Saturday, June 04, 2005

Dinner and a flight

I wish I could use a feature similar to the "LJ-cut" here, because I composed this in Word, just off the top of my head, and I ran on at the fingers. I should explain that "Dorkfish" is my kid brother (I got the name from a Bill Engvall bit), and unlike my wife's "L'Ailee", that is absolutely not going to change anytime soon. The teacher and the student got re-acquainted (and, I guess, Bridget and I just got acquainted) at a Vietnamese restaurant a few weeks ago, entirely by accident.
And I'm so thrilled that I'll be seeing my Orlando friends again soon! :-) But I had to play on the computer!

We have gotten a bizarre opportunity to get to know Katarina’s former calculus teacher, Cynthia, and her companion, Bridget, much better. I told my friend Frances about it, who replied, "You know, if it weren’t for bizarre coincidences, you all wouldn’t have a relationship." She’s probably right! Hell, we wouldn’t have a *life*!

The bizarre coincidence this particular week is: The ladies were also going to Gay Days. On the same flight as us. In the seats directly behind us. TTG they aren’t also staying in the same hotel as us! I mean, they’re nice, but I want to catch up with my brother and my Orlando friends. (I’ll be seeing most of my Orlando friends in Disney World this afternoon and evening. We’re having brunch with Mr. and Mrs. Dorkfish tomorrow morning.) All four of us sort of agreed (well, I did with a lot of pressing from my wife) that we should see each other again before the flight. That’s why they had dinner at our home on Thursday night.

I felt that Cynthia (and it became Cynthia, not Ms. [Lastnamedeleted], for good after Thursday night) thought I was kind of dumb. I can’t really articulate why; I just did. So I was extraordinarily nervous about dinner. I mean, I only ever went as far as Algebra 2, not the AP Calculus she taught K. (Maybe that’s what she meant by me being a "different kind of girl from our Katya", you know?) Also, I would only have one of my own former teachers over to my home at gunpoint. They were mostly perfectly nice and competent people, you know, but I’m still so very grateful to be out of school. I was the kind of girl who was always at the principal’s office explaining why the First Amendment covered my ‘zine that included an article on safer-sex tips, or how my desk in Chemistry had already been etched with hearts and stars in acid before I got there, or how my inability to get to class on time was the architects of our school’s fault because their design was so lousy. I certainly wasn’t a member of any chess club, which Cynthia was one of the faculty advisors to. (That’s one of the reasons they got so friendly when K attended her school.) I can’t even fucking play chess.

I feel better now. For one thing, Bridget is an English teacher (isn’t that cool? "A couple who can help anyone pass the SAT," as I put it Thursday night), and I was awesome in English. They liked the shrimp risotto, which I made because it’s easy and I saw them eat shrimp at the Vietnamese restaurant and it’s one of K’s favorites. They liked that we’ve got books, magazines, and newspapers everywhere. They liked the "birth of multiple universes" wallpaper on our computer. They liked Nanner, the sugar glider. Cynthia adored the math geek knitting projects we learned about from LJ this week. And they *loved* Lily the Bisexual Wonder Cat! I should explain that while all our cats are cute and interesting in their own ways, Lily is a Wonder Cat because she’s so funny and friendly and damn near human sometimes. She’s the natural hostess in our family. She bounded up to the ladies, and when Bridget picked her up, she "hugged" her neck with her two front arms, which just absolutely charmed them and made Cynthia want a Lily hug, too. (Everyone but the most hard-core cat haters loves that. And we seldom allow any of those to visit.)

Because K is estranged from her parents (for excruciatingly good reasons), I don’t get to hear all too often what she was like before we met, even though she’s gotten a lot about me from my family. (Her uncle in Canada is also a pretty good source of information.) I learned that K’s mischievous streak—which isn’t nearly as big as mine, but is nonetheless present—occasionally showed up at school, too. Cynthia shared how K handled a match with an all-boys chess team at another school, one that was nervous about playing in tournament with a team that was half female. Their team had heard that the boys on the other team were making incredibly rude comments. So Katarina felt that if they were going to be nervous, they needed something to be nervous about. This translated into, as Cynthia put it, "Wonderbras for all!" K had the other girls wearing tank tops under their school uniform jackets, too, because even though both schools had uniforms, players could take off their jackets. "And even the ones who did not wear makeup, wore makeup that day," K said. The girls won every game they played, decisively.

