An Exercise in Virtuous Procrastination by Tawni Waters





Tawni Vee Waters

stingrayYou know, I’ve had lots and lots of boys ask me to marry them, and I don’t get it. I don’t cook, and I avoid folding laundry until it becomes necessary for me to purchase mountain climbing equipment in order to enter my bedroom.  Also, I hate to shop, so it’s not uncommon for me to stave off the inevitable grocery trip until that fateful day when I am forced to wipe my ass with newspaper.  The toilet paper thing is the only reason I shop.  I’d be willing to subsist on stray croutons and popcorn kernels sequestered in the darkest corners of my pantry for months otherwise.  In fact, I might be willing to starve.

If I lived in the Middle Ages, I’d be shot on principle.  Did they shoot people in the Middle Ages?  I can’t remember.  Numbers are nebulous little entities in my mind.  The difference between 1600 and 600 is one teensy, tiny line, and how in the hell am I supposed to remember what year guns were invented based on such insignificant blips on the pages of a history book?  Anyway, I would definitely be put to death one way or the other for sucking at wifely duties.  Or at least be committed to a nunnery.  Which, come to think of it, might not be too bad, what with all the reading and praying and stuff.  Reading and meditating are two of my favorite hobbies.  As long as Mother Superior didn’t call on me to fold wiffles, or wimples, or whatever the hell they’re called, I’d make a stellar nun.  Unless an extremely deep, brilliant, kind, guitar-toting priest happened to wander into the convent.  Then I’d be toast.  Burnt toast.  They would burn me at the stake for being a non-wifely, guitar-carrying-priest banging, whore of Babylon.  Did priests carry guitars in the Middle Ages?  I don’t remember.  Lyres, I think.  Clearly, my knowledge of the Middle Ages is sorely lacking.   As is my knowledge of common womanly duties.

What man in his right mind wants to deal with all the chaos that comes with a girl like me?  Yes, I have dreamy eyes, and I run around barefoot, and I am generally considered to be smart, so I seem like the answer to certain artistic boy fantasies, but darling, I should tell you right up front, I am NOT wife material.  While I will absolutely love the hell out of you, and yeah, bang you until you think you’ve died and gone to heaven, your chances of ever eating unburnt toast, unburnt anything, ever again, will go down exponentially the second you step into my house.  (Exception:  I make a mean green chile stew, and I like to bake, mostly so I can eat the batter.)  And having your shirts ironed?  Forget about it.  (Say that with a Godfather accent, please.  It will make me laugh.  I like to laugh.)

I will write you poems.  Good ones.  They will be works of art.  You can peruse them over your dinners of tepid tap water and microwaved croutons.  (The kitchen will be fabulously, if eclectically decorated.  I like decorating.)  I may wear lingerie for you, if I feel like it, but I am just as likely to run around the house on my days off sporting bedhead and footie jammies.  I will tap dance terribly and sing Tom Petty until you want to shoot me in the face.  I DO NOT do gardening.

If you like to travel, though, we may get along, as long as you don’t mind that my idea of “packing” is grabbing the first ten items off the top of the laundry mountain and stuffing them into my lime-green suitcase.  I may forget to bring pants, depending on what the laundry mountain offers up at the moment of packing, which, after we have driven four-hundred miles (most of them with my foot out the window) will force us to enter a store and buy me some jeans.  Which will suck, because, as I mentioned, I hate shopping.  And yes, I will ask you that fateful question:  “Do these make my ass look fat?”  And if you say “yes,” no matter how diplomatically, I’ll pistol whip you in the middle of Ross.  No, I don’t carry a pistol, but damn it, I’ll find one.  They have everything in that store.  But even if you don’t say I’m fat, I’ll still hate the trying things on part, especially under those ugly, florescent lights.  (Who the hell thought of putting unflattering lighting in fitting rooms?  Come on, guys.  Take a cue from strip clubs.  RED LIGHTS.  That’s the ticket.  Your sales will go up exponentially.)  Then, you will have to listen to me whine, and then, afterwards, you will probably have to buy me wine, after which, well, that banging thing is almost guaranteed happen.  So all in all, marrying me might be ok.

