The below is a piece from my original, failed, book proposal – “Oprah Drunk: How to Detox in an Oprah-less World.” The book was a collection of essays for women (and gay men) who were beside themselves when Oprah went off the air. You see, Oprah was their drug of choice. When the queen of talk went off the air, I expected an emotional pandemic to take over the streets. I was going to be the Oprah-Drunk’s, Betty Ford – the woman ready to lead the damaged toward the light! The proposal went pretty high up at a lot of publishing houses, which I was proud of. But, ultimately, it was the Oprah subject matter that killed it. Apparently, books on Oprah don’t sell very well. (Who knew?) It reminded me of that wonderful Shakespeare line, “my only love sprung from my only hate” – only in this case it was more like, “my biggest rejection sprung from my biggest hook”. The below is my favorite essay of the book. I’ve been looking for a place to put it and I’m hoping it will live out a nice life here. Enjoy. (And thank you for reading it.)
“When a man approaches a woman he already knows what he wants from her, but he doesn’t know what it will cost to get the cookie!”
– Steve Harvey, Comedian & Oprah Dating Advisor
“Are you really going to take dating advice from a man who refers to a woman’s lady parts as “the cookie”? Sweet Lord, let’s call a vag, a vag, and a d*ck, a d*ck, for god’s sake.”
– Sweet Mother, Comedian & Straight talking Oprah Drunk
NEWSFLASH: DO NOT GET IN A CAGE WITH A TIGER AND DO NOT GO TO A MALE COMEDIAN FOR DATING ADVICE. The vast majority of male comedians that I know get way too many “cookies”. They also get panties thrown at them before they receive the “cookie”! Often, they are found after shows signing the boobs of some slut in Chilhowee, Missouri. Can you blame them? No, you can’t. After all, they are funny. Now, I’m sure Mr. Harvey means well, but his economics of dating approach is not going to work for the Oprah-Drunk and especially not while she is detoxing. An Oprah-Drunk during the Oprah-Detox is at her most vulnerable. She may look unwell. She may head to the store looking like what Oprah calls a, “shlumpadinka”. Her hair will be undone, her sweatpants will be stained, her pedicure may be chipping away, her boobs will be sans bra, and there may be the tiniest bit of sleep festering in the corner of her eye. It is not a pretty picture. However, as Oprah often says to Gayle, “you have got to be ready”. What if Mr. Right is at the store and you show up looking like a shlumpadinka and shaking from your lack of Oprah-fix? What to do then? Oprah would like you to freeze time, return home immediately, scrub up, apply some extensive Body Shop products, put on your best Laura Ashley, head back to the store with a wheatgrass juice in your hand, and a twinkle in your eye. I say, NO! I say, EMBRACE IT. I say, LET YOUR SHLUMPADINKA SHINE! Walk right up to that man looking like a Shlumpa-ROO with a collection of crustiness in each orifice heretofore unseen in the just awakened world! Today you will be honest for once. Today you will be the Queen of the Shlumps! Tell this man the worst things about yourself, right there in the grocery store. Display your shlumpadinka and if he doesn’t recoil in fear then you have found your guy.
In fact, I think we should have our shlumpadinka-encrusted-flaws written on a card. You hand the card to your potential lover and if they can handle its contents, then the date proceeds, and if they can’t then they can get up and walk away. No questions asked. Everyone gets a card. Think of it as your date-ID card. Mine would say, “warts and hemorrhoids”. Yours might say, “anorexia and depression”. Or his might say, “I may hit you” or “flatulence and hangnails”. You say “hello,” you hand the cards to each other, and you’re off.
Now if the ailment is visible you do not need to put it on the card. For example, if your face was shot off and then transplanted – like the woman recently profiled on Oprah – this is going to be obvious. Your face will look better than after the original trauma, not all caved in, but definitely large and parade-float-like. So, there‘s no need to write “face injury” on your index card. If you’re a chef and you almost died from a MRSA-like infection, causing you to lose a limb and chunks of your upper body – like another woman profiled on OPRAH – then the card decision is a little more complex. The missing limb does not need to be mentioned since this will be obvious once you remove your coat with difficulty using one hand. You may want to mention, however, the fact that some of your skin under your shirt is paper thin and that the outline of your vital organs is visible to the naked eye. This will avoid any awkward moments once hanky-panky comes into play. As in, “God, baby, you feel so good. Your skin feels like rice paper. HOLY SHIT, IS THAT YOUR LIVER?!” This can all be avoided with the first-date-card. Since a typical, 3×5 index card can hold a lot of information, it’s also important that the first-date-card let’s your potential lover know whether or not you are doing anything about your affliction. As my mother says, “It’s okay to have problems. It’s NOT okay not to do anything about them.”