"We almost got disqualified on the grounds that our girls looked like high-class call girls, but we won," Cynthia said.
"That’s the important part," K said. "Thank you for saying that we looked high-class. I thought that we looked more like Britney Spears’ video with the school uniforms."
"That wasn’t around yet, though." She smiled. "I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that you would take an interest in fashion design. You always did something interesting, uniform or no uniform."

Cynthia and Bridget also pumped me for information about Orlando, since that's where I come from. I told them about the multi-colored Lynx buses and how everything on International Drive (the tourist area) is much too expensive, and gave them some good advice, I think. I also referred them to the Watermark website.

The flight was even more interesting. I think that it will be notorious among the staff as the flight in which the lesbians (actually, the three lesbians and the one bisexual and the women-loving women around us who got roped into the discussion) talked about the importance of female orgasms. We were, as I said, on our way to Gay Days. That meant a planeload of queer people. I used to make fun of the New York tourists at Gay Days even though I anxiously awaited the arrival of *my* New York tourist. Now I am one, and how weird is that?

Back to female orgasms. Bridget’s in-flight reading was Dr. Elisabeth Lloyd’s new book (which she is letting me borrow when we get back home because there’s no way in hell I’m paying for it) about how there is really no evolutionary purpose for female orgasms. Bridget and Cynthia were muttering over how "that woman is so stupid," and Bridget finally declared, "To hell with evolutionary theory", which I thought was just a terrific line coming from someone who isn't a hard-core creationist, and slammed the book shut.

I concluded that it’s a stupid theory because almost all body functions come with some sort of feeling of pleasure—"Even with elimination, which is clearly utilitarian and not designed for pleasure, you get a feeling of relief"—and because "I think pleasure itself is an important function." I noted that "when we can’t taste food or take a deep, calming breath or feel relief after going to the bathroom, everyone knows that is a dysfunction, a bad thing for the person who can’t feel these things. Why don’t we understand that not being able to have an orgasm is just as bad?"

"But is it really that bad? There are other pleasurable sensations," said a woman across the aisle. Wow, the discussion got quite broad-ranging indeed. Perhaps a bit too broad-ranging. (Bridget, Cynthia, and I also talked about how cute K is when she blushes! :-) Abstinence-only sex miseducation was brought in (Cynthia and Bridget have seen many of the materials, and think the fact that the clitoris is omitted from most of their maps of the female anatomy just fucking says it all. So do I! And they thought it was great that I asked my own health teacher in Florida why it wasn’t there in ninth grade—TTG, my mom and Seventeen magazine had let me know about it!) We talked about how pleasure is trivialized by our society and how some people still quite haven’t gotten the news that female feelings are, you know, important yet. And we all think Dr. Elisabeth Lloyd is something of an Uncle Tom for women. Now I guess I really do need to actually read the actual book, huh?

When we got off the plane, Bridget thanked us. "I’m so afraid to fly, and I usually squeeze her hand until it’s numb," she said.
I smiled at K. "Yeah, I kind of know that feeling myself."
"You’re afraid to fly?" Bridget asked her.
"No, afraid to crash. Afraid of terrorists. But flying is no problem." We all chuckled a little at that. She was adapting my mom’s line. :-)
"Anyway, I didn’t even think about being afraid once. I need you girls on every flight! That was fun!"
"Well, maybe you just need to keep reading stupid books on flights," I suggested. We all smiled and hugged before going our separate ways.

"That was a bit embarrassing," K said when we were safely in the rental car. "I can’t believe we talked about orgasms and the clitoris with my teacher."
Neither could I, actually, but I wanted to comfort her. "She’s not your teacher anymore," I said. "Hasn’t been for years. And you said you wanted to get to know her as two adults."
"You and your memory." She shook her head, smiling. "Oh, that was very adult."
"At least you didn’t think to be afraid during the flight, either," I pointed out.
"Yes, and I’m prepared for your friends now!"


CrackerLilo said...

Should anyone wish to see the book in question, it's right here.

Blogzie said...

Hi Darlin'

Just wanted to let you know I posted a comment on your previous blog (and the crowd left me stranded) Like we would ever do that!