The life and times of an ethnically ambiguous little lady.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Her Name was Lola...

...and let me tell you, she was definitely not a showgirl.

She is a dog, in fact. I met Lola this weekend at my friend's house. Lola is one of their two humungous dogs—I forget what breed she is, but she's 150 pounds and she's only 3 1/2. And she slobbers. And she's just the cutest. But she’s not petite: at one point she stepped on my foot and I think I heard a bone crack.

Granted, I have a weakness for dogs. I feel about dogs the way some women feel about children: I see a particularly cute one, and I'm so in love my uterus tingles. Then again, this is kind of strange, because it's not like I could give birth to a puppy. But such are the stirrings of motherhood.

Anyway, Lola is not only a giant but she's apparently very smart. She can twist off lids. I mean, I can't always twist off lids. She’s mischievous, too. And we all know that brains and a hot, slobbering bod are a lethal combination.

Her owner told me about how Lola got into an entire bottle of doggie aspirin. Then Lola, and their other dog, Fazal—named for their Swiss exchange student—proceeded to collectively eat 100 pills.

Lola's parents came home and found the empty bottle. Good thing Lola didn’t recycle or they would never have found the evidence. So they loaded their gigantic dogs into the car and went to the veterinarian.

Instead of pumping the dogs' stomachs, the vet gave them something that would make them throw up. Then, in a cruel twist of fate, the doctors gave the owners two pairs of gloves. Their job? To count all the pills the dogs had thrown up. Now, that's love. I mean, would you go through someone’s throw-up?

The dogs ended up staying in the hospital for two days, where the owners were updated on the hour as to how they were doing. And to think, new mothers are sent home the day after the give birth!

But really, I think dogs are treated better then people most of the time. I saw one dog wearing a Coach poncho that I’m sure was more expensive then my entire wardrobe.

It’s hard being a dog though, especially if your owner has a saucy job. I heard a tale about a bulldog puppy that swallowed one of his owner’s pasties (she was a stripper) and had to go to the hospital. Hope the stripper found this out before she got to work. I mean, there’s nothing more embarrassing then getting onstage without a matching pair of nipple covers.

So from now on, when I have medical problems or just want a little TLC, I think I'm going to the vet. And if I have to eat someone’s pasty to get there, so be it.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Happy Endings

I'm incredibly sore today. I figure it's because I slept weird. I find this to be very amusing since I've been sleeping for my whole life. Apparently I need more practice.

For once I don't mind the soreness because I'm getting a massage today. Now don't start thinking I'm some kind of uppity gal who is always getting facials and spa treatments. That's just not me; I’m not only a girl who enjoys the simple pleasures, but I’m frugal. That’s what happens when you grow up in a house where you do a celebratory dance when your father decides to turn the heat up past 55 degrees.

I've only had three real massages in my life. The most memorable, was the one I hunted down in Thailand. This is country known for happy endings so I figured I couldn't leave without getting one. Not an actual happy ending, you sicko, but a quality massage. The only problem was it was practically impossible to find a place that didn't “finish me off.” So we'd find a massage place and it would seem legit until they started to lead us down a back alley and then we realized we had to flee. We actually spent 5 hours trying to find a non red-light massage place. This is not a dilemma in which I thought I’d ever find myself.

Finally, we found one and they put both me and my friend in the same room. In came two little Thai women who yammered away in Thai the whole time. Their voices were so soothing it was like background music. And let me tell you, those women were thorough. My Thai girl turned me over and all of a sudden she was actually walking on my inner thighs. And I mean really close to the goods. Who knew that area was so tense?

And when it was all over I was so relaxed that all I could do was drool in gratitude. I stopped by the gift shop on the way out, hoping that I could pick up a Thai woman for my friends so they could enjoy this amazingness in their very own homes. (I figure if Angelina can bring home children as souvenirs from her travels, I could bring home adults.) Unfortunately they were out of stock.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Like Dad, Like Daughter

I was asked to do a show last night where I had to write a piece on the theme of "Daddy's Girl." Considering the dinner over the weekend and my current frustration, it was nice to write something positive, because my dad is a great guy. And I must say, from writing the piece I'm realizing how much he and I are alike. I mean, throw a mustache on me, give me a couple more inches, and get rid of my boobs and we could be the same person.

