Xo Xo, 2012
I would like to believe that this is the kind of subject I wouldn’t photograph. But here’s proof that I’m not above it. Besides, the following story won’t make any sense if I don’t ‘fess up right from the start.
I was standing on East 2nd Street in New York this past Saturday afternoon, waiting for the rest of my party to come out of a shop. It’s a very nice shop if you’re into home décor. My curiosity about such shops tends to run out rather quickly, though. So I thought it best to retire to the sidewalk so that the shoppers could continue their quest without my bothersome presence.
I happened to be looking at the temporary wall erected in front of an adjacent property to protect pedestrians from construction danger when I noticed this poster. I really wasn’t drawn to what I’m pretty sure are the buttocks on the poster, but rather to the “Xo Xo” written above and below the buttocks.
You see, I’m gradually working my way through Mark Leyner’s hilariously Vonnegut-like (or at least what Vonnegut would have written like if he’d been on methamphetamines) novel, The Sugar Frosted Nutsack. Yes, I realize that this title only reinforces the notion that I’m some kind of lecher. But no less than the New York Times says this book is, “compulsively readable, created by a literary mind that seems to have no precedent." And fact is, one of the most hilarious characters in the novel is a vindictive, time traveling, sex-crazed goddess by the name of Xo Xo (pronounced “Ho Ho”).
I’d just stepped away from this scene when a lady about my age carrying a camera happened along. She took a look at the poster and then at me. I mumbled something like, “You never know what you’ll see on the Lower East Side.” But instead of lecturing me on morals or the objectification of the female buttock, she lifted her camera up and took her own picture of the poster. “I have a whole collections of heart-shaped things,” she bragged.
I hoped she’d just move along. But before I could even turn around she launched into a fully five-minute-long monologue about her job at a New York City public hospital and how she’s fed up with people who feel entitled to free healthcare and how one lady called her a bitch and jumped over the counter because she hadn’t gotten her “f—king” pills fast enough and how she had to call security and when it was all said and done her boss wanted to know what she’d done to offend the lady and how she was just going to have call Bruce the union representative to save her job and….
Well, that’s just the first fifteen or twenty seconds of it. She was so animated that I actually wanted to take a picture of her. But I was so worn out from just listening to those opening volleys that I was scared she’d never stop talking if I took a picture. Besides, although we were in a perfectly respectable location, she leaned over to tell me, as if confidentiality, “I really shouldn’t be seen here.”
I experienced all this just from taking a picture of a butt crack. Let me tell you. It’d be just like Xo Xo to set me up like that.