Friday, December 4, 2009

It's Not a Perm, Thankyouverymuch!

For most of you, I am certain that you have figured out the three ways to my heart: Lie and say I have lost weight; seem interested in my stream-of-consciousness stories--and the many tangents; or simply buy me a gift. Nothing says "You're important and special" like materialism. Don't get me a card or give me a hug; buy me a new shirt and an iTunes giftcard and I will love you forever.

Do not, however, buy me anything from Kirklands. This is the best way to end our relationship and show your disdain for my existence. I hate Kirklands. I hate how everything, from clocks to dish towels, have roosters on them, and I hate how Kirklands answer to everything is to just add more fake greenery or add a proverb or add a faux antique finish. These are not, my friends, ever the answer to anything. Interior design is much more, as anyone would know if you have ever watched Trading Spaces, Design Star, or anything on HGTV.

That's why it was such a burden for me to enter Kirklands yesterday when my grandmother sent me to fetch a wedding gift for her. I'm always flattered when my grandmother sends me out as her personal shopper--especially when she gives me extra money for myself. However, when she said I needed to go to Kirklands to purchase this gift, I shuddered. Did this woman she was buying for live in a barn? Was Pier One too upscale? What the FUCK was I going to buy at Kirklands that I wouldn't regret for years to come? Did they sell Herman Miller and I just didn't realize it?

I imagined myself in Kirklands with a bunch of big-haired Mississippi women. Every one of them is dressed in pink sweatshirts with something barely clever puff painted on in gold paint. Their skin is flaky from undermoisturizing and over-tanning. Their shoes are matching gold, and they have gaudy costume jewlelry and french manicured toes. This is who I was shopping with.

Clay Aiken, give me one of your Paxil. I may have a panic attack.

So, I head to Kirklands hoping that there will be something on clearance immediately at the front door so I can scoop it up, lunge to the checkout counter, pay, and get the hell out of there. Ugh, the agony of being in a store where they sell styrofoam lawn ornaments and name them "Fleur-de-Lis Finial" and sell them for thirty dollars. I hate Kirklands. HATE IT. You cannot just frame a big gold medallion and expect someone to pay two hundred dollars for it. It is not a 5th century artifact! It is styrofoam!

I walk in, and of course nothing catches my eye. I feel a bad case of the hives coming on, so I am desperate to buy something and get out of there. My hunch is correct. I am in a sea of overtanned Mississippi women in puff paint shirts and gold flip flops, and they cluck like hens at each other in that burdensome sing-song debutante speak, like everyone around them are cute babies. "I just LOVE thi-is, don't you? I LOVE it SO much! It just makes me SMIIIIIIILE and wont ta go own a pi-ic-nic!" one of the women says at a picnic basket covered in not-so-clever saying and stencils of children playing.

As the store clerk hands me a flyer about "the Worlds Biggest Pillow Fight" coming soon (what?) I can see in the corner of my eye a man in all black peering at me from behind a fake tree filled with stupid Christmas ornaments made out of handpainted popcorn (what?!). He is wearing dark sunglasses, and even from twenty feet away I can tell he has the most makeup on of anyone in here. And the most cosmetic surgery. (And that says a lot considering the woman beside me is about 60 years old and has tits perkier than Pam Anderson and lips bigger than Angelina's.)

Convinced this is probably one of those shady West Memphis retail gays that always work in the back of the store in the stock room and only come out when they get a whiff of penis, I continue desperately searching for a gift. I see something shiny on a ledge and run for it. Yippee! Finally something shiny! I love shiny!

It's a sparkly handbag with the words "WORLD'S GREATEST DIVA" superglued to the sides. I throw up a little in my mouth.

Beside it, I find a metal urn that, in the right lighting and hidden behind larger objects, might almost seem nice. Granted, there are fake ferns shooting out of it and a jungle print ribbon tied around it, but with a little imagination it could be undressed and reshuffled into something more appropriate. I decide to buy it, despite it not being on sale. I just have to get out of this dreadful store.

