Well, That Was Unexpected

Today I got an offer of companionship.

But before you get out the pom poms, hang on. Just hang on.

Things have been a little, or a lot, rough. Right now I’m biting on a hunk of gauze, but it’s really something like my 8th hunk of gauze, trying not to think about the liquid that is building up and being captured by it. I had my first tooth pulled today outside of my wisdom teeth being removed when I was 19. It feels absolutely awful on a fundamental level, but I couldn’t avoid it. It’s number 18, a tooth that has had 6 crowns, basically enough to fund a car. This last time I was eating a piece of cornbread and it snapped off the stem, making it unsalvageable. So, bye bye, ridiculous, useless shell of a molar. I can’t get implants because I’m allergic to both metal and the industrial glue they would use to keep it in place. It’s the last tooth. Maybe it won’t be noticeable. Maybe I will have cheekbones like Cher when all of the swelling is done.

I’m getting ready to get diagnosed with my 8th rare disease. I had a few false starts. At first, I thought it was panniculitis. I have these crazy stretch marks and it really does look like what people get when they get that disease. But that was kind of ruled out. Then I looked at lymphedema (which I still may have because of all of the fluid buildup and some weird pockets of lymph drainage swelling) and lipedema. That led me to Dercum’s disease, which I’m almost certain I have; 99.9% certain. Basically my fat is exploding and dying, and creating these super painful, hard nodules. I actually have bruises on my legs and torso. That’s the big clue, the bruises and the pain. And I’ve been gaining weight, even though I eat somewhere between 4 to 8 veggies daily, plus lots of protein. My team of 11 doctors have been telling me that I’m lying, that I’m just fat and lazy, and I just need to be a better person. But this is showing up in my MRIs. I finally got one of my doctors to listen to me, and now I have a biopsy scheduled near the end of January. As crazy as it sounds, I have to tell the surgeon how to do the biopsy. I’m doing all the research. All of these doctors have never heard of this disease, it’s so rare. The radiologist even refused to talk about all of these swaths of diseased tissue that everyone can see, because he doesn’t know what is causing it. The diseased tissue is forming at a rapid rate now. I’m a lot more tired and in pain than usual. My body looks like a defensive tackle.

Besides all of that, of course the housing market is a nightmare. My lease is up at the end of June, and we were warned in the middle of summer that we would have a rent increase of $50. But then the complex was sold to a different owner, and I have been watching the units rent at a $300 increase in the past month. I have been on wait lists for 3 years for rent-controlled complexes. However, renters who were affected by the pandemic are given priority now, and my wait for most places is now up to 10 years. I already had a little bit of a scare earlier in the summer that I might end up homeless, but some friends surprised me with some badly-needed help. Then some other things suddenly happened to help me stay afloat. But I need a long-term solution. A friend that I have known for 15 years offered to rent to me when this lease is up in June, but he found out that I needed to change the faucets from turn knobs to levers, and has basically said that I am going to make the apartment unlivable for future tenants. I still don’t know what June will bring. Oh. Anxiety. June will bring anxiety.

So I have all of this shit going on. And this guy picks me up to take me to my appointment to have my tooth pulled. I’m nervous as hell. I have a few groceries with me because I plan on making lemon ricotta cookies for Christmas, and I grabbed a few ingredients on the way to the appointment. So we’re chatting, and he’s telling me he doesn’t do relationships. Man, I don’t either. Not right now. Maybe not ever again; too many liars. But he feels comfortable enough to tell me that he hires escorts. I don’t blink. I tell him that I have friends who work in the industry, and that I understand that it’s transactional. We talk about how he doesn’t really want to give up his variety, and I totally get it. I love men, a variety of men, for a variety of reasons. I don’t have a type. I tell him about my first year in Arizona and my 100 dates. I tell him that if I am going to date someone, I’d really like them to live a few blocks away, so they can go home to their own mess, and I don’t have to be their mother or their maid.

