Just Wanna Be All By Myself

TL;DR: Creepers be creepin’/If you’re a girl you should only be in a place if you look nice. And if you look nice, you can’t be left alone. P.S. Goin on vaycayyy wuttt!

I’ve been sitting on parts of this post for a week. I’ve been sitting on other parts of it for the better part of a couple years, in the hopes that my anger around them would dissipate, lest I run the risk of being more feminist killjoy than funny feminist killjoy. Nevertheless, I think I’ve reached a point in my life where I must come to terms with this rage that lives within me, much to the chagrin of friends and writing instructors who have advised I “tone it down” or people will tune me out. Because what I have to say is important. In the words of someone wise (Ron Swanson, prolly ): The louder you shout, the less people listen.

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PREACH

However, I feel that I (and you) must now accept this truth: my fury is part of my charm.

And I’m pissed. I’m pissed that I can’t sit on a bench alone in this (or maybe any) city.

Last Saturday: I was meeting a friend to go to a comedy show. She’s Canadian but has been here long enough to catch the fever of casualness that plagues this great nation. In other words: girl was late. I was hungry, so while I waited for her I grabbed a ham & cheese croissant and a can of Aquarius (the superior European version of Gatorade) and found a bench.

After putting away that sandwich in what must have been the most erotic fashion, covering myself in flakes of carbohydrate, a man saw me from across the sidewalk. He stopped, and looked at me as I flicked crumbs off of my tits. As I was at the height of sexiness, he sat next to me, smiling. I had my phone out and headphones in, but even through my billionth replay of Rihanna’s “Bitch Better Have My Money,” I could hear him insisting I tell him my name, his body twisted and angled toward mine.

Finally, after his seventh or eighth ¿como te llamas?, without looking up from my phone, I said, “I don’t speak Spanish.”

Now, this is a method that has about a seventy five percent success rate. It nearly always works to stave off folks with clipboards who try to grab me by the bank account on my way to work. But creepiness knows no language barriers. This man, impervious to my lies, said, “Oh, that’s ok! I speak English. And French. And German.”

Well, fuck.

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A Burrito Is Better Than A Boy

 

Although I’m not leaving Madrid for another 20 some-odd days, I had my going away party the other night. Thursday was a holiday and I wanted to get it over with before everyone shoves off to the beach to escape the inferno that is the Madrid summer. This post is delayed because I spent the better part of yesterday nursing a hangover. Fuck off.

I discovered I am far more popular than I thought I was. Either I’m loved by many, or, as my friend said, they just came to make sure I was really leaving. In any event, fun was had.

I’d say the last four years have been worth it simply for having met all of the incredible people that I have. I love this city and I love the people I’ve met here. I know I’m leaving for the right reasons, but I spent the better part of yesterday drifting in and out of emotional spells because of having to say goodbye to this place and these great humans.

I know there is little to nothing left for me here professionally. I don’t want to teach English for the rest of my life. But at the same time, what is the value of professional experience if it’s in a place I don’t like as much as this one?

Sigh. I am happy to go, but I’m not necessarily happy to be leaving. I’m excited to spend time with my family and I’ve been weirdly nostalgic for things in Upstate NY. I miss New England summers. I want to eat lobster on the porch of my family’s summerhouse and hang out with my grandmother and all the new babies on the South Shore. I miss my siblings who keep growing in my absence. This is right. I know it’s right. But that doesn’t make it easy.

I’m glad to be sad about leaving, though. I would rather feel like I am moving toward something and leaving something precious behind, than feel like I’m running away from something. Which is what I did when I came here.

By the way, I looked incredible last night. Like, the hottest I’ve looked in months. One friend commented that I looked like a sexy librarian. Another likened me to a mermaid. While I recognize that nerdy mythical seafaring creatures might not be everyone’s cup of tea, I find it astonishing that I didn’t even make out with anyone last night. At this point I think it’s safe to say this dry spell has graduated from self-imposed celibacy to California-level drought. Hide the almonds, people.

