Monday, April 26, 2010

The Price of Beauty...

For those of you who know me, you are aware that I have very few qualms about sharing the intimate details of my many embarrassing moments. For those you who haven't been so fortunate to hear the details, get ready.

In my life, I have kept up with beauty maintenance in the following ways:
Laser Hair removal
Hair Treatments
Vegetarianism- which is pretty much a diet

That stated, you should also know how incredibly painful all of the above are. Imagine a tiny needle penetrating the pores of your most sensitive areas, or wavelengths of laser energy pulsing beneath your skin, and then maybe you might understand the price of beauty.

Usually, I opt out of salon esthetics for my own at-home services for reasons including embarrassment and cost. I may be poor but I try not to look it-most days.

Since I've been in New York, I have managed to maintain my beauty regimes, but this past Thursday I decided to treat myself- to the most excruciating ten minutes thus endured. I went to Randee Elaine Salon in the West Village for a, eh hm, "lady wax." I read about this place in Time Out Magazine. It was voted as one of the best, fastest and cheapest places to go for all spa needs - and they had a spot open. A lovely woman, with a thick and untraceable accent greeted me at the counter and said, "ok baby, you come with me now." She led me through the waiting area and up a staircase. The familiar smells of ammonia and burnt hair instantly filled my nose. Good, I thought. Its clean. The room she took me into provided just enough space for the two of us and the table that I would spread eagle on. As she left me to undress, she patted the paper-covered table and gave me a reassuring wink. When she returned, I almost immediately blurted out, "this is my first time, " which of course was not true, but somehow saying so made me feel that if she thought that it was,  then she would be kinder and prepared for when the unstoppable distraction babble poured out of me.  All in all, the small chat provided momentary diversions in the moments where I could still breathe enough to say anything. She was understanding and patient and thankfully quick. That is until, during a particularly rough rip,  I accidentally jerked my left leg straight into her stomach. Mortified, I sat up and apologized while she caught her breath. To my credit, I am glad I had held out that long because had that slip happened at the beginning of my session, I am sure it would have taken twice along and been twice the sting. All in all, the entirety of those ten minutes was worth it and actually quite hilarious. But maybe only for me...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Oh Happy Day!

What a day, a quintessential New York City day.

More Free Music at

It began later than I had intended having slept through my alarm which may or not have been a result of staying up into the wee hours of the morning watching "Valentines Day." Yeah, that actually happened.
But when I finally got it together, I set out for the most pleasantly unexpected street-walk adventure. It began at The Square Diner where I had my usual scrambled eggs, bacon and toast with a side of hash browns smothered in ketchup and Tabasco. The restaurant is one of the last remaining train-car diners in Manhattan and the perfect atmosphere for a solitary breakfast. Next, and without a plan I walked west along Franklin Street to Lafayette, then north to Canal and into Soho. My first stop was at the Body Shop to stock up on smelly goodness that I had been without. *Note: for any of you who shop here, please be aware that the almond body butter has been discontinued. I know, it hurts me too.
Once smelling fresh and glistening with moisturizer, I turned up West Broadway which turns into LaGuardia Place and walked through Washington Square Park. It was, as usual, packed full of NYU students enjoying the sun. I relished in the freedom that not being in school gives me.

Years ago on another trip to the city, I was told that 8th Street was where all the shoes were and having enjoyed my previous, tax-free purchases, I strolled in that direction to see what I could find. Unfortunately, I found none and after some conversation on the matter found out that while it used to be a shoe hub, it has since become a mix of big store shopping. Disappointed but not broken, I continued east towards St. Marks place,  and into the East Village. I returned to Tompkins Square Park in the section of the village known as Alphabet city and took refuge on a bench. I people watched; the chess tables were occupied by strangers who- I think, were very convincing of their skills at the game, considering they were playing without any pieces and all. There was an interesting assortment of people differing greatly from that last time I sat here. One man put half of a semi-lit cigarette into his shirt pocket and carried on with a conversation while he casually tried to put the smoking, mini fire out of his shirt. When he got up to leave, there was a charred black hole on the breast pocket of his flannel shirt. He rocked it like it had always been there. Only in New York...

Once ready to go, I walked across the avenues and south down Bowery where I saw Danny Huston sitting on the patio of the Bowery Hotel restaurant having lunch with another. I wanted so very badly to walk over to him, interrupt his meal and tell him how attractive he was in person but thought better of it and kept moving along.

