The Kiss on the Forehead

I have been kissed on the forehead twice as a grown woman. Well, three times, but twice by the same guy in the same instance, so let’s count them as one.

I’ve got to tell you, I’m not a big fan of the forehead kiss. I keep thinking that, under the right circumstances–I’m married to your best friend and you save me from being run over by a car and in your relief that I’m okay, you embrace me and cannot help but place your lips on my sweet flesh and, even though you long to smooch me right on the mouth, your love for your best friend prevents you from violating his trust and so you gently kiss me on the forehead and then move away so that you don’t have to see me if you can’t have me OR I’m busy kissing the cutie in bed with us–being kissed on the forehead might be okay.

But, in my experience, the forehead kiss means “you ain’t getting any smooches any farther south than this” and what fun is that?

The first forehead smooch went like this. There was this cantankerous guy that I loved and loved to bicker with* and we’d go to dinner–my two roommates and me and him–every week and he would call us hooligans and I would sigh and make googly eyes at him and wish he’d leave his fiancee for me, even though he was a Republican jack-ass whose dad knew Bob Dole well and I was a liberal do-gooder.

So, one day at dinner I wasn’t speaking to him, though I can’t remember why. I’m sure he deserved it though. And he ran up to me at the car and grabbed me and smooched my forehead. And I laughed and things between us were better, though that was as close as he ever came to succumbing to my charms. Which is too bad.

The second one was much more dramatic. There had been some drinking. A lot of drinking. And there had been a minor scene of brief upper-body nudity on his part and the kind of confession that you always hope you might hear, just for the sheer romantic tragedy of it, until it actually happens and you look across the table and pray to whatever local deity you can drum up that his wife of less than a year did not just hear him say that.

And then, you decide to leave, because said confession shook you and you are too drunk to keep from crying about it. And so, you unwisely grab him and take him out to the stairs and you say your tearful goodbyes and he pulls you to him and kisses you on the forehead and you start down the steps, but he hasn’t let go of your hand and he pulls you to him again and you lean forward and whisper something in his ear that was needless considering that you’re going home and he’s going home and you probably won’t ever see him again, and he leans over and brushes your forehead gently with his lips and you break free and you rush out to a waiting taxi and zoom off into the night.

And you think, at that moment, that what you’ll carry with you is what he said, but what you realize years later is that you’re more thrilled by the thought that you rushed down marble stairs in high heels and actually made a dramatic exit without falling on your ass.

Anyway, the kiss on the forehead. On a scale of one to ten, I give it a three in sexy, a five in charming, and, if properly executed, an eight in drama. Unfortunately, I have to also give it an eight in the kind of patronizing department.

Execute with caution.

*No, no one you know. A different cantankerous guy. No, different than that one. No, not him either. No one anyone but Miss J knows. He’s never commented here, he doesn’t read this blog. I just like cantankerous men.

Things I Worry About, in No Particular Order

  • That the Butcher is miserable and thinks he’s shielding me from it.
  • That I frightened y’all off with my craziness.
  • That the tiny cat has some real medical problem which is why she pulls all her hair out every winter and I’m not doing enough to insist that the vet figure out what it is.
  • That contrary to all evidence, Mrs. Wigglebottom will someday eat me.
  • That I will never have a place to call my own.
  • That the tiny cat is eating the dog’s food even though her own food is right there.
  • That one of us will wreck my car and then neither of us will be able to get to work.
  • That I will always be poor.
  • That I do think too much about this shit.
  • That our landlord will evict us for no reason.
  • That the recalcitrant brother will go to prison.
  • My nephews.
  • The weird tiny bump on my knee.
  • What if I go blind?
  • Where am I going to come up with the money to get some new shoes?

Hey. That’s it. Even if I give myself over completely to worry, I can only come up with fifteen things that are paralyzing me with fear.

Fifteen’s not so many. Fifteen’s doable. I can handle worrying about fifteen things.

Naming them was a good idea.

I’m Always Keeping You Up to Date on the Cool Stuff

Ubiquitous commenter W. finally has a blog. I see I’m supposed to make with the “mentor-like” activities. I’m not sure what exactly “mentor-like” activities are… maybe I’m supposed to get him some comments, of which he now has zero.

So, folks, go give the man some comments. If you can’t think of any, feel free to borrow one of these:

  • I like cheese.
  • Clearly, you’ve been educated beyond your intelligence.
  • Heidegger says that the shores themselves don’t come into existence until the bridge is built. What do you say?
  • That’s cool, but what about cooters? I love cooters.

Also, some site called Martini Ministry has been sending readers my way. I don’t know who this person is, but I love the idea of a Martini Ministry and her word of the day is “colpocoquette” which is a “woman who knows she has an attractive bosom and makes good use of its allure.” If only I knew how to pronounce that, I would use it all the time.