Now this guy, he’s handsome. He’s tall. He told me he’s half Native American (Navajo). He’s got a really good speaking voice, like he’s done radio or he should. And we have a similar sense of humor according to our interaction on our short ride. When we got to my appointment, he surprised me by handing me his card and suggesting I call him if I wanted to get together. Did I? Yes. I wanted to climb him like a fucking jungle gym. But will I call him? Probably not. My life is really, really complicated right now. Jesus H., man. I can’t even explain it to him without sounding like I want sympathy or a lot of help. I don’t. I just want to be able to have a booty call, and to drive myself to the booty call, and to drive myself home from the booty call, and not have to tell him not to touch my torso, or why he can’t touch my torso (which right now feels like kitty litter or ping pong balls, depending on where you grab it because of the freaky disease).

I was so nervous about getting my tooth pulled that I completely spaced out and I left my little bag of groceries in the back seat. He was very nice about turning around and bringing it to me two minutes later. I wondered if he regretted his offer and wanted to take back his card after all, but figured he would tell me if I ever got up the balls to call him anyway. Which I won’t.

The Offending Fixture

Yes, I Have a Type

I like men. Tall ones, short ones, fit ones, cute ones, nerd ones, “dad body” ones, I can find something to appreciate in many. However, there are certain things that make me stupid – panty-droppers, if you will. They are:

  1. Firemen. I mean, c’mon, this should be a no-brainer. Granted, some are cuter than others, but family and friends alike encourage this particular addiction by sending me photos and buying me calendars. Even my realtor sent me a picture from a property she was renting to five firemen in Tempe, AZ – one of the guys was posed naked on top of a bicycle out back at the pool, helmet on his head, cigarette in his mouth, and holding a rifle. He was quite fit. His leg very coyly covered up his frank and beans. It was my dream photo minus the rifle and the cigarette. He had it blown up to poster size, which made it easy for the realtor to capture and forward to me. Nearly every day someone posts a half-naked fireman (or if it’s my lucky day, fireMEN) on my Facebook wall. My best day was just a few days after I got Dumb and Angry to move out of the house, I had to call 911 to get help because I thought I had popped my shunt out of the little hole in my cranium, and I was in heaven because I had a house full of firemen. They were all running through my house telling me how much they loved it while a couple stayed with me to work me up, so as I was being wheeled out of the house, I told all of them that I was looking for a roommate. Pass that up? Not me! Of course, I was in crazy pain and had just taken a big dose of painkillers so I was high as a kite, so who knows what else I said to them. I’m pretty sure I didn’t try to stuff dollars down their pants.
  2. Tall men. My first two live-in boyfriends were 6’2″ and 6’3″, and a former boyfriend was 6’4″. I tried twice to make a date happen with a guy who was 6’6″ (he wussed out, had just gotten divorced and was too damaged to follow through), and I think the guy who told me I looked like his dead wife was at least 6’3″. What is it about the tall guys? I’m not sure. I mean, yeah, they can see the top of the fridge, but big deal. I think because I’ve never been considered small, I don’t feel like Godzilla around the tall guys, as in, “Me smash little puny men and snap their thighs like twigs!”
  3. Musicians. I’m talking real musicians, like the ones that can play seven instruments or don’t rely on electronic alterations like auto-tune. I’ve lived with two drummers who could also play other instruments. I think I would give my left pinkie finger to go out with Glen Hansard (at least until I figured out the hard way that he’s a nutter or something). I think this stems from playing a few instruments while in high school and teaching myself a little piano, because I understand what is needed in order to be really good. Kid Rock can kiss my fat ass, he’s as talent-less as they get.

What I miss the most is being able to flirt, especially when I encounter a guy who would normally be somewhere on this list. If I attempted to flirt, any reciprocation would be along the lines of, “Oh, look, the sick lady with the cane and the droopy face is trying to get some action!” I can’t walk down the street with confidence while simultaneously looking for strong biceps or shapely buns because I can’t see further than a few feet in front of myself. You could parade a tall, naked fireman playing a guitar in front of me and all I would be able to see are his toes. All of my good years are being wasted in this bed while a whole new dating pool churns in the world outside my door. It seems criminal.