January 1, 2006

I was in a taxi going to the airport when my bottom lip split. How? From smiling. I'm not sure why it happened - the smile, that is. All I know is the stress it put on the tissue was too much. The next thing I knew, blood was everywhere. I tried to stem the flow with my sleeve but then the phone rang. "I can't talk," I said. "My lip's haemorrhaging."

My male friend sighed. "It's always something with you, isn't it?" The disdain in his voice just hung in the air. It's always something with me? I know! It's called having a personality. There are two types of women in the world: easy and dull, difficult and intriguing. Those are the choices. The easy and dull women never complain. They will say, even though their lip is bleeding, everything's fine. They tend to have boyfriends or husbands who adore them. They answer the phone with "Hello, darling," and hang up without a fight even if the conversation lasts only a minute. Unlike me, they'll never shout: "Wait, I'm not done talking!" And if someone asks how they are, they're always wonderful. Who wants to hear that? Men, that's who.

If someone asks how I am, I say: "How long have you got?" I've always thought the whole point of having a problem was to communicate the enormity of it. Life sucks, and what's wrong with being honest? Even better is embellishing to make it sound worse. I don't have a stomach ache: this time it's belly-button cancer.

There's nothing worse than asking someone how they are, and then hearing: "Can't complain."

It's unnatural. Not only does it make me feel as though I'm weak for having a reaction to the world, but people who say they can't complain are lying. They're afraid of being considered "difficult". But being difficult isn't limited to personality alone. For instance, the men in my friend Liza's life give her a hard time; when she has to get waxed or have her hair coloured or cut, they complain about how much time and money she spends on this stuff, how she's "high maintenance". They want her to just go au naturel? But do they really want to be dating a girl with hairy armpits and split ends? Of course not.

Men should consider what we'd look like if we really were "low maintenance". My bet is they'd soon be sleeping with our high-maintenance friends.

They're always quick to say we "don't need all that stuff", but every girl needs that stuff. Some are just too proud to admit it. I think I'm very low maintenance when it comes to grooming - going to a hair salon requires a commitment to leaving the apartment. The only appointmentsI keep are with doctors. I like my maintenance to involve a blood test or an x-ray. Maybe that's why there's "always something" with me. What's intriguing to some is annoying to others. I'll die alone.