I have two nice items of clothing. One is a $2,500 form-fitting lambskin leather jacket that I wear practically every second. The other is a gray-and-black Kate Spade "Mad Men"-style coat that looks very Joan at the office holiday party saucypants. I was wearing both of these items when I traveled to Trenton, NJ, last week to shoot a TV segment airing this Friday, which I'll tell you all about when I can tell you all about it.
Two days before shooting this, I had done "Dr. Drew" -- which, if you didn't see it, was cray. I was happy with it, but I hated that I stared down so much as I discussed marital infidelity (my ex-spouse's and my participation in it with another married man), losing my virginity to rape and flirting with the idea of prostitution. Come to think of it, I'm going to give myself a pass for being a bit gun-shy.
"Would you say your life has been defined by sex?" a producer asked during the pre-interview.
"Well, sure and other things."
"But if Dr. Drew asks you if your life has been defined by sex, what will you say?"
"Yes," I said, fully aware of the old media one-angle game. "A life defined by sex. Sure." Cue to giant flashing chyron: "A LIFE DEFINED BY SEX"!!!!!!!
So because I felt like I had to give the doctor some life-defined-by-sex sordidness, I told him about a low-point where I half-heartedly posted a hooker-y ad on Craigslist where I indicated I "needed a little help with rent." For the record, I didn't ever do anything with the posting that I wrote. I created some fake identity of a woman named "Samantha" who said "LOL" a lot. I'm pretty sure one of the guys that I was corresponding with was a cop.
But that's not what discouraged me. I just realized that I was flirting with darkness in a major way to see how it felt. I do not judge anyone making a living in the sex industry, but had I gone there, I know that a piece of me would have died. So, I'm glad I didn't. LOL.
Interestingly, in no way did I intend to reveal this to "Dr. Drew," but I knew they were looking for dirt so I tried to oblige. I mean the segment was called "A LIFE RULED BY SEX"!!!!!!!!!! Right?
To be honest, I felt kind of bad that I wasn't more out of control when they had me on the show, but I've gotten some truly lovely feedback from people who said that my willingness to own up to the darker places in my life has helped them. And that's why I did it. Enemy, thy name is shame. Be gone, I say, be gone!
And although the perpetual screaming chyron of "A LIFE RULED BY SEX" alternated with the just completely wrong "PRODUCT OF AN AFFAIR" (my dad was the product of an affair, not me) was definitely a bit intense, I just took the ride for what it was. You need a thick skin to be sliced up by TV -- or any kind of media, for that matter.
Pretty much, watch "The Daily Show" and enjoy the way they play with editing or angles or coaxing of sources. Like an interviewee might say after some prodding, "I can't believe so many young people are saying, 'I enjoy porn and watch it all the time,'" which, through the magic of editing, can be soundbited to: "I enjoy porn and watch it all the time," with the logical accompanying chyron "A Life Ruled By Porn." Of course, "The Daily Show" is satire, but it's pretty good media training, too.
Oh, and to be clear, I'm not at all bitching about "Dr. Drew," but I do think it's helpful for people to know how the sausage gets made.
Speaking of sausage! You must hear about my courtship in a McDonald's parking lot by a man who asked how much I would cost.
I know. So romantic.
So I was up in New Jersey last week with a national TV crew, and they went into McDonald's for literally five minutes, during which time I managed to get propositioned for sex and learn a new slang word from two fine gentlemen with gold teeth. Granted, I did kind of immediately set the tone for the conversation. I was standing outside of the SUV to smoke a cigarette (I've quit since I got the dog and am now on Day 4, and I know I can do it) and I watched as these two men were flailing around in the back of their trunk.
"What are you doing?" I asked.
"We're trying to get the door to open," the bigger one responded, sauntering over, taking my, "What are you doing?" as the seduction tactic it so obviously is.
But then I did say something that I suppose the average person wouldn't. Honestly, I wasn't trying to sexualize the situation, I was just going for the joke, but I also recognize that I'm an adrenaline junkie shit-starter so I probably realized that this was exactly what was going to happen. So here's what I said.
"It looks like you were fucking the car," I said.
The big dude smiled and pulled out his phone.
"You're pretty," he said. "You hear that today?"
"Yes," I said, suddenly becoming super prissy. "From my boyfriend."
I have no boyfriend.
"When did he say it?" he asked.
"Um, when I woke up."
"Okay, good," he said, moving ever closer. "He better be saying that right when you wake up."
"Well, he is. That's just how my boyfriend is."
My boyfriend my boyfriend my boyfriend my boyfriend.
"Give me your number," he said.
"I don't think that's a good idea," I said. "I think we should just have this magical moment for what it is. You know, we'll always have the McDonald's parking lot."
I started nervously eyeing the door of the fast-food restaurant wondering when the producers were coming out.
"Let me ask you something," he said. "How much would it cost for a night with you?"
"Uhhhh, what the hell," I said. "I'm not a fucking hooker."
Was he a closet "Dr. Drew" fan, too?
"I know," he said. "Look. We all got bills to pay. I understand that. You can't be waking up on that wet spot for nothing."
"Wow," I said. "Yeah. That is well put."
"You gonna remember me," he said. "You're gonna remember this Trenton n----- from the McDonald's parking lot who was straight-up gulling."
"Gulling?" I said. "What's that? Is it like 'YOLO'?"
"Naw," he said. "I ain't gonna be telling you my slang and shit."
"Oh," I said. "But I just want to look it up later. How do you spell 'gulling'?"
"Seriously," he said. "Give me your number. Come here. Come on. Come over."
"Well I'm going to wait in the car now," I trilled. "Bye bye! Thanks!"
Just then the producers walked out of the McDonald's.
The big dude said, "Hey, how you doing?" to them, and they looked at him, taken aback with his sudden friendliness.
"He just asked me how much I would cost for a night," I said proudly, taking my French fries. "And I learned a new word. Gulling!"
"All that happened when we were inside? Mandy, we can't leave you alone for one minute," one of the crew said. Then I told them how all I did was casually observe that it looked like they were fucking the car.
"You buried the lede!"
"Yeah, I know," I said. "Sorry. I wanted to get your sympathy for them thinking I was a prosti first. Then I figured I'd do the big reveal."
I looked up "gulling" later on in Urban Dictionary.
It is: "The audience that is watching the participants 'dogging' in a vehicle masturbate, having achieved ejaculation collect their result in hand and flick it on the 'doggers.'"
That's good to know.
[Update: A much-smarter-than-me reader and journalist Kellie C. Murphy just sent me this important correction: "In #Trenton, don't do this. And it's 'gully' @MandyStadt, not 'gulling' and it means, 'not scared of the streets.']
Anyway, does this kind of stuff just happen to old provocateur shit-starter me? Have you ever been asked, "How much you cost?" Did you answer? Had you heard of gulling? Do you think that I finally met The One in that parking lot, and I will be reunited with him in a wacky rom-com turn of events at a Wendy's? What is your favorite Urban Dictionary term?
Okay, TTYL, you guys, gotta go gulling (GGG).
Find Mandy long-form at http://tinyurl.com/stadtmiller.