Here 'tis:

Some girls are complicated and quirky because they didn’t get enough love as a child. I am indeed a very quirky girl. I can not, however, say that I was lacking love as a child. In fact, my parents are so supportive that if I tried to kill myself, I think they’d hold my wrists straight because they’d want me to succeed in whatever I do. So, I’ve been trying to trace where this quirkiness originates. While some of it might have developed from my napoleon complex, I think most of it’s been passed down directly from my father. As they say, I learned it from watching you, dad.

My street cred definitely comes from my father. I may have been raised in the suburbs of Philly, but he was raised on the rough streets of Camden, New Jersey, the former murder capital of the country. That makes me half hood and explains my affinity for the hip hop music. He got a little nostalgic a few years ago and we drove by his old house, which now, I kid you not, looks like a boarded-up crack house, complete with strung-out ladies on the front steps. And if I wasn’t mistaken, I think I saw two little kids playing tag with Oozies on the front lawn.

I’m also a little scrappy and love to pretend I’m tough. My father was in the army, though he didn’t exactly get to see a piece of the action. He ended up in language school where he became fluent in Mandarin. This skill only seems to come in handy when we’re at museums and he attempts to read the wall hangings from the Ming Dynasty period. In high school, I would wear his army jacket around, because we all know, there is nothing more intimidating than an army jacket with “Epstein” on the pocket.

I apparently get my tongue-in-cheek arrogance from my father as well. He would never make a pass at a woman—he is a happily married man, after all. But if a little affection comes his way, well, he’s not one to turn it down. I remember he and I were helping on election day in Philadelphia one year. I started talking to this older West Philadelphia woman who asked how I got involved with volunteering. I point in the direction of my father. I don’t know if it was the sparkle in his eye or the way the sun caught his black and gray hair but her response was: “Girl, I love me those salt n’ peppa men. You better tell your mama to watch out for me.”

Obviously, I was a little surprised by her response. We Epsteins are a very good-looking people, but really, he’s a married man! When I told my father about it he smiled coyly and said, “Oh, I get that all the time.” I doubt it. But as a safety precaution we now always escort my father into Philly and intercept any of the panties that are thrown at him as he walks by.

Maybe he took extra joy in this situation because my father was a bit, how shall we say, voluptuous, as a child. Nothing like being a tubby kid with incredibly thick glasses to get the self-esteem up. I guess he got frustrated with this self image and thus became very active and dropped all the weight. And when I say active, I mean the man is a serious gym rat. My dad will run 7 miles before topping his workout off with a couple hours at the gym. While I try to keep up with him, a treadmill accident several years ago left me with twenty stitches in my leg, a failed knee modeling career, and an innate fear of falling off gym equipment. So nice to know that even though he’s pushing 60, he can still kick my ass.

I think his stubbornness is a contributing factor as well, a trait I more then share. I I mean, I’ve worn jeans I’ve loved until they had such a large hole in them, they were practically shorts. My father had a stubborn pants experience in gym class in high school. Seems he was wearing his huge bellbottoms—it was the ’60s after all—playing baseball when he managed to step on a hornet’s nest. The entire nest proceeded to fly up his pant legs.

His teacher screamed at him “Take off your pants! Take off your pants!”—a cry he’s heard many times since—but refused to as he was in mixed company.

My father is also a keen devotee of sarcasm. We were in Brazil on vacation and he wanted to buy a rather expensive necklace for my mother. When he went to charge it on his credit card, the company required a call to make sure it wasn’t stolen.

