Total Perspective Vortex
What really happened to Trillian? Theories abound, but you can see what she's really been up to on this blog. If you're looking for white mice, depressed robots, or the occasional Pan Galactic Gargleblaster you might be better served here:

Otherwise, hello, and welcome.
Mail Trillian here<

Trillian McMillian
Trillian McMillian
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Women, The Internet and You: Tips for Men Who Use Online Dating Sites
Part I, Your Profile and Email

Part II, Selecting a Potential Date

Part III, Your First Date!

Part IV, After the First Date. Now What?

"50 First Dates"

Don't just sit there angry and ranting, do something constructive.
In the words of Patti Smith (all hail Sister Patti): People have the power.
Contact your elected officials.

Don't be passive = get involved = make a difference.
Find Federal Officials
Enter ZIP Code:

or Search by State

Find State Officials
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or Search by State

Contact The Media
Enter ZIP Code:

or Search by State

Words are cool.
The English language is complex, stupid, illogical, confounding, brilliant, beautiful, and fascinating.
Every now and then a word presents itself that typifies all the maddeningly gorgeousness of language. They're the words that give you pause for thought. "Who came up with that word? That's an interesting string of letters." Their beauty doesn't lie in their definition (although that can play a role). It's also not in their onomatopoeia, though that, too, can play a role. Their beauty is in the way their letters combine - the visual poetry of words - and/or the way they sound when spoken. We talk a lot about music we like to hear and art we like to see, so let's all hail the unsung heroes of communication, poetry and life: Words.
Here are some I like. (Not because of their definition.)



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11/17/13 12/1/13 - 12/8/13 12/15/13 - 12/22/13 12/29/13 - 1/5/14 6/29/14 - 7/6/14 9/14/14 - 9/21/14 9/21/14 - 9/28/14 10/12/14 - 10/19/14 11/23/14 - 11/30/14 12/7/14 - 12/14/14 12/28/14 - 1/4/15 1/25/15 - 2/1/15 2/8/15 - 2/15/15 2/22/15 - 3/1/15 3/8/15 - 3/15/15 3/15/15 - 3/22/15 3/22/15 - 3/29/15 4/12/15 - 4/19/15 4/19/15 - 4/26/15 5/3/15 - 5/10/15 5/17/15 - 5/24/15 5/24/15 - 5/31/15 6/14/15 - 6/21/15 6/28/15 - 7/5/15 7/5/15 - 7/12/15 7/19/15 - 7/26/15 8/16/15 - 8/23/15 11/6/16 - 11/13/16 6/24/18 - 7/1/18

Highlights from the Archives. Some favorite Trillian moments.

Void, Of Course: Eliminating Expectations and Emotions for a Better Way of Life

200i: iPodyssey

Macs Are from Venus, Windows is from Mars Can a relationship survive across platform barriers?
Jerking Off

Get A Job

Office Church Ladies: A Fieldguide

'Cause I'm a Blonde

True? Honestly? I think not.

A Good Day AND Funyuns?

The Easter Boy

Relationship in the Dumpster

Wedding Dress 4 Sale, Never Worn

Got Friends? Are You Sure? Take This Test

What About Class? Take This Test

A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away, There Was a Really Bad Movie

May Your Alchemical Process be Complete. Rob Roy Recipe

Good Thing She's Not in a Good Mood Very Often (We Knew it Wouldn't Last)

What Do I Have to Do to Put You in this Car Today?

Of Mice and Me (Killer Cat Strikes in Local Woman's Apartment)

Trillian: The Musical (The Holiday Special)

LA Woman (I Love (Hate) LA)

It is my Cultureth
...and it would suit-eth me kindly to speak-eth in such mannered tongue


It's a Little Bit Me, It's a Little Bit You
Blogging a Legacy for Future Generations

Parents Visiting? Use Trillian's Mantra!

Ghosts of Christmas Past: Mod Hair Ken

Caught Blogging by Mom, Boss or Other

2003 Holiday Sho-Lo/Mullet Awards

Crullers, The Beer Store and Other Saintly Places

Come on Out of that Doghouse! It's a Sunshine Day!

"...I had no idea our CEO is actually Paula Abdul in disguise."

Lap Dance of the Cripple

Of Muppets and American Idols
"I said happier place, not crappier place!"

Finally Off Crutches, Trillian is Emancipated

Payless? Trillian? Shoe Confessions

Reality Wednesday: Extremely Local Pub

Reality Wednesday: Backstage Staging Zone (The Sweater Blog)

The Night Secret Agent Man Shot My Dad

To Dream the Impossible Dream: The Office Karaoke Party

Trillian Flies Economy Class (Prisoner, Cell Block H)

Trillian Visits the Village of the Damned, Takes Drugs, Becomes Delusional and Blogs Her Brains Out

Trillian's Parents are Powerless

Striptease for Spiders: A PETA Charity Event (People for the Ethical Treatment of Arachnids)

What's Up with Trillian and the Richard Branson Worship?

"Screw the French and their politics, give me their cheese!"

Mail Trillian here

Trillian's Guide to the Galaxy gives 5 stars to these places in the Universe:
So much more than fun with fonts, this is a daily dose of visual poetry set against a backdrop of historical trivia. (C'mon, how can you not love a site that notes Wolfman Jack's birthday?!)


Alliance for the Great Lakes

Hot, so cool, so cool we're hot.

Ig Nobel Awards

And you think YOU have the worst bridesmaid dress?

Coolest Jewelry in the Universe here (trust Trillian, she knows)

Red Tango

If your boss is an idiot, click here.

Evil Cat Full of Loathing.

Wildlife Works

Detroit Cobras

The Beachwood Reporter is better than not all, but most sex.

Hey! Why not check out some great art and illustration while you're here? Please? It won't hurt and it's free.


Kii Arens

Tim Biskup

Jeff Soto


Get Fuzzy Now!
If you're not getting fuzzy, you should be. All hail Darby Conley. Yes, he's part of the Syndicate. But he's cool.

Who or what is HWNMNBS: (He Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken) Trillian's ex-fiancé. "Issues? What issues?"

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

< chicago blogs >

Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Smart Girls
(A Trillian de-composition, to the tune of Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys)

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

Smart girls ain’t easy to love and they’re above playing games
And they’d rather read a book than subvert themselves
Kafka, Beethoven and foreign movies
And each night alone with her cat
And they won’t understand her and she won’t die young
She’ll probably just wither away

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

A smart girl loves creaky old libraries and lively debates
Exploring the world and art and witty reparteé
Men who don’t know her won’t like her and those who do
Sometimes won’t know how to take her
She’s rarely wrong but in desperation will play dumb
Because men hate that she’s always right

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

Life(?) of Trillian

Friday, February 06, 2004  
Okay. This has gone on long enough. I have to publicly comment about this.

