cum guzzling thunder cunt

It is Thanksgiving 2020, and what resides at the top of my “do yourself a favor and don’t think about this” list is what I have to be thankful for this year. I’m not short on “blessings” — truly, my current situation could be far, far worse — but that would require reflecting on this past year, and you know what? Doing such a dangerous task with a hangover sounds like a good way to end up crying so hard that I vomit, so instead, I am going to write about how I got suspended from school sophomore year for getting beat up to the point where my boyfriend had to intervene. 

(He merely restrained her by pressing his knee into her throat. She turned purple as she experienced severe difficulty breathing, struggling to gasp out, “SOMEONE GET THIS FUCKING [insensitive slur for gay men, don’t make me repeat it] OFF OF ME,” but still, this upset a lot of people; an angry mob of teenagers formed on Facebook.)

After three weeks, I finally returned to school, assuming that shit, I’ve been gone a long time! There was simply no possibility of anyone remembering that embarrassing little skirmish! Certainly those who were threatening death upon my boo for beating up a girl (kind-of-sort-of, but not really… you know how rumors fly and people just love adding their own spice to a story… who knows that better than a writer, and I was even one back then because I didn’t have any friends and thought that if I talked to myself on paper, I would finally shut the fuck up for good) forgot all about their elaborate plans for violent retribution! 


He high-fived me, but I think he meant well. I sunk into my seat.

The fight started over the girl taking it upon herself to defend my best friend’s honor after her and I had a brief and petulant falling out. She posted “Rose Damian is a cum guzzling thunder cunt” on Facebook — I left a comment impolitely disclosing I found her to be a tad overweight — she responded by politely disclosing that she was going to beat the fuck out of me the next day. I turned to my boyfriend. 

“It has been brought to my attention that she is going to beat the fuck out of me tomorrow.” 

“It’s just Facebook,” he shrugged. “You know she won’t do shit.”

Well, tomorrow came, and I heard her ominously sauntering to my direction from afar because she was wearing those scratchy pants made out of windbreaker material and I thought, “Oh, god damnit…. I am supposed to get beat up today! She came prepared! She’s in loungewear! How did I forget?” 

“Rose, you’re a dumb fucking bitch and if call me fat to my fucking face, I will rip your fucking hair out,” she spat.

I, a dumb fucking bitch with a miserable fucking attitude when I was a teenager despite possessing not once ounce of physical force to back any horrendous statement my fucking mouth loved to spew out, smiled. 

“Okay.” I paused for dramatic flair. “…Fatty.” 

A woman of her word, she ripped my fucking hair out.

My boyfriend was napping against my shoulder because for him, night time was for playing World of Warcraft, and school time was for sleeping. (He spent his entire four-year high-school career in the ninth grade.) He continued to nap through the first ten seconds, later admitting that he “felt me get pulled away but thought I just got up to hug somebody” — a completely illogical deduction because I had no friends and I do not hug. He was finally roused from his idyllic, angelic baby slumber by me yelling, “FUCKIN’ HELP ME!” 

He snapped her fingers back so she would let go of my hair; owie; her fingers hurt and she didn’t like that; now mad as shit, she started beating him up… and that brings us back to him sitting on top of her with his knee in her throat, her yelling [insensitive slur for gay men, don’t make me repeat it, I only included it to unload some of the well-deserved ignominy I will receive for admitting that I frequently fat-shamed other girls when I was 15 onto her], the principal pulling my boyfriend off of her, and me back-handing her in the face good and hard because I saw an opportunity and I went for it, like most pussies (or “cum guzzling thunder cunts”). 

That’s how I got suspended and legally charged with aggravated assault and disorderly conduct. Had I not taken my cheap shot like the spoiled bitch I was, or, as the principal suggested, “put a chair between her and I to prevent her from attacking me” (as if after somehow releasing myself from her talons’ grip, I would run to the cafeteria, grab a chair, and run back to place it between us instead of RUNNING THE WHOLE FUCKING WAY HOME TO MY MOMMY), I wouldn’t have been punished. 

Now, there is no doubt that I fully deserved losing a few chunks of hair1 for being an incorrigible asshole who took great pleasure in running her incorrigible asshole of a mouth, but the girl who whooped my actual asshole apologized to my (now ex) boyfriend a few years ago, and I was fuckin’ indignant. I never expected an apology because I did not deserve one; honestly, had I ran into her somewhere, I would have offered repentance for being a turd. What perplexed me was what warped, sad, gender-inferiority complex she had to be under the influence of to feel obligated to apologize to him… What did she even say? “I’m sorry I had to beat your girlfriend up because she was a bitch, but I am more sorry that you had to get involved because she was a LITTLE bitch?” 

Dumbass, in her fuckin’ scratchy, noisy-ass parachute pants…

1I would like to note that prior to this incident, my over-processed-scene-queen locks had been reduced to brittle, delicate straw, and had she stroked my hair in a gesture of physical intimacy, the same amount probably would have broken off between her grubby fingers, and yes, I am undermining her strength over a decade later because I am still a fucking dick.

a real life barbie-turate doll

I have never been able to sleep well and it has only gotten worse now that I am an adult with real problems. The only thing that ever worked to counteract my insomnia has been drinking, primarily hard liquor, and now, I am not only generally exhausted, but also tired of being hungover, the stomach issues, and inherently feeling as if I am a barbarian because I have to get wasted to fall asleep. 

One week, I decided to cut it out: I had one or two beers before bed, which I consider to be a responsible amount of intake… You see, I did not want to quit drinking; there’s nothing sadder than a reformed drunk, my mother always said (…and probably regrets it, now). 

Because I cannot win or do anything to better my physical or mental health without repercussions, I still could not sleep: I developed a rash from using fabric softener that made my clothes smell like a fresh spring meadow instead of cigarettes and tacos, so I laid there for hours, itching and fretting over who this boy could be talking to that made for better conversation than myself; after four months of him being the highlight of my days, I was not surprised by his sudden, unexplained absence, but disappointed that I did not plan ahead for his inevitable disappearance; I itched and rolled onto my side, thinking that I should not have allowed vodka and a jackass to be the only thing I looked forward to in life; I itched and rolled onto my back, thinking that I should have gone to college so I did not work such a strenuous job; I itched and rolled onto my other side, thinking that I should start posting naked pictures of myself to bump up my book sales; I itched and rolled onto my stomach, wondering what I had done to deserve not being able to fucking sleep

When hour four of my itchy-scratchy-pity-party started to creep up, I thought, you know what? If this is what it is to be “normal,” then I will welcome it! I’m fine! Maybe Normal People™ can’t sleep, either, and just lie about it… I’ve always thought they were just clinging to a facade, right? This is why I have Adderall! Normal People™ totally rely on prescription drugs to function, too; that’s why I used to buy them off of weirdos!