“Well,” he said to the woman helping us, “we could always leave collateral,” as he looked at me. All I sudden I saw myself, chained to a work gang of small Brazilian boys, mining diamonds in the factory as tourists went by, watching me and waving as I cried. And people wonder why I’m a comedian.

Our trip to Brazil also showed me how unwilling my father is to ask for directions. It was Friday night, the sun was setting, and my father decided that he wanted to celebrate the Sabbath like a good Jew. Sure, some people come to Brazil for the beaches, the music, the bikini waxes, but not my father. After getting the name of a synagogue from the concierge, he set off with my mother and no command of Portuguese. After twenty-five minutes of walking, it turned out that no such synagogue existed in said location.

“Well, we tried. Let’s head back,” my mother said.

And just as my father was about to respond he spotted a couple, a very obviously Jewish couple. How do you know they were Jewish, you anti-Semite, you ask? Well, let’s just say nothing screams Heeb like payas (those curly sideburns) and an accompanying girl with a long skirt and a stroller full of babies.

“Perfect!” My mother exclaimed. “I bet they know where there’s a synagogue. Saul, go ask them.”

“Roberta, did you hear them speaking Portuguese? How am I supposed to ask them?” Now, I’m going to have to disagree with my dad on this one. I think there are a lot of ways he could explain himself. Simulate praying. Draw a Star of David in the air. Show them you’re circumcised.

Instead he said, “Let’s just follow them and see where they’re going.”

And that’s when my father started his Jewish reconnaissance mission. And as my mother knew it was fruitless to argue, she went along for the ride. I don’t know if it was that army stint which made him feel like trailing someone was a good idea, but off they went, following just close enough. Whenever they feared they would be “discovered” they would jump into the nearest doorway, like some kind of two member A-Team gone horribly wrong. They followed the couple for three miles, past the beach, past the prostitutes, the pick pockets, and the many salsa and merengue clubs. It was at this point in the story that I decided that my mother must really love my father. You just don’t go on a three hour tour with someone you’re just ehhh about.

Finally, the Jewish couple entered a building. Only problem was that it was someone’s house. Seems the couple was heading to Shabbat dinner, and not to hang with God just yet. Dejected, my parents began the trek back to find our hotel. The expedition wasn’t a total loss as my mother found a “Curves” gym, (or “Rolls” as my friend likes to call it), to which she belongs in the states and loves.

He’s a pistol, my father. And one I’m happy to call my own. I just wish he wasn’t so willing to barter me for jewelry.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Encounters of the Uncomfortable Kind

First, the random business: A male friend of mine asked me last week if my boobs had grown. Now I'm no doctor, but as I haven't had a growth spurt of any kind in well, ever, I find it unlikely that my girls took it upon themselves to burst forth. I did, however, think it was a nice way to point out that he was looking at my rack, but was attempting to bring them into the conversation so they wouldn't feel left out.

It's the little things.

Now, onto the big stuff.

Ever wish something would happen, and then as soon as it does, wish you'd never wished it? (Ever think you'd use the word "wish" three times in one sentence?) Well, this weekend my parents met my boyfriend.

As soon as I agreed to the dinner, I got heart palpitations. In fact, he and I spent about ten minutes feeling each other's heart and saying, "Whoa, is it supposed to beat that fast? No, seriously, feel my heart now."

And as happy as I was that my parents were willing to take the first step in meeting someone that is very important to me, I knew there was a long way to go. I also knew I had a bad feeling about the situation when I started thinking about stand-ins for Elon. We considered renting an incredibly rude orthodox Jew for the night. Or maybe a lesbian just to spice things up (she’d of course, be a nice, Jewish lesbian). You know, so they could be traumatized enough that they realized me having a nice, considerate boyfriend by my side from a different background isn’t such a bad thing when faced with the alternatives (not that I have anything against orthodox Jews or lesbians).

So we went out to dinner. And I can't think of any situation that I've been in that has been quite as uncomfortable. My parents barely made eye contact with him and hardly addressed him at all. He was obviously uncomfortable and is shy, so I think it took everything he had not to retreat to safety under the table.