Okay, okay, okay. Fine. Some people have happy endings with office romances. Yes. I know. It happens. But at what cost to the rest of the people in the office? Did it ever once occur to all you office lotharios and lothariettes that finding dates (and mates) at work reduces your job to nothing more than a singles bar?

If you met your girl/boyfriend/spouse at work, great, good for you, I know it happens all the time. Good luck with that.

But in general principle, in terms of getting work done, you know, the reason you are there and collecting a paycheck in the first place, you have to admit office romance is a huge culprit for loss of productivity. The gossip alone could cost a lot of time and money. And yes, I KNOW, I KNOW that makes me sound like an uptight shrew. I said it yesterday, I'll say it again. I KNOW how that sounds.

In my defense, ask anyone who's ever worked with me for even one day and they will tell you the opposite is true. That I walk that fine balance of nose to the grindstone and letting off a little creative steam. That I strongly believe a little personal "playtime" at work is not a bad thing. But romance is a whole other issue.

Over the years I've seen countless promising careers lost or derailed because of office romance. I've lost four very close colleagues I respected to office romance. They lost fantastic jobs. Two were fired, the other two quit. Because more often than not, office romances, like all romances, go sour. And things get ugly. Really ugly. Difficult for the two exes, but it's the co-workers who really suffer.

Go! Ask that hottie in Media Relations out! Send him that "hiya QT email." Just take a moment to ponder who is picking up the slack while you are doing this. And more the point, what is being compromised? Personally, professionally and to the company.

11:18 AM

Bye Bye Kimmie
I have spent my last session with Kimmie.

Thank you.

Thank you very much.

Now just settle down a minute.

It is not because I am completely recovered, but because I have reached 15 degrees of side to side flexibility.


And my new (since Jan. 1) insurance doesn't cover physical therapy (at least with Kimmie).

I cannot afford to continue my sessions.

And I am much improved, just a few weeks from when Kimmie would release me anyway.

We talked about this. We reduced the number of sessions while increasing the length and strenuousness of the sessions I did have with Kimmie.

It's been difficult.

Really difficult.

As ever I persevered.

I endured.

I pushed myself extra hard.

I did things my ankle didn't want to do.

One particularly difficult session a few weeks ago, I thought I broke my ankle again.

But I soldiered on.

I raced Semper Fi man.

I kicked his skinny arse again. Whistling that tune from Bridge Over the River Kwai all the while. (This really annoyed Semper Fi. A lot. Job done.)

Kimmie threw things at me.

I caught them.

I stood on one foot (the "bad" one) and pitched a ball into a pitch back. And caught it while staying on one "bad foot" 7 pitch/catches out of 10.

I ellipted, special bike rode, Orbited, leg pressed, BAPP boarded and obstacled my way around the Socialized Chamber of Horrors on a mission, as if in training for the Olympics.

I wore out my Payless shoes.

And then it happened. The day of reckoning.

Kimmie greeted me with, "Okay, Trilly (yes, really. I'm telling you, this girl is just pure, unadulterated annoying), you know what today is! It's MEASURING DAY!!!"

"Pardon my lack of woo hoo. Let's get this over, shall we?" I replied, fearing six more weeks of Kimmie.

She put me through my paces, literally. She callipered and bent and twisted my ankle in ways I have grown accustomed.

But this groundhog didn't see her shadow.

"Trillian!" Kimmie gasped, hand to chest. "You've really improved this month! I think we can release you as long as you promise to continue to do your work at home!"

Insert honest to goodness heartfelt, joyous WOO HOO!!!!!! from me here.

I'm not a big Woo Hooer. But I woo hooed.

This was it. The day I have been working and training for since October. And while, no, Kimmie insists, normally she wouldn't release me yet, I am close enough to be released because of my lack of insurance.

One more session and I am free on bond. Emancipated from the Socialized Chamber of Horrors.

10:48 AM

Thursday, February 05, 2004  
Just When You Think It's Safe
You're sitting in your office, doing your job, you know, trying to find a photo of a tortoise who does not look: Apprehensive, mad, bitter, sad or gross, and the mailroom guy knocks on your door.

The mailroom guy is very nice. You have known the mailroom guy since he started his career in the mailroom. Even though he's the head of the mailroom now, he still personally delivers your packages and always you calls when there's a messenger arrival. You talk movies. You've emancipated a few spiders together.

You're both over a certain age.

The age where it's completely embarrassing and inappropriate to be acting as go-between, a personal fact hunter and "Find out if she likes me but do it in such a way that she doesn't know you're asking for me."


This happened.

To me.

"Hi Trillian!"

"Oh, hey Mailroom Guy - good to see a friendly face this afternoon. How's it going?"

"Okay, kind of busy, there's a drop this week - a lot of shipments to coordinate."

"Sorry. Yuck. I heard something about that."

"Eh, it's over now, late night last night but worth it today, all over but the shouting and a cold one after work."

"Ha ha. Have one for me. Does this tortoise look mad to you?" (beckoning Mailroom guy behind desk to see photo of a tortoise on monitor.)

"Trillian, did you say 'Does this tortoise look mad?' As in angry 'mad' or as in 'crazy' mad?"

"Yes. Angry."

Mailroom Guy, gingerly walking behind desk (he doesn't come that close to me since The Striptease, I think he's afraid I might pull a Janet Jackson) "Giggle giggle...You know, if you hadn't said anything I wouldn't have thought it, but now that you mention it, yeah, he does look angry."

"How about this one?" flashing to another photo of a tortoise.

"No, that one looks...."


"Yes. YES! He looks bitter!"

"How about this one? He's the one who started it all."

"He just looks weird, maybe stoned."

"'Apprehensive' is the term (must come up with new adjective) Boss used, two days before press."

"You're kidding?! How long have you been in production with this?"

"Months. We've all been looking at this swutting turtle for months and now, two days before press, she thinks he looks 'apprehensive.' And what's really bothering me is that since she planted that seed, I agree. All I see is a very nervous turtle."

"I have to do something really embarrassing." Mailroom Guy blurted out, blushing.

I sat looking up at him, silently inquiring, giving my best "Ask me anything, we're friends, you know you can trust me" look.


Dumbfounded and completely confused, I said, "What?"

"Okay. Okay. Here it is. Because I thought you should know. I've given this a LOT of thought and decided if it were me I'd want to know. Someone, a guy, saw us talking in the hall the other day. Yesterday he approached me, he didn't realize you and I were friendly. So this guy, he's a nice guy Trillian, I mean, you could do a lot worse, he asked me if you were dating anyone, you know, if you are available. I told him if he wanted to know he should go straight to the source, because I don't gossip about my friends. And we're friends Trillian. But he and I are friends too. And he thinks you're a good looking woman. And you are, you are, you know, you are. And shit. Trillian, I am so embarrassed to be asking this-"

I interrupted him, "Hang on a minute. Some guy, in our company, fancies me and asked you, imposed upon you, to ask me if I'm dating anyone and I presume if I'd be interested in him?! What are we, 12?"