 Approaching hour six, I decided that was bullshit — everything was bullshit — and I mistook delirium from exhaustion as having my very first positive mindstate. Repeating a mantra about how I was fine would never be enough to make it true, and if I could not sleep, I decided I would kill myself; lost in a fantasy of eternal rest, I finally passed out and woke up to being called in on my only day off to have a shitty afternoon at work. 

My coworker asked, “How’s the no-hard-liquor thing going? Feelin’ any better?” 

He smiled and gave me a thumbs up. 

“It went.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” 

His smile started to fade and he put his thumb back down. 

“It means I left twenty minutes early today to stop and get a bottle of Tito’s because I just might disintegrate if I don’t get any sleep tonight.” 

My compromise was that I would have some self control, limit my intake; the only reason why I wasn’t able to do so in the past is because I wanted to chug the shit: it helped me sleep, and I just wanted to sleep! Everything would be so much better if I could sleep! I could sleep without downing half the bottle! A shot would knock me out… a nice, heavily poured shot! I would have one a night! That was the plan, that was the cure! 

….Alas, as I was unlocking my front door, I dropped the bottle and it shattered down my concrete stairs. I had the worst alcoholic-induced tizzy that my mother has probably witnessed since my father’s final departure from our home in 2006. 

She heard the commotion and opened the front door to me sitting on a step, picking up broken glass and sobbing. 

“Fuckin’ Christ, Rose. Don’t touch that with your bare hands. Let me get a broom.”

“I didn’t even want it. I don’t ever want it. I just can’t fucking sleep and everyday is so bad. I can’t be here anymore if I don’t sleep.” 

“…Do you need me to go get you another bottle?”

Ashamed enough, I just cried harder, and as I drove myself to buy a new bottle, I decided that there is something sadder than a reformed drunk: Me. 

I also decided to give sleeping pills a try, and that’s when funny things started happening to me. 

(The most hilarious side-effect of sleeping pills is that I actually get rest instead of doing 360 degree turns and scratching myself raw until I deem it an appropriate hour to quit pretending and get out of bed; sometimes, I’d even stretch to make it believable and get a charlie horse because you can’t be a drunk and properly hydrated enough to prevent muscle atrophy… Who would’ve thought?)

I had a nightmare where a boy rejected me, sparing no harsh criticism and leaving no rickety, dilapidated, pitiful bridge for us to return to each other through later; in real life, we always returned to each other. The cadence, word choice, and sentence structure of his dialogue was so vividly true to character that I confronted him the next day when he tried to spark up a conversation with me (in this reality), as if he hadn’t broken my heart (in an alternate reality that it is frowned upon to acknowledge exists; you look like the person who chats loudly with themselves at the grocery store). Thankfully, he once had a mental episode where he believed he was Jesus Christ reincarnated, and after announcing this revelation in a febrile speech to a decent sized crowd of his adoring fans, was temporarily housed with two psychologists for constant monitoring, and advised against smoking weed for it brings out his “schizophrenic tendencies”… If I was going to make a drug-induced blunder with any man, he was an experienced and understanding candidate. 

Another night, I ate a full loaf of overdone french bread and woke up with another full-body rash from laying in its scattered, sharp crumbs. I hallucinated that I went downstairs for a glass of water, noticed that someone left my back-door unlocked and the porch light on, went to correct the errors, but I wasn’t fast enough: two masked attackers were taking advantage of our carelessness and vastly approaching with weapons to take my anal virginity. I woke up in a panic, went downstairs to ensure that there were no fatal errors to correct, noticed that someone did leave my back-door unlocked and the porch light on, shrugged, and went back to bed. (I still don’t have an explanation for this one.)  

Recently, I woke up at around 6am to see a text from a boy — the same one who knows he is Jesus Christ in my eyes and for that, does not have the heart to send me away in this dimension. It read: “AHHH! THE GIRL UNDER HIS BED IS SO SCARY!” 

…Now, my reading comprehension skills abandoning me at prime, inconvenient moments, as if I do not dedicate hours a day to exercising them, has primely inconvenienced me over the past few years, but with my brain heavy from alcohol and barbiturates, I at least had an excuse for interpreting this text message as, “AHH! THERE IS A SCARY GIRL UNDER MY BED!”; I especially had an excuse for responding with, “GET YOUR GUN AND GET OUT OF THE HOUSE!” and then snuggling back up with my pillow and my puppy to continue my peaceful slumber, hopefully dreaming of me and that boy having nasty enough sex for me to get rugburn on my knees. Who cares if some abominable, possessed, murderous woman killed him in this universe? I was sure-as-shit in a different one! 

(Plus, I would undeniably shoot my hand over my heart, gasp, and tear up from the supreme flattery of him texting me, out of anybody, while in immediate danger. I would pen a twelve page essay dissecting the potential meaning behind him thinking of me in what could have been his final moments, leading up to the conclusion that I was right all along: He is madly in love with me…  or was, maybe — he claims to have terrible aim with his gun, and what if this intruder was not a demon, but someone highly under the influence of drugs? Bullets don’t always bring them down.) 

None of this takes away from the inarguable tenet that if this man hits me, his drunk friend who takes sleeping pills and lives on the other side of the country, up during a late-night emergency, he deserves to die for being a goddamn fool. His shrewdness and 1/4th minority blood would keep him alive til about halfway through a horror movie; he’s beautiful, not in the classic way that secures a death sentence for a character, but probably lacks any survival skills… I don’t even think he’s ever gone camping. 

Anyway, because you can read — and I love that you read, there is no better way to exercise your brain and garner all the power in the world — and I am very thankful that you chose to read me, out of all of the wordsmiths to ever grace a page, you are keeping me alive — you already know that there was no succubus, escaped insane asylum inmate, or someone who was bored enough to give PCP a try hiding under his bed, waiting to strike while he was streaming porn and vulnerable: This motherfucker was just watching the show Hannibal and texting me about it at 6am, 3am for him… 3000 miles away, right? Time difference. You remember. You read. Thanks again. The end. 

awful lot: my condolences to teachers

I am a career server. This was not my intended vocation — I certainly never lulled myself to sleep as a hopeful adolescent with fantasies of taking 15 tables at once or screaming at adult men over unequal salad portions — but I also never had a feasible career in mind. The “future” seemed like something that would never arrive and my parents didn’t pay enough attention to me to force me to set a goal and adhere to it. All I wanted to do was be in a band, but I never even had the drive to learn an instrument, and Slipknot already had a steady member who hits the keg-drum with a baseball bat during “Duality”; I’m terrible at math; science classes consistently felt like watching a movie in a foreign language without subtitles; I pass out at the sight of blood and most body fluids; I lack the artistic eye required to see something and “vision” to be something else, something better; I loved reading, but I never considered writing as anything more than a way to organize my thoughts and calm my nerves. 

