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NTKOG #114: The kind of health-obsessed model citizen who, when she wakes up half-dead from ingesting various toxins, immediately jumps out of bed to sweat. them. out.

I am: a Proustian aunt when it comes to hangovers. Just give me a nice bed and I’ll take it to it indefinitely, praying for death to come.

I am not: even amused by the idea that there exist people who prefer the gym to boozin’.

The Scene: Bleary-eyed in Brighton, the morning of February 15, reeking of chocolate fondue and sweating straight Merlot. I didn’t think I drank that much during Anglophile’s and my little V-Day voodoo sesh, but all the mental holes in our morning-after recap disproved that theory. (“How’d I get into my pajamas?” “You changed after you made us listen to Usher’s ‘Burn’ fifteen times.” “I hate that song. Oh jesus, tell me you didn’t let me text.”) After Anglophile scooted on her merry way, I was prepared to take to bed, spreading peanut butter on homemade bread with my fingers and mainlining equal parts water and Hugh Laurie. Instead, I remembered a killer blog entry by the lovely kk about how to kick hangovers in which she suggests hitting the gym after you hit the bottle. What did I have to lose?

After I’d arranged a gym date with Sister and actually exited the apartment, the list of things I had to lose became apparent: permanent use of my retinas; my balance; control of the nausea dragon wrapping its tail around my stomach. Ugh. And that was just from walking to the T station.

By the time I got to the gym, I’d have placed even odds on my vomiting on the elliptical. Set the timer for 30 minutes; for the first five, I cursed the gods; for the next five, cursed myself; the middle ten, cursed friggin’ kk, that ho; and then — everything stopped being so bad. Remains of the Day was on TV! Brookline water tastes awesome! I am alive and healthy and feeling moreso every minute! Hell, after the elliptical, I jumped on a treadmill next to Sister for the sheer fun of it for twenty minutes.

The whole walk to my Sister’s place afterwards, I sipped water and cooed over the success of the project (“I feel great! I feel awesome! Wanna go to the zoo and race some llamas?!”). For dinner, we made healthy choices instead of indulging in usual hangover atrocities (brie and roasted garlic sandwiches, anyone?). And then the foundation started to crack. Got a splitting headache and the only medication my sister had on hand was Tylenol PM. Popped two of them and started home. Unfortunately, the drowsy effects of the medication kicked in while I was still half a mile from home, my heart slowed down to 45 beats per month, and I literally stopped three or four times to consider taking a nap on someone else’s stoop.

By the time I returned from this miracle hangover cure, I was fit only to take to my bed, cursing the gods. It’s just the natural order, I guess.

The Verdict: There’s no denying that this felt significantly less pathetic than my usual program of eating junk food and lolling around miserably, but exercise is most definitely not a panacea. I mistook the endorphin high for significant improvement. Right the frig not! Turns out exercise is only meant to be supplemental to a strict regime of lolling, napping, and misery.

Also, a TMI word about dehydration? Apparently I’d severely underestimated either the sheer degree of dehydration inherent to a hangover or the prolificness of my sweating, but I realized about eight hours after the gym that I’d drank 70 oz. of water and hadn’t needed to pee. Thank you, body, for delighting and horrifying me.

TMI Thursday! Lilu! Archives! Lovely!! Lady took a polar bear plunge with some Hulk Hogan impersonators. Good frig! Hero of the day.Alzyby  

And for more NTKOG brilliance, do read this hilarious post

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Guys! I’ve been asked to preface menstrual TMIs with a warning for my male readers. So here’s your warning: Vaginas bleed. If you don’t like it, don’t have sex with ’em. (You’re welcome, Muscles.)

Also, enter by NOON TOMORROW to WIN AN IPOD NANO! z0mg!

NTKOG #109: The kind of aggressive oversharer who uses her period as an excuse for everything and makes a valiant effort to keep the world at large up-to-date on her personal, uh, punctuation.

I am: one of those lucky few women whose periods just really aren’t a big deal. I barely notice it.

I am not: going to talk about it when I do notice it. I mean, unless it’s with my girlfriends, obvi, ’cause talking to women inevitably leads to discussions of menstrual blood and wedding plans.

