Do I want to be a pinup model? That’s what some random stranger asked me a few months ago. He stopped me on a campus sidewalk, not far from my office. At first I thought he was a student. Maybe he was: youngish, early twenties, wandering around as if lost. The guy introduced himself as a photographer-slash-artist who was looking for models. “No thanks,” I said and fondled my phone in my pocket, pretending to amble away. Instead, I ducked behind a pillar and watched him until he left. You never know about some people. Maybe he was a serial killer.
From the safety of my office, I tweeted some joke about it being the upteenth time some creep had asked me to pose for them. I mean, if he was a killer then this might be my last chance to go viral on the Internet. That’s me, master of the humble brag. I’m humble bragging right now, in fact.
Nothing hurts more than loving someone who doesn’t love you back. And yet, nothing makes for bigger laughs. That’s the whole premise of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, after all. I mean it hurts emotionally, of course, unlike gunshot wounds, which hurt physically. Anyway, I’ve lived on both ends of unrequited love. In some ways, it helped me learn more about relationships, and myself. So, who did I love and when? His name was Michael, and he looked like a cross between Hugh Jackman and James dean. We met during my first year of college, in a backpacking club.
You’re wondering how I fell for him. Over the years, I’ve learned it had almost everything to do with me. He was incredibly attractive, funny, smart, and we also got along well. But as he explained, pretty clearly during our first hiking trip, he only dated Christians. Seriously, this guy wouldn’t even listen to Red Hot Chili Peppers. If you know me, my life’s a living NIN album. And yet, being off limits made Michael all that more enticing. That was the first time I’d come across someone I couldn’t have. Sure, I’d been deprived of things before, but I was used to having my pick of people for various purposes. Having the tables turned drove me to the brink of temporary insanity.
Yesterday I stalked my students’ social media feeds and found some chicks who post what I consider an unusual number of selfies. Hey, don’t judge. They friended me first. Anyway, I love over-analyzing people. Do it to myself all the time. So. A few of my students caught my attention. Of course, there’s the super beautiful ones. This one girl, she’s the living embodiment of perfection. Her Instagram account is stuffed with selfies. She’s an artist who uses herself as a canvas, with the blessing of hundreds. Go, girl.
What puzzled me, though, was the good-looking girl who was just taking regular pictures of herself. She had almost as many selfies as the other girl, more than me, and less likes than either of us. She averaged 10 likes her photo. She has a boyfriend, a pretty happy life from what I can tell. But there were dozens of them. What the hell was going on here? My brain couldn’t handle it. A girl who most people would consider attractive, posting lots of pictures of herself. They weren’t social–definitely straight up selfies. Except they were just regular pictures and they didn’t seem to attract all that much attention. I’m still working on understanding this. Please send help.
Recently, my spouse and I moved into a new apartment. Our new neighbor showed up randomly that weekend. He’d brought us milk and some snacks. He was so polite about the whole thing. Huge red flag. I became suspicious immediately. Bae chatted with him a few minutes while I fought back rage tears over my broken desk. The movers we hired had done a shit job with our cheap ass furniture from Target. See, that made sense in my book: you hire someone, and they fuck up your stuff. Someone bringing me free milk? This scenario held no place in my worldview.
Even now, I still look at the guy funny when we pass in the stairs. What am I supposed to say? “Hey, that was some great fucking milk the other month. Best milk I ever had. So tell me, do you always go whole, or was that just a splurge for us?”
Masturbation used to feel like such a crime. Now, I couldn’t do my job without it. Research has shown time and again that it has endless benefits. Masturbation decreases your stress level, lowers your risk for heart disease, boosts your immune system, helps you focus, and it can either wake you up or help you sleep. Pick one. So, Dr. Wilder prescribes more masturbation for everyone. You can even help yourself while reading my post if you want. You have my permission. Seriously. I’m not looking. You might want to cover your webcam, though. And your microwave, apparently.
Indulge me a moment: When I was ten or eleven, it seemed like a new and dangerous way to play. My little secret with myself. I’d wait for my mom to run an errand or go shopping with a friend. Then I’d fish her vibrator from the underwear draw of her dresser and get busy with myself. Fuck Barbie. That vibrator was my favorite new toy for at least a year. What made me feel especially guilty? I thought I was abusing her back massager. That’s what she told me it was. An electric massage wand. That’s not technically a lie, I guess.
Yeah, my mom and I used the same vibrator. I didn’t know that’s what she did with it, and she didn’t know what I was doing with it. At least not until I started getting bolder and bolder. You see, one day I decided to hide it under my pillow and use it before I went to sleep. Of course, my mom came looking for it around midnight. She caught me red-handed, you could say.
Getting dumped for your best friend can suck. That happened to me a few years ago. Met a cute guy. Went on a few dates. Then he got interested in my friend and slipped a breakup note under my door. That put a ding in my self-confidence. They had sex just a few floors above me in the same huge apartment complex. I could almost see it in my head falling asleep in my sad, borrowed mattress.
I saved the breakup note for a while. It read something like this:
You’re really hot. Like, seriously. But you’re boring as hell. I need someone who does crazy stuff like sing at a full moon. You’re just not wild enough.
Well, I was wild. I just thought singing at the moon was kind of…stupid. I was too nice to tell him anything.
Of course, what happened after that made me laugh. I got my revenge. But not in a spiteful way. Nope. Instead, I moved ahead and focused on my life. Success is the best revenge. Always. In fact, you can get revenge against all your enemies just by succeeding at your goals. It’s so much more efficient than taking them on one at a time.
My ex dated my friend for a few months, then they broke up. A couple weeks after that, I met him at a party where he announced to the room that he’d somehow contracted a venereal disease. Awkward. Was he proud or something? Did he think it was funny? Still not sure. But I knew one thing: So glad I never slept with him. My friend, on the other hand? She decided to get tested.
Department chairs have tough jobs. Scheduling a hundred classes every semester. Student complaints. Budgets. Recruitment. Promotion. Tenure reviews. Hiring new faculty. Not killing people. You get the idea.
How do I know all this? I help run a department. Yeah, I’m more than just a pretty face on campus. I also know that department chairs make almost twice as much as their faculty at some places. And they teach half as many courses. Not a bad trade off, I’d say.