stage fright

“I’m young, dumb, and full of cum.” A breathy college student yelled her motto in the yellow light of the Richard Bey Show set as she squeezed her tits. She sported too much moose and not enough neutral tones; her big toes hung over her open-toed shoes. It wasn’t summer, but the freaks were out. And, I was one of them.

Free tickets to the show were passed under dorm room doors. My friend Christina, a lover of all the guys on the football team who would forever be just one of the guys, phoned me as the car was loaded. “Common. Just come.” That was really all I needed to climb into a car full of cute boys. I’d never been to the taping of a show; I’d also never heard of this Richard Bey character, but it was procrastination and better than the Butler Library.

When full-o-cum girl unleashed her motto, she was standing, looking for affirmation in the eyes of a young crowd. If someone were beside her, she’d have expected a high-ten. Oh wait, that was her boyfriend sitting beside her. While he was tall and more built than I would have anticipated, there was something small and sad about him. He had a right to feel insecure about their relationship, and he certainly had the right to leave. But he stayed, looking down as he kicked at his Timberland shoes. I imagine he went to sleep beside her that night, biting the inside of his lip, worried, less about her, and mostly about why he stayed. Then he’d shut the bedside lamp and swallow when she said she loved him. He’d soon be a nineteen-year-old boy with erectile difficulty, until his next encounter with a better-suited leading lady who he’d still never love as much.

Vertigo, a woman beside the moose-head couple, had one curler in her hair where I imagined bangs to be. Vertigo was jealous, worried her boyfriend Gazpacho was sleeping with her half-sister’s cousin’s manager at Wings and Things. So, Vertigo carried Gazpacho’s pager, cell, passwords, and scrotum in her purse. While I felt sorry for Summer-Teeth-Gazpacho for having such a controlling girlfriend—and because he was named after a cold appetizer—I felt worse for Vertigo… because I knew exactly how she felt.

I was surged with a pulse in my throat, ready to stand up and say my piece, to tell Ms. V her jealousy stems from insecurity, and she should pivot her focus toward herself. Jealousy will accompany you to any relationship, like your hands, teeth, and odor. It’s part of who you are until you work at it. I was ready to say just that when I was suddenly standing with a microphone and lights on my face. “Yes, this is directed to that girl with the roller. I forget your name.”

“Vertigo, yes?”

And as fast as that, everything stopped, the way you imagine it to in those time travel books. I froze under the iridescence, feeling like carnival food under a heat lamp. I stood in a spot of yellow silence; nothing moved, except my eyes as they darted, hoping to spot the thought that had just escaped like a convict. Surely there was a card some applause grip would be holding to help me out. But there was nothing for seconds, not a sound, just the inhale of the audience as they waited for me to get to the point. Instead of my comment, the air filled with a sound bite: SHUT. UP. The shut-up sound effect blasted me, buckling my knees into a seated position. I knew I was red, and I felt mortified.

It was worse, even, than the time in Mexico, in my bikini, when I slid down an enormous slide into the ocean, and I got the worst wedgie of my life as my ass scraped the ocean floor.  When I came to my feet, my entire ass, save for the bathingsuit-stuffed crack, was exposed to the crowd of onlookers.  Thankfully then, I had something to say as I emptied a pocket of sand from my vagina, “That’s a new one.  I don’t just have a sand wedge; I’ve got a sandbox.”  My boyfriend at the time repeated the story for months, even to his parents, but at least I was able to laugh at myself.  I punned with ‘box,” which, to me, was as funny as midgets.

In the car ride home, we recounted the events, hitting one another with, “wait, how about…” No one mentioned my mute move. “I can’t believe I just stood there and didn’t say anything.” I finally said aloud.

“Well what were you going to say?” Christina prompted as she eyed me through the rearview mirror.

Then I realized, it could have been worse. I could’ve been in one of those relationships with a wretched case of stage fright, just sitting there, unable to do anything.

“It doesn’t matter. What’s up with the curler in the hair move?”



  1. RE: the post above this:

    Best of luck…and…water won't help you lose weight, per se…but it's healthy and good for the body.

    I've made a NY resolution to GAIN as much as humanly possible, drink more (if it's humanly possible), and take up smoking–again.

    Death wish? You betcha.

  2. Referring to "31"

    It seems that self-loathing is always the best weight loss regime, because then instead of food, you're feeding on your self worth in a self-canibalizing fashion. Best of luck in becoming happy

  3. Hey…."31" isn't that bad…but everyone has their preferences…I hate to say this, but I'm a "27" and I'd love to be a "31" because it seems that the thicker women get all the attention…(I guess it's a cultural thing…I'm a slim black woman…) Plus, just think…in European sizes, I'm a "41"….Anyway, many blessings on striving to be the YOU you wanna be…Oh, and great post about the talk show…My friends and I were audience members on Ricki Lake, and I was distraught to find that Ricki read EVERYTHING from the que cards…Also, my friend stood up to ask one of the disfunctional guests a question.