The Scene: My uterus? So here’s a thing about periods, if any guys penetrated my severe warning and made it this far: they are fickle and perverse creatures. And there’s no quicker way to anger them than claiming that yours are never painful or aggravating. I thought of this NTKOG a few weeks ago, and laughed to myself, “Ohhh what an acting job! How could I complain about my light, pain-free period? It is practically a pleasure to host!” Cue me waking up three days later with hyperventilating, blinding, crying cramps. Thank you universe! Universe inside my reproductive system!

Anyway, set out to overshare in a variety of situations, from which, three vignettes:

Objective: Escape convenience store judgment: The Ex always argued I’m unnaturally concerned with the way people behind cash registers perceive me but, dude, you try buying red licorice and a Fresca at 10:59 PM from some translucent-skinny retail girl who weighs forty-five pounds — half eyeliner — and obviously had to filet herself to fit into her jeans. THERE WAS JUDGMENT! There was judgment.

Filet o’ salesclerk furrowed her brow for a sec when she looked at the licorice. I smiled: “Period. Crazy sugar craving, you know? Like mega period.” She looked up and gave the tiniest pulse of a smile. Foolish, heartened, I continued. “The worst part is I never see it coming. Then one day I realize I’m crying at 30 Rock and surrounded by empty pudding cups. Menstruation, eh?”

The smile wiped off her face as she gave a dignified moue of disgust. Sooooo. I guess I know whom I’m not asking if I ever need to borrow a tampon.

Objective: Tardiness with impunity: It has come to my attention, over the years, that girls periodically use their periods as an excuse for being late. I’m … just not at all sure why. But damned if I wasn’t going to give it a shot. Due to an admittedly avoidable cause, I was running about ten minutes late for the writing class I’m taking, which is taught by an elderly woman and attended by four other students. Awesome, dude. My Cher Horowitz moment.

TKOG: Sorry I’m late. I’m like super menstrual.
Old Hippie Instructor: I’m sorry, what?
TKOG: Oh, you know, I’m like on my period in a major way.
OHI
: Wait, what does that have to do with you being late?
TKOG: Uh, cramps?
OHI: [reproving glance]
TKOG: …midol?

Not quite as quotable as surfing the crimson tide, it transpired. And still haven’t solved the mystery of why periods excuse lateness!

Objective: Avoid credit card minimum in sourpuss convenience store: A different convenience store next to my house, the employees of which are positively draconian about their $5 credit card minimum (a policy which, btdubs, violates companies’ terms of agreement with credit card companies). I was picking up a travel pack of Advil to ward off a random headache, but the total came to $2.18 and I had no cash.

TKOG: Dude, seriously, please help me out here. I’m begging you.
Surly Clerk: $5 minimum. Buy something else.
TKOG: But I don’t need anything else! I’m on my period and I have terrible cramps and I need an Advil right flippin’ now.
SC: Sure. If you pay in cash.
TKOG: Dude, come on, my cramps are so bad that last night I dreamed I was giving birth to a llama.

True story, btdubs. Dude wouldn’t relent. So in desperation I glanced behind the counter at the tiny home-improvement section and, remembering the leaky aerator on my kitchen sink, asked him for a set of pliers. He rang ’em up and looked at me for just a moment, confused or at least a little surprised.

“Yeah,” I told him, ripping open the Advil as I walked to the door. “Just, like, in case a tampon gets stuck?”

You’re welcome for the visual, sir. You could have just sold me the damn Advil. But whatever, mind the mood swings, ’cause if you hadn’t heard, I had a good excuse.

The Verdict: Ugh, still not sure why women sometimes do this. I’ll admit I’m a little on the prim Victorian side when it comes to discussing bodily functions (except, apparently, on the blog — yikes), but I just don’t see what possible good can come from bringing up your period with people who aren’t actively seeking a menstrual-based conversation.

That said, as someone who enjoys behaving badly, I did quite appreciate the pale mottled shade of green the last guy turned. So. Keeping it in my bag of tricks as an emergency-conversation-escape smokebomb.

TMI Thursday! Meta-TMI about giving TMI! Go look at Livit, Luvit for more TMI! Also, while we’re housekeeping: new comment policy, kittens. If your comment friggin’ creeps me out, I will delete it wantonly and without warning. This policy will not apply to 99.9999999% of comments, but I am hereby reserving the right forever.

