Goodness knows how I happened to become an expert in rat-buying. First of all, I've never been particularly fond of rats: I've had imaginary kittens as pets before, yes, but the closest I've gotten to the rodent world is my entirely fictitious hamster, Lisbeth, who gets namechecked at the top of my journal, but who is never mentioned in its pages. Second of all, I never had such a pressing need for a rat that I had to go buy one--in fact, I conjured up the kittens as a sort of spiritual safeguard against them. But the other night I was drinking Scotch and eating plantains at that hip new plantain restaurant, Plantain, with my onetime editor and second ex-husband, Douglas Conifer Vinciennes, and after he commented that the banana was going extinct, he said:
"Nonnie, you still willing to stoop to work on the women's books?" (Women's Books, in Douglas's world, are not romance novels or Virginia Woolf novels or She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb, but rather fabulous, glossy women's magazines that are devoted to a little bit more than fashion.)
"I guess," I said. "I'm pretty busy with, you know, the anthropology, and also I've been contributing to these erotic-science-fiction anthologies, but, you know, I have a place in my heart for the women's books."
"Great! Listen, old lady, one of my old mistresses is the EIC at the new Hearst title, Cannibal Blonde, and she needs somebody to do a feature on rats."
"Tats?" I queried. "Like, tattoos? That's so funny, because I was just reading Sylvia Plath's "The Fifteen Dollar Eagle" and I was thinking about doing some kind of freelance thing about the tattoo-artist-as-shaman, maybe interviewing people about their relationship with their tattooist, and you know, there could totally be a humorous compare-and-contrast chart about tatooists versus hairdressers . . ."
My former lord and master cut me off. "Nope," he said, "Not tats. Rats. Apparently rats are the hot new fashion accessory for the urban thirtysomething set."
"Oh," I said. "Did you sleep with that lady when you were married to me?"
He looked at me with warm, misted eyes. "I wasn't married to you long enough to sleep with anybody else, my kitten."
And so I wrote this feature.
Posted by anonymousblonde at septembre 17, 2003 11:43 PM