Sunday, June 19, 2005


Now we must talk about jealousy. I'm going to show you a few pictures from the jealousy photo album of my life. Here we go:

The girls I was jealous of as a child (in no particular order, so don't get all excited, Dana Sugarman):

1. Dana Sugarman. Her last name had SUGAR in it, her teeth were crooked in a way that was, in first grade, a bit hip. Who knows what created the popular aura in children all the way back when every last bastard of us was wearing Garanimals? She had it. I think I was jealous because even then, I knew she had it, but I couldn't quite figure out WHY.

2. Same goes for Gwen Lighter, except for the sugar part and the crooked teeth part (substitute freckles). No, wait. Maybe I can put a finger on it. Maybe she seemed a little ruthless. Yeah, she did. That's it.

3. Abra Potkin. Now this chick, I totally know why I was jealous of her. And also, I liked her. But her name was ABRA POTKIN. Come on! What a spicy name. She had this thick, long, wavy hair, and an absolute celebrity vibe, even at 9 years old. I just saw her name fly by on the credits of some television show, as a producer, maybe? She had another name tacked on there that I can't remember, her married name. Abra told me that if a guy takes his shirt off in front of you, he wants to have sex with you. We were hanging out in this little atrium at the small private school we went to, and moments before, this guy Rob Efird had come in to talk to Abra, and taken his shirt off.

Things that people could do that I was jealous of as a child:

1. Ride a bike. I never learned. I still don't know how. My dad tried to teach me when I was nine, and we'd just moved to Seattle. But there were kids around in the neighborhood that might be WATCHING, and I was too old, too old for that kind of humiliation. Better to just let it lie.

2. Eat meat. We were vegetarians - 4th or 5th generation on my dad's side. I remember going to this girl Dina's birthday party when I was six or so. My parents had just been to Hawaii and I was wearing this long orange muu-muu they brought me. Dina's mom brought out the hot dogs, which looked fucking FUN TO EAT, but I had to remind her that I was a vegetarian. She went into the kitchen and made me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and brought it back. She seemed annoyed.

3. Listen to rock and roll at home. No go at the Kunz household. My parents couldn't stand rock music. Also, they'd read The Secret Life of Plants, which talked about how rock and roll stifles plant's growth. (This effort, on my folks' part, to stifle the stifling of our growth...IN VAIN. My brother and I ended up teeny tiny.) My parents talked about how the basic beat of rock and roll, duh duh DUH duh duh DUH, disharmonized with the beat of the human heart, duh duh...something else. So, I'd go to my friend Allison's house and we'd listen to Abba, and I would SHAKE IT with every fiber of my being. My friend Hiroe snuck me a bootleg tape that had Abba on one side and Xanadu on the other, and whenever my parents went out to Sears or whatever, I would smack that baby on.

note on 3. There was an exception one bizarre day, when I was seven years old! My dad brought back a Simon and Garfunkel record from the library. I was like, WHAT'S GOING ON?? My dad brought it home for "Scarborough Faire". But with Scarborough Faire, you get the Mrs. Robinson song! Oh mama. I was freaking out. And I was mildly scandalized, too, because when Simon and Garfunkel sing, "woo, woo, woo" -- well, what you said in school when someone had a crush on someone else, you said, "wOOoo wOOoo!" So I was like, not only am I listening to rock and roll, but this shit has some sexual content. My WORD.

Things I was jealous of between the ages of 12 and 20:

1. Girls in my junior high who had big asses. The tough, awesome, scary, popular girls all had ginormous booties. I was a teeny 12 year old masquerading as a broken-lockered 13 year old, and I really needed my ass to be bigger. I would try to roll the waistand up on my jeans, which created a mild wedgie, but also the temporary illusion of a slightly juicier ass. 24 years later, my dream of a big ass has come true. HurrAH.