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NTKOG #105: The kind of rule flouting bladder-centric dude who lets an urgency to pee eradicate the societal construct that is separate-gendered restrooms.

I am: a lady.

I am not: sure what y’all other ladies are doing in there that make our lines so much longer than lines for the men’s room. Seriously, girls.

The Scene: Restrooms up and down this fair city for the past month and a half. If there was a line for the ladies’ only, I dashed into the men’s. And, dude? If it’s a single-occupancy restroom (as is the case in so many of the space-starved commercial lots in this pinched city), there is virtually no difference between the rooms. You can use whichever one you want with literally no repercussions. WHY HAVE WE BEEN WAITING IN LINE WHILE PERFECTLY GOOD RESTROOMS SAT OPEN?! We’re like some primitive bladder-masochism tribe that stands around worshipping the blue and white triangular dress idol. What will future cultures think of us. Honestly.

Non-fortress-style men’s rooms, however, were a bit more difficult a prospect. As moxious as I am, I did my utmost to avoid entering one where a guy was peeing at the time, both out of respect for guys’ privacy and because I didn’t want to catch an eyeful of anyone’s junk. (Figurative eyeful, that is. Although, uh, literal too, now that you mention it.)

However, one night, out with the ladies at a bar in Brighton that skews to the youth demographic, I may have had a drink or two too many, and was emboldened to duck into the men’s room. A dude stood in there, poised to decant over the urinal. He locked eyes with me and barked: “What the fuck are you doing here?!”

Ladies, if ever you get in a similar situation — face burning with embarrassment, social reputation on the line — and are already wearing heels and lots of make-up, allow me to give you the five magic words to instantaneously extricate yourself:

“Pre-op. Wanna feel my genitals?”

I’m all class, y’all.

The Verdict: Chalk another one up for “nobody cares what you do, dumbass,” ’cause, truly, nobody seems to care a whit either way which restroom you use. Unless you’re, y’know, watching them pee or whatever. (Please don’t watch other people pee without their consent. Or if you do, please don’t write about it in the comments section.) Although my days of recreational restroom switching are officially past me, if I’m ever at a restaurant with single-stall restrooms and one of them is open, dude, I’m totally using it, regardless of what the little pictogram on the door sign is wearing.

This would have been more of a TMI Thursday if the guy had actually taken me up on the offer to feel my genitals; nonetheless, I submit it for your approval. Go check out Livit, Luvit for more TMI hilarity! And have you entered to win my iPod Nano giveaway yet?!

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NTKOG #100: The kind of self-appointed assistant deputy to public health who, when you sniffle within earshot, primly flicks you a tissue and lectures you on the dangers of backed-up nasal cavities.

I am: loath to reprimand strangers for sneezing on my neck, let alone snortin’ and snufflin’ in the privacy of their own noses.

I am not: like the total queen of hygiene, anyway. What?! Kleenex are good for a few uses if you’re desperate!

The Scene: The train, smack in the middle of cold season. All week the mellow music on my iPod has been accompanied by a sort of auditory slither — the juicy slurp of fifteen syncopated noses trying desperately to suck snot back out of view.

There’s kind of a little dance that goes along with it too, on the T. The cold-sufferer will stand there, looking pained, ’til a tiny glisten appears under one or both nostrils. First, a long discretionary snort back. A moment later, the snot starts sliming back down and two more hard sniffles in quick succession. Finally, the human mucous factory glances around, reaches up with one hand to pretend to adjust their glasses or scratch their forehead, then quickly rubs their palm across their nose, smearing a snailtrail of snot on their glove. Elegant, right?

More distracted by the sound than anything else, this week I carried a travel pack of Kleenex with me, determined to be a tissue-toting guardian angel for these noses in need. The first guy I approached was a middle-aged business man, wearing a sharp grey suit and slightly snotted leather gloves.

“Hey,” I  turned around and told him, “You want a Kleenex?” Dude looked surprised and a bit mortified, but smiled warmly and thanked me when I handed it to him. I nodded and turned quickly so I’d be out of his splash zone when the snot went flying, but — nothing.

