manner in order to gain speed is not one of those things.

So I guess it´s time to face the facts. I´m never going to be a person who runs.

However, I might be a person who gallops. Or trots and jumps a fence.  Dons an occasional canter or capriolet. And neighs every once in while.

In other words, I want to play horses.   (Not in any wierd adult pony roleplay kind of way. Chacun à son goût, but it certainly is not my bucket of wheat.)

I want to play horses like I used to when I was a child! I want to ride an imaginary Andalusian steed and roam forests and fields. Feel the wind in my hair. Chase bad guys or run away from them. Take part in dangerous rescue operations where there is only fools hope left – and succeed.  And if in the process I happen to get fit(ter), then all the better.

So if anyone of you can relate with this drop me a line. And if you´re in the area, maybe we can go for a jolly gallop and play make-believe Indians.

I get to choose my horse first! And my Indian name  – Moon Lily.

“Gung ho chicken”

I´ve been considering getting a tattoo for a while. Maybe a peony, or a lotus flower, japanese style. For both the pure aesthetics and the symbolism. The devil may care, live for today! I believe in that, believe it or not.

Or I´ve been also toying with the idea of combining ? and … into one design. But on the other hand, maybe it´s not such a good idea to brand myself forever as a drifter and a dreamer. 

One of my dearest friends has tattooed this declaration on her back: Live.Laugh.Love. I think that´s an absolutely brilliant tattoo, one that I could carry also, with love. But I can´t possibly have the same tattoo as she has. 

Then I remembered this one: “there were is mill, there is a road” that was carved on a tabloid starlette´s belly a couple years ago. (I hear she has later covered it with a big ass tattoo. Shame, that was a truly original version of the saying. And the only thing that was actually remotely interesting about her.) 

That got me thinking of all the stories about people who wanted to have some immortal Lao-tse quotation inked to their bicep with chinese characters but ended up with Kung Pao Chicken or some other chinese dish instead.

Then it hit me: “Gung ho chicken”, that describes me. To a tee.

Trust & Toilet Etiquette: silence is not always golden

You know the type that take their sweet time when engaging in the natural act of peeing in a public wc? The ones that make sure that you don´t hear as much as the tiniest tinkle to the next booth?

Yeah… I don´t really trust people who pee silently.

Just think: if they are willing to go to such lengths just to cover up petty purl, what measures are they willing  take when it comes to really big matters! (And no, am not talking about number two here.) 

So next time when you head to the loo with a colleague,or have just started dating a new guy or gal, open your ears and pay notice. No sound – the chances are he / she is a bona fide backstabber, a viper in disguise.

PS.

Word or warning: you should not jump into conclusion that people who are completely comfortable competing with the Niagara falls when peeing  are trustworthy and generally good lads. On the contrary: they usually suffer from a bad case of hubris and poor manners in general. You do not want to be associated with them either.