My Private Dictionary

Wildtongue – is the overzealous tongue work this woman does when you’re French kissing but it’s like French Kissing Girls Gone Wild Endless Spring Break. You’re thinking, “Are you finding any cavities in there? How’s the filling holding up on that back molar?” But you put up with it and act like you enjoy it. Yes, you too are a MAD PASSIONATE LOVER because you trust that all this orifacial (note to self: add to dictionary?) slurping and sloshing is leading to THE BIG YOU-KNOW-WHAT. Finally you escape the clutches of her lips and start doing a little tonguework of your own, you dog you. You start on her ear, you wildtongue her neck, you work your way down to her breasts (wildtongue squared) BUT NO! She hauls you back up because evidently you’re in need of more dental work.

Ooh whoa wow – is how you feel after you’ve seen this woman four or five times, and you’ve put up with her tongue, and now there’s the two of you, sitting in a hip Mexican joint eating fajitas with her best friend and her best friend’s husband, both really nice people, just a great couple, and you suddenly think ooh whoa wow we’re, what, a couple? And that’s when it hits you that you don’t really find the woman very attractive (guilt, non-sheepy; see below). She’s kind of bug-eyed. In fact, she’s very bug-eyed – which is fine if you’re a bug. Let’s not slander the insects. Or maybe not a bug, something more like a lizard or a Gila monster, something semi-amphibious with rotating reptile eyes to spot predators sneaking up behind them to do whatever it is they might do back there. And you realize how much she bores you. How she’ll call and tell you what time she woke up and how long she spent cleaning her apartment so she didn’t get to work out until later and EVERY SINGLE FUCKING THING she did that day. But you! (More guilt here.) You’re playing right along, aren’t you? You’re feigning interest! You’re asking How was your workout? when you don’t give a shit about her workout except, come to think of it, working out means her body stays slim and exciting because oh Ho HO! that body, that body looks like Elizabeth Hurley’s in that movie where she plays the devil, or like some kind of ballet dancer or slim muscular snake-like creature. (Note: think of word for slim muscular snakelike women.)

Sheepy (sheepish, but more . . . well, sheepy) – is the feeling of unwarranted, unsubstantiated, totally unfounded guilt when you (though innocent) set off an alarm at the library after checking out your quota of spiritual reading (he means self-help books) for the next three weeks. You’re walking innocently through the security gate and BRAACK! there goes the alarm. So you stop and look back at the clerk with a sheepy innocent look and hold out your arms (See, nothing but these books you just checked out for me). And the clerk waves and says, “You’re okay, go on.” So no you’re not feeling guilty for trying to steal books, but yes you haven’t visited your parents in over a year, and yes you bullshitted this woman last night about having played shortstop briefly for the Yankees in the early 90s, and yes yes okay yes you’re seeing a woman with whom you know it’s not going to work but you haven’t had the cajones to tell her.

Leftum – this is that place kind of down on your lower left abdomen where you feel the occasional inexplicable pain. You’ve looked in Gray’s Anatomy and there’s really nothing there but muscle tissue. Ouch! There’s that pain again. God, what is that?

Yestalgia (positive nostalgia) – the way old lovers over time increasingly take on far more positive attributes than they ever had when you were with them. So that, for example, your former lover’s bug eyes seem less bug-eyed in remembrance, her phone calls shorter and less frequent and mind-numbing, and instead you think with fondness of the long sloping curve of her narrow neck that would have had Michelangelo reaching for his chisel, or the undeserved generosity she showed in cleaning your dishes that time she stayed over, her long thin graceful fingers smoothing the soap off your Crate & Barrel everyday ware, or how (unasked) she used those fingers to massage your neck that time she saw you scrunching your shoulders…. Oh Jesus….

Pensative – is the feeling of heightened, heart-aching sensitivity induced by loneliness, when the sound of a woman’s voice makes you come up with question after question just to hear what you hear in her voice (warmth? joy? What is it?). Or the way some women’s lips turn down in a sadness that makes you want to do anything you can to turn those lips up into a smile, and suddenly you’re one funny bastard, dredging up your Inner Clown from days or weeks of slumber, surprising yourself (and the pouty-mouthed babe) with your wit. And you recall the addictive smoothness of a woman’s hair as you ran your fingers through it, her head resting on your chest, and you listened to her breathing slow down, and felt her body relax, her weight gently giving onto you, and you lay there rubbing your hand through her hair again and again, that slight detour around her ear (women’s ears, an encyclopedia of beauty), happy to suffer your insomnia with this warm creature lying against you as you slowly stroked her hair through the pre-dawn hours. Lord, lead us not into idolatry here, but you recall that Bible verse that asks “Don’t ye know that ye are gods?” Because no, they don’t know. And there’s no recourse upon feeling the feeling of a woman’s hair in your hands, or seeing the beauty of a downturned mouth, or hearing everything you want but will never ever have in a woman’s voice, nothing you can do except suffer that mix of sorrow and pleasure, a longing located more to the midsection than the leftum, and higher.

