When Time magazine’s humor columnist/Dave Barry of our generation Joel Stein, author of the new book
agreed to an interview with me, I was beyond shocked. I had sent a public tweet to Joel Stein (“@thejoelstein You must have thanked the god of whoring when your ‘book review’ ran in the overrated tata Time cover issue.”) Joel Stein responded: ‘It’s the only god I believe in.”
On a whim, I thought maybe, since Joel Stein was so openly whoring his book, Joel Stein would agree to an interview. And I was right. Life lesson: never underestimate the power of your ability to land a interview with an author whoring his new book.
We agreed to meet after Joel Stein’s book signing in DC, only an hour from where I live. It was being held at a historic synagogue. As a recovering Catholic and a blogger who traditionally wears a baseball hat, yoga pants, and some sort of 80s-reference t-shirt, I was terrified. What would I wear to an interview with one of the most successful humor writers in our nation? I was now officially on a quest to find my femininity in honor of Joel Stein finding his masculinity.
I decide no cleavage, obviously, in a temple. I select a conservative brown and aqua paisley dress that I bought six months ago, still had the tags on it, and was two sizes too big because I’d lost weight since I’d bought it. Although it’s totally hot outside, I add a brown sweater, because the dress had no sleeves and I was terrified shoulder-showing would for sure be a non-synagoguey look.
I break out the dreaded Iron Maiden, which is the nickname I gave my Spanx onesie with its unreliable pee hole (essentially necessitating complete nakedness in order to use the bathroom). I select a pair of heels I bought for the writing conference this summer and haven’t yet worn and toss them into my Coach* work bag because obviously I’m not going to drive a car or take the DC Metro in those fuckers. I choose pearls my husband bought me (and I’ve never worn).
I wear glasses, because that way when I’m interviewing him and totally freaking out, I can do the look-over-the-glasses thing, which will mean (since my vision is 20 over 600) that I will be able to see my iPad, but not in any way his face, which would just make me more nervous.
I get a pedicure, which I immediately wreck, probably when encapsulating myself into the fucking Iron Maiden sausage casing. I completely forget about the makeup thing (the only thing in my work bag is a lip gloss) because I forgot how long it takes to use hot rollers on my hair, which I probably haven’t done in five years. On the way to DC, I stop at a Walgreens in my small town to procure eyeliner, mascara, nail polish to try to fix my fucked up pedicure big toe and a Caramel Milky Way and an Evian since I had been too nervous to eat.
I manage not to choose the correct nail polish color- something I discover while applying it driving 60 miles an hour with my left foot on the dashboard, causing me to have to pull over and wipe off the edges of my toes (and the steering wheel) because nail polish was not designed to be applied at 60mph. The original pedicure is a pretty copper, and the new shade is ghetto ass stripper gold, so now my big toes don’t match.
I look in the mirror. Strings of caramel are on my chin from ‘my dinner’ (classy!), and I’m freaking out that my eyebrows need to be plucked and my teeth aren’t white enough. I arrive in DC and immediately hit a CVS, where I buy eyeshadow with instructions on it, instant teeth whitener, tissues for the mascara that’s all over the inside of my glasses, and hair spray (because DC humidity is proving you can take the girl out of New Jersey but you can’t take the New Jersey out of the girl).
I ask to use the bathroom and explain to the CVS worker Jose ominously that I will be in the bathroom ‘for awhile.’ I basically turn the CVS bathroom into my office/vanity, simultaneously charging my iPad, spraying my hair, whitening my teeth, following eye shadow directions and removing mascara from my glasses. Someone comes to the door and I yell “JOSE! I am not done in here! Make them use the men’s room!” Since I have to pee but am too afraid to use the pee hole, I have to get completely naked, pee, and then go find Jose (who is officially my bitch) to zip my dress because I can’t reach it.
I get to the synagogue and am immediately intimidated by the four Jewish women who greet me, although there is nothing intimidating about them other than the fact that they are wearing neither makeup, heels, nor dresses. I am paranoid about my Ms. Pac Man tattoo showing, and I wonder if tattoos are kosher: my only exposure to the Jewish religion is that my college roommate called me a shiksa and we had a menorah next to our Christmas tree, and I watch The Daily Show.
Did I mention you should read Joel Stein’s book?
Buy it for a dad you know for Father’s Day.
Or for you, because the pictures of Joel Stein are hot in it. I’m not saying you should buy Joel Stein’s book just because Joel Stein is smoking hot. Exactly… But I am saying there should be a Joel Stein vibrator. And also, the book is really funny, even though in my signed copy, Joel Stein said I tweet too much and told me the pearls were “WASP-y.”
* My devotion to the Coach brand is one of the only ways I know I don’t have a penis.