Hostile Questions: Carrie Mesrobian

Likely StoriesYou might know Carrie Mesrobian from her Morris Award-nominated debut, Sex & Violence, or her (ahem) non-Morris-Award-nominated follow-up, Perfectly Good White Boy. Or you might know her because you have a Google Alert for the word “sex” (I take it you have a lot of free time?) and Mesrobian does tend to talk about sex a lot. Well, that will not do. Not here. Not in the hallowed halls of Hostile Questions. We are 100% Puritan-approved. We do not speak of distasteful matters. We do not even acknowledge that sex exists. Indeed, we are not even sure about the word “sex” when it refers to gender. There is no gender. There are no bodies. We are all sexless, floating effluvia. But enough about us! Let’s smack down a smut-seller.

Tinfoil: the sexiest substance.

Tinfoil: the sexiest substance.

Just who do you think you are?

I’m the descendant of stoic Norwegian farmers who thought it postprandial fun to have their wives carve slivers out of their palms by candlelight with a kitchen knife and severe Armenian butter-churners who played tennis and backgammon and never forgave anybody’s sins, especially if they were Turkish. I come from a long line of anxious nervous-nellies and depressed alcoholics who did things like tie up grandad in the barn when he went off on a moonshine tear or try to drown themselves in the backyard cistern until they were ushered quietly into an asylum. So, really? That I’m here, sober and American, is kind of a miracle. I owe my daily existence to modern pharmaceuticals and immigrant grit, which have made me the white suburban heterosexual married mother and mortgage holder I am today.

Where do you get off?

Usually it’s in the company of my husband, but sometimes alone, too. No one’s ever accused me of being terribly spontaneous, but at times, one does have to take matters into one’s own hands. It’s important to keep the pipes clean, you guys. Can’t love anyone else if you don’t love yourself, of course. Plus, it’s good for the complexion as well as the overall mood.

What’s the big idea?

Oh, GROSS. I don’t fucking know. That shit’s for white dude writers with beard scruff and fussy glasses! You know, the ones who stare pensively at something in the distance in their author photos? Me? I’m just trying to get through the week. Like, ask me what’s my plan for getting to Friday; I’ve got shit-tons of information to share on that score. Like, tomorrow I’m gonna rake leaves so my Retiree Neighbors can relax already about the state of my lawn. Then I have to figure out a series of Fun Halloween Snacks to make for my daughter so we can revel in the glory of Halloween, since her school banned the holiday due to its Satanic influence. I also do everyone’s laundry. That’s my favorite household chore. I make sure my family doesn’t go around wearing barrels with straps. It’s a pretty important job. One can’t dress in only Big Ideas, you know.

What is your problem, man?

My main problem is that I’m a woman in this goddamn retrograde patriarchy that’s hellbent on minimizing my concerns, endangering my person and making me go batshit insane with its beauty standards. That and my husband REFUSES to upgrade our cable so we can get Showtime and a DVR. Oh, and also, across the globe, humans are completely out of their minds when it comes to sexuality and this is basically ruining everyone’s good time. Also, I can’t stop biting my fingernails, which really hems me in due to my love of eating salt and vinegar potato chips. Brutal.

Haven’t you done enough?

Not if you ask my father. When your family’s almost genocided, you’ve got a full plate, really! Working on your self-esteem and proving to everyone you are worthy of the space you take up. It’s no small thing. Excelling in ways that annoy your enemies is kind of an undertaking. However. I have probably done enough bitching about things. I have probably eaten enough bad foods. I have probably talked enough about sex but I will continue to do that because I know all of you LOVE to talk about sex but are too shy to bring it up already. You’re welcome, by the way.

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About the Author:

Dan Kraus is Booklist's Editor of Books for Youth. He is also the producer and director of numerous feature films, most notably the documentary Work Series, and the author of several YA novels, including Rotters and Scowler, both of which won the Odyssey Award. Follow him on Twitter at @DanielDKraus.

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