I trudged half-heartedly through college, taking the basic required courses with a shrug, assuming I was heading in the only direction available for someone like me: Teaching English… What else was there to do? I am very vocal about despising the “normal” 9-5 lifestyle, but that is now, not then; though I didn’t feel “normal,” I hadn’t a clue that there was a different kind of normal out there for people like me…. until I stumbled into a job in the restaurant industry. 

I found my home, man: the debauchery, the stress, the cursing, the heated emotions, and the chaos were addicting to me. I was thriving financially, making “adult” money for the first time in my “adult” life… without a degree, which most of the other full-time employees had. Many even had the exact degree I was slowly working towards, so why were they working there?

…I doubt I need to explain why. Once I read that the starting salary for English teachers in public school was less than what I made a year as a hostess, I dropped out. I started serving and making twice the amount of money. It’s been five years, and I bought a house and a car and everything I needed; I’m nearing 30; I’m an “adult,” I guess. 

Restaurants have this magical quality (some could argue “delusion”) that make you feel like you never grew up: drinking, drugs, partying, staying up all night, and sex are rampant and accepted as normal. Everyone I love has a similar lifestyle because if they didn’t, we would drift apart; to some, we’re barbarians, and they’re not far off. My mom loves to bully me about only dating “losers” — line cooks — and I argue back, “Where the fuck would I find someone ‘normal,’ Mom? I don’t go anywhere but work.”

“I am sure you wait on plenty of good catches a night.”

Yeah, and they don’t want shit to do with me as soon as they find out that I am not in school to be a dental hygienist: I only do this… and oh, yeah, Rose is a writer, but a quick investigation performed by anyone who isn’t a complete idiot will unfortunately reveal that “writing” is still only a way to organize my thoughts and calm my nerves. Rose is also never available until about 10pm most nights, and Rose is a fucking drunk, so please make certain to work readily-available refreshments into the date we will never have. 

I lost the crux: I’m a server because being a teacher sounded like a fate worse than death and I didn’t know what else there was to do. I can’t fathom arguing with teenagers that they should read a fucking book, if for no other reason than if they read the fucking book, they will pass the fucking test, only to fail to convince a single one. I have been the only student to raise their hand every time a teacher asked a question because I was the only person in class who read the fucking book, and how frustrated and exhausted and disheartened the teachers were was palpable enough for me to recognize even as a teenager, no less selfish or shitty than the rest of my peers… English was just the only class I enjoyed, and I pitied them, and wanted to put an end to their miserable and hopeless spectacle. I read the books they assigned during my other classes and pissed those teachers off, too. 

….Now, I felt this way before the world ended and teachers were thrown into the hellfire to — quite literally — die. Restaurant workers were not spared, either, but I clock in every day with the blind hope that at least a decent amount of the dozens of patrons who breathe on me are vaccinated as I touch countless things they put their mouth on and sometimes have the time to wash my hands after, but children are not eligible for the vaccin. (Welcome to Planet Shit.) I intentionally do not read too far into the discourse surrounding the hellacious catastrophe the government forced our educators to walk into this school year, though not in a way that suggests “La la la! I can’t hear you! Teehee! What? Bad things are happening in the world? Not mine! Who cares!” but La la la: I care, so I’m afraid that if I hear too much, I will want to die. 

Unfortunately, teachers go out to eat, and eavesdropping is a skill quickly developed by not only all of us so-called “writers,” but bored restaurant employees. Teachers also want relationships, and their “normal” schedules (that I so vehemently oppose) render them capable of going on “normal” dates (such as to a decent restaurant to get dinner and not a seedy bar to drink your dinner) at “normal” hours (7pm: the busy rush for people like me). 

I ran food to a couple that was obviously a first-date; you can’t ignore the bubbly nervousness, the awkward giggling to fill any potential silence, the meticulous attention-to-detail paid to their every movement… and the refusal to make eye-contact with me as I call out their entrees like we are not all goddamn adults. 

Ah, whatever, I thought as I dropped their plates and scurried off. You remember what it’s like to be nervous and excited around someone you’re interested in, right? Somewhere in your rotted brain, Rose? And I did! I do! I love love! 

…Alas, I was standing near that same table when I heard her say, “Well, it’s been… Hectic. Four children in my class have tested positive, but I think they were exposed from their bus-driver, but I don’t know what that means for me…” 

Oh… Oh, no… What that probably means is that this poor fellow is deeply regretting agreeing to sit a foot away from her in this rather busy restaurant instead of, oh, I don’t know… yelling across an empty field at each other using megaphones on a day where this is no wind, but maybe I am just a dick. Maybe I am just upset that I had to be reminded of how many helpless children are falling extremely ill and our government couldn’t give less of a shit, all because I overheard this depressing first-date discourse between some adult dweeb that ordered a plain cheese pizza and a poor girl who already works one of the most thankless and torturous jobs on the planet and has now taken upon herself the grueling burden of finding someone to love her. 

we, as a species, are overwhelmed… by breeders

To encourage writing more when inspiration strikes, despite whatever state (of inebriation) I may be in at the moment, I have reverted back to jotting quick thoughts down into a notebook. Most are trivial observations: I just gave Mimi a bully stick that was bent at a 90° angle… who hurt him? or the sexy new line cook does not appear to have any outstanding felonies in Richmond or surrounding counties and the five-minute-later-update of well, that may be because I spelled his name wrong, but I don’t feel like doing this fucking shit again tonight!!!!!, but who is to say those won’t turn into an award-winning article? 

This may seem like a resignation to deevolution considering that I spent $1400 on the world’s fanciest “notebook,” but there’s no great loss if I knock a beer over onto a notebook — it is probably for the best that most of my drunken thoughts are smeared or washed away — and something about putting words on paper reduces the (however uncalled for, but still existent) pressure that accompanies the formal undertones of sitting down in front of a computer with the intention to write not only something, but a piece of quality, and takes me back to when I simply maintained a diary to organize my thoughts. I had no one to please; I wasn’t writing for an audience; truly, I’d be humiliated had even a close friend peeked at one of the pages. 

(Plus, haven’t I read that most writers keep a notebook on hand at all times? Surely, this is still common with journalists, even during the age of ubiquitous cell phones… Unless everyone else is far more productive and capable and devoid of my particular debilitating habits, which could explain why they are legitimate “journalists” and I still don’t feel comfortable admitting that I’ve risen even a notch above the rank of “person with a diary.”)

Introduction aside, a recent entry was a complaint, formulated as an inquiry into the void, regarding my Instagram explore page’s perplexing invasion by women whose entire existence is ruled by their (unfortunate to them, I gather) inability to conceive children. 

The thesis was obvious: What the fuck did they have to do with me? How they hell did they get there? 

