How to Finally (Sorta) Get Your Favorite Shirt Back

by Jessica Brookman in ,

FACT: If you think it's a bad idea, that's because it is. But you're gonna do it anyway.

At least you'll have a shirt to wear when you're done. 

Stefan Sagmeister,  Things I Have Learned In my Life So Far. 

Stefan Sagmeister, Things I Have Learned In my Life So Far. 

Yo, guys and dolls, I am a fuck up. But, as Stefan Sagmeister said, TRYING TO LOOK GOOD LIMITS MY LIFE. 

Accordingly, here is Part 3 of my series HOW TO GET YOUR FAVORITE SHIRT BACK. You can read Parts ONE and TWO before you start.

xo, @jessicabrookman


"You want to get fucked right now, don't you?"

This sentence is distinct and fully-formed. It is sharp. It pierces through all 4,000 foggier thoughts. I'm alone. I'm afraid that the primitive reptilian segment of my brain has finally stopped grunting at me and learned to speak English. If that's true, then I'm already fucked. 

But i was not exactly straining my coarse mind around the origin of my thoughts in that moment. 

Glancing at the phone, I smudge my finger over the words "unfinished business." Did you know that, neurochemically speaking, panic and exhilaration are, essentially, the same thing? 


Some hours later, I'm at the bar at Edendale. It's merely speckled with humans. Somehow, though, James has managed to locate me. He's a tall, vulgar brit. And he's rattling my ears about burlesque dancers in between puffs of an electronic cigarette. 

Yes, James, I do think that burlesque is a higher art form than dancing at a titty bar. Yes, James, I do believe that any act that begins with the subtle suggestion of sexuality and crescendos into the full-bore variety is more exciting than an overt display. 

Uh huh. Yep. Pussy. Tits. Pointless intellectualism. Pussy. Electronic cigarettes. Yes, James. What. A. Drag. Totally. 

I reach into my bag, fishing for a shield. All I have is blood red lipstick. Close enough. I'm mindlessly smearing it onto my lower lip before I have the good sense to remember that it is a shade of red that is not to be fucked with sans mirror. I excuse myself from my british company and turn for Ladies'.  

I make it a step and a half.

"Why'd you put more lipstick on, Jessica?" 

We leave the bar--and James--for the patio and a less-electronic vice.

"Diversion tactics, mostly. Not a fan?"
"it's fine. I'm going to take it off of you."

Yes. But not yet. I want a close shave with a sharp razor. And, every aching minute is another pass over the leather strap. Still, it's hard to argue with temptation when you've begged it to appear in front of you. Red lips or not. This is the reason, I'm sure, that I've found myself on this patio, under a heat lamp, smoking a cigarette and giving a very close inspection to the anchor-shaped carve-outs on his navy pea coat buttons. 


Now, allow me to back track to provide you with some insight relevant to these types of encounters...

Before you even get to the bar, you will be engaged in a mental wrestling match with yourself. In fact, t's possible that you understand that you share a final destination with the person you're off to see. You know this. But, you still have to drive yoursel. You will have to do this to tranquilize your superego and scratch the scaly back of your lizard id:

"Were you fucking raised by wolves?" 
"Shhh! It's just a drink. One!"
"One hour. Two at the most."
"Just an hour?"
"YES! Two hours max...Then we will drive home--we have to, right? Yeah. So we'll drive home. And, go to bed."

That part is true. You will be home. And you will go to bed. This is what it feels to be impeached by the devil's advocate only to realize realize you're the only one in the court room. But this omission will keep the peace internally; it will be necessary to get you out the door. Because you've already made up your mind about what will happen once you go.

Driving alone has benefits, though. For example, after the patio gets *so* cold, after you settle up, after you've said goodbye to James but before the longest light on Hyperion Ave, you will have time to sit calmly with your decision.

In that time, you will visualize. 

You will see yourself thirty-six hours later, finally leaving your apartment because you ran out of coffee. 

You will also see yourself forty-eight hours later. 

You will be on the phone. 

You will be on the wrong end of the phrase "Darling, I can't. I'm going to fuck you over." 

You will see yourself seething. 

You will see yourself making a lover into a monster.

You will see yourself apologizing for doing those things. 

Then, you will see yourself attempting to have a strictly (we swear!) friendly lunch on a monday.

 But then, you will see yourself being summoned to a quiet bar in the tiny hours by saturday. And you know, when that happens, that you will go. 

Because you just had to have each other. Didn't you? 

You will see these things because they are true. You will know they are true because the only thing that's changed is how sharp that razor has become since the last time. 


Back to the story. I'm a fuck up. But what the fuck can I say? 

If you were looking for a tidy ending, you're in the wrong corner of the internet. I could wrap it all up in a package more convenient to blogging. But, it would be a lie. Anyway, there are no endings. 

As i'm writing this, I'm sitting at a low wood table somewhere on Abbott Kinney. Opposite me is semi-out-of-work, decidedly ginger actor in navy chambray. 

I bought him lunch. And you know what the worst part about it is? He's eating it. 

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