Have you ever dated someone who was so utterly bat-shit deranged that you regress into triggered, jerking, shuddered spasms even at the thought? Have you ever dated someone who wreaked so much drama and havoc in your life that hair stands on end and skin crawls and your pulse races as you fight the urge to roll your eyes into the back of your head, even at a mention of their name?
Those are symptoms I feel when I begin to confront the profound madness of the Shit Show B, symptoms which I struggle to cope with even as I type these words. I dare not actually utter or even commit her name to this page. I was raised to know the rules of La Llorona, I’m not fucking stupid.
I’ve attracted some truly crazy women in my lifetime.
There was the girl who, dead sober and without the benefit of anger, swung a kitchen knife at my face. I blocked the blade instinctively with the back of my hand and the scar is still faintly visible after decades. That was Christy. I can say her name.
There was the girl who broke into my apartment after a breakup; I found her standing naked in my bathtub, covered in blood. When I pulled back the shower curtain she smiled and said “you made me do this,” then added another slice to her chest with the bloody razor in her hand. That was Sarah. I can say her name.
No one compares to The Shit Show B. She was the daughter of a German Baroness and New York investment banker, and she was the trophy wife of a heart transplant surgeon. When I met her, she was working on her MFA at PAFA after having grown bored and isolated from living all but alone in a Jenkintown mansion whose empty servants quarters where three times larger than my apartment.
Her marriage was the perfect tool to torture her ultra right-wing father. While the husband was a prestigious MD, he was also 25 years older than her, grossly overweight, Mexican, and they had met while she was working at a strip club during one of her periodic trust fund tantrums. But I guess pissing off daddy just wasn’t enough to keep her love alive.
When we met, she claimed she was newly divorced, and after we initially hooked up, I hesitated to get too involved because she seemed a little too hung up on a recent ex. Later I found out he was just a guy she was stalking. I’m so lucky, she got over him when she found me…
It’s impossible to document my 12 months with this woman in a chronological order. The gas lighting and madness was layered so thick that the various facets and episodes with The Shit Show B can only be examined slowly by stacking on details as I therapeutically pick at that scab, over a decade old.
One of the things that had drawn me to her was our shared love of Jenny Saville. She was a major influence on the art work of The Shit Show B, who was fixated on wounds, bruises and decaying skin, the textures of dried blood, raw fat and fresh organs.
To this day, I associate Jenny Saville with The Shit Show B. Partly because of that influence, but also because one of the more surreal head-games we played involved the possession of a rare copy of Closed Contact, Saville’s photography collaboration with Glen Luchford.
It was one of my happier memories of The Shit Show B.