Plus, I had some thoughts on what little bit of the Grammys I watched before I got sucked into Skip Gates’s latest PBS thing. Here they are:

  1. Gwen Stefani. God damn it. I used to hate her. But seeing her all fat and happy, wearing what appeared to be some kind of weird animal print slip cover? The seduction is complete. I love her.
  2. If I can count your ribs between your tits, you are too thin, Sheryl Crow.
  3. Kelly Clarkson just cutes me half-to-death.
  4. Kanye West. I love you and your crazy ass ways. But if it’s cold enough that you need to be wearing gloves, you do not need to have your shirt unbuttoned that far.
  5. I don’t know when it happened, but Madonna now looks like a very skinny version of my grandma. This should gross me out, but I miss my grandma, so I find it comforting to watch Madonna turn into her.

And then Skip Gates’s thing. You know how I have this sneaking suspicion that all “Bessie”s are amazingly kick-ass woman and that I’ve been cheated by not being named Bessie? Well, I’m beginning to suspect that “Skip” is a clear sign of a cool man. My love for Skip James cannot be understated and now Skip Gates has won his way into my heart by limping around on a broken ankle, informing Quincy Jones that he’s 33% European.

Probably nothing would make me happier than heading down to the recalcitrant brother’s house to swab for DNA and be able to have Skip Gates sit across the table from him and say in his way, “Recalcitrant brother, how much sub-Saharan African DNA do you think you have? Well, it’s 10%!!!” or whatever. That would tickle me to no end.


I’d heard rumors of the awesomeness of Mary J. Blige’s rendition of “One,” but I still sat here awe-struck to see it last night on the Grammys.

It was amazing, like there was no one else on stage you wanted to watch or hear from, and she was up there with U2. But sweet Jesus, she owned that song like she heard it straight from God’s mouth.

Mariah Carey can talk about faith being important to her singing, Blige got up there and proved it.

That’s what I really love about when you get a great artist who can take a song you so closely associate with another great artist and show you something about that song you didn’t even know.

I love U2’s version of “One.” I love Johnny Cash’s version of “One.” I’ve listened to them both over and over because I think each of them gets at the song in different ways that are enlightening to me. But to hear Blige do it?

That’s a revelation.

And I can’t even put into words what I learned. I heard her do that song and I knew something different about it. She sings that song like she’s begging that this cup might pass from her lips.


The other day, I was just about half way through the Elvis Costello CD that Sarcastro gave me and this beautiful song came on. Beautiful in that way that kind of brings you up short, where you put down the laundry, and stand there to hear every word.

And I remember thinking, this is the most amazing song I’ve ever heard. I am about to cry right here, it’s breaking my heart so bad. How did I live my whole life without ever hearing this on the radio?

And then he gets to the chorus and it’s “Good Year for the Roses,” which, of course, I have heard on the radio and on the classic country channel and liked just fine. But I never thought of it as a great song.

Hearing Costello do it?

I realized it’s a great song.

Which reminds me of an accident I almost had on my way to Illinois to see the folks. I was listening to one of the older Oxford American CDs back when it was new and on came Dean Martin doing “He’s Got You,” his version of the Patsy Cline song.

Cline owns this song, as far as I’m concerned.

But Martin’s voice, so smooth and wistful, it sneaks up on you and his voice singing those words become the only thing in the world.

Not something you want to discover at 75 miles an hour on I-57.

But something worth discovering, if you can.

Which brings me to my favorite song to hear great artists do–“(Would you) Lay With Me (in a Field of Stone)”. You’ve got David Allen Coe’s version, which does sound exactly like the purpose he intended it for–wedding vows. A man asks his woman if she’s ready for what life with him will be like, opens himself up to her in a way that just brings me to tears.

Then there’s Tanya Tucker’s version, which was so controversial when it came out, because everyone thought it was about sex and a girl wanting some assurances that, if she gave it up to her guy, that he’d be willing to make similar sacrifices for her. Also, amazing.

And then there’s Johnny Cash’s version. Would you lay with me in a field of stone? What can you say about a song that sounds like a man standing at his fresh-dug grave, hoping one person will keep him company, even through death? It’s beautiful and heartbreaking and hard to hear.

Same song, three different artists, three different worlds of possibility evoked by their performances.

The Mark on the Beast

Oh, my god. Let’s be done with the depressing stuff and instead focus on the strange.

Mrs. Wigglebottom has a sowelo on the back of her left front leg.

Mrs. Wigglebottom, you are the light of my world.
I bow before your divine judgment.
I faint at the smell of your stinky farts.

(Hmm. This rune poem composing business is much easier than it looks.)

7:20–Edited to add:

Holy shit! You know what I just right fucking now put together? The recalcitrant brother acquired Mrs. Wigglebottom back in the day. The recalcitrant brother whose life is being underwritten by one of the more famous hate groups/social clubs of the American South?

Do you think that it’s a coincidence that Mr. “I let the Klan raise my son and feed me three or four times a week” would have a Nazi dog? I have my doubts.