I Always Loved Tom Waits (Salon): Before I ever loved Tom Waits, I loved guys who loved Tom Waits, and they had certain qualities in common. They all smoked cigarettes (often unfiltered). They loved booze (often whiskey). They drank coffee (black). They had flourishes of eccentricity: A fedora worn to the grocery store, a chain wallet, a deceptively casual method of cupping a flame as they lit a cigarette against the wind. They were reckless and tender and sullen and, good god, they were beautiful. The chips were stacked very high against me back then.
Hit on the Head (Salon): “It doesn’t seem fair,” I told him once, sitting on his puffy leather couch in the nondescript one-bedroom where he’d moved after the split from his wife. “That kid gets a prison sentence, and we get each other.” / “That’s cute,” he said, threading his fingers through my hair. / “That I care about that kid?” / “That you think life is fair.”
The Surprise Spanx Make-out (Salon): On Saturday afternoon, I bought a darling bra-and-panty set, the kind with sweet, swirly black lace and pale-pink bows. It’s the sort of coquettish ensemble you always hope you’ll be wearing when a gentleman caller happens to separate you from your polka-dot swing dress — not the raggedy underwear from Target, the elastic spazzing out the hems, not the cheap bra with one clasp missing and a mysterious rip around the areola, but proper vixen attire, clean and comely. But that’s not what I was wearing on Friday night. On Friday night, I was wearing Spanx.
My Search for One Decent Dallas Man (D Magazine): In my 20s, I dismissed men for such minutiae: listening to the wrong music, wearing the wrong socks. I got mad at a guy in college because he liked porn. I mean, what planet was I living on? But I was young, and I was righteous, and I couldn’t forgive any man for failing to be John Cusack (who probably also likes porn). I didn’t date much.
Up in Smoke (Nerve): What I did next is something I have never done before. I do not think I will ever do it again. It was unsafe, reckless, and if my parents are reading this, it is entirely a metaphor. I can only tell you that I hated that bar, and I liked Billy — quite a lot, actually. He had interesting ideas about the magazine where I work and about politics and about art. (He also had cigarettes.) I didn’t understand why the stupid, douchey bar had to come in between me and someone I liked. So I turned to him and said, “Would you like to come back to my apartment and have sex?”
My Fake Online Boyfriend (Salon): Ours was a thoroughly 21st relationship that unfolded through the Web, email and iPhone, a drama in which the two main characters never actually shook hands. It was one of the strangest romances I’ve ever had, not simply because I did not know him in person but because I truly came to believe he did not exist.