Seventeen

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I’ve been staring at this photo for a while now. The way I would stare in a mirror while screaming Bloody Mary.

Who is that? And more importantly, whose pearls are those?

A twist of fate and a scheduling conflict will take me back to Miami next week – coinciding with my high school reunion. So, in an effort to mentally prepare for the terrible community play rendition of Hot Tub Time Machine that I’m about to headline, I rummaged through a box of mementos, read cringe-worthy letters and found this, my senior year portrait.

At first glance, I was reminded that while I was taking this picture, my boyfriend was sitting in the waiting room with the promise of reaching third base on the ride home. He was adorable, gentlemanly and sweet, but terribly flat chested and had a penis, which eventually caused our demise.

When I looked closer though, the me from 1996 had a prophetic message embedded in my eyebrows – one that only took twenty years of hindsight to actually see it. Unlike what I thought about myself at the time, I was pretty damn unhideous. I would even go as far to say that I was pretty cute. Yes it’s a cliche, teens and their self-esteem issues. But I’d truly look in the mirror and see an out-of-place monster. How terribly sad.

On the bright side, if I had that face today it would be riddled with HPV, so I guess it worked out.

The other non-hideous things about seventeen were the rest of the know-nothings that I befriended. The valedictorian. The nice guy. The Goody Two-Shoes. The bad ass. The comedian. The rebel. The weirdo. The rich girl. The super rich girl. (I went to private school.) The artist. The Goth. The drama queen. My secret girlfriend. They were glorious. Each one. Raging with hormones, broken out with acne and hiding torn hymens from Jesus. Together we made up a super diverse version of The Breakfast Club that could have been made for Telemundo after dark.

But that was then. Next week we will be reunited for an episode of Oprah’s Where Are They Now, where the impulse to undo our high school stereotypes will most likely lead to boring each other with talk of investment banking, bibs and breakfast nooks. But as much as my body recoils with the thought of being trapped in a boring conversation, my FOMO is too powerful not to be there. And I’m willing to bet that in the midst of polite conversation, I’ll see a glimmer of the shitheads we once were. And I’m also willing to put money on having to hold someone’s hair back at the end of the night.

It was Catholic school for Christ’s sake.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday morning

Brunch is my church. I visit the altar of meal combining almost every Sunday, like a devout glutton. It is the holiest of meals, as it is the time of day that I am most spiritually tranquil and physically ready to receive the communion of English muffin and mimosa.

As a faithful bruncher, I have prepared, out of my free will, a few commandments to ensure your experience is other-worldly.

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The Brunch Gospel.

Brunch with your partner

This is the way God intended brunch to be. You, your partner and 136 other people vying for a small table on the sidewalk that is dangerously close to a busy intersection without an umbrella to protect you from the unforgiving morning sun. How else will you know if your relationship can stand the test of time without experiencing a three hour wait for poached eggs?

Brunch with friends and their children

I say start them early and baptize them into the brunch lifestyle while they are still in diapers. But there are no two ways about it, brunching with friends that happen to be parents is complicated. However, with proper planning and basic knowledge of fractions, your morning-to-afternoon meal could turn out to be an okay time. The first step requires you to ascertain how many people are in your party. For example, four adults and a child is considered a party of four-and-a-half. However, if your friends happen to have two children, you must figure out their ages to come up with the proper fraction, which directly correlates to the type of chair and/or chair accessories you will need. Also, it is important to note that if your friends have twins or triplets this formula is useless. In this case, all you need are functional restraints.

Brunch with your parents

Honor your father and mother by feeding them food and drink that will give them acid reflux and spike their blood sugar levels for 48 hours. Are you feeling nostalgic for your teenage years, when you would beg your parent or guardian to drop you off two blocks from the movie theater so not to be embarrassed in front of your friends, but they didn’t listen to you and drove right up to the entrance and accidentally honked? Well, taking them to brunch is very much like that, only they will find new and creative ways to embarrass you and ruin any future visits to your favorite brunch spot.

Brunch with your younger friends

Don’t take the mimosa in vain. That is some serious champagne disguised in citrus and, no matter how “light” it feels going down, don’t let your younger friends convince you that shooting the revered breakfast drink is the best way to get your money’s worth on the unlimited drink package you just purchased. God punishes these acts harshly.

Brunch with your older friends

Do realize that brunching with your older friends will be easier than most other groups. They are less likely to flake out or over sleep and will only eat at places that take reservations because they are too grown to wait in line. That being said, you should be prepared for the inquisition that will shortly follow the waiter’s normally rhetorical, “Are there any questions about the menu?” Once the 25-minute question and answer session about items that they were never really going to order has culminated in requesting the world’s most customized Huevos Rancheros, they will spend the next 25 minutes explaining their digestive ailments as the reasoning behind their complicated order.

Brunch by yourself

The only person that notices your request for a table for one is the host/ess. To everyone else, you are completely invisible. Watch people all around you, as they fight with their spouse, entertain their children, order for their annoying parents, vomit on tables, and ask endless questions about the types of bread available. And then laugh and laugh. Just like God.

Amen.
Amen.

Jess’ girl

I’m not Jess’ girl.That’s Whitney.

Whitney and Jess share a bond as impenetrable as the anus of a moth.

Moth anus.
Moth anus.

And as much as I like Jess, I am cognizant of the fact that our bond is as loose as a tossed salad.

The one thing I do have over Whitney, however, is geographic location. I’m 15 minutes from wherever Jess is at any moment, while Whit is 5 hours and $500 away at all moments.

I venture to think that the distance makes Whitney antsy about losing that moth anus bond, which is why I’ve decided to write her a letter to put her at ease, and once and for all declare her as Jess’ girl.

Dear Ms. Houston:

When I first met Jessica, I did not expect to like her. Not because she was white, but because she was not Hispanic.

She worked really hard at overcoming her language barrier and made a great effort at speaking just as fast and loud as a Spanish-speaker, even though she was speaking in English. As our linguistic relationship grew, she taught me words like “may,” as in “May I have another croqueta,” and “please,” as in “Please take me home, the bartender refuses to serve me more alcohol.

I would mention the words I taught her, but, as you know, she decided to use them while attempting to have a conversation with my mother, and, it’s all still very painful for me to discuss publicly.

Despite her language issues, she taught me how to be really polite and caring to those less fortunate. For instance, she shaved my legs and donated the hair to Locks of Love. And she came up with nicknames for people, so we could talk about them openly without running the risk of hurting their feelings. Most importantly, she gave me hope – especially when she told me that my dad was not in fact dead, but just pretending to be, so he could fulfill his dream of becoming a drag queen.

Whitney, I can see why you love her so much. She is…special.

I’ve enjoyed every moment I spent with her. She is the joy of my GChat. She is my partner in misdemeanors. She entertains my lofty goals and convinces me that I can achieve them by sitting on the beach with a beer in hand. She, for a short while, was my co-pirate. (That’s not an Asian joke).

But even still, you had nothing to worry about Whitney. She was always yours. She was just on-loan to me until her time came to return to the Land of the Whites.

Only I realize now, as that hour draws near, that I will be the one that lives 5 hours and $500 away. I will be the one wondering what bar she is getting kicked out of. I will be the one missing her antics. And I will be the one receiving letters from crazy bitches who think that they could replace me as Jess’ girl.   

JessicaandMe

Sincerely,

Number two.

P.S. Happy birthday Whitney.