I am not an adventurous person. I was never one for all night parties, sex without regret, and experimentation of anything illegal, mind-altering, or past it’s expiration date. All my life, I thought it was shameful to be so tame, but I’ve finally learned to embrace it. It’s who I am. So here I am. Liz Black, born to be mild.
I can’t imagine anything worse than publicly walking around with no pants on, which is why I totally don’t get this new trend that Lady Gaga, Ke-dollar sign-ha, Katy Perry and everyone else has latched on to. I, of course, do not have the body that these ladies have, if I did, I might feel differently. No, I was/am/will always be the girl at the pool party who kept her tee shirt on because that meant no one could see my imperfections—ha ha, I had you all fooled! That tee shirt was like playing peek-a-boo with a baby: If you cover it up, it ceases to be there, object permanence at its finest. And yet the tee shirt still didn’t hang much lower than the edge of my butt, leaving my thighs exposed so it really didn’t accomplish what I needed it to anyway.
I don’t actually have huge body issues, I mean, yes, who doesn’t want to be more, um, taut, but I’ve never obsessed with weight loss and stuff. I just have never been thrilled to take off my pants in public. I actually do have a story though about how I maybe-possibly-could have almost died and the only thing I was wearing was my bathing suit and I learned a real lesson in self-acceptance that day.
A couple years ago some friends and I went tubing down the Esopus River up in the Catskills. We had images in our head of “lazy-river” tubing, where we’d gently float along on a calm current, drinking a beer insulated by a koozy, taking in the relaxing properties of Mother Nature. What I didn’t expect was that this river was not so much “lazy” as it was “white water” and the current would be so strong it would actually throw me from my tube, yank my shoes off, fling the denim skirt I was sitting on (because, of course, I actually took it off while I was knee deep in the water, that’s my adult version of tee shirt at the pool party) down river never to be seen again, and drag me, my legs and my tube against the rocky riverbed until I was able to right myself. This happened about four times, and at one point the water was rushing so fast and the only option to avoid boulder #1 which jutted out of the water was to crash into boulder #2 on the river bank. I actually screamed in terror and my boyfriend and I held hands like at the end of Toy Story 3, ready to accept our fate as we both capsized together. The river was mad that day, for sure. Also, she was full of a summer’s worth of rainwater which made it fucking dangerous and the only reason I say I could have died that day and I don’t feel like I’m exaggerating is because the day after we went tubing, a man actually did die crashing into boulder #2.
So at this moment, rattled, bruised and bloody, and with a denim skirt floating halfway to Woodstock, Boyfriend and I told our friends we were done, and we climbed out of the water and told them we’d meet them … somewhere. There was a ramshackle school bus that looked like the one the cast of Jesus Christ Superstar drives out to Jerusalem that would pick up tubers at the end of the river, and we just figured we’d walk until we found that. I didn’t realize we’d have to walk along a major highway carrying a rubber inner-tube with blood running down my sore legs, in a blissfully support-free tankini and nothing else. I hadn’t planned for this. But if anything will make you not give a fuck about your body, it’s realizing your own mortality. In closing, I guess Lady Gaga just realizes life is fragile and that’s why she hates slacks so much but I personally could never do that.