Mr. Sensitive Ponytail Man, Emily’s friends jeered. He wasn’t even that. He wasn’t even sensitive. He was, in fact, a man with mother issues, a temper, an inability to type well, and, yes, a skinny ponytail that frolicked in the wind afforded by his Jeep Wrangler and the long, circuitous roads of the canyons. She convinced herself that this inability to be easily defined rendered him an inadvertent radical.
Hope asked, “Why doesn’t he cut it off? I mean, what year are we in?”
Emily liked to imagine her new fiancé as a leonine creature, unaffected by trends and time, with an impressive collection of multicolored hair ties piled on top of the toilet and an ardor for racquetball.
“There are certain things that just put me off and I’m done,” Hope declared. “I went into the salon once and found my stylist gnawing on a sandwich, chunks tumbling around in her mouth like sopping clothes in a dryer. Some sort of pink meat, like ham, with white cheese and yellow mustard, jawed into mush. I just couldn’t trust her to style my hair. The same goes for ponytailed men in general. It’s like they don’t see what we see and for that alone, they can’t be trusted.”
Gathered around the table, its two wide leaves included, producing an expansive dining arrangement, ten high-backed chairs are drawn up and the linen tablecloth once belonging to my grandmother, patterned with grapes and pineapples, drapes onto the laps of my dinner guests. Counterclockwise, we have Denny, an overweight reformed cocaine and sex addict whose wife, Tanya, 18 years his junior, only allows him to have sex with her three times a month. To endure these episodes, Tanya gets drunk on vodka tonics with lime. Next to Tanya is dark-haired Gretchen, who’s been smacked twice with the open fist of her husband William, seated adjacently. Gretchen’s told me several times she’s convinced William has sex with men. William cheats at golf and once killed a kitten with a tennis racket. To his left is Beatrice. She wears her hair in a bob and masturbates to Stravinsky and her girlfriend, Laurel, steals yogurts from the office refrigerator. Across from Laurel, Donna and Michael laugh at William’s joke about Gretchen’s most recent fender bender. To my right is Jonathan. He is extremely affable, has left me twice and embezzled money from my sister four years ago. To your health, flock of liars. Murder of fibbers. School of deceivers. Salud.
"You clean the bathroom late one night after Boris has gone to bed. You wear a T-shirt and a pair of Boris’s boxer shorts that you stole out of a bag of stuff he’s been planning to take to the Salvation Army. It gives you immense pleasure to wear these boxer shorts, but you only wear them after he’s gone to bed, and you never sleep in them. You do have some pride."
— Katherine Heiny, How To Give The Wrong Impression