"I know, I know. And yes. Yes, that's pretty much how it happened."

"Mailroom Guy, you are a really good friend to do this for him. I will give you credit for that. But...okay, fine, I'll bite, who is it? I mean, I know pretty much everyone here...most of the men are gay or married or way too young to be interested in me, especially when I've got Boob Job right outside my office. She's a young guy trap, they'd never make it past her, I don't stand a chance! So, it's got to be one of the geezers. Hmmmm...."

"Can we talk about this another time? I'm sorry I even brought this up, I didn't want to, I feel like an idiot."

"No, no, don't you're just being a good friend. I'm the one overreacting ungracefully. Sorry."

A volley of embarrassed apologies followed.

"Look," Mailroom Guy said as he was leaving my office, "I'll just tell him what I already told him, that if he's interested he needs to be a man and approach you himself."

"Good advice. Nip this in the bud before we start passing notes and get caught by the teacher."

"You know, Trillian, you are a good looking woman, and you are a little intimidating to people who don't know you." Mailroom Guy said.

I gave that sigh of "I've heard this one too many times in my life" resignation and said, "That's never stopped you!"

"No, but I don't have confidence issues, and I'm also a very happily married man who has never wanted anything but friendship from you." and with that he was gone.

Okay. So now there's some guy in my company sniffing around asking questions about me. I'm serious, there are not a lot of potential suitors here. Our Human Resources team is known, affectionately, of course, as the Gay Mafia. The recruiters are all very out and very proud and tend to lean toward hiring other out and prouds - not that there's anything wrong with that - but for any woman hoping to meet eligible bachelors at work (never a good idea, by the way), well, the term dearth comes to mind in regard to this company. Except for the scary freaks in the IT group, we're talking out and proud or married and content. Which has always suited me just fine. I strongly, STONGRLY adhere to a Do Not Date Anyone From Work policy. I have always maintained this policy and will do so for my entire professional life. Period. It's never, ever a good idea. Having loads of gay and married men around all day keeps the focus on work. I know that may sound like an uptight shrew. But well, I'm here to do a job, I'm paid to work, not flirt. I'm here to be the Creative Driving Force of the Company, not find a husband or pull for the weekend.

I called my one lone girlfriend at work. She, from three floors away, in speedy cartoon blur motion, appeared in my office.

She busted into my office with, "THIS IS HUGE!!!! I bet it's that new guy in Policy. He's kind of cute Trillian."

"No, I got the feeling that this is someone who's been around a while, a while long enough for him to be good friends with Mailroom Guy."

"Right. But. Anyone who's been here a while knows you and Mailroom Guy are friends. Only someone relatively new wouldn't have known that until seeing the two you together a few days ago." Girlfriend donning her supersleuth Nancy Drew tone.

Sigh. Roll of eyes. "It's not as if I care, it's not as if I would ever date anyone at work. I just want to know who it is so I can avoid him. Hey, want to look at cute boys online?! Check out this guy on boysrus!" changing the subject.

Girlfriend noticed the turtles, "I see you still haven't found a replacement turtle. That one looks-"


"Yes! Yes! That's it!"

We then spent the next half hour searching profiles and looking at boys.

The thing is, now, every time I get on the elevator, go to another floor, I'm looking at every male along the way, wondering if it's him.

This is why you never, ever let them know you have breasts or legs. (Even a broken one)

And this is why you get married to the first guy who asks when you're 22, start having babies when you're 24, quit your job, move the suburbs, take prescribed mind numbing drugs, and never, ever have to be put in this inane situation again.

Career? Travel? Adventures? Finding yourself?


Get. Married. Now.

Before you realize really, nothing's changed since you were 12.

Screw Nemo, I'm Scared!
I'm Scared!

9:07 AM

Wednesday, February 04, 2004  
Thanks for all the concern and well wishes. I am as fine as I ever am, I was not even remotely involved in yesterday's train wreck.

Reality Wednesday
Super Sunday

Setting: Loft condo in a swank part of a large urban area.
Player 1: Single female who knows nothing about American Football.
Player 2: Single male football fan and potential person of interest to Player 1
Player 3: Single male who knows nothing about football.
Player 4: Single male and host of party.
Player 5: Married female, sister of Player 4, football fan and wife of:
Player 6: Married male, brother-in-law, football fan and colleague of Player 3.
Bit Players: A bunch of 25 - 45 year old men and their girlfriends/wives.

Player 1 has recently met Player 2. While there is an age difference, the two have so far had a few pleasant conversations, some emails and are testing the water to see if the love boat might float. They have not yet had an official date. Player 2 asks Player 1 to a Super Bowl party being held at a friend's loft in a swanky part of town. Player 1 is reluctant. She knows nothing about American football, can't even figure out how the scores work, and is always apprehensive about going to gatherings that are not quite parties where she will not know anyone. She also wonders to the camera, as she's preparing to go to the event, "Is this a date? Or is he just being nice and asking me to a party? And how much of a football fanatic is he? He is from the East coast, mentioned something about the Pats. I guess that's slang for the Patriots. Back to the date thing. I very much dislike the ambiguity of this. What do I wear? If it's a date, there's one sort of wardrobe, if he's just being nice and asking me to tag along, that's a whole other set of wardrobe criteria. Ooh, excuse me a minute, I've got to check the bread."

She heads the kitchen to reveal a bread maker. Camera man says, "Whoa, it smells great in here!"

"Thanks. It's a specialty of mine. Pimento and cheddar. It has the effect of Focacia. You might also be smelling the gazpacho. Sort of another specialty of mine. I hope it's okay. I'm always so nervous taking food to a pot-luck or party. And that's another thing: If this is a date, I'll take a really good bottle of wine so his friends won't think I'm a cheap skank. If it's just a tag along, I'll take a good bottle, but not one of the really good ones. I know, that sounds bad, but wine's not cheap, you know? And all the ingredients for the bread and gazpacho were's not about the money, it's not, it's really not. It's about sending signals. If I go way out Player 2 is going to think I am really interested, maybe even trying too hard, and if it's just a tag along, that's going to make us both feel awkward. I hate swutting dating, trying to sort it all out at first, all that ambiguity, trying to figure out the 'signals.'"

Cut to a loft condo. Players 5 and 6 are arriving at Player 4's loft. Player 5, sister of Player 4, greets her brother with, "When are you going to get some furniture? You have a picnic table. A picnic table for a table. And Aunt Carol's couch from 1976. And are those bean bags? You're a grown up now, Player 4, a grown up. Time to get some grown up furniture." Player 6 laughs, and conspiratorially nudges Player 4, "Yeah, grow up. Like us. Go to IKEA."