So, for example, your card should list your afflictions and their current status as follows:
“Warts and Hemorrhoids”
Mark the appropriate box.
The size of the first-date-card is paramount to its success. It should be 3×5 – no bigger and no smaller. The reason being that you do not want to over explain, but you definitely want to EDIT. We want your darkest truths, but just a dollop. We do not want so much truth that it actually makes you feel full and then nauseous. For example, you do not want to re-enact a conversation that I had with my mother, which went something like this:
Me: “Mom, have you ever had warts…”
Mom: “Yes, my vagina started to itch and I realized what was going on.”
Me: “NO. MOM. I. MEANT. ON. YOUR. FEET. I. HAVE. PLANTARS. WARTS. ON. MY. FEET.”
There is no going back from such moments. So, conversations should be avoided. Precision is key.
An index card is double sided, which is useful when more information is unavoidable and necessary. Let’s discuss the do’s and don’ts of your index card’s backside. You may want to succinctly explain your next steps, but do not talk about failures and set backs. This will only stir up your potential partner’s doubts. For example, in the case of my plantars warts, I would NOT say: “Plantars warts are the human papilloma virus that grows on the sole of your foot. This is basically the same HPV that causes cervical cancer. You do not get it, however, by dragging the sole of your foot across a sick pussy or dick. You get it from the shower.” That again would be over explaining mixed with some intellectual conjecture. Avoid it. In regards to my hemorrhoids, it would be counter-productive to state on my card that, “A hemorrhoid is a vein that breaks apart from your colon and swells, often protruding due to a very uncomfortable period of over-pushing when on the toilet or due to a lack of fiber in the diet. Internal hemorrhoids are painless, but wouldn’t you know it, mine is a bit prolapsed and therefore protrudes. It’s the size of a pea and comes and goes with the rain. When my anal-volcano is active, I like to refer to it as my backdoor clit.” This is not helpful at all. Here is a more informative and uplifting B side for my index card:
“Warts and Hemorrhoids: Next Steps”
Duct Tape Occlusion Therapy*
Hemorrhoidal Cream and Prayer*
*Duct Tape Occlusion Therapy is very controversial. It is to plantars warts what Ayn Rand was to religion – confusing. The theory is cover the wart with duct tape consistently and often. The duct tape will smother the host and cause your immune system to go into action and kill it. The duct tape is the poetic equivalent of poking your lazy lion of an immune system with a stick, until it reacts and rips your wart to shreds, leaving a beautiful and continuous sole of the foot.
*Hemorrhoidal Cream and Prayer – Really this is self explanatory. There is a foreign object attacking your-anus. Since this is a planet not often frequented by astronauts, lovers, and those of the medical profession, prayer is the most effective treatment.
Back to the first-date-card. It is my firm belief that a small amount of thought and action can not only bring us all closer to our soul mates, but it may also put internet dating sites out of business, which I see as a bonus. In a drop-down menu society it would be so much better to know the truth as opposed to the truth as written through our individual PR pages. Had my lover and I exchanged first-date-cards initially they would have read as follows:
“Warts and Hemorrhoids. Fear of failure and Stick-out Ears.”
“Webbed Toes and Control Issues.”
We know these things about each other now. In fact, we learned them quite quickly. Perhaps that’s because we met the old fashioned way, by sitting next to each other at a picnic table and by striking up a conversation. Because I saw her truthfully as she is, the minuses were nothing. They even became pluses that I fantasize about. Maybe in this life we met at a picnic table during a comedy festival, but in a past life we met in a forest. Her padding by with her platypus feet, expertly traversing the wet ground, and me swooping in with my elfin, stick-out ears. She, pats me on the back and tells me that there’s no way I can fail. I tell her that whether we do it my way or hers it will all work out. The warts and hemorrhoids, well, I’m still working on those.
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Photo cred: – Oprah Tattoo