Americans and Their Fucking Showers

I never showered more than every two days before “finagling” a significant other. When he dumped me, I returned to my old ways tenfold, showering no more than once a week. It’s, if nothing else, a fantastic method for determining who really cares about you enough to stick around through thick and thin (stench). Turns out, no one. But, that’s fine. A girl doesn’t need much in this life for herself other than a video camera and, well, that’s really it. If you can confess your sins to something–even if it is a thing–there’s a feeling of not just absolution, but of not being alone. You’re never alone with your carapace. And in New York especially, you can find plenty of distractions for that carapace. Like the Met, which, apart from being a place to show one’s reverence for Gossip Girl, is a key, essentially free source for a day’s worth of diversion.

Not occurring to me that the concept of showering would once again hit me over the head in the wake of this not yet stale breakup that I tried to prevent precisely because I changed myself and my habits in so many ways (the showering being the primary manifestation of altering said habits), I realize immediately upon entering the appropriate floor that the David Hockney show is rife with water. Not just the water of pools, but the water of showers. Hockney’s fascination with the city of Los Angeles came from the glossy pages of magazines featuring beefcake guys in states of undress in the shower. The art world owes Physique Pictorial a lot for inspiring Hockney. Would that we could all be as aware of our fetishes and obsessions from an early age. For instance, I still don’t know that I’m obsessed with Europe and have watched far less qualified Americans move there with success. Success being: they manage to get a job, make friends and not totally embarrass themselves via the lens of their nationality. What’s more, I’m not ready to trust European nations with the task of a very specific medical need I have.

*****

I called the plastic surgeon back this morning to set up a consult about my inverted nipple. Over the course of our five minute conversation, not only do I have to remind her that I’m the bird who had filled out the online form about her inverted nipple, but also what my budget is, which turns out to be much less than the minimum three thousand dollars they expect it to cost. So now, not only have I confessed my deformity to this stranger, I’ve also let her additionally know that I’m a poor person. A broke ass with a bum nipple.

I leave the apartment after the phone call. I had expressly stayed inside longer than was my usual wont to give her my credit card number over the phone. That plan was clearly shot to shit. Walking down the street in my reflective sunglasses, I am on the verge of tears. I’m finding it harder and harder to not cry in public. It seems I can’t exhaust the contents of my tear ducts in the privacy of my own ramshackle–my upstaging of Alice, who ends up riding the waves of her very tears, will be imminent I fear. As I amble along the construction-laden sidewalk, I trip over raised concrete just as one of those Greenpeace/let women have abortion types with a clipboard stroke my nonexistent ego with, “You must be a movie star.” He gets the words out as I trip and then seems to notice how fucking fragile I am. “Are you okay?” “Yeah!” I snap. At least now he won’t ask me to donate any money, not that I would if I had any because it should all go to my shitty nipple that no one’s ever going to see again anyway. Maybe it wasn’t my hygiene but my nipple that drove him away. Maybe the showering was an excuse he needed and then once I fulfilled his request to do so more regularly, he couldn’t conceal any longer what his true disgust was rooted in–which still pertained to my body nonetheless.

A part of me is inclined to persist in my anti-shower protest after seeing the Hockney exhibit. It also once again heightens the awareness I have of what a much better fit I would be for Europe. They, a people that seem to understand the value of possessing a natural scent and actively engaging in water conservation. Or maybe, it’s just that the prevalent existence of bidets detracts from as constant of a need to wash one’s entire body–just the far more malodorous genital area.

I monopolize the space around the painting called “Man in Shower in Beverly Hills,” though no one respects that monopolization as they all hover around me–none of them Europeans. Just Americans and Asians. The caption at the right side of the painting reads, “‘Americans take showers all the time,’ Hockney said in the mid-1970s. ‘I knew that from experience and physique magazines.'” A blonde and tan muscular man with his twin-looking boyfriend–themselves seeming to have been plucked from the pages of Physique Pictorial–snicker behind me. “How often do you think Hockney showered all that cum resin out of his asshole, eh?” The other one titters on cue. I wonder what they’re doing at this retrospective. I mean, are they tourists from L.A. who happen to have stumbled upon this spokesperson for their land? I get my answer when one of them answers a phone call indicating that the person on the other end is on Pacific Standard time.

I continue to stand in front of this hunched over painted man, a nondescript blob yet somehow still impossibly defined for being a nondescript blob. His lack of any facial features speaks to how little men care for the face of a person so long as the body vastly outshines it. Even gay men.

Back in my apartment sooner than I thought I would be–much to my dismay–I run into the shower. Not because I feel particularly like “cleansing” so much as I have just attempted to self-extract my own nipple with some pliers and am bleeding everywhere. I guess I would have been better off getting this procedure done in Europe anyway. On either continent, a shower is the end result.

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