As long as you’re not big on eating.  UNLESS you like to eat out.  I LOVE to eat out!  I love lobster and lasagna and fajitas and pizza. . .oh, I could go on forever.  Actually, I love all food, as long as I don’t have to cook it.  Which is probably part of the reason I have these banging curves, which I guess is why maybe some artsy-fartsy boys with a penchant for voluptuous women want to marry me.

Listen, artsy-fartsy boy, this is what else I would do.  I would read to you.  All night long.  I would read Yeats until my head fell off.  I would read it like I meant it.  I would mean it so much, you would cry.  And then, I would hold your face against my breasts (which have been compared by a caring friend to comforting, rising bread loaves–a female friend, with whom I am not sexually involved–it was a sincere, bread inspired compliment!) and comfort the hell out of you.  That’s what I would do.  But if you want, matching, clean socks, find another girl.

And I would listen to you.  If you wanted to talk. Though I wouldn’t make you if you didn’t.  I would let you be quiet.  And have time to yourself.  And I would love you in spite of your faults.  I would love you drunk or sober.  I would forgive you when you forgot my birthday, though I might make you do something nice to make up for it.  I would try not to be jealous when I caught you looking at other girls, though, let’s be frank, I probably would be.  But if I did get jealous, I would tell you, straight out, “I’m jealous, and I know it’s my problem, not yours.”  I wouldn’t play games with your head.  I might play games with cards though.  Do you like card games?  I would swear at you if you beat me at Nertz–you wouldn’t know it by looking at me, but I cuss like a sailor when people beat me at cards–but I wouldn’t mean it.  We could play strip poker.  Also, if we were in a place with an ocean, we could go skinny dipping.  Not could.  Should.  MUST.  Just watch out for stingrays.  Can you imagine getting stung on your delicate parts by a stingray?  So can I.  I have a vivid imagination.  It would be almost as un-fun as eyeball paper cuts.

In conclusion, if you don’t mind wearing one black sock, and one white sock, and you are more interested in having a smart girl who laughs and travels and writes poems and meditates and eats things and bangs like she means it and loves you and tells the truth and generally thinks life kicks ass than you are in having a live-in gourmet cook, I might be just the thing you are looking for.

Disclaimer (1):  I feel like this essay has taken a sinister turn.  I feel like I started out trying to convince people they don’t want to marry me, and then I got all wonky, and started trying to convince people they do want to marry me.  But if that seems contradictory, it’s not.  I’m trying to convince most people they don’t want to marry me.  I’m trying to convince one artsy-fartsy boy he does.  You know who you are.  And yeah, just in case you were wondering, you were the guitar toting priest featured in my Middle Ages fantasy.  You have also served as a guitar toting knight.  And a guitar toting pizza boy.  And a guitar toting cowboy.  And a guitar toting. . .well, you get the picture.  You are always in my fantasies.  And you always have a guitar.

And look, while I am not be willing to become a gourmet cook just to please you, I might be willing to rustle up some pancakes.  From a box.  For breakfast.  On your birthday.  I’d bring them to you in bed.  With a flower.  And a poem.  A MAGNIFICENT poem.  On the birthdays when we aren’t eating crab legs on some pier somewhere far away, I mean.  And I might (MIGHT) be willing to iron your shirt on your birthday.  But that’s iffy.  Very, very iffy.  I suggest you buy wrinkle free clothing before you propose. (Don’t try it on at Ross.  Their lighting sucks.  Seeing yourself reflected in such an unflattering light could do damage to your self-esteem.  Though if you marry me, I will tell you how beautiful you are every day, and you may well forget all about self-loathing by the time we are old, sitting in rocking chairs in our rental cottage, staring at the sea.  You’ll say, “Remember that time the stingray stung me on the penis?”  And oh, how we will laugh!  I won’t be wearing pants, as I will have forgotten to pack them, and by then, we will be way too old to give a damn about appearances.  Plus, it will save us the risk of throwing our backs out while undressing when we go inside to bang.  Slowly.  Gingerly.  But still, like we mean it.)

Disclaimer (2):  I wrote this entire essay because a mountain of laundry is waiting for me to fold it.  I feel like I have procrastinated virtuously.  I created art, damn it.  When the world is over, and we look back on our lives, are we going to look back on the folded socks, or the art?

I say the art.