At the end of the night it was me and three other girls. We parted ways around quarter to six. I hadn’t stayed at a bar until last call in probably over a year. I don’t know how I managed to stay as sober as I did. Various shots were consumed. There was a lot of gin involved. By the end of the night I was certainly not apt to drive a car, to be fair, but was not slurring and I remember everything.

I especially remember the rather embarrassing decision to get a burrito at 6 AM. By myself. I weighed the pros and cons of such a decision outside the nearest Tako-Away after I said bye to my friends. I was sober enough to feel shame, which is probably an indication that I should not have done it. Everyone else in there was with friends. I was the only girl in the burrito line.

But I knew the guy working. Because of course I know the guy who works at the burrito place. I first met him about a year ago when I was on a date. (Yes, I went to a shitty take-away burrito joint with a date because of fucking course I did, do you even know me?) It turned out he’s Brazilian so I seized the opportunity to practice my rudimentary Portuguese on him. Because I am not a nice person and I use people for their language skills.

After that first encounter I started going more regularly. For the burritos. After midnight. Before the other night I hadn’t been in well over six months. (Note here that I’ve had more burritos in the last year than sex. Take a minute to appreciate how much better your life is than mine.) It had been so long, in fact, that he didn’t remember my order anymore. Even so, he didn’t miss a beat in the little routine we’d developed. Every time I go in there the exchange goes like this:

Him: “Did you hook up tonight?”

Me: “If I’d hooked up do you think I’d be here with you ordering a fucking burrito?”

Him: *laughter* “Well, I’ll hook up with you. I always tell you that and you never take me up on the offer.”

Other guy working: “She must have a boyfriend. Or be a lesbian.”

Me: “Ha. Put  jalapeños* on that.”

That burrito was delicious. I ate it on my way home as the sun came up above the Plaza Mayor. Some of the rice spilled onto my dress and into my shoe. Quelle romantique.

I love burritos because they are complex, yet uncomplicated. You special order them and they always come precisely how you want. There are never any hidden flaws or details you must put up with. They always leave you satisfied and smiling. Always. You don’t have to worry about whether or not they’ll call the next day. It won’t shame you or tell its friends about you. A burrito will never kiss and tell.

burritos

Yes, as a wise woman once told me, a burrito is better than a boy.

I wonder how much I can let myself believe that lie.

In this sexual desert I presently occupy, it’s not even coitus I miss. That I can simulate myself on my own time. In dreams, even. Yesterday I had four (FOUR!) self-induced orgasms. And I am still fucking thirsty.

Well, invest in a new sex toy, you might say. Fine, but sex toys don’t kiss or undress me. There’s no unpredictability with DIY jobs. That’s what I miss. Anticipation. The element of surprise. Vulnerability and mild danger.

For now a burrito will have to suffice.

*I’m always too drunk to remember that jalapeños are not as delicious on the way out. I don’t regret the decision as a whole, but next time I’ll try to remember to give that particular detail a miss. It’s not worth fifty cents to suffer more than I have to.

 

There Will Be Blood

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As I enter my eleventh month of celibacy, I’ve received a scathing reminder that I am (still) not pregnant: menstrual blood. Praise Jesus, y’all. (And here I’d like to bid adieu to those in the live studio audience who are put off by periods. See you guys at the next post.)

To whom can I write to request a menstruation waiver? I think I (and lesbians worldwide) should be exempt from this event until I resume sexual activity. Because this thing is giving me absolutely no new information. At least when I’m getting laid regularly I have something to look forward to. When it shows up late I tend to miss it. If it shows up early, well, it’s a tad inconvenient, sure, but I’ll still graciously clear the coffee table and rustle up some snacks for my unexpected guest.

Now it just shows up like a friend who just can’t take a hint. Just like, “Hay gurl hayyy. Let’s eat ice cream and cry and poop like seven times in a day! Oh, and while I’m here can I ruin your fave panties? Thanks!” It’s like, read the room, Period. No one wants you here. No. One.

