Monday, March 23, 2015
California's Dear Jon Letter
I guess I knew this day would come. Doesn’t make it any easier. I knew you were unhappy with me, that you were feeling the itch to move on. Did you ever think that itch might be wine business herpes? That you walked around too many vineyards with Red Blotch Virus waving your meat dowser around? Just a joke, Jon. Though I know you were sleeping around, you didn't exactly make a secret of it (you made me a laughing stock, thanks for that) sleeping around with those Natural Wine whores. Don’t bother denying it. I could smell them on you. You should wash your hands after you cheat on me—a little Brett might be fine for some, but for me, it smells like “fucked.” You fell in love with them, with their “natural” ways. They smell, Jon, and not good. That’s not terroir, Jon, that’s carelessness, not that you care. I dressed up for you, I was always perfect. I spent hours and hours making sure that I was polished and professional, not a flaw to be detected. That’s the way it’s supposed to be, Jon. Not like some “natural” slut who just steps directly out of the vineyard, doesn’t worry about cleanliness, doesn’t worry about preservation or beauty, just pretends to be about being earthy and open, but thinks smelling like a barnyard is attractive. Which it is. To pigs.
I’m sorry. I’m a little angry. Relieved, but still angry. And I think I have every right to be. You used me. You never loved me. I see it now. I kept thinking I must be wrong. That it was just my insecurity. I’m young, I’m still learning, I’m still growing. Those others you love, they’re older, more sure of themselves, and they’re French. God, I should have known when you went on and on about the French, making me feel like a second class citizen. The French wouldn’t have you, so you tried to make me French. Tried to make me leaner and more subtle, make me speak with an accent. Merde! I know what those French whores do for you. They make up for your insecurity, they make you feel like a man. I get that. But they don’t care about you, Jon. I care about you. Or I tried to. But you just wouldn’t let me get close. You fucked with me, Jon, and now you’re proposing we just see each other once a month? So you can just play me? Insult me in your subtle way. Say I’m full of potential while implying I’m overly alcoholic and clumsy? You want to just show up at our old place, where you first came into my life, and fuck me once a month? Are you nuts?
No, forget it. How can I forgive you, Jon? You wrote a goddam book about me. A book that praised me as “New.” But you didn’t mean “new,” did you, Jon? You meant Hopeless. The title you meant was “The Hopeless California Wine.” Admit it. You hate me. You traveled all over to find the smallest people you could find, wineries with less production than the prostates of the Vienna Boys Choir, and then praised them with all of your mightiest journalistic firepower. Can’t you see how that felt to me? You tell me you love me, but you only praise the freckle on my butt, the birthmark in my most intimate place, my quirky left nipple? WTF, Jon? What about the rest of me? I gave you everything I had. I let you inside places I never allow anyone else. And all you do is praise the places no one else can see or ever taste? How do you think that made me feel?
My friends warned me, but I didn’t listen. They told me that you saw me strictly as a fixer-upper when you first appeared in my life. That you saw yourself as Professor Higgins, and that I was your Eliza Doolittle. I was just your little ego project, wasn’t I, Jon? You thought you could waltz into my life and make me better, that with your infinite wisdom and perfect taste you could teach me to be better. You could teach me how to enter the world stage and fool everyone into thinking I was from somewhere else, that I wasn’t just some juicy, dolled-up, manipulated, hot tramp from California. And then you could brag about it, brag how you “fixed” me. I’m so stupid. I hate myself.
You knew I had low self-esteem from my last boyfriend, the one you have always been jealous of—Bob from Maryland. At least he loved me for what I am, Jon. Well, maybe not. He wanted me to get implants, to be the absolute biggest I could be, go with him to Hedonist retreats. Yes, he treated me like an object, and that made me do a lot of things I regret now, just to please him--a lot of foolish pandering and very sad makeovers just for him. He fucked me up for good. I was stupid with him, too. God, I’m such an idiot when it comes to men. Maybe I should switch to women—but Virginie Boone? Please.
You were just jealous of Bob, of his power and virility. His points were always bigger than your points, and you couldn’t get over that. I never should have told you when you asked me. I should have said, “Oh, Jon, you’re just as big as Bob, only your points are harder.” But I didn’t. I told you the truth. That Bob was bigger than you. Maybe that was the beginning of the end. I don’t know. I didn’t say it to hurt you. I see now it made you angry, and you made me pay. I did this to myself. You’re right to move on from such a loser. I don’t blame you.
O, Jon, what am I going to do without you? Who’s going to tell me when I’m going overboard? Who’s going to correct me? I think I’m this successful person, praise and success are heaped on me, everything you hate about me makes me the envy of the world, but I need you. Like the shark needs the remora. I know you’ll keep doing it, keep correcting me, but it will be from the safety of your true lover’s arms. I hope she knows what she’s in for. You’ll probably write another “Hopeless” book about her, "The Hopeless French Wine." One that will insult her in the guise of praise. Oh, you can write, Jon. But so could the Marquis de Sade. Maybe one day people will refer to gleefully painful wine writing as “Bonism.” Wouldn’t surprise me.
And yet I wish you luck, Jon. Our romance, if that’s what you want to call it, was brief. I like to think there were times you loved me, all of me, but as I look back, I see now it wasn’t very often. I was just someone you used. I was a stepping stone to something bigger. You got your book and your reputation out of me, and then you threw me away like a used condom. Well, I’ve been around bigger dicks, Jon, don’t forget that.
I’ll be fine. Bob still loves me, and I just might run back into his arms. Jim is steady and reliable, if a bit dull and, well, impotent. There are a lot of Fish in this wine critic ocean (Oh, God, please, no, not Fish). For a while I’ll look forward to those monthly “checkups.” But I’m forgetting about you right now, Jon. You’re fading from my life. You left me scarred, but unbowed. A little part of me will always love you. I plan to have it amputated.
I’ll Forever Be,