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Jul. 9th, 2012 | 05:07 pm

I always say “yes”, because it’s brave to ask a girl to dance, and it’s terrible to walk back across the bar alone.

John is a baker from Valdez, taking salsa lessons and evidently paying attention in class. Hector is a cook on the slopes, two weeks home and three weeks out, I’m guessing he’s been doing these shuffling cha-cha steps since his boyhood in Oaxaca. And Karl is the theatre manager, no more bitter than any other single man in Alaska, three-to-one ratio in the city, eight-to-one in the villages, the girls saying things like, “I want a boyfriend for the winter,” and the boys joking, “You didn’t lose your girl, you just lost your turn.” We are the visiting circus girls, three workshops, six family shows, two adult shows, two outdoor festivals.

Everyone in Alaska is nice to us.

Our little group drives a borrowed minivan (airport pick-up and drop-off, we invite the owner to pizza after the show), stays at a friend’s house (pillow fights and Mexican night while he sleeps on his couch for two weeks), eats in the fun restaurants and hugs our thanks to whomever has picked up the check. We wear our false eyelashes to dinner and take off our shirts on the radio (“Check out Brock and the Fat Guy and the circus chicks on our Facebook page!”) and only mention our significant others when directly asked.

I make sure I’m not directly asked.

We are the ensemble cast of Girls Gone Alaska, promoting our friends’ single-ness to our audiences, lounging in pretty jammies in the living room, telling them how much we love them, how grateful we are. The New Age One, The Nice One, and The Girl Who Probably Would If Only She Lived Here.

I am not The Nice One.

I am the one who says “Yes,” and sometimes “Maybe,” and often, “If only I lived here.”

I say “yes” a lot on Salsa Night because I love dancing and I love being pretty or at least believing I’m pretty for tonight, and I love being in a city where men actually ask you to dance and mean it, mean “I can lead and I will not laugh too much at your poor following, and I will return you safely to your table when the song changes.”

And I say “yes” to Karl the theatre manager because I love Alaska and free meals and a nice venue with good advertising, more budget than he’s telling his boss, and I want to come back, and yes, flirt with him a little more.

The beat changes and Karl’s a reasonably good leader and there’s the feeling of his body on mine. My boyfriend’s silver gift is heavy around my neck, reminding me, serious but not monogamous, and on the road doesn’t count, and I try not to think that every time I see my boyfriend, we are on the road. That maybe I do want a relationship where we phone each other and chat on Facebook.

Karl looks at me, and I say “What.”

It’s not what’s in his face, but he says, “I never had this much fun in years.”

I laugh, and turn under his arm, and now, on the 3rd or 4th try, I’m turning in the right direction most of the time. He’s handsome and sweet and has a good job and is even almost smart enough, and at the end of the song he sweeps me up in his arms, threshold style, strong enough that I don’t worry about what I weigh this week, and we laugh and laugh and he says, “You should come back more often,” and I say, “you should book us next year.”

And then I smile and bring my face closer to his, and when my brain asks me, what are you doing? I think, getting us the gig.




whipchick saw two moose. The mystery of the title may be solved here.

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Comments {25}

Myrna

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from: myrna_bird
date: Jul. 9th, 2012 10:39 pm (UTC)
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A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do!
I love this entry as I enjoy all your bits and pieces about your travels around the world.I tell people that one of the other writers in this competition is a circus performer and their eyes get wide and they say Really???? and I can tell they are just as envious as I feel every time I read one of your escapades.
I know it must be a lot of hard work and tiring travel but you always make it sound fun!

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whipchick

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from: whipchick
date: Jul. 10th, 2012 01:24 pm (UTC)
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Wow, thanks! And yes, it is fun even when it's hard work :) I feel so lucky to have a job where I get to travel! I hope I get up to Maine someday soon :)

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Myrna

(no subject)

from: myrna_bird
date: Jul. 11th, 2012 12:04 am (UTC)
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That would be so super!

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blahblahblah, whatever

(no subject)

from: kathrynrose
date: Jul. 9th, 2012 11:11 pm (UTC)
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woo!

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whipchick

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from: whipchick
date: Jul. 10th, 2012 01:25 pm (UTC)
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Thanks :)

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medleymisty

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from: medleymisty
date: Jul. 10th, 2012 12:18 am (UTC)
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My father always wanted to move to Alaska. To get away from people.

Ooooh - interesting about the title!

It's so interesting, reading about your life. :)

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Jul. 10th, 2012 01:25 pm (UTC)
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It's a great place to get away from people :) Glad you thought the title worked! And thank you for reading and for the compliment :)

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(no subject)

from: faerie_spark
date: Jul. 10th, 2012 12:53 am (UTC)
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"I feel pretty, oh so pretty. I feel pretty, and witty and gay!"


Yes, that was going through my head as I read this. Love your work as always. And I love how you skilfully address the complexities of interpersonal and intimate relationships.

