Gender is unapologetically performed all over Share the Joy, and to miss that is to listen with one ear clogged. Ramone coincidentally uses that word—“girl”—sixteen times on Share the Joy, as opposed to the one “girl” on 2008’s Vivian Girls, and one on 2009’s Everything Goes Wrong.
What follows is a list of the different kinds of people I’ve noticed over the years at my gym. I’m curious to know if these people frequent other gyms too. Perhaps they only come out to bother me?
I have tried to watch things that are hip. I went through a phase of spending beyond my means on Criterion DVDs and watched The OC and The Sarah Silverman Program, neither of which “holds up” along artistic lines, at the respective moments of their coolness.
It happens every time. I blab on about tampons or Turkish delight or baby corns, ‘you know, they look like little mielies, like little baby corn on the cob thingys’ (gesturing the love child of a box of matches and a minuscule party hat). The store assistant slumps in front of me, unmoving, hair net squashed lazily on their head.
We go out after work with our single friends when we feel slightly needy (even when you girls call it girls’ night, I’m weirdly hoping I’ll find Mr. Right even though I know I won’t—no love story starts with Lil Wayne and strobe lights). We put on tight little black dresses and the most uncomfortable stilettos we could find, all in hopes of getting attention from Mr. Right.
But this isn’t about me, now is it? Let’s get down to the real grit and grime of why I’m here. This is about you and the things we’re going to need to work out if and only if I decided to attend you for the next four years. For starters, none of this ‘no smoking’ crap. We’re big boys now. I think we deserve the right to decide if we do or do not want to slowly kill ourselves.
So my ex is over. At my house. For the first time since the first time after a long time. Only three days after the first time after a long time. We shouldn’t be here really. I’m making tea and telling him about how I have a blog now. He’s calling at me from the lounge. His new job pays less but it’s fewer hours and he’s actually really connecting with the kids.
In the morning, these trains are dull and akin to anyone’s subway or bus commute, if fueled by a bit more aggressive energy due to the commute’s length. At night, as commuters, having worked all day, wait out the train ride to get home and entertain themselves with socializing, drink, and who knows what else, things get weird.
Pat your love interest’s head when they say something you approve of. Pet the underside of their chin and whisper four letter words like “soft,” “nice,” and “face.” Lie on the floor listening to “1979” by the Smashing Pumpkins and make irrelevant commentary about forest animals before making out. Wait till the song ends before moving to the bed.
Book clubs—the phrase alone conjures up the taste of white wine and melty cheese cubes and a vision of copies of The Deep End of the Ocean, only the first halves even slightly perused. We can thank Oprah for this template, despite her best intentions, but it’s also kind of a primal urge to get together and drink, and a slightly-less primal urge to conceal this liquoring-up behind the veneer of literature.