Neurotological – describes those (in hindsight, lame) responses you give to try to impress this cute new woman who tells you she just loves Led Zeppelin, and you tell her that you, in fact, recently saw Robert Plant perform on Austin City Limits. This response (stay with me here) is meant to communicate that 1) at some point in your life you earned enough money to buy a TV, and 2) you had the foresight/wisdom to have that TV turned to a particular station at a particular time, thereby establishing 3) some kind of (vague, ill-defined) connection between you and the world’s greatest rock band ever, thus 4) greatly enhancing your status in this woman’s eyes.

Toeshock – the horror you feel when you hook up with the cute Led Zeppelin fan, and she’s wearing these two-strap sandals showing her toes, and you’ve never been a big fan of women’s toes anyway but MY GOD! this woman has inhumanly long thin toes that actually curl over the front of her sandals. How can she walk like that? You’re wishing you had asked her to take off her shoes the first time you met, just for a second, you want to check something, because NOTHING has prepared you for this. But of course she’s smiling and walking with her claws spread out all over the place as if nothing’s happening, and all you can think is how in bed she may not do the wildtongue but she’ll want to stroke your calves with those talons and think it’s TOTALLY SEXY. Beep beep, there you are locating the (metaphorical) exits.

Squeamers – are those semi-squeamish moments of reflection and self-scrutiny (some would say “self-doubt”) when you put the shoe on the other foot, so to speak, and think of those things about yourself that could (would/do) turn off a woman. No, you’re not bug-eyed or claw-footed, but those extra two inches on your waist won’t go away no matter how hard you think about dieting, and you wouldn’t be wearing that Yankees cap if it weren’t hiding a 2-1/2 inch (and growing) bald spot, but let’s get down to brass balls and talk about the way you try to recreate a past lover in the present, such as the ex-girlfriend with the defective sense of smell that allowed you to fart away with impunity, and how you’re always testing a new woman by taking things like flowers or candles and sticking them under her nose and saying Smell this, or how you like to watch videos of barely legal women getting screwed by penises you fantasize are your own, and . . . why don’t we just stop right here before we totally debase/disgrace ourselves. (Note to self: think of word that combines “debase” and “disgrace,” add to dictionary. Degrace? Disbase? Well, okay, work on it.)

Dogwallow – refers to the Led Zeppelin fan’s obsession with her dog, how she can talk about nothing but her “little baby,” and how happy her leetle bébé is when her mami gets home, and oh isn’t he just a good little boy for waiting so patiently, oh yes ‘im is! And you flash forward to a future with this woman, adjusting your boys in a too-tight tux answering whether you can take this dogfully wedded life. But you have to admit the dog is damn cute (and don’t those bulging eyes look familiar?), but it’s yappy and hyper as hell, and you have to shake him off your shin because he’s providing an object lesson in what you want to do to his owner, and he runs back and forth scratching the floor with his nails, and you can’t have a conversation or even watch TV without having to play “Whose Slobbery Rubber Bone Is This?” or “Fetch the Dirty Smelly Saliva-Soaked Balled-Up Sock,” and you just try to WEAR HIM THE FUCK OUT so you can snuggle with his owner, but instead you get THE FUCK WORN OUT OF YOU. So you tell her you’ll call her, and you’re thinking you actually will call, but all bets are off when you get home and find a lifetime of dog hairs on your new black shirt and your black socks and the cargo pants you bought two months earlier because they make you look younger and more hip.

Women N/Ever Ending – the never-ending nature of a private dictionary such as this, because new situations call for new words, and, well, there’s this new woman. She has boyishly short hair that shows off her neck and about 10 metal loops around one ear (women’s ears, an encyclopedia . . . okay, you said that already). Her toes are a reasonable length, and her eyes are nothing like a bug’s. She’s still new, your radar hasn’t picked up any warning signals, so it doesn’t bother you that she repeats these stock little phrases: “You know what I’m sayin’?” “What’s that all about?” You’re thinking she’s the one.

This story appeared in Mad Hatter’s Review Vol. 9, February, 2008.

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