"I always wished I had curly hair," someone said behind me in what sounded like Felicity Huffman playing a man playing a woman. "Tell me, is it real?"

I couldn't imagine that anyone would ask me this. I pretend not to be aware and act interested in the World's Greatest Diva purse again. "Is it a perm?"

I whip around ready to lash out and bite someone's head off. Or at least be condescending and icy. This is the fourteenth person to ask if I got a perm since I started letting my hair go naturally curly. I used to have what amounted to bad lesbian hair, bur no longer. NOo longer! And it is not a perm!

"No it is not a perm. It is completely natural, thankyouverymuch. I--"

I'm talking to David Gest. Yes, THE David Gest who married Liza Minelli and looks like her is made completely of prosthetics. Yes, THE David Gest who considers Michael Jackson a close friend and who has the most extensive collection of Judy Garland memorabilia in the world. David Gest just asked me if I had a perm.

My first reaction was to ask him why on earth he relocated to Memphis, TN of all places. Then I want to ask him why he married Liza. Then I want to ask if he ever had sex with her, and if so, does her plumbing still work. I also want to know all about Michael Jackson. Ooooh, and Elizabeth Taylor, too! Tell me all about that boozy old whore, David! Ok, so then I just get really stiff, because I am frightened by him. I am not enchanted by the idea of celebrity, so don't get the idea that I was petrified by some admiration of his notoriety. I was just petrified by HIM! He looks like one of the bad alien guys from "Dark City."

"You have great hair," he says to me. Is he hitting on me?

I smile at him, waiting for his face to melt or an alien baby to shoot out of his chest. He returns the smile, and his smile is like a tic that crinkles his face into a horrible position.

"Thank you." I'm clutching the World's Greatest Diva purse like a shield. It's slightly below my neck, and I'm just standing there with it, half smiling. I am frozen there like a grimacing victim of Medusa, and I can't say anything else.

Is this dude hitting on me? He is gay, right? He's hitting on me. In Kirklands.

And he said I had a perm.

Does he do dinner with Michael Jackson ever?

He said I had a perm.

I wonder if he will ever be on "Dancing With the Stars" or VH1's "The Surreal Life."

He is gay, right? Should I ask him that?

Who on earth would buy ANYTHING in this place?

Is he buying something for himself or a friend? Does he like himself or this friend?


And I am so frightened by him that I can't move. Can't......move. His eyebrows looks like they are made of felt, and his lips look like those wax lips you buy at Halloween at the candy shop. Behind those dark Gucci sunglasses I am assuming his eyes have no pupils.

Perhaps had I been cornered by him at a swanky bar or even a gas station I would have been more apt to act human, but not in Kirklands. The worst store ever. This is a nightmare, an utter nightmare that I would come to Kirklands and be cornered by a man this frightening--especially a man that used to be married and was abused by Judy Garland's pill-popping daughter. You know inevitably there will be a movie one Liza, and someone will win a Best Supporting Actor nod for playing this dude.

I can barely breathe. I keep smiling. And holding the Diva purse like I'm shielding my face.

David Gest looks at me like I am a tool, and he walks away.

Wait a second. David Gest just looked at me like I am a tool. David Gest just judged me. He hits on me, then he rejects me. I will not stand for this.

Um....ok, maybe I will. I have to leave immediately or I am going to have a seizure. I am paying for this and getting the hell out of here.

Paying....paying.....paying. Hurry up, checkout girl. David Gest is over there in the corner looking at me like I am a serial killer. Like I am a serial killer! Has he looked in the mirror lately? He's like a Saturday Night Live skit! And he has a limp! Hurry up, checkout girl.

It's only when I get to the car that I realize I have not bought the metal urn, and I bought that stupid purse instead. It will have to do. No way am I going back in there.

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