"A McSweeney's Quest Thing"

...during a time in life
- photo by Anika Johnson

On 5/12/11 5:43 PM, "ABBI M DION" wrote:
DICKTIONARYAbbi Mireille Dion
(215) 983-9356

“If this is chick lit then life is a joke.”AMD

Atroche: A man who lives in your apartment (rent free), eats your groceries, sleeps in your bed, uses your shampoo/razors/soap/towels, drives your car and tells you he loves you. In his spare time he cheats on you, lies to you, buys drinks for girls, sends secret texts and emails and tells you that you have mental problems.

Barf: What you say when you see your 35 year old boyfriend fawning over one of his 19 year old Intro to Poetry female students.

Crapola: This is a story a man tells you about himself that is total bullshit (e.g., "I am incredibly shrewd" or "I have been waiting my whole life to meet you"). It can also be a story about why he didn't answer when you called.

Douche Shuffle: The dance done when a man who believes he is not in your presence, realizes you are there. For example, say you have entered the coffee store he frequents, and you see a girl sitting at a table—a girl you believe he is having an affair with—and so you approach and being chatting with her. You notice his book and cell phone sitting on the table. She is uncomfortable. A door opens and he swaggers in. He has a spring to his step, a sparkle in his eye, chin up and hands in pockets. He notices you and changes his gait, his nonchalance, his cheater's stride. He continues forward with simultaneous horror and delight in his heart. This is the douche shuffle.

Email Persona: This is the absurd grandiose fun-loving personality adopted by your lover when he is speaking to other women on the web. This persona is full of promise and freedom and excitement; he is smart and passionate and interested; eternally attentive. He will use a phrase such as "I am not a religious person, but you were singing to me on the street and it was the closest thing I've ever felt to religion. I wish I’d gone away with you then." You recognize this as a persona, because it is how he wooed you.

Fuck: This is a man who cheats on you and lies about it. For example, say you go to New York for the weekend and call him to chat, ostensibly. Say he doesn't answer but calls the next morning to tell you how much he loves you. Say you talk for a few minutes and ask what he did last night. Say he yells at you for being psychotic and demanding. Now let's say you believe this and begin to detest yourself. Say that one night, after breaking up, you are on his porch and he is drinking a glass of straight vodka. Say he decides to tell you, mid-silence, that in fact he did sleep with a girl that night.

Greece Vacation: The trip you take after your relationship has crashed and burned. You go with the purpose of remembering yourself before you met him. One morning you will wake up from an all night drink-a-thon and find a block of feta cheese exploded across your hotel room. You will not be able to account for this.

Happy: The thing he tried to extinguish within you; the thing you watched die down, as if you were helpless and could only stand there, holding vigil.

Introspection: When you wander around the city of Philadelphia, lie awake at night, write in journal after journal, lose your focus at work, drive in circles and circles and circles, trying to figure out why he couldn’t love you.

Jello Shots: A beverage (?) you watched him consume at the undergrad parties he took you to. You always wanted to go home – to go home and sit and stare at each other and talk about anything, really. But you’d often go home alone, and you would lie in bed, listening, waiting for the sound of the apartment door opening.

Kristmas with Kransuzisch: Title of the movie that will made about your life during this period. It will make no fucking sense and provide no solace or answers but recognition.

Love: The thing you can be in…with someone else. Someone who isn't a coward and a liar and an insecure fucked up a-hole from hell. (Oops. Tried to cut that, but couldn’t.)

Martini Marathon: The race you run to the finish line of complete forgetting.

Naked Photos: What you find on his camera. She will be twenty-two, but will look almost twelve. She will have blond highlighted pigtails. Wide doll eyes and a rosy lip-glossed mouth that she will mold into a pout with every flash. She will have small breasts and her body will be virtually hairless. He will have photographed her in the shower, twirling in the living room, kissing his adult male mouth. You will put the camera back in his bag and that night play a game of gin rummy with him. You’ll feel like you’ve been shot in the chest, but you don’t know how to tell him, where to begin, or what you'd want him to say.

Out of Proportion: The accusation he will level against you every time you try to bring an issue out of your inner world of fear and anxiety and into the real world where it can be discussed (in theory). He will tell you that you're blowing (insert example) totally out of proportion. You will say: "I found a receipt from August 11th. It says you got four beers and two burgers at one in the afternoon on Wednesday. You told me you were at Barnes and Noble all day." And he will respond: "We just went out for drinks [in the middle of the day, secretly, and with an age difference of 15 years—and a history of inappropriate mutual flirtation]. I didn't tell you because I knew you'd do this! You're blowing it way out of proportion!"

