Blink, blink: I love you. Blinkity-blink: I am your Sweetheart.
The stories she had been taught by Barbies and grandmas warned that princes and Good Men only bothered rescuing nice, virtuous girls—in other words, girls with their hymens intact.
GOOD GIRLS BY ALICE SHIN 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 01
He wanted a nice girl. A girl with a sweet heart. A girl he could call Sweetheart. Someone to call his own. He searched high and low for them, those Southern belles and Midwestern good girls he had read about in those thrift store 99-cent paperbacks. Each one was so pretty on the page, another honey-dipped heart filled with goodness creaming over and crying out for a good man to love her right. But when he stopped through a few cities in Kansas, he couldn’t find any of those Good Girls and instead only found Girls Looking for a Good Time.
A friendly hand slithered into his pants. “Get off me, you harlot!” he shouted.
The girl didn’t take too kindly to that and threw some peanuts in his face. She would have thrown her drink, too, if it hadn’t been so deliciously full of rum and artificially flavored syrups.
“Fuck you freak!” she said, careful not to spill a drip of her drink. And she left, leaving behind a man dressed in little bits of peanut shell and peanut skin; love’s pauper.
His luck wasn’t much better in Georgia, since most of the girls he’d found were dressed like they were from New York City. He tried looking around public parks to find a lone girl idly reading a novel, stretched out in the sun, or one of them drinking a paper cup of tea while staring out a window of dreams.
Most of them were actually in the company of another person or cell phone, their mouths so busy forming words that their eyes had no chance of recognizing him as the man of their dreams. That tall, dark- haired and handsome type, who didn’t say much because there wasn’t much left to be said, because everything and anything that needed to be said would be spoken solely in his gaze. In fact, when he did find that Good Girl, that Southern belle, that Sweetheart, neither of their lips would even pucker and purse and form the words, “I do” at their wedding because they would be so incredibly in love that their very eyes would need only blink to telegraph their consent.
Blink, blink: I love you. Blinkity-blink: I am your Sweetheart.
But no such girl resided in Kansas or Georgia. So he bought his third and last plane ticket and headed out for California. He had heard that the girls of Hollywood liked to party all the time. Surely, he could find one that was tired of the noise, the lights—and was looking for that Good Man.
Meanwhile, in a city overrun with freeways and reality stars, a girl looking for a good time was on the verge of exhaustion. After a dozen too many midnight drinks and impromptu sleepovers with beautiful men, she just wanted a Good Man: a man who would climb heaven and earth to rescue her from the clutches of debauchery; a man who wouldn’t leave as soon as the sun woke up, telling her, in his own absent little way, that she wasn’t, after all, the most gorgeous woman he had ever met.
The stories she had been taught by Barbies and grandmas warned that princes and Good Men only bothered rescuing nice, virtuous girls—in other words, girls with their hymens intact; she needed to save her virginity in order to be eligible for saving time, when a poetry major had charmed her with pretty metaphors for fornication. He wanted to search for the pearls of her oyster, to envelop his love in her dew-filled petals, to have his canoe massaged in the honeyed walls of her watered cove.
“Just be careful, okay?” her room-mate had warned. “Once you lose it, it doesn’t grow back.”
The Good Man had arrived to the land of the fallen stars in hopes of falling for soft- hearted beach bunnies with smiles warmed by the California sun. But even in the mellow Hollywood hills, the women were mechanized, whether in cars or on legs; they were always on the move with their oversized sunglasses acting as windshields to protect and bar them from interacting with anything that existed outside their UV filters. They spoke in loud tones to indicate that they were engaged in a cellular conversation or had their manicured thumbs punching in tiny abbreviated text messages that cost ten cents each: “Don’t talk to me!” they said without words, “I’m very, very busy!”
Later that evening, he was in the Cradle of Despair – a new emo nightspot near Hollywood and Vine. He was molested—and then ignored when the women found out that he wasn’t an inside member of the industry.
Who wanted to be soft and pretty like cupcakes? Not I, said the average Hollywood hipster. They all wanted a pimped-out Range Rover, not his faithful white steed. By the end of the night, he realized that nobody there wanted to be called Princess. In fact, most of the women found aspiring towards celebrity more appealing than aspiring towards royalty. He ached for that sweet, sugary scent, but only found the syrupy fragrance of Midori sours and French martinis.
He allowed half a swallow of chilled vodka to cool his warm mouth.
No Sweethearts here.
She was able to secure a seat at the bar, but it was crawling over with the usual variety of industry cockroaches and hangers- on—only most everybody opted for My Chemical Romance t-shirts and black nail polish in lieu of Louis Vuitton and Zac Posen. It was the same crowd dressed in different costumes.
Someone leaned over her with a credit card. She leaned away, and subsequently her back pressed into the arm of a stranger.
A glass of vodka spilled, mid-drink, all over a bare shoulder. It was cold.
His drink was all over his shirt—all thirty- five dollars worth. The culprit had turned and glared at him as if expecting an apology.
The stranger had looked her up and down, his mouth set in an irritated line, and then departed—never mind the alcohol perfuming her hair, or the wet spots blooming on her new gray jersey dress. Where was the napkin held as a peace offering, the sincerest of apologies? Where was the chivalry?
She exhaled and continued to sit on her ass in wait of a Good Man looking to buy her a drink.
I’m unsure as of what I really want to do with the rest of my life outside of writing. With the exception of kindergarten, I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Back then, I had ambitions for becoming a tooth fairy—skimming quarters here and there in exchange for baby teeth sleeping under drooled-over pillows. But that dream went bust a year later. So since then, I think I’ve always wanted to be a writer— or, more accurately, a storyteller. I can’t place my finger on one thing that motivates me to tell stories, other than it’s kind of like this mosquito bite inside my brain whenever I get a good idea or some kind of play on words catches in my thoughts. This usually happens when I’m in the middle of doing something else, when I’m away from the computer, a pad of paper—or occupied at work. I know I’m not supposed to touch it—and It just keeps bothering me until I scratch at it. And when I do, it just feels so goood.