The grid on my page will contain a photo of woman’s “baby bump,” one of a newborn next to a handmade “THE BEST 40K DADDY EVER SPENT” sign, Megan Fox and MGK’s most recent paparazzi shot (ok, that one I did to myself), a woman brandishing ultrasound photos and an enormous smile, a woman brandishing ultrasound photos and a frown and teary eyes, Clown from Slipknot’s newest rendition of his mask (someone help Clown!!!! Pull him away from the hoes!!!!), and a gorgeous selfie from a woman that seems innocuous enough… until I read the essay-length caption about how after six attempts at IVF, they think this might be the winning one, but are trying to remain calm for obvious reasons. 

I mean, I get it — I can’t get pregnant, either — but that’s due to a crippling laziness and overall disenchantment regarding the process of finding someone to have sex with me, and believe me, that’s for the best: My sister and I both intend to see to it that this (heavily diluted by alcohol) shitty bloodline ends with us. I would rather suffer through a root canal than “explore” that particular layer of social media Hell, and I can only assume that I brought this psychological warfare on myself by occasionally hate-lurking a girl from high school that my ex had a crush on while we were broken up in 11th grade. She’s a total Instagram-lifestyle-mom and recently had a fucked up baby… and I am sorry to her for my acrimony and to her fucked up baby for being born fucked up (he is doing fine, don’t yell at me), but I enjoy gawking at the unfathomable dichotomy between her life and mine: It always leaves me oscillating between feeling relieved by the freedom of my debaucherous existence and like an unsalvageable barbarian who will never know true love. 

On the bright side, neither of us ended up with my ex. 

Now, motherhood is a delicate subject that, aside from being a woman, I am severely underqualified for discussing and run an extreme risk of sounding like an insensitive, jaded asshole even commenting on it (when I have already really pushed the limits with that fucked up baby comment), but hear me out: I completely understand why women would want to become mothers. Perhaps they came from generations of big, welcoming families and know no better than to follow in their footsteps, did not grow up in a loving home and wish to rectify their parents’ wrongdoings by bestowing a child with the life they dreamed of, or live comfortably enough to easily ignore that the world is growing more and more unfit for and unfair to humans with each passing day. (Jokes aside about my fear that I will never find a suitable partner to mate with and wouldn’t be able to quit smoking and drinking for nine months even if I did, that’s my personal reason for birth control.) Plus, whether we like it or not, we are also heavily influenced by the inherent desire in all walks of life to reproduce: If that intrinsic need is not why you ended up with six children by the time you were 28, it is at least why you waste hours of the day aimlessly scrolling through dating apps, or (if you’re me), stress yourself out brainstorming ways to tell the new line cook at work that he looks so good in those damn pants… without outright saying that he looks so good in those damn pants. 

One of the saddest things to witness is someone who doesn’t know when to give up or accept that whatever idea they or plan they made, they were wrong; I deal with it everyday that I clock in at my restaurant job, come home exhausted from speaking all day that I have lost my stomach for words, write nothing, and find no offer for a book deal in my email inbox. I only even ended up in the service industry because all I ever wanted to be was Courtney from the metalcore band Spiritbox, but I can’t sing, and while I have no genuine justification for exactly why I hate lurk the Instagram mom I haven’t seen since graduating ten years ago, it gives me the willies to know that the kind of women who were suddenly teeming my explore page probably gaze at her profile and feel inadequate, dejected, ignored, and overwhelmed by the belief that they must have done something wrong to not have that life, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. 

Sometimes you just may have to give up, redirect yourself, admit that something is not meant for you, and search outside the (spirit)box for what your true calling may be. I might never be anything more than a good server who can write a story about a shitty or peculiar customer with decent vocabulary, proper punctuation, and perfectly timed/placed humor, and while that’s a bit disappointing and a bad portent for my knees, that’s ok: I did my best; I have a hobby that I adore. These women have thousands of followers, constant encouragement and reassurement from all sides, and clearly enough money to afford multiple IVF treatments, which are not cheap… so I hope it works out for them, truly; I hope they get everything they so desperately want because it is far better on the psyche than having to accept that you will not — you cannot — for reasons out of your control. 

(I mostly hope that my Instagram recalibrates or uplifts whatever curse was brought upon my logarithm, because while I may have approached this subject with all the kindness and objectivity that I could muster, my original casual, informal, pressure-free, etc. drunken notebook scribbling was a plan only a cross between an evil genius and incorrigible dumbass could conjure up: I would perform a gonzo-style journalistic investigation, where I pose as a married woman who is having difficulty conceiving (kind of like the girl who recently went undercover as a fascist). After assimilating myself into that…. er, community, for however long it takes to garner thousands of sympathetic and like-minded followers, I will post that I didn’t know that you had to have sex to get pregnant, and so me and my husband gave it a shot, and as it turns out, his jizz is loaded, ladies! His spunk is as overcrowded as Scott’s Addition in Richmond, Virginia or any of these music festivals that keep happening as if the global pandemic has not! Sorry for the confusion! I’m already pregnant! Maybe y’all just need some new men. Best of luck! Xoxo! Also, have any one of you selfish, neurotic fuckers considering adopting one of the gazillion children in this world that no one loves? 

….But I just can’t see that working out well for me or my “career” or “reputation.”) 

literary masochism: an unintentional dissertation on lizard people

I was introduced to actress/supermodel/writer Emily Ratajkowski when the photo of her holding her baby like a pile of dirty rags she used to clean up dog piss with went viral. I have no reason to keep up with celebrities; as a 27-year-old restaurant manager who never abandoned her adolescent emo phase, their lives haven’t the slightest relevance to mine, and I gain nothing from staring at beautiful photos of beautiful people who know how to work and please the Internet beautifully, except maybe feeling like I should have taken all the money I spent on my first bottle of Retinol and purchased a handle of whiskey and a 24-pack of sleeping pills, instead… I don’t need that, and considering the current desolate state of the world, I don’t believe anyone needs that, but there are endless available options of escapism, and idolizing gorgeous people is far less pernicious than, y’know, giving heroin an honest try. 

(This is coming from someone who once got lost for hours on the white rapper Stitches’ Instagram, so please do not feel as if I am suggesting I am better than anyone for preferring to keep my feed full of shitposts instead of Hollywood stars; it’s a preventative measure, honestly. 

Also, Google “Stitches” at your own risk… I would prefer a group of Black Eyed Children to show up on my front porch, begging to be let in, than that scary ass man.

Also, I have been beside myself in grief over the untimely demise of the band Every Time I Die, who are my “celebrities,” so I am truly so full of shit that my stench has become unbearable, but I am mentioning this so you don’t because any impromptu reminder that Daddy God took them away carries an enormous risk of me busting out into an unstoppable deluge of tears.

Now, let’s review a fuckin’ book.) 