When I turned back to face him, he was gingerly patting the tips of his nostrils with the unsoiled Kleenex. He crumpled it and shoved it in his pocket. Three seconds later: sniff. snort. herk.

DUDE, YOU HAVE A FUCKING KLEENEX! You can blow it now! You can blow it all over town!

Next girl I approached was a chick around my age, who had just discreetly wiped a semi-solid chunk of green snot onto the cover of her US Weekly as she raised it to turn the page.

“Kleenex?” “Thank you so much!” I watched out of the corner of my eye as she crumple the Kleenex, dabbed her nose with exquisite gentleness, then shoved the Kleenex in her purse. By the next stop, her dripping snot had rendered her upper lip as glossy as the picture of Brangelina she was drooling over.

A few similar experiences (“Thanks!” for nothing, apparently), and I was down to the last two Kleenex in my pack, with nary a cleared sinus cavity to my name. This time, there could be no mistakes. A grungy looking college guy, wearing a Thrice beanie and a military surplus blazer, sucked back on his snot like he was pulling off a bong.

“Dude, want a Kleenex?” I asked, smiling encouragingly. Then, so he wouldn’t feel embarrassed or alone in his infliction, I put the last Kleenex to my own nose and blew it thunderously. Dude glanced at me with grim curiosity, before putting his own Kleenex to his nose — and slowly dribbling air AROUND HIS SNOT! Dude friggin’ pretended to use the Kleenex rather than blowing his dang nose in public!

Of the nine Kleenex I gave away — to people who were having serious and visible problems with, oh, I dunno, getting snot all over their faces?! — not a single friggin’ person could get over the bodily-fluid embarrassment and just blow their stupid noses in public! These are, presumably, people who shower in locker rooms, use public restrooms. Hell, they probably even spit on the street. And you’re telling me that nose-blowing is the one do-not-cross line?!

The Verdict: A bally waste of Kleenex, I’ll tell you that much. Next time I’ll be saving them for myself.

I was beyond shocked by these results. In fact, shocked twice-over. First, dude, if a total stranger offers you a Kleenex, clearly this implies that you’re either making a serious sinus-related ruckus or are unsightly to behold. It’s like a stranger offering you gum. It’s practically impolite not to put the offering to use!

Second, and more importantly, dude, blowing your nose is just about the best thing you can do with your clothes on. I friggin’ love blowing my nose — don’t even try to front like you don’t like it too. I mean, I’m not talking about a runny nose or a stuffy nose, but, y’know, the mid-cold feeling of a nose that’s fully packed with boiling-hot mucous, then blowing it so hard that it makes you dumber. Such release!  Such a sense of accomplishment! I can scarcely look at someone suffering from allergies without sighing wistfully! And the idea of having such a juicy nose and a Kleenex in front of you and DENYING THAT OPPORTUNITY?! It’s like masturbating in a brothel.

People on the T, you continue to disappoint me.

Whoa, it’s my 100th post! And in lieu of doing something badass or celebrating, I chose to … reveal my weird nose-blowing fetish. ’cause apparently I’m that kind of girl. Also the kind of girl who totally TMIs you on this glorious TMI Thursday.

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NTKOG #90: The kind of vapid, beauty-obsessed reality TV contestant who – not content with just photoshopping every photo of her on Facebook – resorts to real-life editing, in the form of a full-body airbrushed spraytan.

I am: already extremely happy with my skin, which holds a hint of tan even in winter.

I am not: even vain enough to wear make-up on a daily basis – let alone the semi-permanent whole-body equivalent!

The Scene: Perfect Tan in Allston, where I have purchased a half-price coupon for a custom airbrush spray tan session, courtesy of the brilliant minds at Groupon. I bought the coupon more as a joke than anything: I simply couldn’t think of a less-me activity. Standing naked while a total stranger sprays your whole body with ice-cold liquid vanity? Ha. The whole T ride to the tanning salon, my heart froze with condescension, horror, and deep-seated girlish insecurities.