2. The 1986 class officers of Nathan Hale High School, from '82-86. What the fuck did it take to get elected?! I wasn't ever aiming for PRESIDENT or anything! I had the modest goal of becoming VICE president. One morning, the morning of election results for our upcoming junior year, I called a radio station and asked them to play Van Halen's "I'll Wait", and dedicate it to me, as I would find out later whether I'd be the new vice president. I don't know why I picked that song, other than the fact that I just liked it, it was the song I liked most at the time. But in retrospect, it's so fitting:

I'll wait til your love comes down.
I'm coming straight for your heart.

That's right. I was gonna wait, class of '86, until your love came down. I was coming straight for your heart. No way you could stop me then, as fine as you were. But you could stop me. You did stop me. I was not the new vice president. Phyllis Scott was. THANKS.

3. Claudia Cumes. A guy I dated in college, in between the two rounds of dating me, dated her. She was from South Africa. She was like RAPUNZEL HERSELF. Tall, beyond-shampoo-commercial thick blonde hair to her waist. Slender, crazy gorgeous. Intelligent as hell. Had an elegant little South African accent. Her first name was not pronounced "CLAW-dia." It was pronounced "CLOUD-ia" ClOUDia Cumes. Cumulous Cloud. Legs to the sky. When the guy and I got briefly back together, I was like, buddy, how does a girl compete with Claudia Cumes? And he was like, "With Claudia, it was like, the hair, the legs...the legs...I mean, physically, [long whistling sound]she's GOT it. But with you, it's not your legs or anything. It's you." That's a nice thing to say. But I was sorry I asked.


laura said...

I was the opposite in jr high, I was jealous of the girls without asses. Mine always seemed so much bigger than everyone else's, I never got why. But I decided that was what separated the cool kids and me.

Anonymous said...

I, too, remember Claudia Cumes and the autumn she arrived at school. She was as you describe. Everyone talked about THAT girl with the guitar and the songs, the hair and voice, the personal history and the promise. She worked in Hong Kong, then went to Harvard. I can't really remember her face now, couldn't recognize her in an airport.

fibon said...

This is crazy.

I'm from South Africa and knew a girl by the name of Claudia Cumes who, as far as I can remember moved to Hawaii at the end of, I think, 1987. Chances are she moved around a bit. Blond hair,...and she played the cello in an orchestra with me. (Even then she had everyone jealous) Could this be the same person? It must be (How many Claudia Cumes' move from here to there...)
I was looking for people I remember throughout my life on the net, typed in her name and "Hawaii" and got only one hit - this blog.

Any idea where I could trace her... or start looking?

(No, I'm not a nut or psyco-ex husband and she is not on the run from me and you should stop watching crappy movies)

Tina Rowley said...


I'm afraid I haven't the first idea. I only knew her by sight - we weren't actually acquainted.

Good luck on your quest!

Anonymous said...

Claudia and I met at a party in Boston. There was great chemistry. We had a brief fling but I ended things regrettably by postcard after she went back to Hawaii. I was foolish.

Anonymous said...

Claudia was a distant subtly angry person, who used her beauty to ensnare men and then with a deep inner anger towards men (stemming from her psycho-sexual issues with her father) spat them out.

I have known many Claudias in my time!

Gunter said...

I grew up with Claudia, great gal and I have many fond memories of our childhood together. Her parents are incredibly genuine people and her sister is just as lovely as she is. A truly great family. Unfortunately I haven't seen them for years now, I must get myself over to the states asap!

Anonymous said...

I too was jealous of Abra Potkin and the only reason I am able to share that with you now is because I Googled her name and came across your blog. We worked together at Esprit in West Hollywood, CA. She was so beautiful and really nice. I used to try to imitate her smile. :)

Anonymous said...

Who knew there was a Claudia Cumes fan site? I was her best friend in high school in Hawaii but we lost touch! It's so funny reading all this about how gorgeous she was because in school we were the nerdy geeks (don't think she'd mind me saying that). She has the most genuine and empathetic personality ever. I was looking her up also to see what happened to her and if she was considering attending our reunion in a year. If you talk to her, tell her to email me:

Anonymous said...

I went to Ridge Street School and was in the same grade as Dana and Gwen. I know exactly what you are talking about. It got worse in 8th grade. What a horrible time.