A friend suggested that I read My Body, Emily Ratajkowski’s 2021 collection of personal essays for my next Literary Masochism piece. The book was too new for me to find a used copy, and though Emily is hundreds of thousands of paces behind Ben Shapiro on the list of the famous who deserve the guillotine, I think a local bookstore deserves my $5 more than she does… or maybe I am a writer who apparently hates supporting other writers. Either way, had that same friend not gifted me a copy, this would have been arbitrarily written six years from now, once her fans who purchased it but never cracked it open move into an apartment with no built-in decorative shelving and donate their copy — alongside Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey, cookbooks by people from Tiktok whom I am too old to have ever heard of, and Kim Kardashian’s selfie book — to the Goodwill… just like the rest of my reviews. Too much too late.

The cover is understated but classically eye-catching, with what I assume was obvious intent, considering the subject matter, to not use her highly recognized profile to draw anyone in. I let out an anguished groan upon spotting the back-cover blurb from Lena Dunham, or She-Who-Put-Rocks-Inside-Of-Her-Sister’s-Vagina-As-A-Child-And-Saw-Nothing-Wrong-With-Admitting-That, along with Amy Schumer’s short testimony on the inside flap, fearing that we were already off to a terrible start and an even worse ending, but had I expected everyone’s least favorite deacons of white feminism to not endorse this, then that’s my own folly. 

The introduction covers how her appearance in the infamous video for Robin Thicke, T.I., and Pharell’s 2015 song “Blurred Lines” skyrocketed her career (along with a subsequent surge of female celebrities advocating for feminism). She claimed to initially not understand the outrage regarding the video’s content — “I argued that I felt confident in my body and my nakedness, and who was anyone to tell me that I wasn’t empowered by dancing around naked? In fact, wasn’t it anti-women to try to tell me what to do with my body?” — and I, at a mere three pages in, had to pause, remove my glasses, and rub my temples to quell the germinating headache. 

I had rewatched both the censored and uncensored version of the video prior to diving into the book, and to say I was “outraged” would be to dull down my reaction; as it has been widely discussed, both the song and video are foul in ways that have absolutely nothing to do with it containing dancing, naked models; she is absolutely correct in defense of her role in the video. HOWEVER, “Blurred Lines” just may be the catchiest anthem of rape culture to have ever been written and blared on every goddamn radio station eighty times a day upon its release, and I wanted to ram my head into a sharp corner of a wall over the scene where Robin Thicke blows cigarette smoke into Elle Evans’ face. As a model, and thus, a literal fucking professional at controlling their facial expressions, she was clearly unable to hide her disgust and discomfort; as a cigarette smoker, that’s fucking foul and degrading. 

(Fair warning, alongside Googling “Stitches,” please watch the video for “Blurred Lines” at your own risk, both out of the content and the fact that I ended up having that fucking travesty stuck in my head for THREE AGONIZING WEEKS. It’s not worth it.) 

Alas, I knew from the book’s publicity that she later exposes Robin Thicke for inappropriately and nonconsensually touching her breast during the shoot, so I carried on, aware that the essays are chronicling her journey with feminism throughout her career, so she will redeem herself for defending that hot trash at some point… hopefully. When she mentioned how growing up pretty was difficult as she often found herself in confusing situations, such as when her cousin, who was insecure about her looks (a common side-effect of trauma/abuse that I understand isn’t Emily’s fault, but it sure as hell isn’t theirs, either) was afraid to leave Emily alone with her boyfriend, and how once she began modeling, she realized her body/looks were “a commodifiable asset, something the world valued,” my confidence — not in my looks, but in how much I would enjoy and relate to this book — dwindled further… and after finishing it, I am having a hard time deciphering who genuinely can/would.  

She claims that when she was a child, she used to “pray for beauty.” While this had me wondering if not doing the same is where I fucked up, somehow setting my mother on the wrong path to where she couldn’t afford for me to get braces, I don’t think I am ugly; when I wait tables, I know that if I put on a full face of makeup, brush my hair, and squeeze into a tight, revealing dress, I will get good tips, thus, exploiting/making a career out of my looks in a similar way… but I do not look like Emily Ratajkowski. The world is filled with beautiful people, each with something unique to offer, but about 97% of the population do not look like Emily Ratajkowski. Whether it be suffering through hilariously awkward, gawky pre-pubescent years or crippling insecurities that linger into adulthood as a result of hatred from others or disillusionment encouraged by the media, most of us did not grow up knowing we were beautiful like Emily Ratajkowski did. 

(One of the only things that I genuinely related to was her interspersing how her mother constantly reminded her that she is beautiful and placing profound importance on receiving validation from men, as if that is the only thing she should strive for, while inconspicuously comparing herself to/pitting herself against her own daughter. That doesn’t pertain to me in the slightest; my mother, who thinks I am the World’s Most Beautiful Swan™ as mothers are wont to do, has long since accepted that I am far too mean and foul to ever receive an offer to be a trophy wife, and her typical response to any of my love interests/romantic affairs is some variant of “the goddamn hell do you need another one for? They’re all worthless!” 

What I can sympathize with is how, whether intentional or not, she just popped those memories in there without addressing how they may have distorted her perception of herself or damaged her in other pernicious ways… That is insidious abuse that I, and surely plenty of others, have experienced, but she loves her mom and doesn’t want to speak out against her.

Plus, y’all know me: I love writing about problems without addressing the fact that they are problems or doing anything to fix them at all! I wrote two whole books of that evasive shit!) 

Because most of us are also not famous nor supermodels and thus, not privy to the tribulations of that industry, I found her recollections of abuse by men (and women, unfortunately) with power and pull in that universe to be both fascinating and infuriating. It served as proof (as if we needed any more) that if you give a man a muffin, he will gladly strip himself of what it is to be a “man” until he is his most primitive form — a fucking viciously disgusting, prurient, degrading pig — under the false belief that it is the opposite, that he has undergone an apotheosis and is now his most venerable self and surely, above you, woman, and he commands respect. In “Buying Myself Back,” the essay chronicling her ceaseless legal battle with a heinous photographer who not only sexually abused her after feeding her copious amounts of alcohol, but proceeded to exploit the photographs for money for years and speaking about her/on her behalf despite spending approximately twelve hazy hours with her, his recollected commentary alone was enough to make me want to buy however much cocaine I would need to build a guillotine in about six hours. Some examples:

“You know, I thought you would be bigger. A big girl. […] You know, big-boned. Fat.”

“This one is so good because of your nipples. Your nipples change so much from hard to soft. But I like them when they are gigantic. […] I love when they’re giant. Giant and exaggerated.” 

…And lest not forget the first thing he said to her upon stripping and beginning their nude shoot: “iCarly,” referencing the Nickelodeon show she made a brief cameo on… as a fucking adolescent. 

