I Am Not Your Purse

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“Reservations for two, please,” I said mechanically. It had been a long day filled with photo shoots being rained out, camera equipment nearly being destroyed, and models being… models. All I really wanted to do was curl up under my thick, fluffy comforter with Virginia Wolfe and a hot cup of peppermint tea that I longingly imagined kissing the back of my throat.

Instead, I was to see Lloyd, my male friend. The term “boyfriend” always seemed so possessive and juvenile. “Lover” was out of the question for the simple reason of my not wanting to sound like a certain type of film star. So, I settled with “Lloyd”. He was a tall, handsome chap with a lot going on outside and the opposite going on internally. His daily wardrobe consisted of fuchsia sweater vests, orange feather headdresses, purple pants so tight that every crevice and leg hair was visible, and my personal favorite, cat-eye glasses in sunshine-yellow.

In the beginning, his wardrobe was what had attracted me to him. It acted as a catalyst, setting off a whirlwind of emotions swirling around the idea of the unconventional. I can remember thinking to myself, “Now there is someone with originality.” He was a gem among a sea of conformists; people too scared to break through the norms of society; sheep that saw their mechanical lifestyles and did nothing about it because society says it’s “okay”. Actually, that is why I became a photographer. I wanted to capture the differences on film, opening up the eyes of the world, thrusting “social beauty” into the face of society.

Lloyd was my model at first, then a friend, then the rest. What began with us had dwindled, the spark was now merely ash. He had become too commercial. He was not wearing his clothes for him now; he wearing them for the reaction. I used to love those clothes; now I resent them. They once represented opposition to the status quo and pretension. Currently, they seemed like figments of something that once was great.

“Hey, you terminally pretty fox,” I heard a voice from behind mutter softly and deeply in my ear.

“Hi, Lloyd. You’re late.”

“It’s the rain, Babe. You know I can’t get my Italian loafers wet. If you want to blame someone, blame the bus boy. Can you believe he wouldn’t wrap my feet in plastic or give me a piggyback ride? I cannot believe what this world is coming to. To top it off, my hair has gone flat, mousse is in my eyes, and my fuchsia sweater has gone to a deep magenta!” Deflection followed by self-pity-something new and different for Lloyd.

I did not have the patience to endure another fight with Lloyd even though, technically speaking, he had invited me to the restaurant, begging me to come because he had something that was ”more important than the creation of the Prada bag.” Go figure.

“Okay, Lloyd. Your life is rough. Now please tell me why you’ve brought me here. I have films to look at and a photo shoot to prepare for tomorrow.” He didn’t notice the startling note of sarcasm that rang loudly in my voice. His face did grow stern, though, which was incredibly unusual for him. “Deer in the headlights” he could master, but a stern face? You would have more luck getting Paris Hilton to say something intelligent.

“Well, Luc, you’re in a blunt mood. I’ve had a rough day, I’m warning you. There was a giant thunderstorm; my low-fat latte with no foam was switched with a regular latte… A regular latte, Lucy! Do they know what that will do to my elegant figure? I mean, honestly.” Lloyd had this annoying habit of going off on crusades before a big event or when he became nervous. Sometimes, it was as if his words were grains of rice and he was trying to feed the starving children in Africa. I had found that the best thing to do was to yell at him. Yes, in many ways Lloyd was just like a dog; offering shiny things, yelling, and patting on the head were all excellent ways to spark his attention.

“Lloyd… Lloyd. Lloyd!” That last one did the trick.

“Yes?” Lloyd muttered sheepishly.

“You were going to tell me something important. Do it,” I said calmly. An image of motherhood startled me. “Oh my, is this really what it’s like?” I thought to myself. Count me out.

“Oh, right, right, right. Well, um, Luc, it’s more of asking you something.”
Oh God. This is not going to happen again. The last time Lloyd asked for my opinion about the way his hair looked, we didn’t speak to each other for a week, and we were never allowed back at our favorite pizza joint. Apparently, when you tell Lloyd his hair looks flat, something inside of him snaps. He became so angry that he threw a chair and hit the owner. Then, he began to weep over the owner’s badgered face crying, “No! The perfect bone structure! Why? What have I done?!” That was a fun night.

“Luc?” Lloyd brought me back to the present.

“Um, huh?” Men with violins were approaching and Lloyd looked worried. Did my mother die?

“Luc, you’re my girlfriend, and-“

“Check your terminology, please Lloyd. I am not your purse.” I was becoming annoyed and the violins were not helping.

“Yes, well, fine. Sorry. Anyway, will you do me a favor? Will you marry me?” I began to laugh. Truly, I thought he was joking. Unaware that the entire restaurant was watching, waiting, and listening for my response I continued laughing. (I do not think laughter was what they were expecting.)

“Oh, Lloyd. Sometimes you’re funny.” The look of devastation that spread across his features made me stop in my tracks. He wasn’t joking. It would have been better if he had just asked me how his hair looked. “You aren’t kidding, are you?” He shook his head.

“No.”

The restaurant was silent. The violins stood over us, hovering with their penguin suits and handlebar mustaches.

“Well, this is embarrassing.” I said loud enough for everyone to hear me. I had already decided how I was going to handle this situation. I could not marry Lloyd. That idea was completely out of the question. Nor could I continue to date him after the question he had just thrown at me. Besides, the man would jump in front of a car for a pair of Michael Kors sunglasses. I’ve been mugged right in front of him and the only thing he could manage to scream, after he pushed me in front of him, was, “Oh God, no! I am much too pretty to be mugged. Take the girl, please! She can bare your children!” Yes, I know. I have often realized what a pathetic piece of man-flesh he is.
I knew it would be rough, but I could not risk giving Lloyd false hope. The idea of a stalker was never inviting to me. I had to take action that would ensure an abandonment of ties to me.

“Lloyd, I can’t marry you because your hair is too flat.” I said in a nonchalant, below-the-belt sort of way. The looks I received from every female in the room could have shattered glass! If only I had had my camera with me. What occurred after I stormed out of the restaurant, I might learn about in tomorrow’s headline news. I am guessing that the headline might read, “Local Anarchist Demonstrates Anarchy”, or “Colorful Citizen Cracks!” something falsely witty and equally unoriginal similar to that.

After leaving the restaurant, I went home, and do you know what I did? I curled up under my thick, fluffy comforter with Virginia Wolfe and a hot cup of peppermint tea, blissfully aware that Lloyd was no longer my problem.





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