Cut back to Player 1's apartment. Player 2, dressed in jeans, sneakers and a Patriot's jersey is picking up Player 1, dressed in a chic but casual outfit, which includes a white shirt with a beaded poodle on the chest. Player 2 enters, stares blatantly at Player 1's chest and greets her with, "Nice doggies. I mean dog." Player 1 gives a weak and condescending smile. "Thanks. I don't have any American football clothes."

Cut to the after show wrap up. Player 1 explains, "I struggled with what to wear. Not only was I unsure if this was a 'date' but there's the whole football aspect. There are two kinds of women at these things: Sporty girls and pretty girls. I'm not really in either category. When it comes to American football, I guess I'm a 'pretty girl' but I'm not one of those pretty arm candy girls, was just really difficult. I very nearly threw on an Arsenal jersey, jeans, a Cubs cap and called it done. But if it was a date, that's not right. And, truly, I'm not a sporty girl either. It's complicated. It shouldn't matter, but in those moments, in those situations, it does matter. So when he made the doggies comment I was a little angry. Not because of the comment, but because he addressed my chest. He talked to my boobs. I hate that. And yes, yes, okay? YES! I had a sparkly poodle on my chest. Some will argue I was asking for it. Maybe so. Maybe deep down I wanted to be objectified. Or maybe, MAYBE, I LIKE POODLES!!!"

Cut back to the apartment. Player 2, "Wow, you've got a lot of food here."

"The gazpacho makes a huge batch, and there's not as much bread as it seems - it was still hot so I wrapped it in aluminum and then a couple of bags. Oh, wait a second, I meant to grab a different bottle of wine. This one's not right with the gazpacho."

Cut to the after show wrap up. "He was still staring at my chest, right then and there I thought, 'uh-uh, no way. I am not giving up a really good bottle of wine for him or his friends.' Besides, as it turned out, the bottle I took was still far better than what anyone else brought."

Cut to Player 1 and 2 arriving at the party loft. Player 2 deftly parks, gets out of the car and proceeds to walk up to the door of the building, leaving Player 1 to manage exiting the car in the stream of traffic on the street while bending, bum in air and out into traffic, into the back seat to retrieve food and wine placed there by Player 2. "No really, I can manage, you go on ahead." Player 1 calls out to Player 2.

"Oh. Sorry. Here, let me help you with that." Player 2 feebly strolls over to the car. "Oh, you do have it. Great." and then strolls back up the sidewalk.

Player 1 stares into the camera. "Definitely not a date. Not in my book anyway. (pauses, looks tiredly at camera) I'm way too old for this BLEEEEP."

Players 1 and 2 exit the elevator and walk down the corridor.

"I know someone who looked at buying a place in this building. It was out of her price range, though. She really loved it, said it was one of the nicest she saw." Player 1, making small talk.

"Player 4 isn't much for decorating. It is a great place, fantastic view, but he needs some serious decorating help." Player 2 replies, laughing.

They enter the loft. The view from the floor to ceiling wall of windows is spectacular. As is the bigger than big screen television taking up an entire wall. With Metallica concert approved speakers. In place of a dining table, there is a picnic table, complete with initials carved into it and ball point pen slogans and band logos drawn on it.

Player 5 greets Players 1 and 2. "Hi, I'm Player 5, 4's sister? Oh, let me help you with that. It smells yummy!" She relieves Player 1 of some of her food. "I love this wine. Thank God you brought something other than beer." casting a disgusted look to the counter where a keg and several six packs of various brands of beer are chilling in the sink filled with ice.

Player 2 yells into the game viewing area, "LET THE GAME BEGIN!!! THE PATS ARE GOING TO KICK REDNECK BUTT!!!! WOO HOOOO!!!!" and goes into the viewing area, no introductions were made.

"Hi, I'm Player 1, a friend of Player 2. Nice to meet you." offering her hand to Player 5.

Player 3 walks over to the two women. "LOVE the top!" he exclaims to Player 1.

"Me too, it's great. Did you find it here in town?" Player 5 asks.

"Yes, a little shop in my neighborhood. But, after I bought it, I saw it online. It's on sale there now, I'll give you the url." Player 1 confides, thinking at least the evening isn't a total bust, she likes this woman, perhaps she'll have made a new girlfriend.

As the three are talking, a few other women join in the conversation. Pretty women. Arm candy women. They have super girly discussions about hair and clothes and shoes and make-up and wine and diets. Player 3 stays in this conversation, the lone male not watching the game. He produces a copy of Cher's latest and puts it in the small boom box in the kitchen. "There," he says, "That's better. I hate the crowd noise in sports shows. It gets on my nerves after a while." The girls all agree.

Later, in the kitchen area, Players 1, 5 and 6 are chatting. Player 6 says, "Get a load of Player 3 in with all the girls. I don't know why your brother always invites him to these things. Is it to make fun of him or does he genuinely like him?"

"Shush. I like him, everyone likes him, why would my brother invite him over to make fun of him?" Player 5 hisses.

"If you have to ask...." Player 6 teases and leaves the kitchen.

"You know, I work with a guy who I think would really like Player 3." Player 1 says completely offhand.

"We're not entirely sure he's gay." Player 5 whisper confides to Player 1. "He's always here, at all these sporty get togethers. He's offered to help my brother decorate his place, which my husband insists means he's gay, yet let's face it, my brother's not the most enlightened guy on the planet. If he thought Player 3 was gay he wouldn't invite him over all the time."

"Oh, sorry, I just assumed, I mean, I just thought...didn't he mention something about a boyfriend a few minutes ago? When we were talking about break-ups?" Player 1 says, somewhat bewildered.

"He does that. It's weird. He makes gay insider jokes, but then he'll talk about having a crush on some girl at the office."

"An XX chromosomed girl?!" Player 1 jokes.

The two go back out into the picnic area. Player 3 asks for Player 1's recipe for gazpacho.

"Oh sure, it's easy but it takes a lot of ingredients. I can email it to you." she answers.

"Hey, Player 4! I'm going to use your computer. I want to buy a poodle shirt!" Player 5 yells into the big screened area. "Come on Player 1, show me that website." The two enter another area of the loft, another floor to ceiling wall of window, another spectacular view, a mattress on the floor and a computer set up on a desk made of (I kid you not, sic) saw horses and a piece of Formica. Player 5 turns on the computer, and the two find and order the poodle shirt. Player 5 leaves to get more wine. Player 1 surfs and waits. Player 3 walks into the area.

"Hi! While we're online, give me your email address so I can email it to myself, then I'll send you the gazpacho recipe." she offers.

