Friday, May 28, 2010

Busty Move

At least twice a week I eat lunch at the bar in the restaurant where I work (as an event planner). My coworker and I wait until 2:30pm to take our seats when the lunch crowd is dwindling and there are only a handful of suits left at the bar alternating between blinking Blackberries and mid-day cocktails. It makes for great people watching.

On Monday I was enjoying a delectable lunch (roasted chicken with ramps and morels) when an attractive Asian woman took a seat across from me at the bar. Two giant breasts, not at all proportional to her small frame, spilled out of the collar of her wrap dress. She practically propped them onto the bar. I looked. The entire restaurant looked. It was hard not to.

She was meeting a man. I eavesdropped. They chatted business/finance. She sounded smart. She had a loud unself-conscience laugh and used it generously. After about three minutes of observation, I decided that I liked her. She was undeniably comfortable in her skin. Her cleavage and easy laugh commanded the room. Men were drooling. Jealous women rolled their eyes. Good for her.

I sized up my own chest. Not too big or small, I've always been satisfied with the size of my "girls." They arrived relatively early when I was about 11. I remember a Sunday morning in the 5th grade sitting at the breakfast table with my older brother and a handful of his friends who had slept over. I was wearing my pajamas- a white T-shirt and boxer shorts.

"Nana (my nickname), when did you get boobs?" my brother proclaimed. His 18-year-old friends erupted in laughter. I turned magenta and stormed out. I wore a sports bra and tank top under my school uniform the next day. I wasn't ready for boobs.

Eventually, I discovered their power. In college, I showcased them often, playing up my cleavage with spaghetti straps and push up bras. But it's been a while since I've really worked them. The busty woman at the bar inspired a shopping trip. After all, few things perk me up like buying new cutesy unders.

First stop, Victoria's Secret. With help from Daphne, "fit specialist" and apparently new best friend, I took two of their heavily advertised new bras to the fitting room: The BioFit and The Miraculous. The Miraculous promises a 2-cup upgrade. I was intrigued, a $48 boob job. I strapped it on and burst into laughter. Daphne asked if I was OK.

"I'm Dolly Parton," I answered, cleavage inches away from my chin.

Thanks to about two inches of gel padding my chest looked like an apple bottom.

The BioFit, a bra that can be worn 7 different ways, seemed more my speed. I wiggled into it and started to test the options: strapless, across one shoulder, halter, racer back and 3 ridiculously impractical crisscross patterns that Daphne (who's now standing virtually on top of me in the fitting room) was eager to show. She snapped and tugged me into each of the 7 "revolutionary" options, at one point literally picking up my breasts to "maximize bombshell cleavage." Despite the invasion of space, I loved my new best friend Daphne and consequently shelled out 50 bucks for a new bra.

Later that night, I "wore" my boobs out. Whether it was the cleavage or the little boost of confidence it gave me, I seemed to get some extra attention that night. Men are predictable. Then again, I'm not breaking down any stereotypes by working my chest.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Waiting to Speak

I don't mind first dates. Granted, with a five year monogamous relationship behind me, I haven't been on all that many. But the few dates I have been invited on have generally been entertaining, and if not so entertaining at the time they always deliver a worthwhile story.

Blame it on the same part of me that adores ice breaker games at school orientations. I like all the questions and answers. I like the challenge of figuring someone out, and on my most vain days, I like the opportunity to prove that I can be witty or endearing or surprising. Arrogant but true.

On a recent first(ish) date, I came to an unsettling realization.

Too often, I'm just waiting to speak.

He's was interesting, charming, funny, but I wasn't really listening. I'm too busy picking my next move. How will I respond? What cutesy anecdote can I tell? How can I make him laugh? I was stuck in my own head, missing the opportunity to really try to figure this guy out.

The realization is embarrassing. Do I ever just listen without an agenda?

Next time we hung out, I made a conscience effort to shut up. I had more fun. I'm pretty sure he had a better time too.

Truth is, we all like to talk about ourselves. (I keep a blog.) It's harmless human nature. This little experiment just reminded me that listening, really listening to someone else, is pretty fun too.