A peculiar trend that did nothing to redeem the disjoint permeating from every one of her essays is that each member of the rich/elite/famous social circle mentioned, with the exception of her husband and at times, Emily herself, all seem like absolute fucking reptiles… lizard people… NON-HUMAN ENTITIES. In “BC Hello Halle Berry,” an essay about how her husband argued with her that While Yes, Capitalism Bad, We Are On A Paid Vacation At A Resort We Would Never Otherwise Be Able To Afford Because You Are Sexy And They Want You To Advertise It On Instagram And Also Using This As An Opportunity To Take Pictures For Your Bikini Line Is, In Fact, CAPITALISM, BABY, YOU ARE A CAPITALIST, thus upsetting Emily in between her making sure her most recent Instagram post garners the expected 923423535235252875001257013573589539523582352 likes. 

Instead of making the slightest effort to rectify the abomination that was the first half of the essay, Emily explains how and why she relates to Halle Berry. Now, before I proceed, think for a minute… Do you relate to Halle Berry? I don’t think I do, but I never followed her career much.

Emily, while wading in the gorgeous surf on the private beach of the resort reserved for gazillionaires (and the occasional charity-case supermodel from Instagram and their elusive “producer” husbands), probably at the exact moment the lighting reached golden hour, for whatever reason “adjusted [her] bikini bottom to wedge it further up [her] ass,” and… for whatever reason… pondered Halle Berry. She reflected on how the actress won an Oscar, not for her role as a bombshell Bond girl, but for “making herself ugly” in Monster’s Ball

Though I intrinsically knew the answer, out of journalistic integrity, I searched for stills of Halle Berry from that film to confirm that there was nothing “ugly” about her character: It is her without glamorous makeup or luxury clothing, which is still stunningly beautiful, because she is Halle Fuckin’ Berry. Aside from being a standard of perfection for looks, she is a talented actress, and that is how she snagged her Oscar; while I could argue that it ain’t all that deep, Emily, with a heavy heart following this realization, feels inclined to pull her bikini bottom out of her crack… It’s been a hard day in paradise for our humble, beautiful, Capitalist narrator, but alas, she is wrenched from the peak of despair that I always thought pretty people with lots of money were spared from ever reaching by recalling how a friend had recently sent her this quote from Ms. Berry: “My looks haven’t spared me one hardship”; it made Emily’s friend think of her, they said. 

I initially felt a bit betrayed that my friends send me artistic Christmas-themed renditions of The Human Centipede, appropriately titled The Human Santapede, and memes that read “LIFE DIDN’T GIVE ME LEMONS, IT GAVE ME PANTS AND I’VE SHIT THEM,” instead of uplifting quotes about how lovely I am, but again, I am not Emily Ratajkowski, nor Halle Berry, but I… I don’t get it. I don’t get about 90% of this book. 

I don’t get how people like the actress mentioned on the following page can say something like “I mean, you’re lucky, with your whole political thing, being outspoken and supporting Bernie, all that stuff, I think people take you more seriously,” with full earnesty and no reservations about sounding like an iguana in a designer turtleneck sweater without a brain and thus, the ability to rationalize, logically deduce anything at all, or empathize with their fellow kind. 

I don’t get what the point of the following essay about her routine trips to the Korean spa was, besides disclosing that she, like many famous whities have taken to admitting, is bad at personal hygiene, but still gets hit on without her makeup on. 

I don’t get how any of the filthy rich, abominable, drug-addled reptilian men that paid for her company in the next essay can manage to exist, to breath and function as if they are alive, despite being entirely dead and devoid on the inside, and I wish I didn’t get why she failed to acknowledge that when you are poor, partaking in the same business carries a tremendous risk of being FUCKING MURDERED because you are not a gorgeous supermodel that someone imbecile paid $20,000 to spend an evening with, but instead, disparaged by many who regard you as a lower-life form, invaluable in the worst way, but we all know why: because she doesn’t get it. Why would she?

I don’t get what the point was of the first half of the essay about her husband being late to take her out to some industry party (that she regretted going to because she was treated like a decorative plant), but they had sex about it, so it was ok! Everything was fine! (Even though she included the redundant detail that she wore red lipgloss and there is no feasible way that one can makeout/fuck wearing any substantial amount of makeup, let alone RED LIPGLOSS, and be presentable after; the b-side to “Partition” by Beyoncé is that they went home… Another set of evening plans despoiled by horniness.) 

Reading this was far less an act of Literary Masochism than most I have reviewed for this series, and as someone who went to English-teacher-school, I confidently state that if Emily ever scored less than a 100 on any graded paper, it was probably because of a citation era or some other trivial bullshit, but does that make her a good author, writer? No. While many of her stories/experiences in the modeling/entertainment industry were eye-opening, fascinating, and often harrowing, her words lacked flair, humor, and a distinct voice; her recollections were presented with the bland objectivity of a local news report/article. Having an intriguing story doesn’t automatically render you the ideal one to tell it; Dave Eggers is an author who takes others’ tales and spins them extremely well. (Check out The Monk of Mokha, What is the What, Zeitoun; A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius is a perfect memoir.) 

…I don’t know who this book was for, besides Emily Ratajkowski herself; I don’t know who would get it, but you’re welcome to give it a shot. 

literary masochism: why you don’t buy things that went viral on Tumblr in 2011

I recall stumbling upon a photo of the opening page of Diary Of An Oxygen Thief on Tumblr or Facebook sometime during high school. I skimmed through hundreds of comments about the author’s confessional, sociopathic, self-aggrandizing rant describing how treating women like shit was his favorite hobby, all saying variations of: “Wow… This is terrifying to read… Horrible… Terrible… Is this a true story? Scary…” 

(I wish I had paid more attention at the time; after having suffered through reading it [twice], I think those may have been reviews of the book as a whole instead of reactions to the narrator boasting, “…I think I killed a few of them [girls]. Their souls, I mean. It was their souls I was after,” because it… sucked.) 

I spotted a copy at a used book-store last year, to which I thought, shit, let’s see what all the fuss was about… and proceeded to narrow my eyes when the bitch rang up as $7, but I was unemployed, so at least your tax money paid for this piece of crap. 

The author is listed as anonymous, which was the only wise decision made in the entire creation and publication process. There isn’t a single character in this book with a redeeming quality; the narrator is supposed to be a recovering alcoholic male in his mid 30s, and whether the situations documented in the book actually happened or were just a product of a warped imagination, they make themselves out to be INSUFFERABLE. I have to live with the aftermath of publishing a book about my own vagina under my real name, which has truly come to hinder me in the job and husband market (big surprise), but I would turn into Tom Hanks in Castaway in my own home until eventually dousing myself in a bottle of 151 and smoking the last, best cigarette of my life, had I written and attached my name to this. I think I would even lose my friends, and they’re notorious at humoring me when I should be put in time out (or rehab). 