"Okay. It's" he says, somewhat coyly, moving in a little closer to Player 1 than is socially comfortable.

Player 1 surreptitiously glances his direction. He catches her glance and smiles. She politely smiles in return. He puts his arm around her. She gives him that look that says, "I like you, I think you're really swell, but..."

"I'm not gay, you know!" Player 3 leaps up and hisses at Player 1.

Shocked at this response, Player 1 replies, "I didn't say you were! In fact, I didn't say anything! I'm here with Player 2, you know."

"No, I don't know. You could have left hours ago and he'd never have known the difference." he bitchily snapped.

"He's just really into the game. And I don't know anything about American football, couldn't care less, actually."

"You mean you like him like him?" Player 3 implores.

"I'm not sure. We've only known each other a short time. And by the way, the way you just said that? 'Like him like him?' Really gay."

"Cast aspersions, much? Maybe I'm just very metrosexual."

"There you go again. And I am not casting aspersions, not that there's anything wrong with that, I just never met a straight man under the age of 40 who likes Cher, okay? Enough to bring her latest cd as musical entertainment to a Super Bowl party. A SKANKING SUPER BOWL PARTY where the only thing thicker than the level of testosterone is the stench of smelly sweat socks. You brought music to a Super Bowl party, and not even like, Blink 182 or Led Zeppelin. You brought skanking CHER to a Super Bowl party. Along with crudit?s that you call crudit?s. You skanking said crudit?s. You offered hair advice when the girls and I were talking about my highlight roots. And you're the only guy here dressed like that, so give me just a little break, okay? I know a thing or two about gay. I know it goes far deeper than any of the things I just mentioned. I know gay men, I work with gay men, I have gay friends, they talk, I hear things. I've done entire skanking ad campaigns geared to gay men, so get off your high gay that you insist is straight horse and leave me alone. I am the one person here who knows gay and truly couldn't care less if you or anyone else are gay or not. You're the one making an issue out of it.

"And how dare you even try to pass it off as metrosexual. Some of my best friends are metrosexuals, sheesh, I almost married a metrosexual. What I may lack in gay issue understanding I make up for in the complexities of metrosexuality. So back off buster, just skanking back off! Take your crudit?s and Cher and march your little Kenneth Coled feet out of here and leave me alone."

Player 2 stands, rebuffed, then looks at his shoes, somewhat imploringly.

"Yes I noticed, very nice by the way. I am yearning for a pair of Tuxedos." Player 1 adds.

"Oh. My. Gawd. Those are so cool. A woman I work with has those. Do you want the white or the black? The white is really daring but you could pull it off. Go to the website, they've got a great sale area." Player 3 says, apparently forgetting his recent issues with Player 1 in the pursuit of a good shoe sale.

The two surf for shoes and other products, joined by Player 5.

The Super Bowl ends (finally) and Player 2 asks Player 1 if she's ready to go.

"Who are you again? Have we met? Do I know you?" she jokes.

To his credit, he laughs. "Sorry. I was really excited about the game."

"I know. No harm done." Player 1 exchanges phone numbers and email addresses with Player 5.

Players 1 and 2 drive to Player 1's building. Player 2 offers to help her upstairs with "all that stuff." He says this doe eyed, addressing her doggies, erm, breasts.

Player 1, no longer at all interested in dating Player 2 says, "All THIS stuff? An empty Tupperware container?! Really, I think I can manage. Thanks anyway. Good-night."

At the show wrap up, Player 2 says he thinks the evening just got off to a bad start, that if he asks her out again it will go better. Will he ask her out again?

"I don't know. I mean, all that fancy food. What's up with that cold minestrone soup? Or the bread with red stuff in it? I didn't think she was a snob at first, now I'm wondering. I don't know. She's kind of affected, putting on airs, like. Maybe she's not, maybe she's just a lot more sophisticated than me. I don't know. I might ask her out again. Or not. I met this other girl tonight, she's totally hot, the one doing Jagermeister shots?..." he answers, uncertain and noncommittal.

Watching this on a monitor, Player 1, gape mouthed says, "Snob?! Affected?! I expected that because it was a loft in a swank part of town that it would be a little nicer than the usual guy flop-pad the sole purpose of which is to watch sports and drink beer with a never ending stream of guys, kitted out in third and fourth hand beer stained furniture. I just thought since the crowd was mostly married or coupled up that, well, you know. And I thought maybe it was a date, and so I tried to impress him and his friends. Is there something wrong with that? Isn't that what you're supposed to do? Consequently I took something other than Doritos and a 2 litre of Pepsi. If taking a decent bottle of wine, homemade gazpacho, and homemade bread is putting on airs and being affected, than fine, I stand accused and guilty. Call me a snob. Snob. Snob. Snob. Me. Me. Me. You didn't ask but I'll tell you: If he does ask me out again, the answer will be no."

8:49 AM

Tuesday, February 03, 2004  
Trillian's World Has Been Rocked
Kilgore Rocks!!

10:53 AM

A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with New Shoes
I knew this day would come.

But nothing could prepare me for it.

I tried to just not think about. Tried to lose myself in denial. But in the small dark hours of morning, when sleep won't come, I knew I had to face the cold, hard inevitability.

I wore out my Payless shoes.

I couldn't figure out why I kept getting tiny pebbles inside my shoes. Or why my feet were getting wet.

Then I took a good look at my Payless shoes. A close inspection revealed, under a weird flap of sole, a huge, I mean big, round, worn right through the bottom, hole in the bottom of my shoe.

It was a sad day.

What now?

Oh, I've been trying to prepare for this. Trying on shoes, or, trying to try on shoes. Looking for something, anything I could get my foot into yet still offered support. Spending evenings pulling out shoe after shoe from my existing collection, thinking surely, among all these, surely there must be something. Something I can wear.

Sneakers are the obvious choice, but let me say for the record, it's not as easy as it might seem. And the broken ankle excuse is wearing thin with my colleagues.

I overheard a conversation in the ladies room, "Yeah, I mean, you know, how long is she going to wear those shoes? Isn't she sick of them? She used to have such great shoes, I mean, I was like, you know, jealous of her shoes. I worked here like two months before I saw her repeat a pair of shoes. I mean, those were just her work shoes! I've heard she has amazing after hours shoes. Janey told me she's got like three pair of Choos with heels UP TO HERE! And omygawd, have you ever looked under her desk? Tara told me she's got like the most incredible rack under there, one day when she was gone for a few hours we looked under there. Oh. My. Gawd. Such fabulous shoes. And that's just what's under her desk.