Hello Bagel

I keep missing my bed time, tucking in when I can count the hours until my alarm shouts on half a hand. If you let it New York will keep you up late.

It was especially tough lifting out of bed Wednesday morning. It was dank and chilly for May (yes, Floridian blog readers, we're still wearing our heavy coats over here). But I had to face the rain because, well, it was Wednesday.

To motivate my early start I promised myself a bagel. As the kind of gal who takes immense pleasure in planning meals, this was just enough incentive to shower me, dress me and put me on a subway to midtown.

All this for an Ess-A-Bagel...and worth every carb-loaded bite. This bagel shop, dangerously close to my office on 50th and 3rd Avenue, has been in business for about 40 years. It's the kinda bagel shop I presume you can only find in New York: a full Kosher deli with career bagel shmearers behind the counter. The hand-rolled bagels are always warm out of the oven with a hint doughnies where you want it. They're good enough naked but the spreads there are what keep me coming back.

My coworker, a native New Yorker, introduced me to Essa-A. She insisted on ordering for me the first time we walked over.

"Whole-wheat, toasted, scooped-out, scallion-tofu cream cheese, lettuce and tomato," she ordered then turned to me, "Just trust me."

I had serious doubts.

Scooped-out means please rip out all the excess dough until there's just a thin sad bagel shell left.

It's downright un-American, but I've been known to let it happen. I wont dab the grease off a slice of pizza or push the bun off my burger, but I scoop.

Scooping, OK. Scallion tofu, not OK.

I'm Argentinian. I'm not a vegetarian. Still, I'm up for anything and with food I have a strict try everything once policy.

As the begining of this post hinted, I was very pleasently surprised by my scooped-out tofu order. The tofu spread tastes just like the regular stuff, if not creamier, and the bagel minus all the dense middle is crispier on the edges (just how I like it).

I ordered the same on Wednesday, and although it sent the rest of my rainy morning into an unproductive food coma, it was worth every carb.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Last thing you want to wake up to...

It was up too early last Saturday morning after a Friday night out. The sun fought me out of bed. It was too nice out, and I had too much to do. I shuffled through my living room, about to turn the corner into my kitchen when I heard my roommate, Whitney, yell out from her bedroom.

"I'm so sorry, Vanessa! They're leaving soon!" she yelped.


Did Whitney bring home a guy...multiple sketchy guys from a bar who were now passed out on our kitchen counters? (impossible). My sleepy brain didn't understand the warning.

"Wait, what?"

As she popped out of her bedroom to explain, I heard "them".

My jaw dropped, limbs froze. I reverted back to age 5.

I'm in the mulched playground outside St. Mary's School in a plaid jumper. The red remnants of snack time's juice box are probably stained into the corners of my mouth. A classmate points at my shoulder and shrieks in terror. Instinct tells me to swat. The bee stings me on my hand and my shoulder.

From that moment on I was terrified of bees. And since bees smell fear (no idea if that's factual) I have been stung four miserable times since the kindergarten playground debacle. On my butt cheek, on my arm and twice on my thighs.

So when I heard that unmistakable drone a few feet ahead, in my own home, I was frozen with terror.

How do I, of all people, live with a beekeeper.

Just a few feet across from me on the windowsill in my kitchen was a netted box stuffed with 12,000 live bees. They're buzzing like neon, clumped in a black dementor from Harry Potter mound.

I would have preffered the sketchy bar dudes.

Whitney owns a honey bee hive. She keeps it on the rooftop of the building where she works. It was time to add bees to her hive and through some horrendous series of misfortunes, the 12,000 caged new bees ended up sleeping over on Friday night.

"Can't they get out of that box?"

"No. It's totally secure. I brought them home in a cab."

I imagined the bees loose in a cab, stingers tapping against the plastic partition as they covered the driver. My palms got sweaty.

They were gone less than a couple hours later. I thanked Saint Mary.

Whitney came home that day with two new stings. Both were swollen into pink balls.

I worry one day a bee will follow Whitney home in her pocket, cling to the lining of her coat until she unlocks the door and it has the chance to torpedo out toward me.

I can live with that fear but not with 12,000 bees.

Got it, Whit?