I haven't posted in a while, because stuff has kept piling up in my life, and I wasn't sure what to say about it. Even now, some of my issues are ongoing, so talking about them feels like maybe the story will change by the time I'm done telling it. But for now, I just want to get as much of it off my back as I can.
On the Fourth of July, Sara, Thom, Raine, Guy and I went out to the Jersey coast for a beach day. It was hot and crowded, but everywhere was. Plus, in such a large crowd, I felt less self-conscious about baring skin than I usually do. Out of a desire to girl it up, I opted for a strapless bikini, which I regretted during the numerous times I felt like I was going to pop out of it. Yikes.
I should note that we asked Cyndi and Leo along, but we've been seeing less and less of them lately. None of us really knows what's up with them, but we're guessing they're not so close anymore.
Sara and Thom went off on their own. Raine and Guy stayed in one spot, but mostly put on an impressive bout of PDA. See, here's the thing. Since Buddy left, Raine and Guy have been all over each other. Apparently, they toned down their displays because they didn't want to be insensitive to Buddy, whom they knew wasn't getting anything off me. But apparently it's okay to put on these long groping matches for my benefit, because I should be used to it.
That's the part of having Tori's life that I hate. I can't argue that she should be used to that crap, and she's probably done plenty of it in her life, so any objections I have are not taken seriously. I am, after all, a self-conscious computer geek with the body of a cute hairdresser, although it's been a long time since I thought of myself that way instead of just "me."
I thought about leaving and finding my own spot to read and tan, but as I've learned, a single girl in a bikini is pretty much a signal to all the jerks of the world to flock over. I spent a fair bit on the morning being chatted up by a dude with a pretty impressive body, but nothing interesting to say. I know it's weird that I just said that, (even after a year) but I had to admit it. Good looking guy. But boring and annoying as hell.
I eventually managed to ditch him and go grab some food. I got in line behind a cute girl (hey, I can admit that too!) And that's when I exercised one of the benefits of this body.
I struck up a conversation with her.
Now, let me be clear. She wasn't gorgeous, but who really is? She was petite, with a cute face, and a nice tan. I needed somebody to talk to, so I just said it. "So, the creeps are really out today, huh?"
She smiled, "Oh God, I know. I usually have a boyfriend to fend them off, but he's off with 'the guys.'" She said this dismissively. I played along, like yeah, how dare they spend time with their friends instead of us ladies. It's kind of sad to me how my relationships with men are mostly predicated on whether they're dating one of my friends, or whether they want to get with me. She suggested we stick together, since there's strength in numbers.
Then I started having one of those "Wow, I'm really not Cliff anymore" moments, because as a guy I would've been too overwhelmed (by my hormones) to really function after that, but it was cool. I mean, shit, I really am a girl now, I get along really well with girls, and I don't feel nervous and intimidated by them anymore. They see me as one of their own, judge me accordingly, and I've gotten very comfortable acting the part.
After we ate, we laid out and tanned a while, and then she encouraged me to get involved in a playful game of tag with some excitable college boys and some other girls. It was fun, until one of them started to get handsy. I scolded him about it and he seemed sincerely apologetic, but then got up to the same tricks with another girl... and she was more receptive.
By the end of the day, tired and tanlined, I said goodbye to my new friend as she met up with her boyfriend, leaving me with a sad reminder that I might continue to be alone for a while, no matter how I look. Left back to my lonesome, I also parted with my friends to follow up on a deal I had made with my brother Ken to have dinner with him and his fiancee Jana (after putting on some real clothes, of course.)
She made pasta salad with chicken. She's a really good cook, actually, although she's still a little dull in conversation. I faked my way through a discussion about our childhood with Ken, and there were a few times when I guess I slipped up because I misremembered details from Tori's diaries. I kept having to fall back on my "I can barely remember those days" excuse, which gets less and less believable the more recent the topic.
Jana went to bed early. Ken and I stayed up and watch a movie - I had to convince him that "Shaun of the Dead" was something I would, in fact, now enjoy. I fell asleep on the couch and he left me.
At 2 AM, I woke up to the sounds of Jana squealing in the bedroom. What is it about this family and their loud sexual habits? I don't know. I had to pretend like I didn't hear it the next morning over breakfast, but when Ken was giving me a lift back to Philly, I eventually slipped up and started teasing him about it.
He was a good sport about it. "We're close, Vic," he says, using my 'family nickname,' "So it's okay if we talk about it, but please, please never tell me if you know anything about Mae's sex life. As far as I'm concerned, she's still 12."
We joked around for the rest of the ride. I'll finish the story later.