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INTIMATE RELATIONSHIPS WITH STRANGERS

The Valet Your car is your mobile home. Unless of course you have an actual mobile home, and then that would be your mobile home and your car would just be your car. But for the rest of us, our car is our moving private shell. It’s not the eight dollars that makes us cringe as we pull up to the valet stand, it’s the invasion of privacy. Because your car is a graveyard of fast food bags, soda cups, half empty water bottles, and coffee cups that “You’ll throw out tomorrow for sure.” Not only might the valet judge you on your actual vehicle (let’s face it, he may drive a nicer car than you do), but on the state in which you maintain it. But that is nothing compared to the ultimate shame: He doesn’t realize that you were listening that Rob Thomas song ironically. The Waxer It just doesn’t get more intimate than this: you lie on a table, holding one leg up by your ear, for a woman who has never, nor will ever, buy you dinner. It’s one thing to show a lover these places, but quite another to show them to someone in a brightly lit room, while they are still covered in hair, and both of you are stone cold sober.

The Downstairs Neighbor They know what time you get up, what kind of crappy music you sing in the shower, and when you rearrange your furniture. They know not only how often you are having sex, but can probably calculate your TPM – thrusts per minute, unless your bed is made of unicorns and doesn’t squeak. They also know you that yesterday you spent five hours watching a Golden Girls marathon, so just forget about trying to hide those nasty domestic disputes! The Guy Who Works the Night Shift at the 7 11 Near Your House He is there manning the counter when you stumble in at 2 in the morning to buy condoms with that rosy “I’m about to have sex” glow and faux-embarrassed glint in your eye. But he is also there at 11 pm the following Friday when you, clad in sweatpants and misery, break down and buy both the pint of Ben and Jerry’s and the family sized bag of Dorritos because that guy from last weekend never called. Don’t be fooled: just because he looks like your uncle in a turban, doesn’t mean he doesn’t know what’s up.

The Facebook Stalker She could be that girl from your kindergarten class, or that guy you met at that party that one time. For you it was the most casual of friend requests. One those, “Who? Oh right. That person.” But for them, an entire window into your life was opened. They google street view your hometown. They pour over pictures of you from that office party three years ago. Any time you become friends with a person of the opposite gender, their innards seize in the question: Are they just friends? Or is it more… And you have no idea that this person knows so much about you. Because you never talk to them. You never even think about them. You are busy facebook stalking someone else. The Computer Repair Person The panic of seeing a blank screen is bad. The shame of needing a stranger to retrieve all your porn – I mean, uh, precious family photos – might just be worse. This person digs through the 0s and 1s to try to recover your deepest secrets.

Like your half-finished novel – I mean important work documents - and that Dougie Howser-esque computer diary you’ve so cleverly concealed in a folder marked “Private Confessions: Do Not Read.” He totally skipped over that one!

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