You may have noticed that lately my little feisty Granny has not been pulling off her end of the bargain as my wingman and partner in online dating crime. She’s got a good excuse. A few weeks ago she was chatting with a man on the phone who she was planning on going out with when she found out she had to begin radiation therapy on her face for skin cancer.
“My nose is gonna be redder than Rudolph’s,” she told me. “There’s no way I’m going out with him until it’s healed.” Some things change with age but vanity is not one of them.
Although cancer is a terrifying word and illness, I keep reminding Granny that it could be worse. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the US. Facts: One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of their lifetime. Between 40 and 50 percent of Americans who live to age 65 will have skin cancer at least once. – This is Granny’s fourth time and luckily this time there is no melanoma.
I know cancer talk is heavy, but it’s real and that’s what Granny is about. As a teenager/young adult you never think about the consequences of things like smoking, tanning, partying, whatever vice you indulge in… and how it can affect you later in life.
Suddenly I get why Granny threw a shit fit on a trip to Orlando when I was 15 and refused to put on sunblock at the Holiday Inn pool. I instead chose to slather myself in baby oil. I am a white Jew; clearly I should have taken her advice. When she saw the beet-red burn on my chest she refused to talk to me the next day as I sulked around the Magic Kingdom applying aloe every thirty minutes. When she finally spoke she shook her little finger in my face and said, “Trust me, when you’re older you’ll wish you took my advice.” Ugh, she is always right.
“Why don’t you be honest with him?” I asked. It seems to me that old people like to kvetch with each other about their illnesses.
She refused, arguing that it would be smarter to make up a different excuse until her face has healed. “That would chase him away. There is no man that wants to be dating a woman with cancer,” she insisted.
I respect her decision and know skin cancer is scary but judging by the statistics and considering he lives in South Florida, odds are there’s a very good chance he’d be able to relate with her on the issue in some way.
She assured me that this was only a hiccup in her dating life, she’s eager to get back on the field after she finishes her four weeks of radiation. “Every Monday I see the doctor and the scientist, ya know the guy that takes care of the machines? He told me ‘You’ll get more tired as it’s over then you’ll be little by little fine.’”
We were both relieved to hear the news. Granny told the doctor, “I have things to do, places to go and people to see. I’m not your typical 76 year-old, I’m very busy. Right now there are things I want to be doing that I’m not doing but I gotta deal with this first.” Go Granny go!
When I told Granny about the poet’s ”self-published” book of poetry, she couldn’t hold back her fangs. “Whaaaat!” she exclaimed. “So in other words, it’s a non-happening.” Granny has one setting: real. The lady can’t help but keep it real.
I explained his obsession with finding a muse. “A muse?” she giggled. “He needs three muses. He needs a muse for morning, noon, and night.” I wasn’t up for any of the positions.
“Do you remember the movie?” she asked. “There was a movie about a man looking for a muse. He probably saw it and thought he would copy it.”
“He’s a poet,” I said, half-defending my date/half-winding Granny up.
“Oh he’s a poet?” she scoffed. “I think he’s stealing poetry and moving it around backwards.” She laughed at herself. We both have the tendency to crack up at own jokes, even when they’re lame ones.
I wanted to write off the poet but I felt bad after I received the text from him after our date: “I never write this time of year but you inspired a poem.”
When I told Granny the only thing it inspired was more mocking from her, “Ohhhh he doesn’t write this time of the year? Maybe Santa has to come out before he writes,” she cracked up again at her wit. “Oh good Lord. Oh my God,” she hollered.
“I feel bad,” I whined. “He keeps texting me, I just want him to stop.” It can be hard being so desirable…
Without a beat of hesitation she said, “Tell him you’re going to Africa.”
The lady is witty, resourceful, quick, and sneaky. I am definitely her granddaughter.
LISTEN TO OUR CONVO: convo
Between the hustle and bustle of work and enjoying the start of summer in the city it’s been a hot minute since I’ve trolled the web for men. I logged on to OKCupid the other day, before the site even loaded I got an instant-message from PeachDreams complimenting one of my photos where I’m wearing white jeans. “Those white pants, they inspire boys. You realize that, right?” he wrote.