While I have the displeasure of knowing (and dating) many men in their mid 30s who are completely oblivious to their petulance and severe need of professional mental help, DOAOT’s amateur unreliability of the narrator, pages upon pages of impertent scenes/stories/ramblings, and dialogue that is awkward enough to suggest the author has never actually engaged in an actual conversation — let alone a relationship or coitus — with the opposite sex, are all reminiscent of the “Most Read” section of fanfiction on Wattpad, and most of those are written by teenagers… Thus, the intentional ambiguity of the author does nothing to dismiss my speculation that this was actually written by an adolescent (of any gender) who unfortunately took a liking to Charles Bukowski and had recently seen (not read) American Psycho

The author’s refusal to use any punctuation besides a hard-stop period and pitiful renditions of Bukowski’s reveries of spending days at his favorite bars from open-to-close are dead giveaways of his influence; I have always been apologetic for my high opinion on Bukowski, but now, I am more sorry that he birthed writers like this… Try to remember whatever work of his that you read and were first appalled by, and then imagine it being unfathomably worse, in every way possible: that’s Diary Of An Oxygen Thief

The book is broken up into three chapters/parts. The first chronicles the author’s years of alcoholism and all the women he brags about sucking the soul out of by fucking once and not calling back later, with maybe a few insults thrown at them on his way out the door, all recounted with the insistence that these offenses were not just the average behavior of an emotionally unavailable, severe alcoholic, but elaborate, meticulously organized acts of douchebaggery performed by a wily, master “soul furnace.” (Yes, he called himself a “soul furnace,” which could easily be the name of some local dads’ buttrock cover band, whom you would probably garner far more pleasure out of seeing play in their garage than reading this book.) 

I am fairly certain that the author Googled “sociopathic behavior in relationships,” pilfered some stories from the comment section, tweaked them a bit, and slapped them in this. Here are a few of the worst sentences imaginable, written by someone doing well to make themselves out to be the worst person imaginable, from this chapter: 

“Somehow I was able to lure these creatures into my lair.” (Seriously: Would someone who has had actual sex before say this? Most of us have all been on the Internet for nearly two decades… Think about it… ) 

“…I miss hurting. I’m not cured of it, but I don’t set out to systematically dismantle like I used to.” (Me, just last night, with a heavy heart, paying full price for avocados at the self-checkout after almost getting caught by the attendant ringing up them, an eyebrow pencil, and a pack of ham as bananas, the cheapest produce…) 

“I did it to get even. Unkind to womankind. That was my mission. Around this time, I discovered the meaning of the word ‘misogynist.’ I remember thinking it hilarious that it had ‘Miss’ as a prefix.” (We are only at page 6 out of 151, friends… I accept tips for my heroic service via Venmo…) 

[after agreeing to walk a hookup’s child to school the next day] “…I got the feeling that mother and daughter made full use of the men that passed through their lives. Like the Native American and the Buffalo, The Eskimo and Seal, The Welfare Mother and Me.” (Page seven, now, and I will note that the capitalization errors were not made by me, and it doesn’t get better, either — only variations of worse.) 

Alas, we are introduced to Penelope, his girlfriend of four and a half years — “the one who started it all,” though the story of their breakup does little to adduce how Penelope turned him into a piece of shit. He wanted to dump her because she was apparently shitty in bed and getting in the way of his drinking… To be honest, I’ve been there, but there’s significantly less sinister or dramatic ways of extricating yourself from those kinds of relationships, and I wouldn’t be caught dead lying my ass off afterwards in some dramatic, poorly-punctuated side-note like this: “Pen, I’m so sorry. I needed to hurt you. I knew we were coming to an end. You tried to hide how you felt, but it ripped across your face. Disgust. I began to hate you for not having the courage to tell me what you really thought of me. So I had to make up your mind for you,ESPECIALLY about someone who was terrible in bed. This is one of many examples of the amateur unreliability of the narrator, and I don’t quite understand what the point was in sprinkling in brief moments of (alleged) “heartfelt honesty” into a memoir about how you are a piece of shit, a “soul furnace,” an “oxygen thief”; as the story progresses, this change of tone/intent often occurs multiple times in a single paragraph. 

He invites Penelope to a bar to execute his totally brilliant plan of “dismantling four years,” which consisted of him pelting her with petty insults that any 13-year-old boy would think were scathing and teeming with wit, such as that her vagina is “baggy and overused” and her “tits hang too low.” Penelope just kind of sat there, which he took as a sign that he was FUCKING ANNIHILATING HER… JUST SUCKING HER SOUL, MAN… SHE WAS SOBBING INSIDE… 

“She must have sensed mercy in the air. She sensed wrong.” Aside from that being really funny and a stupid thing to say, he pretty much tells her to go find someone else and to make sure she “takes revenge on him.” Penelope, a normal person in their mid 20s who has probably long had it with this moron using theatrics to cover up that he is actually just a fucking moron, goes and finds a man who doesn’t waste so much energy trying to mimic Patrick Bateman, and leaves him alone. Still, he insists on blaming her for when he was later hit by a car after leaving a bar: “I fantasized that she would turn up in a nurse’s uniform any second and administer a long, slow luxurious hand job… but only after she’d help me take a long, slow, luxurious piss.” More typos, while I am all the more certain that Penelope was probably sitting on her couch, catching up on Grey’s Anatomy, looking up kale recipes and like, truly, seriously, forreal, 100%, not giving a slightest goddamn fuck what that idiot was up to. 

With Penelope out of the way, the second chapter brings us to the height of his reign of terror (and I don’t mean in writing this book, because the height would mean that we are nearing the end and we sadly have almost 130 more pages of bullshit). He meets a virgin, whom — though I hate to say it — got exactly what she deserved for telling him that he had an “enviable command of the English language”; without a doubt, that flattering lie paid a part in encouraging him to write this… As women, we must collectively cease lying our ass off when we compliment men; that is quite possibly the only time they will actually listen to us and apply what we are saying to their life, and before you know it, they’ve created some embarrassing abomination and were rude enough to immortalize you in it as someone who grossed him out because you swallowed his nut (what man has ever said that?) but still ate you out for hours after (which we know did not happen; he ate you out for maybe ten minutes, max, but defending yourself by calling out this discrepancy would mean admitting that you ever associated with this fucking imbecile, so you lose automatically). 