Next, and this is my favourite, I checked off one of those things on my mental list of things that I have always wanted to do. I went into a bar, Tom and Jerry's and had a solo pint of Guinness. It was the most liberating forty minutes of solitude I might have ever experienced to date. I can't even tell you, how proud of myself I was! It might seem like a small feat, but to me it meant that today, I gained a little bit more courage than I had yesterday.

I practically skipped back to the apartment, revelling in all the wonders of a truly simple day. Thank you New York. I love you. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

She Works Hard for her Money!

Since my arrival, I have had a few odd jobs here and there. In thinking about how fortunate I have been to have had opportunities as such while in New York, I began to think about all of the jobs I have had since I first started working at 16. They are as follows:

- actor
- mcdonalds- 1 shift
-"entertainment coordinator" aka birthday party host at a glow in the dark mini putt
- assistant manager at a jewellery and watch store
- waitress at a cafe
- sales rep at The Gap
- 'crusader for the arts" at a theatre company
- assistant Manager of Partnership at a theatre company
- sales Manager at a theatre company
- marketing Coordinator at a theatre company
- session runner for two casting houses
- hostess at another restaurant
- waitress- one week
- box office for film festival
- personal shopper
- grant coordinator
- wardrobe assistant
- publicist assistant/ nanny
- barista- two weeks
- cater-waiter
- auntie nanny
- nanny
- personal assistant/cleaner/cook
- promotional waitress
- researcher

And that brings me to now.
When I answered a post on Craigslist entitled "help" I hoped that the woman in need would be "normal"- not just some freak who invited illegal Canadian girls to their apartment in a potentially fitting neighbourhood called  "Hells Kitchen."
And thankfully, all was "normal." Through conversations, I learned that this die-hard Jewish New Yorker and her partner were typical working class women with good jobs who indeed needed just a little help. My boss lady had a degree in English and Women's Studies, and an MA in Social Work. Invested in the youth of today, this woman was smart, well-rounded and a crusader for all those in need. I felt safe and ready to work.
And then she asked me if I knew of any women aged 25-35 who were brunette and busty who would be willing to have a drink with a random man who would pay them to do so. I said, uh no ( as I looked down at my own chest) and asked, with a little hesitation why? She told me 1. that she wasn't crazy and that 2. she made a little side money setting up dates for this really well-to-do man that she had been friends for a few years. She joked that her friends called her a madame and completely normalized the situation by saying, its just a little oral, you know?
Right. NBD. But that's what got me thinking. There are worse ways to make money and in looking back on my ridiculous employment history, I readily acknowledge that we all "pimp" ourselves out to make an extra buck- in some way or another. That's why when I got hooked up to be a promotional waitress at a private cocktail-attired fundraiser, my qualms about pushing my sex appeal a little further than usual to have men (and women for that matter) slide twenties into my hand didn't feel so wrong. At times, a little gross and socially degrading but all in all, pretty empowering.

The bottom-line is that I understand the value of humbling opportunities to make greater ones. Clearly I feel like there is nothing that I can't do...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

"I am Queens Boulevard" in Astoria...

It's an interesting thing, being a welcomed intruder in someone's life.

This past weekend, my doorman moved out of his Bronx house and into the living room of his brother's "bro pad" in Queens, and I was there for every moment. I was there for the packing; removing the photographs of his ex and separating them into a shoebox while wrapping the empty frames in newspaper was a moment onto itself. I wasn't bothered by the intimacy of this act, or any other that helped strip him from his past, but instead by my feeling of being a presence in a place that was unknown, and how ok that was. I saw years of memories run through his face, the anxiety of change and the excitement of a new beginning. Can most people who are new to each other say that they know what that's like? Can you build new memories with an almost stranger and have a place in his past at the same time? I think I did.

Once we had moved all the belongings out of the house and into the Uhaul, I climbed aboard with him, his brother and Sasha the American Dingo and said goodbye to my own short past. We drove the fifteen minutes into Queens and a new chapter in my New York life began.

Another few hours later, and repeatedly tackling four flights of stairs, I was spent- physically and emotionally. I battled the emotions of feeling so out of place and yet, acceptant of something welcoming. To be apart of someone's journey at any point of their experience is something quite remarkable and I am thankful that I have that.