One of our only saving graces was the fact that there was a bachlorette party taking place in the other room. Whenever there was an uncomfortable silence at our table, the "woo hoo!" coming from the ladies in the other room as their stripper arrived added the comedic content we so sorely needed.

In the end, I'm just glad it's done, because getting them to meet him was the first hurdle. But in other ways it's kind of sad. My parents were far from the sweet, caring, warm people that I know. And Elon was so nervous that they couldn't see how charming, and intelligent and wonderful he is. So in the end, they're still strangers, except now they're strangers who have met once and aren't looking forward to the next encounter. And I still love them both.

If the dinner had been a sitcom, the stripper from the bachlorette party would have bound into the front room of the restaurant, started shaking his moneymaker, and grabbed me or my mother and made us part of the show. And we would have laughed and laughed.

Sometimes I wish my life was more like a sitcom. Then again, sitcoms have uncomfortable moments, too, so maybe this is just one moment on the way to a happy ending (not the massage kind, of course). Or at least, one we all can live with.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Question of the Day

So say you love someone. Like, a lot. Not like a crush in high school. This dude is the real thing. He'd walk on hot coals for you singing "My Heart Will Go On" if you needed him to. You'd attempt to beatbox while some sorority girl circled your fat while standing in Times Square if he required those services of you.

But for some reason, key members of your family refuse to acknowledge this perfect union just because he's not a nice jewish boy from the suburbs.

So how exactly do you remedy this without it turning into Romeo and Juliet? (Or maybe more aptly, West Side Story, though I'm not sure if my family are the Sharks or the Jets.)

After all, it seems silly to teach your children to love and accept everyone if you're not going to also tell them that they mean as long as they don't date your daughter.

Monday, June 05, 2006

My Hips Don't Lie, They're Just Slow

I'm short. Anyone that knows me and/or has eyes knows that.

It's something that I've struggled with (okay, maybe that's a bit dramatic) or at least been aware of my whole life. Maybe that's because my little brother is 6"4, over a foot taller then me. Maybe it's because I was square in second grade: that means you're the same height in inches as you are pounds, which made me a little walking marshmallow. Maybe it's because I was always concerned about my weight and my doctor would reassure me by calling me a "cute little package." (That's got to overstep some kind of doctor/patient line, doesn't it?)

My boyfriend is 6 feet tall. I'm about 5"1 in the morning. This further exemplifies my shortness.

"Why do you date someone so tall, Emily? Can't you leave the tall guys for us tall girls, you harlot?!" you may ask.

Good question, you floozy. I date the tall boys because that way I can attempt to produce a normal-sized child. That’s right, I want my kids to have a normal life so they don’t end up with a Shaq-sized Napoleon complex (isn’t that a picture?) like myself. So essentially, I'm taking one for the team so my kids don't end up "special." I read recently that in Missouri, if you're 5"2 or under, you're actually considered a midget. I think I’m going to move to this magical land of Missouri so I can get my very own handicapped parking space and maybe a giant to reach the high shelves for me.

But enough about my future plans.

I found my height is particularly a problem when I'm walking with taller people and we're in a rush. After all, I can hustle, I've got the New York City shuffle down! But I always end up jogging alongside someone with longer legs. When they protest, I share with them that my legs are short. And I'm not complaining, I'm just stating a fact. Ergo, shorter legs slow you down.

My friend, Ilka, disagrees. When we studied abroad together in Australia we were always hungover/late for everything. She's 5"10ish. Our other partner-in-crime, Lexi, was almost 6 feet tall. When we'd hustle I'd just sprint next to them.

"You know, Em," Ilka said one day, "it's not that you have short legs, it's that you shake your hips when you walk. All that gyrating slows you down."

So apparently, I don't walk, I saunter. All these years I thought it was my stubby little legs that were slowing me down. Apparently, it's just my sex appeal.