In Which Girls Shimmy and Heathers use a Different Kind of Toilet

Dear Carla Fran,

I am a belly-dancer. I may gyrate twitchily, my Arab wave might evoke a traffic cop at a busy intersection, and my knees are a mess by the end of it all, but by gum, I’m owning it. Our mutual friend had extolled the womanly virtues of the dance, and she wasn’t kidding. The spectacle of twenty-some women gyrating together was so lovely and sinuous that I kept forgetting to do my chest circles. The costumes! The drapy Jasmine-style Aladdin pants! The midriffs, all ripply and tattooed and undulating! It put me in mind of the bathhouse; there’s something so sharply elegant about real shapes moving unashamedly, the way they’re meant to. And then there’s the delicious contrast between the sharp crisp hip thrusts of a shimmy and the jiggling that follows–that’s MEANT to follow, that is neither an embarrassment nor a reason to go to the gym, but a deliberate and choreographed aftershock.

Ah, the acid slightly intestinal fragrance of dishwater. I feel for you poor nose. I’ve taken to wearing gloves because I can’t stand that smell–as definite and recognizable as garbage or vomit or fart. No matter what’s in the garbage or the sink, the smell is so deadly and so consistent. We could bottle it. We could call it Organic Chrism–eau de toilette–and package it in red, yellow and blue bottles (depending on the detergent used in preparation). We could hire Heathers impersonators and have the appropriate 80s-color-coded Heather promote each varietal. “What’s your damage?” would be the ad campaign. Finally, we’d release the eau de parfum: the Veronica–more musky, less citrus, with barf accents replaced by bass notes of Drain-0 and milk. Our ad-line? “Want Big Fun?”

And this brings us to Mad Men, which I’m dying to hear your thoughts on. One more thing re: smells: Have you tried rubbing a lemon on your hands after? It helps! And if you squeeze it out onto a tomato with some olive oil and salt, it’s not even wasted.

I’m running off to read Gwendolyn Brooks’ thoughts on Dickinson, since I have to teach the latter this afternoon. That is all for now. Farewell, my lovely.