    Friend: You have so much more to offer the world than wanting to have 15 babies before 25. Why not help kids by being a teacher?

    Guest: Why don't you sit your raggedy a** down! If I wanna be a teacher I could BE ONE. I want my own damn kids…

    Audience: OOOOOoooooo….

    It was all on national television. Good thing the comment came at the end, right before the Ricki music came on and before she took the mike and laid a verbal slapdown on the guest…

    We still had fun though…and I was a Ricki fanatic at the time, so it was good to meet her…

    Be blessed

  4. I'm not gonna argue with you. I know further compliments won't make you feel better. So I'll make you a deal. We'll play our own verson of 'Biggest Loser.' I'll go the 10 pounds with you. OK. It's settled. We start tomorrow.

  5. What's the equipment you use for your photos? Digital format or film? Can you give specifics (camera)? If you shoot film, do you process and develop it yourself?

  6. A little over interpretation of my comment…the scaring comment was not meant that we are afraid of him. It was along the lines of that there are way too many people out there that talk to and treat people that way. Especially ones that claim to be educated.

  7. Tom, I didn't over-interpret. I got it. And, what you say is true but…so?
    (that's where I'm not concerned or frightened).

    Sometimes people w/those opinions turn out to be big-time artists with a lot to say. Picasso was a cheap ass prick to just about everyone in his life (especially his women). Bukowski was a foul-mouth drunk (how many other Great Ones weren't?), Heminway–some would call a braggart or a misogynist. And so on…

    Of course, not really implying that kind of caliber artist hangs out on this blog…but you get what I'm trying to say.

  8. First off, that dude Tim is a young idiot. Maybe with some age, he'll learn to be consistent with his actions. I've been charred before, and I know this much is true: some people will love a story… others will hate it, and most could give a shit. Who cares? This is my thing; if you hate it here, go read Craig's List or something. I don't want to make your connection.

    Now, onto prettier things… I shoot with a Nikon D100 when I'm shooting for the press. I also went digital with the Italy photos. But when I shot the art for the hotel (with my Nikon N80), I shot in film, knowing the prints would be enormous in the hotel. Also, the lens you use makes an enormous difference in depth and foregrounds. I do develop my stuff sometimes when I have the time. Otherwise, I always take my film (usually fugi velvia in overcast situations, kodak portra, or some other VS–very saturated film) to a professional lab. A lot of people don't realize when you go to a regular film place, they run it through a machine that corrects your photos… so you don't learn what the photo really looked like based on your exposure settings. That's why I began shooting in film transparency only… they only show 5 stops of light. But now I'm getting too technical… basically, film transparency, not color negatives, is less forgiving if you screw up exposure, so you can really see the difference in your work. Any more questions on this? If there is interest, I'll post about it, showing examples. I never got the sense people here were into that…

  9. Yea, I'm interested. It'd be good to have a post on that. In my University years I studied Cinematography for my degree (Film), and applied what I learned to stills. Do you ever shoot purposefully lower Fs, so later the lab can push a half-stop or a full-stop?

    I shot my film (24 mm) in a lower f-stop and had the lab push it up to 1 1/2–it made a huge difference;it came out very bleached and almost devoid of color. It was the perfect effect I needed. I suppose not many clients want that eh?

    Yea, if you'd post on your "photography life" every now and again, I'd appreciate it.

  10. I'd love to hear a little more about your "photography life," too. I'm considering taking some photography courses and would be interested in hearing more from those that are more experienced.

  11. me too. i'm into photography myself, which is also one of the reasons i love this blog (b/c it's about a young photographer like moi except with prettier hair and a lot more fun nights out). i shoot with a canon 10d (damn the 20D for coming out 2 months after i got my 10D!). i used to use film but now i've switched completely to digital, especially since my prints usually don't need to get blown up very large, like say for the hotel. you comment on your personal life a lot more than your professional (which is great and fun to read, don't get me wrong) but i'd really also be interested in more posts regarding your photography. also, maybe i just haven't read enough of your entries but i still can't really figure out what is it that is your official title..? I know you're a photographer and you cover a lot of press events but I was just confused as whether you worked for newspapers or some other publishing company? i was just curious b/c i'm going to graduate soon from college with a degree in photography and i wasn't aware that such "fun and exciting" jobs such as yours were available to photographers! — mellie

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