What I thought would happen: A taut, gleaming blonde named Kandi would glare judgmental at my paper thong and crack out – between snaps of her gum – “So, what, is your waxer like semi-recently deceased or something?” While I attempted to mumble an answer, she’d pop a cartridge of spray out of the airbrush gun. “Yeah, um, there wasn’t enough paint to cover you. On account of you being a beast and all.” As I re-dressed, I’d catch a glimpse of myself in my mirror, smeared with neon streaks of a color that can only be described as JERSEY SHORANGE.

What actually happened: A taut, gleaming brunette named Lori (thank you, universe, for sharing my sense of humor) asks if I’m getting sprayed for a particular event and, in a moment of weakness, I admit that I’m doing it for a blog and I’m kind of nervous. “Ohmigod, don’t be,” she says, her eyes round with enthusiasm. “You are going to look so good.” For eight minutes we chat about Boston and reality TV, and I forget that I am wearing nothing but three square inches of disposable fabric. The whole experience is, like, less awkward than a haircut. After she leaves, I dress jauntily before peering in a mirror and realizing – shit, I really do look … so good.

I mean, better than my previous winter pallor, anyway. The color is a natural bronze – the sort that my skin acquires after the first few nice days of spring. My limbs look thinner, my teeth look whiter, and I’ve acquired the deep, resonant glow of someone with a really good relationship with god. Or, at the very least, a time-share in St. Maarten. My fixation on the cosmetic benefits of spray-tanning hits an extreme when I catch myself staring at my own reflection in the dull metal siding of the Planned Parenthood across the street from the tanning salon.

Yeah I said tanLINE because guess what dudes DISPOSABLE THONG FOR THE WIN. (Also, the disposable thong is still in my purse because I was going to take pictures of it, but now I forgot and will probably just end up selling it to someone on Craigslist.)

Lame before and after cobbled together from iPhone pics, because I'm at work and even though my company is lax, I think they'd frown on my locking myself in the bathroom to take fifteen billion MySpace pictures of my tanline.

Later, The Ex compliments my tan as I sat gazing with liquid adoration at my clear, lustrous skin. “I know, it’s great, right? I only wish I’d gone a shade darker,” I fret, not for the first time.

“Whoa, babe,” he says. “You went from non-tanning to tanning, and now you’re obsessed with going darker and darker? You’re two steps away from running around town in blackface.” (Yes, this is the man who won my heart.)

The Verdict: Man, there is nothing I love more than being COMPLETELY WRONG about a NTKOG. It’s the kind of thing that reminds me exactly why I started this blog in the first place. I walked into the salon prepared to feel self-conscious and ridiculous, and to emerge looking like a refugee from Dr. Moreau’s island. I came out feeling recharged from the crappy winter weather, and psyched beyond belief for Sunday’s no-pants Metro ride.

I’m not sure I’d ever pony up the full $40 to get airbrushed again, but I did sign up for the parlor’s mailing list, and will definitely go again any time they offer a great coupon. Or if I have a big event coming up. Or if I just need a little pick-me-up. Goddamnit, I want to go back right now.

So, dude, where’s the TMI Thursday, you ask me? After I got my tan, Lori warned me I couldn’t get at all wet — no showers, no gym, not even crying — for eight hours; The Ex came to town a few hours later. If you couldn’t guess, we had a very, very friendly break-up. Aaaafter we said hello, as it were, I ran to the bathroom to check on my tan.

You know that phrase “bed head”? Yeah, I have a new one for you. Spraytan back. Yikes. Do not try at home, kids. Or at least put down your second-best sheets. (But worry not, my tan survived and still looks awesome.)

TMI Thursday! Go to Livit, Luvit for more TMI Thursday magic! By now I’m sure you know the dang routine!

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NTKOG #86: The kind of trendy bistro-hopper who happily chows down on cold dead fish — because in this day and age, in the words of Adam Brody’s character in Thank You For Smoking, “I guess you kinda have to.”

I am: so pupil-dilatingly afraid of fish that even the sight of my own foot in the bathtub often gives me cause for an alarmed shriek.

I am not: that trendy of an eater to begin with. If that’s not evidenced by my passion for bar food.

The Scene: Cafe Sushi in Cambridge, with Anglophile and Porn Star. Both are big sushi fans, and Anglophile swears that the sushi here will change my life. For better or for worse, though, it’s impossible to say. We hang out by the prep area for a few minutes while I lose a staring match with the gaping carcass of a spiny-headed sea beast. Finally the waitress escorts us to our table and takes drink orders. “A Sapporo!” I blurt out, and when she asks what size: “A big one! Your biggest!” Call me psychic, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the beer will end up being my whole dinner.