And, as I read your entries week after week I find myself really wanting to meet you. :) Silly I know; but perhaps a testament to what you share of yourself, even in the fiction you write.

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Jul. 10th, 2012 01:29 pm (UTC)
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Thank you - that's such a nice compliment! I'm really glad you get a sense of complexity here - that's a lot of what I'm trying for.

I pass through the DC area every so often - love to meet up for coffee when I do! And not silly at all, totally awesome :)

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(Deleted comment)

whipchick

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from: whipchick
date: Jul. 10th, 2012 01:30 pm (UTC)
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It was, thanks!

Glad you liked how the title worked - figuring out what to call it was tricky :)

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Kristen

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from: pixiebelle
date: Jul. 10th, 2012 03:41 am (UTC)
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This is a fun entry and depicts a chunk of your life in a fun fashion. As a girl who's done my share of cocktail waitressing, I could relate to the ending. And yay for seeing two moose! I want to go to Alaska some day :)

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Jul. 10th, 2012 01:31 pm (UTC)
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Thanks! Yeah, it's interesting to walk that line between professional and personal-enough-to-connect, isn't it?

I think you'd like Alaska - you always do such interesting things, it's a good place for that!

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notodette

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from: notodette
date: Jul. 10th, 2012 04:48 am (UTC)
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Very upbeat, fun and true.

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Jul. 10th, 2012 01:31 pm (UTC)
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Thanks for reading!

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The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors

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from: halfshellvenus
date: Jul. 10th, 2012 06:40 am (UTC)
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the girls saying things like, “I want a boyfriend for the winter,” and the boys joking, “You didn’t lose your girl, you just lost your turn.”
Oh, gosh. There's just so much in those lines, in being trapped into impermanence by the circumstances. It's less often the men who want more commitment, but here? Who wants to always be the passing entertainment (even among the other locals) and never the one truly chosen?

Though the way you describe it, it sure forces the men to be charming. You could imagine any one of these guys moving to a new state, and whammo-- wowing some woman with the simple fact of who he is, like he's the guy she's been waiting all her life to meet. That's half of what I love about this story, that those special qualities of each man are in the tiniest of details and drawn out so clearly.

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whipchick

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from: whipchick
date: Jul. 11th, 2012 01:36 pm (UTC)
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It's such a strange world up there for relationships, and the women really do call the tune - a lot of the single men I know are very bitter. But yes, they are still are tremendously gentlemanly and charming and care-taking, all on their best behavior. I think most of them would have no trouble finding someone in the lower 48.

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Hrm

from: anonymous
date: Jul. 10th, 2012 02:48 pm (UTC)
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Here I thought it was a bit dark and desperate. Doesn't sound fun to me, at all. It doesn't sound exactly like flirting to get the job, the bigger tip, etc., all innocent fun and such. It sounds like a dearth of human companionship played out in the gladiator ring of heterosexuality.

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whipchick

Re: Hrm

from: whipchick
date: Jul. 10th, 2012 02:52 pm (UTC)
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I'm glad to get this comment - while of course I always want readers to receive a piece in whatever way it speaks to them, it took me several drafts to get from "flat-out mean" to "ambiguous".

For me, the piece is about that conflict between, "I'm pretty and men do things for me!" and "Is that what I have to offer? What happens when I don't want to use that tool anymore?" and "Do I like you because you're a possible friend or am I just using you, and where is that line?"

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the_day_setup

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from: the_day_setup
date: Jul. 10th, 2012 04:46 pm (UTC)
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I loves yr tone. Spot on as always. I think you could make one of *my* entries sound worldly / literary / maybe even exciting.

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Jul. 11th, 2012 01:37 pm (UTC)
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Wow, thanks - I do enjoy playing with voice a lot! What I like about your work is your commitment to big ideas - even something as daily as "dealing with Craigslist" becomes commentary on the human condition.

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alycewilson

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from: alycewilson
date: Jul. 11th, 2012 10:37 pm (UTC)
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I like how this turns at the end. It occurs to me that your flirtation is, in itself, a type of dance.

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whipchick

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from: whipchick
date: Jul. 29th, 2012 07:41 pm (UTC)
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I agree! Thanks :)

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LiveJournal

LJ Idol Week 33: Preliminary Rec List

from: livejournal
date: Jul. 12th, 2012 08:49 am (UTC)
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User alycewilson referenced to your post from LJ Idol Week 33: Preliminary Rec List saying: [...] 's introspective essay about life and love on the road [...]

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m_malcontent

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from: m_malcontent
date: Jul. 12th, 2012 10:09 pm (UTC)
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I like this entry. I've been privy to the occasional "showmance" in even community theater.

I can imagine it would be amped up further by taking it on the road.

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whipchick

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from: whipchick
date: Jul. 29th, 2012 07:43 pm (UTC)
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Totally :) Thanks for reading!

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