I don’t give money to homeless people

“Could somebody spare a penny?” Said the homeless man with organically green hair. I tried to tune him out, irritated by his shamelessness. I walked past him most days. Except when it was raining. He was never there when it was raining. I mostly hated him. I dreaded the sound of his demented voice. I tried my best to avoid eye-contact. 

One day in May he waved at me, and I smiled back. He ruined the moment by saying, “take me home with you!” His homeless lady-friend sneered, “yeah right!” I loved her for backing me up, for giving him a requisite reality check. 

Early June he surprised me by hollering, “why aren’t you jogging today?” I ignored him as usual. 

He no longer asks me if I can “spare a penny,” because he knows I’m a frigid bitch. 

We silently acknowledge each other’s existence. His glassy eyes gleam with laughter. Maybe he finds my face amusing. I don’t find him amusing at all.

He disturbs me. But we are friends now. He’s earned my trust or something like that

I don’t know. 


Fat Girls on Tinder

I don’t hate fat people. 

My dental hygienist is fat, and I would have nobody else clean my teeth. She is gentle, careful, thorough. She doesn’t make senseless small-talk when I have tools in my mouth. She’s a wonderful woman.

But fat girls—in the context of online dating—scare the shit out of me. The fear is crippling. I’m constantly imagining how it might happen again—finding myself trapped on a date with a conniving, corpulent con artist whose Tinder profile is the paradigm of false advertising. 

It happened last Thursday. I was in Boston (for the ASM microbe conference) and staying at The Marriott in Cambridge. After a sushi dinner alone, I was craving connection, intimacy, some reminder I was more than just a cog in the corporate machine. 

I decided to pull up Tinder in the hopes I might get lucky. I came across Summer’s profile: MIT student, strawberry blonde hair, trusting blue eyes. To my surprise we matched and she messaged me first. 

I eagerly invited her to grab a drink at the hotel bar and braced myself for the same, lame, quotidian excuse: something came up; I’m really tired; my uncle just died suddenly. But instead she wasted no time, asking for my address and confirming she was on her way. I couldn’t believe my luck. 

When she sauntered up to me, I was overcome with wave after wave of denial. You’re not my Summer. You’re a whale. You’re a taxicab. You’re Kim and Kanye’s massive Calabasas mansion. 

But her eyes were the same as the pictures, and I knew it must be her: this egg-shaped piece of lard. 

I suppose I entered panic mode, which allowed me to hide my disgust. She reminded me of an overstuffed sausage. I couldn’t concentrate on what she was saying, something about bubble tea and Cambridge and sports. I became genuinely fascinated with her ability to carry on breathing when she so clearly radiated death, disease, decay. 

Would we like another round? Hell fucking no. I signed the bill for our fifteen dollar gin and tonics, my hand trembling. 

The whale looked at me expectantly. Would I like to show her my room? I told her I was very tired, absolutely exhausted, and we parted with a hug that made my skin crawl. 

Sometimes I think about what might have happened if I had taken her upstairs. I’m not certain she would be kind enough to suffocate me with her pale, fleshy boobs before sinking her teeth into my sensitive sinews. I can almost hear the sound of her powerful jaws pulverizing my body into a lifeless pulp. Crunch crunch crunch.