So! Here’s an extremely personal and also gross fact about me: I have a wart on my foot. Barf, ick, ew – I KNOW. It’s disgusting. But shut it. This is a judgment free zone. And believe me, I’ve seen your body and I don’t think you should really be criticizing other people’s flaws, if you catch my drift. Warts are persistent and thus I’ve had to make multiple trips to ye ole dermatologist, every 3 weeks or so, usually around 8 AM, to have it zapped with freezing liquid nitrogen. It’s a sexy process, believe me.
The first time I go, I notice a dude sitting in the waiting room – second time, same dude! We nod to acknowledge the coincidence and then move on with our lives. At least I do. The third time, March 17 to be exact, I walk in the waiting room and am greeted by a thickly accented voice booming “Good morning, Elizabeth! Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!” It’s the same dude! I am about to politely respond when I realize…I’ve never told him my name. He must have overheard the doc calling me into the exam room and committed my name to memory, which I think we can all agree is just super normal, socially acceptable behavior. For a serial killer.
I try to turn to my book, but he persists with a litany of invasive questions, ranging from my St. Patrick’s Day plans to my heritage to my reasons for such frequent doctor visits. I should have told him I had an incurable case of MindYourOwnBeeswax, but I didn’t think of that great joke til just now, so I just politely stammered out one word answers to his questions.
Big mistake. Last week, back for one more appointment (another one! GROSS, I KNOW!) I enter the waiting room with trepidation and breathe a sigh of relief: empty. I’ve no sooner sat down when the door bursts open: “Elizabeth! How are you today! Your doctor is on her way! I saw her in the hall!”
Like a man being hunted by a dino, I played dead.
He sits down across from me and says: “Oh, new boots! You have three pairs of boots. Those ones (black), the brown suede (!!!) and the snow boots. I have never seen this pair before!”
The Brown Suede!!!! Dude is like thisclose to kidnapping me, skinning me and using my flesh to make a 4th pair of boots he can wear at home in the makeshift dermatological waiting room he's surely built in his murder dungeon.
Just when I think he can’t get any creepier he starts asking me about St. Patrick’s Day (he remembers our last encounter!), and asks me if I have a boyfriend which, believe it or not, I could answer in the affirmative, without having to lie (how you like me now, Internet?!). I thought my status might discourage his stalking, but no. He forged on, inquiring what color hair my boyfriend has (presumably so he can die his the same color, in an attempt to woo me? Kill my boyfriend, shave his head and make a wig?), and where, exactly, both my home and office are located.
I evaded those last two.
At this point the doc called me in for my exam and I’ll spare you the deets on what happened in there, but it was truly grotesque and the wart is still not fully gone (odds of me still having aforementioned boyfriend by the end of this story are getting slimmer and slimmer). I limped back into the waiting room to make a follow-up, but I could have saved the time – my charming friend already knew my schedule. “She’ll be back in three weeks!” he announced, as I made desperate “HELP ME!” eyes at the receptionist and quickly limped away.
I should probably have reported him to the doctor or sent a quick preliminary note to Dr. Spencer Reid (real person! Look it up!) so he could be on alert for my immanent demise but, of course, all I could do was think about how differently this scenario would have played out had it been written by a Hollywood writing staff.
I’d speculate I devote about 80% of my brain space to romantic comedies – watching them, analyzing them, creating imaginary scripts written by me with Ryan Gosling as the male lead and, no duh, Mila Kunis in the role of Liz Ho (or, if she’s to busy, Helen Mirren) and, most often, just comparing how my reality plays out against the world of romantic comedy. There is a popular a convention of these films known as the “meet-cute” in which two potential romantic partners meet in a contrived way in unusual or comic circumstances. Like, when J-Lo falls down and is saved by sexy Dr. Matthew Mcconaughey in The Wedding Planner or when Richard picked up Julia for some pre-paid sexytimes in Pretty Woman, or when Harry & Ron get randomly paired up as roommates at Hogwarts.
In movies, these awkward chance encounters always lead to light hijinks followed by heavy petting followed by true love. In real life this just never fucking happens. As a perfect example, had my above doctors appointment been a rom-com, the gentleman would have been a tall, mildly nebbish young man who dipped out early from his job as lead architect on a new center for wayward inner city teens to pick his dear grandmother up from a routine check-up. I, obviously, would have been in for treatment for a mysterious and secret fatal disease which mostly just involves a lot of delicate coughing. Instead, he’s a middle-aged European weirdo with an undisclosed dermatological condition and a boot fetish and I’m having a growth removed from my foot. Que romantique!
Another classic example involves a dog. In rom-com world, dogs are excellent props for a meet-cute. Out for a casual stroll in the park, a subtly gorgeous young woman might become ensnared in the leash of a runaway dog. Who should come to her rescue but his owner – a dead ringer for Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas, complete with accent and thigh muscles. In real life, a subtly gorgeous, if noticeably unwashed young woman (me) might be dwalking home from the Laundromat one Sunday afternoon when her one leg becomes the sexual plaything of a runaway dog. With the dog up on his hind legs, his front legs literally wrapped around her thigh, his pelvis thrusting at warp speed, who should come to her rescue but NO ONE. His owner, looking like he just wandered off the set of Winters Bone will just stand there, staring, before giving a nearly toothless grin and drawling: “Sorry, but he can’t help himself. You’re really pretty.”
Que, QUE romantique!
To fully illustrate my point, I’ll give you but one more example, this one coming from the depths of public transportation: the subway. AHollywoodromance might easily involve a “clumsy” professional lady dashing for the subway, the doors about to close, when a knight in shining armor (or at least well-fitted Armani) reaches out his hand and pulls her to safety. Because she’s still so “clumsy” she might spill her coffee on her white blouse but, no worries, he’s still her guy. In real life a clumsy (no quotes needed on this one, once again this person is me) might be dashing for the subway, the doors about to close, when a knight in shining armor (better yet – artfully framed glasses <3) reaches out his hand and pulls her to safety. Because she’s still so clumsy she reaches into her bag to grab her pretentious hardcover book and instead pulls out her birth control pills, flinging them across the train, the hard shell-shaped case bursting open upon connecting with the filthy floor, firing the interior pill packet even further down the car, past seats filled with what can only be nuns, angry über religious types, and her mother in disguise. He is most definitely NOT her man and she lives on for eternity regretting the missed opportunity to turn to him and say, sexily “well, looks like we’ve got nothing to worry about here. Your place, or mine?”
And so I think we can conclude: rom-coms are a bunch of malarkey and awkward meetings are just that. Awkward.
On that note, I’ll bid you adieu. And, I do realize I’ve been The Girl Who Cried Blog lately but, should you not see me round these parts in the future please, I beg you, do not just assume I’m being lazy but immediately alert the local police as I’m most certainly being held captive at the dermatologist’s office.