"So yeah, like at first I felt sorry for her, now I just think she's weird. I mean, you know, if it were me, I'd suffer rather than wear THOSE things one more day. I would suffer. Suffer! No one expects her to be back in her heels, but you know, there are cute lower heels or even a decent pair of sneakers, you know? I mean, what's up with those shoes? I heard she wore them to the Big Client Meeting in New York. I mean, that's just tacky. Of all people! I would never, ever have expected this from her. She was like, my shoe role model. I really looked up to her. I learned everything I know about Pliner from her. EVERYTHING. And now look at her. I mean, what are those, Payless or something?"

I knew it was time to do something, but what?

I have been surviving, barely, to and from work in subzero temps and snow, in a pair of hiking boots that have always been too big on me, too wide to actually wear hiking. But beyond the trek to and from work they are a complete nonstarter. My wellies are okay, but not warm and certainly don't offer the support I need.

Last weekend, hole in the bottom of my Payless shoes, I went out determined to find something, anything, to replace my trusty Payless friends.

It's difficult to say good-bye to such loyal friends.

But they led a long and happy life of service. It was time.

I tried all the brands. Shiny, new, sleek, multi-featured, multi-functioned and multi-colored. Pretty boxes. Cool boxes. Expensive boxes.

My Payless shoes sat, discreetly slid under the chair in the trendy, sporty or swank shoe emporiums, patiently waiting.


Knowing I was looking for a replacement.

Knowing I was playing a sick game, making them take me out shopping for the shoes that would replace them.

Embarrassed of them, making them hang back, hide, even, while the shoe store servants were present.

This is no way to treat such faithful friends, I know. And I do feel guilty. I did feel guilty. I ain't too proud for Payless. It's not that. It's just, well, that their insides are, well, not looking so good these days. It's not just the sole that is worn. The lining is worn and frayed...I have replaced the insoles...added arch one point I even attempted an ill advised Shoo Goo patch's a Frankensteinian cobbled up mess inside there.

As I tried on pair after pair of possible replacements I slid/hid them under the chairs to spare their feelings. It was for their own good.

And like the true and loyal friends they are, they understood.

Because after all, I always went back to them.

And then I met them.

The gray with acid green trim X-67's.

"Trillian!" I hear you gasp. "Designer sneakers? You?! That's not really your style! Or is it?! Have I misjudged you?"

No. I am not a designer sneaker girl. The closest I've ever come to designer sneakers are Converse All-Star Chuck Taylors...and well..I mean...they need no explanation. I like my sneakers rugged and can-do. I will admit a certain loyalty borne of satisfaction from past performance by Adidas. I had a pair of Pumas (back before they were the cool shoe of choice by the hip things in the know that they are currently) that saw me through several years of racing hither and yon in far flung cities.

But designer sneakers? Never. Not me.

Ralph skanking Lauren, no less.

Boots: Maybe. Kicky heels: Yes.

Sneakers? Never. What does Ralph skanking Lauren or any of his Polo poseur posse know about sneakers - utilitarian sneakers? I'm not one to match up sneakers with an athletic ensemble for a day of sipping smoothies at the juice bar in the gym. Pretty much anything goes with my sweats and t-shirts and as long as they're comfy and offer the support I need and demand from my sneakers, anything goes.

Yet here I am, with a pair of trendy, just begging for a matching velour low waisted jog suit, Polo embossed sneakers.

These are were purchased from a need beyond my ordinary realm. I had to put aside pride and shame for the sake of my ankle. I did it at Payless, and now I'm doing it with Ralph Lauren.

Ah. See? It doesn't seem quite so bad put in that perspective, now does it?

Why the X-67's? Note the back of the shoe. There is no hump to dig and cut into my ankle. I dare you to find a pair of sneakers (or even regular non-dress shoes) that does not have some protrusion in the ankle area. And this has been my dilemma. The little flappy thing on the back, where most other shoes have mega cushioned humps, is just a piece of fabric. I'm not sure what it's purpose is (other than styling) but it helps me get into the shoe, provides a grip/brace for me to angle and finagle the shoe onto my foot, and doesn't dig into my ankle. The shoe that is feather light weight. The shoe that actually has an arch support that hits my arch in the right place. The shoe that instead of a tongue has elastic gussets. Eureka! Perfect! It expands and contracts to the swelling and at times odd shape of my healing foot and ankle. And on my healthy foot, those same elastic gussets can be super sutured together so I can keep the shoe on my narrow foot.

This is as close as I've been to shoe nirvana since I broke my ankle.

But there were my Payless friends. Meekly looking on, timidly, furtively at times, glancing out from under the chair, peeking shyly around my leg, wondering what I see in the X-67's. And downheartedly realizing the X-67's are what's best for me. That I have new and different needs now.

I wore my Payless friends home, one last walk (a wet and pebble infested walk). I took them off and set them next to the X-67's in the living room.

I woke up once in the night and I swear this is what I heard:

"But just you wait, X-67's. Just you wait. She's going to continue to recover. She's going to get better. And she will cast you aside. Soon. Very soon. I've been with her and watched her progress every step of the way. She's getting good. Real good. I've taken good care of her. Every day for four months I've been right there with her. I know things, I've seen things, things you will never understand. You are just an interim, quick fix. She won't need you for very long. Oh, you will be cast aside soon. Probably for sexy, real shoes. Shoes with heels and straps. Shoes she will coyly dangle by her toes. Shoes she will take out to dinner and dancing and drinking. Maybe even some of those boots she takes out of the closet and lovingly, longingly strokes and caresses. And most of all, what's really going to hurt you, are the shoes she will take to the office and keep on that most coveted place: The shoe rack under her desk.

"She might occasionally wear you on the train on the way to the office, but once she gets there, she will kick you off and toss you in the closet, next to that box of inserts with the wrong dates printed on them and that stack of magazines she's supposed to archive...carelessly flopped next to those grimy wellies she keeps there 'just in case.'

"I've met those shoes under her desk. I know them. I've been hanging out with them every day. They're all business, X-67, all business. They don't take any guff. They are serious shoes. And they are snobs. With good reason. They are on the rack under the desk. Only a few, a select few make it to the prestige position of the rack under the desk. They attend very important meetings. They go to power lunches. They get to go down to the shoe doctor for polishing. Sometimes they even meet for drinks after work. They are flaunted and sashayed in front of that bitch in client services. They get to travel on business. On AIRPLANES. Have you ever been on airplane, X-67? I have. Lots of times.

"I had to fight and earn my place among the shoes on the rack. It was weeks before they would even look at me without contempt. I had to prove myself to them. They're smart shoes, X-67. Very smart. They will spot you for the athletic poseur that you are. You better hope she tosses you in the closet. That will be your only chance at survival. Because those shoes on the rack under the desk are competitive and aggressive yet deceptively demure. They will eat you up and spit you out in tiny reflective gray and acid green pieces before you even know what hits you."

9:36 AM

Monday, February 02, 2004  
White Teeth
Investigative reporting at it's best.