If I have to get it, can’t I at least excrete something fun? Like glitter. Or cornflakes. I’m going to start a Change.org petition to get periods amended. Who’s in?

By the way, if you’re new here you might be wondering why someone who calls themselves Train Slut hasn’t banged in nearly a year.

It’s self-imposed. Generally.

Last year I was getting it on pretty regularly with a dude I was sort of in love with I guess? It was the first time I’d ever slept with someone I liked and it turned out to be a bit of a mind-fuck. When it went south I went out with and subsequently boned one guy who was great on paper. It wasn’t bad but it was like every other casual partner I’d ever had: boring. Plus I was still hung up on this other dude and I was determined not to let the thing that made me get over him be another person. I put myself on a two-month ban and decided I wanted to wait until I found someone I could get excited about. Then two months turned into six and six into nine and I decided to go for a year. At first it was a matter of drive and desire. Now it’s turned into sheer determination and stubbornness. Just to say I did it?

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But you know what? Dry spell notwithstanding this has been one of the best and most productive years of my life. I did the Camino! I got into grad school! I started a blog!

However there is a piece of me that is terrified that I might not bang before my birthday and I’ll have spent all of 25 not having sex. There’s another piece of me that’s terrified I will never bang anyone ever again.

Maybe I’ll start taking applications, just in case.

I Don’t Have Cancer! (Or A Job…)

Today has been one of those days which is so long it almost splits into two in your memory. The morning starts splitting off, bleeding into the day before or trying to become its own day entirely. I wasn’t particularly busy, but I did a lot of things.

A few months ago a strange mark appeared just above my left ankle. It was about the size of my pinky nail and shaped like a star. Not a five-point, doodled-in-your-notebook star. A star in the sky, splattered and edgeless. Being the daughter of a melanoma survivor (and the hypochondriac that I am) I went to the doctor.

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Fun Is Too Many Monies

Most of the time I’ve spent on this blog thus far has been dedicated to setting up the email address, getting the fucking header to show up on the page, and installing the godforsaken icon for the browser tab. (Which still does not work!) Normally the process goes something like this: I try to do something. I can’t. I message my mother who is six time zones away and far more internet savvy than I am and say, “Mommy, I can’t figure this out!” Then she tells me what to do. I do it. It still doesn’t work. Then she says, “Give me your password,” and does it for me.

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Hey, Remember That Time… I Failed at Language

I am not particularly good at the Internet. My mother is a witness to my technological ineptness. She was the one who set this whole thing up for me. (Thanks, Mom.)

Technology is hard! There are codes and passwords and cookies and now I’m hungry.

You know what else is hard? Talking. Especially considering the fact that on any given day I’d prefer not to. Despite my lack of enthusiasm, I do it quite well in two languages. My aptitude is a gift for which I am infinitely thankful. The speed with which I picked up Spanish was slightly freakish. After just four months studying abroad here I was able to fool people into thinking I was native. Fifty percent of my genes are Portuguese, which helps with the physical aspect.

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The Origin of Train Slut

Consider this blog a last-ditch effort to make myself entirely unemployable. Perhaps if I deter enough hiring managers with my decidedly uncouth title, I’ll be forced to dedicate my life to writing or starve.

Who is Train Slut?

I’m an American solo traveler with two passports and an Interrail pass. (That I haven’t actually bought yet… minor detail.) I’ve spent the last four years in Spain and decided to mosey back stateside come September. As an epic last hurrah I’m going to attempt to visit eight countries in four-six(ish) weeks one locomotive at a time.

Why? Trains are the best form of transportation and my best writing is done on them.

The. Fucking. Best.

The. Fucking. Best.

How did I come to be Train Slut? Unlike most super heroes, my origin story is neither tragic nor supernatural. My parents are wholly intact and I’ve never been struck by lightning or bitten by a genetically modified spider. (To my knowledge, anyhow.)

My story is, however, complicated and slightly turbulent. I’ll give you the eclipsed version for now:

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