I’ve received a few messages about the white jeans since I uploaded the photo. Ladies take note: men dig white jeans. Since Memorial Day has passed, I’m feeling jazzed and excited about my summer 2012 collection (that’s what I refer to as the drawer with my summer clothes in it). “Inspires? How so?” I pried, looking for more strokes to my ego.
“It inspired me to write to you in hopes that there’s more muse where that muse came from.” I assured him there was. Muse? Yes, of course I’d like to be someone’s muse. My summer collection has many flowy pieces that I feel could easily cater to a muse theme.
I checked out his profile and learned that he was a brooding poet. His poet identity seemed to be a heavy subject in his profile. He described himself as serious, analytical, and cerebral with a head of “poet’s hair”. In all his photos he looked away from the camera, with a moody brooding stance. A poet’s muse? I might be too goofy and obnoxious to play the part. I wasn’t sold that we’d be a good fit, but there was a chance he could be my Patti Smith and I could be his Robert Mapplethorpe… just two iconic artists… or something like that.
When he suggested getting ice cream I knew that at least if we had nothing in common, I’d get a cone out of the deal so I went for it. He requested that I wear my white jeans but I was auditioning for the part of the muse and nobody tells a muse what to do, a muse just does (I also seem to have misplaced the jeans) so I opted for a black summer dress instead.
I was a few minutes late to the ice cream shop, “I’m wearing blue jeans sitting out front,” he texted me. As I locked my bike up I scanned the few patrons and saw only one in blue jeans. He didn’t look at all like the dark poet from his pictures.
He smiled and approached me, “Hey, I’m Rob,” he said, grinning ear to ear. We got some cones and settled on a stoop to eat them. He spilled some of his ice cream on to the sidewalk then quickly leaned down to wipe it off. I reminded him that it was New York City and some dairy drops wouldn’t harm the concrete but he told me he felt otherwise.
“So tell me about your poetry,” I began. It was subject that he clearly felt strongly about in his online presence so I thought it would be a good way to open him up in real life. I was wrong.
“It’s highly intellectual and incredibly literary, far too hard to break it down in a simple conversation,” he said as he wiped the sidewalk some more.
“You write haikus?” I joked.
“Haiku. Not haikus. Haiku is the plural of haiku. Like “sheep”,” he corrected. “But no, my writing is not like that.”
I nodded, trying to summon a serious muse-like smile. “So on your profile you say you’ve published a book, where could I find it?” I asked.
“I’m not selling it because I don’t believe in consumerism. It’s a project I self published, for me.”
“Tortured artist?” I teased.
He nodded solemnly and looked into my eyes. “What’s your sign?” he asked.
“Pisces,” I made a fish face.
“She eyes me like a pisces when I am weak. I’ve been locked inside your Heart Shaped box for weeks. I’ve been drawn into your magnet tar pit trap. I wish I could eat your cancer when you turn black,” he recited to me.
“Is that an original?” I asked.
He shot me a repulsed look. “No, that’s Nirvana. You didn’t recognize that?”
No, I’m not cool. I did not recognize the Nirvana quote. Geez, rub it in. I felt I might have been failing as a muse.
“Are you happy in your life?” he asked me. I quickly affirmed that I was. I am, I can’t help it. Life is good. I love my friends and family, my roof deck, my bicycle, the summer, my summer collection, and everything I have going on.
He clearly wanted me to recite the question back so I did. “What do you think?” he asked. “Do I look happy?”
He didn’t look unhappy, I can tell you that. “Yeah, I hope you are. I’d say you look happy,” I replied.
He huffed; it was clearly not the answer this poet wanted. “Everyone tells me I have sad eyes, you don’t think my eyes are sad?”
I looked at his perfectly combed blond hair and into his bright blue eyes that would have made for terrific World War II propaganda and shook my head. “Nope, those eyes look pretty bright to me.”
“What about my pictures?” he pushed on, “Don’t my pictures portray sadness?” he asked.
His pictures were moody but clearly intentionally so. “Yeah, they were a little darker but in real life you don’t look like that.”
At first he looked annoyed but then he said. “You might be muse material.”
As much as I enjoyed my cone and the idea of being a muse, I certainly wasn’t cut out to be this guy’s gal. Having someone to inspire me and that I can inspire is one thing but having someone that needs constant cheering up is not my game.
I hope he finds his muse and I hope I can find my white jeans because mama’s got some summer strolling to do in those man-snatchers.