Our motto here at life of Trillian: Boldly trying every new product that comes along, wasting the money and risking humility so you don't have to.

Observe and report.

Thinking about trying out one of the myriad new teeth whitening systems on the market?

You know you can count on Trillian to give you the low down on something like this.

I first jumped on the white strip movement last year.

My teeth are fairly white, I don't have much staining (living a caffeine and nicotine free life helps a lot, good genes even more, a lifetime of great dental hygiene and regular checkups and cleanings best of all. Very red, red wine, however, does set me back a shade or two.)

But in the name of "There's always room for improvement in the form of quick fix and promises too good to be true" my curiosity was piqued.

Models and actors, you know Hollywood type people, have been professionally bleaching their teeth for years. YEARS. It's de rigueur. Everyone who's anyone does it, a few times a year.

I have always thought, "well, yeah, I mean, if you're getting paid to be photographed all the time or if your teeth are going to be in a position where millions will see them splashing across a megaplex screen in a dark theater, yeah, it's probably a good idea to have your teeth as white as possible. It's not like you can have a teeth stand-in or double like they do for bums and boobs and biceps." (If a body part begins with a b you can assume there are people making a healthy living as a stand-in, bicuspids being the exception.)

The process is expensive and time consuming. Not a problem for Hollywood types, but for the rest of us, well, it's not something most of us put at the top of our frivolous shopping list or how to waste three long afternoons. Maybe fifth or sixth on the list, but not top.

Especially those of us who are not particularly afflicted with stained teeth.

But. I know people who do this regularly. (You have to do it once a year or so to keep that sparkling gleaming white glint fresh.)

And you know, okay, fine, if it makes you feel good about yourself, and wow, you do have a great smile...

So when the home kits hit the market I was mildly curious.

Skeptical, of course.

But Crest, my beloved Crest, makes them so it's okay, right? It's not going hurt my teeth, so why not try it?

Why not indeed.

I bought the White Strip kit, read the instructions (that's how serious I was taking this, I read the instructions), took a good look at the paraphernalia involved and thought, "Huh. I just wasted $29.95."

That was the end of it. The strips sat in the bathroom for months.

Then a friend came to town.

We drank a lot of alcohol.

A lot.

And naturally the conversation turned to teeth whitening.

"Hey! I've got a white strip kit I haven't used!"

"What are we waiting for! With our not far from pristine teeth we'll see a noticeable improvement in just a few days!" my friend enthusiastically screamed.

And so it was that at 1:30 AM on a Saturday last Winter my friend and I endeavored to adhere uncomfortable gooey strips of gel to our teeth.

I will spare you the details.

One word: Don't.

Heed my advice, save your money, time and comfort.

We valiantly tried for three following nights (in various states of intoxication). We were teeth troopers.

But the fuss and muss and mess and discomfort was not worth the minimal (read: nonexistent) improvement we saw. And yes, we only gave it a few nights and you're supposed to do it for like, weeks.


There should have been some change in four nights.

At least the $29.95 was no longer a complete waste, as we had a ton of laughs in the process.

Not quite white as they could be laughs.

A few months later, I asked my dentist about whitening, the home kits, if he was losing business because of them because my experience was that it didn't work.

He enlightened me. They do work. The more stained your teeth are, the more noticeable the results. Someone like me, however, who is just a few shades from where he strives to bleach his patients, may not see dramatic results, especially at first. He showed me a really nifty scale of shades of teeth - not unlike a paint chip chart from the hardware store paint mixing area except it's on little teethshaped board. And what do you know? When he matched my teeth to their place on the scale, I'm pretty high up there in the whiteness zone! I remarked on the whitest white. It is so white it has a blue-ish cast. I asked him if he has ever taken a patient "all the way."

His look grew very stern and serious. He furrowed his brow. "Trillian," Dr. Dentist said all deep and quiet, moving in closer, "there is such a thing as too white."

Looking nervously over his shoulder, "There are dentists, clinics, who do that sort of thing. I'm a professional. I promote healthy teeth and gums first, vanity second. And not too many people could actually attain White One anyway." Eyes darting, he continued, "I did come close to a White Two, once, but I was younger then, crazier....those were in the early experimental days, everyone was trying it, pushing the limits....You know, I bet we could get you to a White Two. You've got great natural whiteness and very little staining. We could do it Trillian, we could try it, but you have to give it a lot of thought. It's not something you or I should do on a whim. Your insurance won't cover it, so it will be expensive, and it will probably take a few lengthy sessions."

I was enthralled, caught up in the whiteness chart and how close I was to enamel perfection and nirvana.

Moment of truth time.

"I...I...I don't know Dr. Dentist, I mean, I've never done anything like this. I'm not really that sort of girl. I have thought about it, of course, but well, I'm just not sure I can go through with it."

"Hey, hey, no pressure, if you're not ready I'm not going to make you do it, but it could be really good for both of us." Dr. Dentist, backing away, dismissing me yet coyly tempting me.

Just then the hygienist came in with my bag of dental take home goodies and a gold star for my check-up chart.

Dr. Dentist left, acting as if nothing untoward happened. I felt a little hurt. "It didn't mean anything to him. I'm just another patient," I thought. "Good thing the hygienist came in, otherwise I might have committed to something I would regret." Pleased with this not so random act of fate, but still feeling a little violated and dirty, I donned my coat and made my way to the check out desk.

As I limped down the hall, I heard a "pssst, Trillian!"

I looked in an exam room and there was Dr. Dentist, little round mirror and pick tool thingy in latex gloved hands, mask over his mouth. "Trillian!" he urgently whispered through his disposable mask.

"Yes, Dr. Dentist?"

"Try one of the home whitening kits, the paint on kind, they're quite effective, easier and better than the strip kits. If you like that, if you get results, we can talk about what I can do for you on your next regular visit."

"um. okay Dr. Dentist. Maybe I will."

Knowing full well maybe I wouldn't.

And didn't.

Until a few weeks ago when in the weekly coupon supplement in my newspaper had a coupon for Night Effects paint on teeth whitening kit. (Yes, I clip and use coupons, okay? But only for stuff I buy anyway. Every penny counts, and skank it, I am Scottish, cut me a little slack.) I thought, "Okay, I'll cut out the coupon because it's right under the other coupon I'm already clipping." Thinking, like so many other coupons I clip, it would be tattered and worn, still riding around in my bag long after the expiration date.

And then, that very day, Bone and Arthur took me on a pilgrimage to the suburbs to Big Major Discount Retailer.