Parenthetical Naming/Shaming: This is when your lover sends you a note or text that clearly establishes dominance such as: "It takes two to be miserable, Abbi" or "We're just different people, Abbi."

Quiz: This is something he gives his students. He makes it up at eight in the morning as he takes the train to campus. He hasn’t planned a lesson, so he makes up a quiz on the back of a loose sheet of paper. He gives it to you and asks you type it. And to print it. And to copy it. He says he’ll pick it up after he gets a coffee. When you say, “I have a lot of work this morning and I’m hungover, too” he will scream into your face “well you have a FUCKING OFFICE JOB AND I’M THE WORKING POOR – I’M A FUCKING ADJUNCT AND IF YOU DON’T DO THIS I’M FUCKED!” You do the tasks. You deliver the quizzes to his classroom yourself.

Relief: What you look for, pray for, long for – but the truth is: you don’t even know where to look, or how.

Signature Move: The shit he tries to foist on people as genuine and inspired behavior/reactions. Like: feeding the birds in Rittenhouse park. Or: sending an email image attachment that is wry and inscrutable. Or: making you feel sorry for him while he simultaneously tells you how isolated he’s felt his entire life and that you are refreshing, bright and redemptive.

Therapy: A place where you go to bitch about your life. But, secretly, you hope it will work and you will find a way to change. One day, driving to therapy over your lunch break, you stop at a stoplight and see one of your ex’s girls standing at the corner. She is laughing, tossing her young hair in the breeze and her eyes are literally shining with joy. You stare agape and when the light turns, you pull on.

Understanding: What you try to provide over and over to the person who does not give a shit about you and/or your feelings. You will say things like: "I don't get it, actually. I don't get why you have pictures of your students on your parents' computer – pictures that you saved from their social networking profiles. Please help me understand." Or you will think things like: he's had really difficult experiences in life—I just need to be more understanding of his behavior, in light of all that."

Vomiting: What you feel on the verge of every time you step out of bed, out of the shower, out of the apartment onto the street, out of your office and onto the bus, out of a bar and into a cab, out of your skin and into the psychic awful terror of realizing how bad things are going for you.

Wine: What you consume by the bottle(s) when the love of your life – the man who you’ve shown to everyone, who you’ve envisioned a future with, a forever – is gone and now you are lying in bed – you are unable to sleep, unable to think about anything except how terrifyingly sad and alone you feel.

Xanadu: A literary reference. One of many that his other girls don't recognize. But intelligence, recognition and associative abilities don't mean shit to him – despite his claims otherwise.

Years: Time that will go by. And guess the fuck what? You will be grateful for every moment, every learning experience, every night you woke up breathless, moving through the house, looking for something you can't quite place; every car that drove away and you never saw again; every day you found a spot on the wall to stare at, waiting to feel safe in your mind, your body; every moment that came – right out of nowhere -- and when you felt it, you took a deep, restoring breath: a glimpse of you without agony, a preview of a new life.

Zero: the amount of tolerance you will have for yourself if you find yourself in a shit relationship with a shit man who gets off on giving you shit. You will give him no excuse. You will give yourself no excuse for sticking it out. You will be on the move, out the door, hitting the black box of sauv blanc in the living room with your best girls, hitting the street with tennis shoes, hitting the keys with finger tips, and hitting yourself with the kind of love and humor you know exists – no matter what that Dawkins’ quoting poetaster had to say. That MoFo doesn’t live here anymore. Your bookshelves are filled with the kind of rage that’s in the interest of peace. Experience that is honest. That is real. And while he rhapsodizes about The Real to a girl who’s just left her parents’ house, you will be working on your own definition of The Real. A definition that will turn into a book. One day, he’ll pick up a copy and though he won’t read a word, he will still send you an email of felicitous congratulations.

The End

From: McSweeney's Web Submissions [mailto:websubmissions@mcsweeneys.net]
Sent: Thursday, May 19, 2011 8:20 AM
Subject: Re: Dicktionary_by Abbi Dion

Hi, Abbi -

There’s a lot to like here, the voice definitely has bite, but the tone is a little too angry for our use. Appreciate your considering us, though.



Christopher Monks
Website Editor


Anonymous said...

I'm submitting to McSweeney's tomorrow. We will soon be together in this. A Google search of "rejected by McSweeney's," in tandem with a little down-scrolling has forged an extremely odd, anonymous camaraderie.

-McSweeney's Quest Thing

Anonymous said...

By the way: I am obviously drawn to your style of being rejected more so than the others. There really is a certain elegance to your rejections. I can't explain it.

I would try submitting the previous rejection to Wordriot, if I were you.