My Support Ribbon Will Be Scarlet
Or leprosy, even. You could live for ten years without a clue you're one big fleshy time bomb of decay until your nose started rotting off.
I don’t have that either. My secret sickness is nameless. I’m wondering if I can make it my eponymous syndrome since I’m both the discoverer and a sufferer. I’m thinking kathburculosis, or kathynemia, or something similarly medical-sounding yet pizzazzy. My disease is both extremely low in incidence (apparently just me, actually) and pathogenically mysterious. There is no known cure. It is not contagious. There are no outward symptoms until I am placed in the correct circumstances for a flare-up, and this only happens at one of two bars in Williamsburg that shall not be named lest the lecherous decide to prey on my feeble condition.
I will be talking to a dude. Things will seem normal. Things will persist for hours and, perhaps, even get slightly exciting; the whole “Oh wait a minute, does this dude like me? I think this dude likes me!” song and dance is probably my favorite shit in the world. Things are fun! Things are promising! Things may have progressed in any number of amorous directions! But then every time, every single time, my itis or my osis or whatever kicks in and I cannot avoid the following:
Me: “Blah blah blah blah blah.”
Guy: “Blah blah. Blah, my girlfriend, blah blah blah.”
Then I’ll immediately have to place the period on the sentence of our interaction and go home and go straight to bed. Or else take two shots and call one of my friends in the morning with the news that, yet again, I was enjoying the scenery so much I didn’t notice I was wandering onto the adulterous side of the street.
They say to starve a fever and feed a cold, but there isn’t much folksy advice for dudesareweirdtoyoumonia. For lack of a better explanation, I’ve chosen to believe it’s a germ that causes only guys with girlfriends to get the appeal of my devastating and legendary beauty, my razor wit, my understated charm, and—above all—my ladylike manners. And while there is some formerly Catholic segment of my brain that screams, “Be grateful anyone likes it!” and “GUILT GUILT GUILT GUILT GUILT for even talking to that guy!” there’s a more rational lobe that would like to find a cure. There’s got to be some antibiotic or inhaler or injection or poultice that’ll make me feel less like a silver medal with boobs. Or a jerk. Or a jerk who’s kind of pissed off because yet another shady guy was about it without bothering to let me know they weren’t supposed to be.
The kicker is that there’s no lack of cool guys without girlfriends who I legitimately like. Off the top of my head, I can come up with at least three who I think about with a preteen intensity, who I legitimately enjoy speaking to and who are not morally bound to keep it to the “just bros” level. These are pointless crushes that range in duration from years to, like, a couple days, but until I’m on the receiving end of a medical breakthrough I’m not sure there’s any way to get them interested without them getting hitched first.
In the meantime, I think I’ll just go to work, go home and dose myself with this medicinal mix I’ve concocted that’s 1 part 30 Rock, 2 parts hot and sour soup, 1/2 part Jim Beam if shit gets rough, and 3 parts the couch. It probably won’t cure anything, but it’s a decent way to spend a Thursday.