I was sucked into the health and beauty aisles, naturally. Bone and Arthur, though very metrosexual and not too proud to enter the health and beauty aisles (because it's a great place to see and meet women, among other reasons), used their not so metrosexual discretion and left me on my own, they thinking I was procuring female hygiene items. They're metrosexuals, but they're not that metrosexual. Not so metrosexual that the area containing those boxes and packages doesn't send them blushing, as if they've entered the ladies room on accident. They're not "grossed out" by it, per se, just old fashioned and respecting my privacy in this issue. And I completely respect that about them. It's a fine line metrosexual guys have to walk. A trip to the consumer electronics area to confirm their masculinity and leave me to my femininity was absolutely the right thing to do. (though I wanted to spend time in the consumer electronics aisle,'s a fine line we geek girls have to walk...girly products or Really Cool Gadgets? We shouldn't have to choose...and let me just take this moment to say: if I don't get one of those nifty Virgin Pulse portable DVD/tv's I am going to die, I really am. Just simultaneously combust.)

So there I was, on my own, browsing the health and beauty aisles, and what to my wondering eyes should appear?

Night Effects. On sale.

Fate entered my life yet again. A coupon, an impromptu trip to Big Major Discount Retailer, and it's on sale, all in the same day? What are the odds? Okay, so the odds are not very high. A pretty safe bet, in fact. (You do know the release of coupons is timed to match in store sales and promotions, right? If you didn't, you do now.)


This. Means. Something.

It meant that I made a lame excuse to separate myself from Bone and Arthur at the checkout (they discreetly going three checkout lanes over, thinking I had THOSE products buried in my trolley. I feel a little guilty about this. I should have at least bought a box just to make their efforts in respecting me worthwhile.) I plunked down the money and the coupon and the Night Effects kit.


And then it happened. We piled our bags into Bone's trunk. Arthur had already gone around the car and was opening doors, "Front or back Trill?"

I leaned around the corner of the car, "Doesn't matter, why don't you take shotgun so I can put my ankle up in the back seat." Then, turning back to ask Bone if it would be okay if I took off my shoe and put my foot and ankle on his backseat, I caught my remaining bag on the trunk. And out spilled the contents.

Insert slow motion scene here.

Night Effect kit was the only thing to jump out of the bag and skid across the pavement.

There it was. All blue and shiny on the pavement. Insert Extreme Ominous Close-up of Night Effects box on pavement and Psycho shower scene sound effect here.

Bone spotted it, of course, and being the gentleman that he is, rushed to retrieve it for me.

"Hey, cool, do you use this stuff? I've been thinking about trying it." he nonchalantly asked.

I sheepishly admitted that I had tried the strips and succeeded only in making a mess.

Much discussion ensued about this new paint on method I was going to try.

A week passed. The box of Night Effects sat, still ominously, on my dining room table. I picked up and set it down many times. I would brush and floss before bed and think, "Maybe tonight..." yet somehow did not.

Bone came over, we had dinner, watched a movie, had a glass or two of wine.

Yadda yadda yadda.

We Night Effected our teeth.

When it was over, I sent him home, out into the night, with Night Effects lacquered onto his "smile teeth"* and six tubes of gel and paint brushes.

That was a week ago, and we have both been strict about it. We've done it every night.

Every morning: Email progress reports.

You're supposed to do at least a 14 night regime to see effects.

I saw results in four nights.

Bone saw results the next morning and was hooked. (He drinks tea, coffee and cola and is much further down the scale of whiteness than I, so even a small change is more noticeable, just like Dr. Dentist said.) He went straight out and bought another box so he can continue the regime the full prescribed amount of nights plus seven more.

A few words of caution and advice.

If you have big teeth or a lot of smile teeth, one LiquidStripTM-which-isn't-a-strip-so-why-do-they-call-it-that gel pack is really pushing it. There's not as much product in there as it would first seem. Keep this in mind as you apply the gel. You don't want to leave even one smile tooth unpainted. Even if they are to the rear sides of the smile. You don't need to apply a THICK coat, just a smooth, evenly adhered coat.

When they say "Dry your teeth" they mean it. Really. One trace of wetness, one fleck of saliva and it's all over. No adhesion. Re-dry the as yet ungelled smile teeth before applying the gel.

Don't let the paint brush get wet. The gel will congeal on contact. You will waste the much needed gel (and miserly appropriated by P&G) and have the whitest spent paint brush in the county, but your smile teeth will be blotchy and a long way from White Two.

Do not attempt to re-apply on an already gelled tooth. Just. Don't. Do. It.

Insert says: "Most people find keeping their mouth open for about 30 seconds helps the LiquidStripTM-which- isn't-a-strip-so-why-do-they-call-it-that coating set."
Insert means: I hope you have really good lip muscle tone and flexibility, because you must be able to pull your lips back in a Cujo like manner for a heck of a lot longer than 30 seconds.

This is why you might not want to do this in front of a would be significant other. This is not a good look. For anyone. Because for some reason it also requires screwing up the rest of your face, too. This is why mad dogs look mad. You must be able to assume and hold this position, unaided by your hands, long enough to paint each smile tooth, top and bottom, re-drying smile teeth along the way. Because under your lips is saliva. Wetness. Wetness that will ruin newly applied LiquidStripTM-which-isn't-a-strip-so-why-do-they-call-it-that coating and prevent future LiquidStripTM-which-isn't-a-strip-so-why-do-they-call-it-that from adhering to smile teeth wettened by your underlips. The formula for LiquidStripTM-which-isn't-a-strip-so-why-do-they-call-it-that readiness is: 30 seconds/smile tooth x # of smile teeth = # minutes you will be required to hold your upper and lower lips away from your teeth a la Cujo. I suggest you work out the formula inserting your own number of smile teeth. Then try to hold the pose to measure your Night Effects preparedness. You must also factor in smile tooth re-drying time between applications to teeth. If you cannot complete the required # of minutes I advise a course of exercise and training before attempting to apply the gel. The movie Cujo should provide enough demonstration and act as a home workout.

Can you do this?
White Two!
And hold for the amount of time required to paint and set all of your smile teeth? If so, and you are able and willing to inflict this upon any significant other who might stumble upon you in this pose, you are ready. Go. May the gel be with you. If not, practice, practice, practice and do not attempt this at home.

I'm on the fence.

Dare I go whiter?

Dr. Dentist's words ring in my ears: There is such a thing as too white.

*"Smile Teeth." The instruction insert says, "Apply only one thin layer of the gel to each of your top and bottom smile teeth." Except it's not in quotes. Not even italicized or bolded or footnoted. Nope. As if "smile teeth" is a standard, well known expression. I'm pretty up on teeth nomenclature, I'm dentally aware, and yet I have never, ever thought of teeth in terms of "smile teeth" or non "smile teeth." Incisors, cuspids, biscuspids, molars...but "smile teeth?" Apparently "smile teeth" are the teeth that show when you smile. Which for me is all my teeth except the very back molars.

8:10 AM

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