I suggest we get one of the chef’s sample platters to maximize exposure, then tuck into my beer ’cause my part of the ordering is over. Anglophile and Porn Star bandy about words like “sashimi” and “nigiri” and I assume they’re just reminiscing about their favorite kabuki troupes, but apparently not, because after a while,some food arrives. Except I’m using the term “food” loosely. Like, look, I may not know much about sushi, but one thing I know for sure: it’s supposed to be cute. Like, huggably cute. I was expecting layered little rolls of rice and nori, with some chopped raw fish shoved under a bit of avocado. What I got instead was:

Holy vomming hell. Just straight-up fish. Anglophile and Porn Star immediately start drooling in foodlust; after biting one of the pieces, Porn Star’s eyes roll back in his head and he points at its mate with his chopstick. “That’s the one. Try it. It’s fucking incredible.”

I chopstick it without looking too hard, hold it up to my lips and — and nothing. For ten minutes I raise and lower the piece to my lips — sometimes I even get up the nerve to hokey-pokey it into (and immediately out of) my actual mouth, but whenever I get close to biting, every fish word I know keeps rushing through my head: Scrod. Chum. Mercury Poisoning. No no no.

By this point, Anglophile and Porn Star have finished the platter and are eyeing my piece of apparently scrumptious dead fish. “It’s not going to taste any better now that it’s warm,” Anglophile tells me. I know this but — scrod.

“Quick!” I tell them, “take my mind off of it! Tell me a story! A good one! Filled with lots of sexy violence!” Same approach I use when getting blood drawn. And it looks like it’ll work, but Anglophile and Porn Star get engrossed in a semantic debate about British heavy metal music, and as much to end the boredom as anything else, I pop the piece in my mouth.

Quick cross-section of my mind during the chewing: This isn’t so bad. The flavors are kind of dainty! It’s soft. Like a marshmallow — a marshmallow … made of meat. That’s the muscle. There’s the skin. Oh god there’s the subcutaneous fat. How do I even–bleeeeech.

To my credit, I did not actually vomit directly on the table. But that’s about the best I can say. I promptly deposited the chewed-up fish into my napkin and decanted about three ounces of straight yellow bile right on top o f it. Then, because all I know about the Japanese is that they are polite, and asking our cute little waitress to carry my fishvom seemed a little oafish even for me, sat through the next forty-five minutes with a rapidly heating goulash of chewed fish and gastric juices seeping a hole through the paper napkin clenched between my knees.

Clearly I was right about one thing: the large beer was in order. And half a bottle of saké afterwards. And a new tube of toothpaste when I got home.

The Verdict: This was ultimate, epic fail. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that any food with the phrase “subcutaneous fat” in its tasting notes is right out for this guy. I’m potentially up for trying this experiment one more time, though, with the mild-mannered sushi rolls I first envisioned, and not huge glistening mounds of raw fish. Anyone have suggestions for good novice rolls?

Sorry to have failed y’all on the sexy violence front, but hopefully you at least enjoyed some gross-out words on this TMI Thursday. Oh, while we’re at it, don’t forget to vote for the 20SB Bootlegger awards.

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Have y’all entered MY GIVEAWAY yet?! If not, you probably should. I guarantee this story will make you want to take a very cleansing bath.

Tonight, while catching the Top Chef finale at Sister’s to root on my imaginary boyfriend, Kevin (so cute!), Sister and I became aware of an uninvited guest in her kitchen. I was headed in to grab some water when a huge mouse scampered across the floor. And let me say, though I’ve always mocked the cartoonish stereotype that any woman in the presence of a mouse immediately shrills “EEEEK!” while jumping on the nearest ottoman — dude. Totally came to pass. The wonderful experience also reminded me of the time earlier this year when my house in California hosted its own plague.

