Hey, Hey, HEY! It’s Not Your Birthday! It required moving out of Utah and working in radio elsewhere for a decade to realize that we in the Mountain West are a collective group of gropers. Not in a really bad way–usually–but I still remember moving back from Virginia and getting trapped in a headlock of a hug almost immediately. And that was from a gas station attendant.
I got back into the grope-ey kind of mode and was fine with it until I had the twins. Every mother will agree with me here. Your children paw at you. They hang on you. They head-butt you and split your lip with all the fond affection of a professional wrestler. And you let them.
But the continued mauling from my Zachie, MacLean and Zoe has made me much less willing to let anyone else touch me. I realized this yesterday when I was filming a commercial for something called “Nutriderm” (all I can tell you is that it has 53 essential vitamins and minerals, that’s the only thing I can remember from the script.) The director took one look at me and hissed to the makeup artist, “trowel on the concealer!” He then jabbed at a couple of wrinkles around my eyes and said, “what about THESE?” with the same tone you’d use on a bag of chicken that went bad in the bottom drawer of the fridge. They discussed the distressing issue of my Sharpei-like countenance as she shoved me into the makeup chair and had at it.
I usually ignore this part…but there was something about the way she was jabbing the mascara wand that made me wonder I was going to keep the vision in my left eye. I finally seized it away and with a big, fake smile said, “I can do this and save you some time!” I got through wardrobe and onto the set where the sound guy promptly shoved his hand down my bra.
“Hey, hey, HEY!” I slapped his hand, “back off! It’s not your birthday!”
Exasperated sigh. “I’m TRYING to position your body mic.”
“I know that!” I hissed, “I’ll do it myself!”
This immediately showed the crew what a RUBE I am. Every cool, with-it TV person lets staff swarm over them like bees, picking, tucking, nipping and clipping. I then reared back like a startled horse when the director came at me to kiss me on the lips. Lip-kissing is another big TV thing. The Todd is pretty much the only person I like to kiss my mouth…which is also unfashionable because two of the girls on set lip kissed me goodbye, too. The security guard went to hug me on the way out.
I was wiping off the worst of the foundation/blush/silly putty mixture when The Todd came home. “How did it go?” he asked, leaning in for a kiss. I’m pretty sure I looked like a King Cobra ready to go after a mongoose.
“Don’t TOUCH me!” I shrieked. “Back off, Mr. Roaming Hands and Rushing Fingers!” (Editor’s note: that was a reflex shriek from something they made us practice in Young Ladies Club, where if a gentleman made an untorward advance, we were supposed to tartly reply, “You’ve got Russian Hands and Roman Fingers, and I don’t like foreigners!” Miss Delores will be delighted to know that her efforts were not in vain, particularly since I spent most of my time in Young Ladies sniggering at words like “untorward.”) The Todd went into a kind of a crouch and backpeddaled away from me like a hermit crab in the middle of a seizure.
It’s not that I don’t appreciate genuine affection…but all this kissy-gropey-huggy business is ruining me for the real thing–sweet kisses from my Zachie, the scream and neck-strangle-hug from my MacLean, the nose tickles from my Zoe, and the long-armed all-enveloping embrace of my dear husband. You know, the same one who’s now flinching back protectively every time I walk by.