In between stories of ghosting other women, the author arbitrarily sprinkles in stories of childhood abuse, only to say, “Maybe this stuff has links to other stuff that happened later. Maybe not,” which just SCREAMS fanfiction… [The totally dreamy vocalist of the local band just happens to stand by the narrator in the crowd and says something like “I like your shirt”; they engage in a lengthy, two-chapter-long conversation about their adoration for the headlining band, interrupted sometime in the middle by the Dreamboat Singer asking, “What is that scar on your arm from?”; the narrator lowers her eyes and looks around nervously before mumbling, “Oh, my mom branded me with a hot iron when I was 4-years-old because she told me I was a worthless cow;” Heartthrob Screamo/One Direction/Harry-Potter-character-turned-rockstar  Man nods and says something dramatically ominous but still vague enough to suggest that he, too, has trauma regarding farm animals; the conversation careens to their preferred sauces for chicken nuggets; by the time the headliner plays their encore, they are inseparable and in love for all of eternity.]

Anyway, our Oxygen Thief apparently invited all his scorned hoes to a roast of a whole pig or quinceanera or sex-toy party for widows or something with “the idea [was] to create a sort of lasagna of pain”. (Meanwhile, this and Lil Wayne’s iconic bar “real g’s move in silence like lasagna” probably reign supreme as the two worst cultural references to what is otherwise a delicious and filling icon of Italian foods.) His plan doesn’t work out; he’s too drunk; drunk enough to finally get sober, which brings us to the middle of the book: Minnesota. 

Because he is a total genius and alcohol only made him use his exuberant, unnatural high level of intelligence for inconveniencing women and abusing the Shift key for Inconsistent punctuation In his brilliantly Executed memoir, sobriety freed up enough of his time for him to land himself a $300k a year gig in the advertising field… NATURALLY. His firm moves him to Minnesota. Now, when you think of Minnesota, what is the first thing that pops into your head?

Cold: It’s goddamn cold. When reading something written about Minnesota, you assume they will not mention such a redundant fact and elaborate on… I don’t know… what else Minnesota has to offer besides frostbite. Alas, the following 30+ pages in Diary Of An Oxygen Thief are nothing but shinfo about how Minnesota is fucking freezing, he hates his extremely well-paying job, he can’t find anyone to buy his mansion so he can leave, and his various masturbation techniques now that he is sober and abstinent — in retirement from being a “soul furnace,” if you will. 

Much like with the strewn-in bits of him experiencing genuine emotions like a real person, I cannot decipher why this section was included instead of viciously X’d through by an editor in a red permanent marker (that bleeds) for any other reasons besides meeting a word-count/page quota. It is boring — it is terrible — I don’t think any reader gave much of a shit about anything else in this book, but I can assure you that they especially didn’t give a shit about this — and all he does is whine, whine, whine. In fact, this whole book is a mentally ill man whining…. I should consider lending it to one of the many I know and see if they can find any joy in it, because bitch, it was lost on me; I had a better time reading Sarah Palin’s diatribes about local Alaskan politics. 

The only segment of any pertinence is when the narrator attends an AA meeting and receives an ominous warning from a girl who he “thought was just a rich girl who had overdone the coke and was in AA to keep her rich husband happy” and that it was a “pity she’s so fucked up because she’s very tasty” about how a friend of hers — ironically from his same obscure hometown — was a vicious maneater and had her sights set on him. This girl is the whole point of this book; she was his Lolita, his “punishment,” his “karma,” but by the beginning of the third part, it is obvious that she is no more shitty than him: He simply met his match. 

Now, imagine a romantic rendezvous — or even a fucking casual conversation — between the worst two people you can think of, and we have the remaining 70 pages of this shithole: You can continue reading, or you can click “play” on the episode of the Joe Rogan Experience where Elon Musk was a guest instead and get the same headache. Sadly, I continued on, though there is no revelation, no retribution, no breakthrough; this book — which really sucks — continues to suck. 

He, of course, meets the girl he was warned about. She is an artiste, a photographer from an extremely wealthy family, which is the exact type of person the narrator is enough of a fucking stupid narcisstic idiot to “fall for,” so he claims, though the previous ~100+ pages clearly reveal that he is devoid of feeling any palpable emotion and entirely incapable of experiencing any resemblance of “love.” He even claimed — after going on only one real “date” with her, hours of which were spent with his face buried in her pussy (excuse me: he called it her “womanhood,” as any fanfiction virtuoso would), and “no more than four phone calls” — that he was so in love and being so toyed with by her that he wished he could “torture and kill her without going to prison.” 

Yes: That’s genuine, healthy love, developed over a week of spotty interactions. Every compliment he pays to her throughout the book is a mere compliment to his past self: his “soul furnace” days, reincarnated and lurking in the present as this asshole girl. 

I cannot dismiss that the only reason why he is so enamored with her is because she — as he repeats constantly — looks like a teenage girl, and I am long past the point where any further detail to confirm that this man deserves to be castrated surprises me: “Suddenly, I was looking at this sweet teenage innocent like she was a cum-soaked whore. And I liked it.” As someone who tends to fall into hopeless love simply to prolong my own unnecessary suffering, I can tell you that not a single one of their interactions should have prompted this infatuation (again, imagine the two worst people you know hanging out), and random comments are added through this reflection to make you hate him more, such as: a fear of catching AIDS from a toilet seat, a shitty dismissal of restaurant hostesses, a rant about how women love nothing but money, his disgust at her actually possessing talent as a photographer, more countless notes on how young she looked even though we do eventually get a confirmation that she was 27, not 16, as he had probably hoped, all the while she simply treats him the same way he treated other women. It is as if she also Googled “sociopathic behavior in relationships” and said, “Cool. That sounds good. I’ll act like that.” He defended his own past behavior by saying it was “no more than spiritual vandalism. This is professional,” because using a photo of him, taken seconds after she rejected him, in her art exhibit is just… hellacious…. unbearable… and yet, that is his karma? That is her revenge? He met a girl who didn’t like him back, though whether he ever even “liked” or “loved” her at all is aleatory… In fact, on page 121, he finally summarizes the plot of the final half objectively: “Guy turns up in New York, expecting her to drop everything for him just because it suited him to leave Saint Lacroix [Minnesota]. A guy she was only lukewarm about to begin with. Now he was acting all hurt because he didn’t want to have sex with him. I could see that.” 

But he only sees it for that one paragraph. He witnessed a mirror of himself and learned nothing; there is no justification in this story; no character is ever redeemed. As a reader, it wasn’t gratifying to see her treat him as he had treated countless women: No change in his character came from it, and it upset him enough to write this shitty fucking awful book:“I think you can agree our antics were worth recording” page 111 reads, but no one agrees. 

Forty more goddamn nauseating pages later, and this seemingly neverending fanfiction is finally concluded with a smug paragraph about how he is already working on his next book and the screenplay for this one because people care, so fucking much… “Congratulate me,” the last line says.

Congratulate me, fucker: I read this horseshit TWICE

FINAL LITERARY MASOCHISM RATING: I genuinely found True Allegiance by Ben Shapiro to be less infuriating of a read than this. This sucked.