For much of last March, I woke up every morning from dreams that minnows and crawdads and other hideous beasts were swimming underneath my skin. I’d jerk myself to consciousness in the wee hours, scratching bloody rivulets through my thighs and lower stomach. But since this was a pleasant change of pace from my usual nightmares (killing former flames in car crashes is often thematized), I bandaged myself up and thought surprisingly little of it. As the days passed, I started scratching a lot, but none of the four guys I lived — not even The Ex — had any bites or complaints, so I chalked it up to an overactive imagination.

Then, on April Fool’s Day (of course!), I was in the bathroom, brushing my teeth, and saw a little speck scuttle across my thigh. Holy friggin’ shit. I scoured my skin and saw two of the little dudes — translucent beasts, the size of a pencil point, looking in every respect like miniature crabs. Wait, did I say translucent? Right before my eyes, one of them turned a glowing crimson. The little dude was recharging his hit points by DRAWING IN MY BLOOD.

After some discretionary shrieking, stared down the bathroom and everything looked normal except — jesus, the whole wall by the toilet was moving. It was covered with the bugs so thick that the drywall looked like it was shimmering. But translucent, right?, so you could only see them if you were looking for them. Judicious application of my google fu revealed that not only did we have tropical rat mites, but, inevitably, somewhere, rats lurked.

Frantic calls to all the big extermination companies could only get us an appointment for a screening a week later, with treatment beginning after two weeks. TWO WHOLE WEEKS. During which time, The Ex and I had no choice but to launder our sheets every night and sleep while under siege.

Except for some freaky reason (I blame menstrual pheromones?), rat mites are more attracted to women and children than men. So despite the fact that The Ex was sleeping next to me, he woke up with his skin whole and smooth as a fresh-baked dinner roll, while my stomach and thighs were bitten into a purple, craggy mess. In fact, I’m not prepared to swear my skin wasn’t oozing at some point. (Forgive me. I do so relish the grotesque.)

All that said, the grossest part of the story? I called in the biggest-name extermination company in the area to take a look at the problem, and ended up taking a day off work to show the guy around. What’s the problem?, he asked; tropical rate mites, I told him with authority. He didn’t even ask where they were — just flipped over the mattress, said he didn’t see anything and couldn’t diagnose the problem without a live sample, then got ready to leave. But wait!, I said, and showed him the squirming wall of arachnid delight. Without a living sample, I can’t diagnose the problem, he said, bolting for the front door.

Um, dude, what about all those live mites I just showed you? I asked, then forced him to come upstairs and look yet again. Again, he shook his head and charged toward the door.

I don’t understand why you won’t take a sample, I told him.

There aren’t any mites in your house. It’s all in your head. Are there any men who live in the house? Maybe I could talk to one of them, he conceded to calm down the poor little lady.

It can’t be in my head! I may or may not have shrieked. Look at me, I’m a fucking leper. I showed him my upper arms, purple and bloody with little raised bumps the exact size of tropical rat mites.

Whether he used precisely the phrase “menstrual hysteria” is for historians to debate, but he finally agreed to take a sample of the mites from upstairs, incorrectly (it transpires) identified them as avian mites, then told me to have my boyfriend call him.

I didn’t, of course. I called another extermination company, who managed to eradicate the vermin in less than a week and not even reify the patriarchy while doing so. Still, I ended up feeling shitty and mistreated for weeks after the encounter, but never got up the balls to do anything about it — not even write a pissed-off Yelp review.

Just one of those stories that reminds me of the kind of girl I was, and the kind of girl I’d really like to never be again. Now, of course, it would seem like child’s play to call a manager and complain my way up the corporate ladder until I was sure the incompetent jerk would feel some repercussions. It’s nice to look back on what I’ve done for these past few months and think that I totally wouldn’t take shit from this guy again; I wouldn’t take it from anyone. Except vermin, I guess, ’cause you kind of have no choice about that.

[Edit: My mega apologies! The Ex wants the world to know that he was bitten as well! I just didn’t remember, because apparently he suffered in silence and anyway I was too busy fending off rogue vampires and leper colony recruiters! So spare a little sympathy for him, if you’d like.]

These lovely descriptions of my feasted-upon flesh provided under the auspices of TMI Thursday, hosted by LiLu. Be sure to check out her Post Secret TMI Thursday today, where I promise I am not scarring your eyes with any more of my grostesque secrets.

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