Czech Slut Chic (Prague, July 1999)

Emily Brungo

Czech Slut Chic is what we called the way the women dressed.
How can we differentiate the prostitutes from the pedestrians?
Those women riding escalators above us just forgot to wear panties.
We American girls wore denim cut-offs and sandals, lived on the seventh floor
in rooms with windows that spanned the entire wall. Windows perfect for suicidal
swan dives, but instead we threw cigarette butts trying to hit the people down
below. I read Gertrude Stein even though I don’t give a fuck about Alice B. Tolkas
or Melanctha’s Tender Buttons.

*

The Czech men are not pretty. There is no lettuce in all of Prague. They think that
salads are chopped tomatoes and peppers. But the boys are beautiful
in Vienna, although they think pizza is bread with ketchup and cheese.

I was propositioned for sex in both German and Ukrainian.
I didn’t understand a word, but I got the message.
An expatriate from Colorado tried to get me drunk on absinthe.
Men have gone blind from drinking too much.

I can get 35 crowns for an American dollar.

I saw Eight Millimeter at the Nicolas Cage film fest
in a one-screen theatre in Wenceslas Square and learned
that “S&M” and “porno” don’t translate into Czech.
We whispered in old synagogues. I climbed 300 stairs
up the tower of St. Vitus—even went to Sunday mass.

Europe
smells like urine.
All of it.

*

Peanut butter can only be bought at Tesco, the British equivalent to Wal-Mart.
But Tesco isn’t Wal-Mart—their peanut butter tastes like paste. John-John’s face
plastered everywhere, on every German tabloid, and us guessing what the
headlines meant. I’ve been to the world’s largest Dunkin’ Donuts—saw American
white-tailed deer and American cockroaches at the zoo—seen the house that was
Mozart’s house in Amadeus.

*

Bruce & Demi, Arnold & Sly—they welcomed us at Planet Hollywood. Air
conditioning. Patrick Swayze. We unanimously agreed Dirty Dancing was his best
movie.
We ate there 3 times in 4 days.
Real salads.
With lettuce.


Originally appeared in The Gihon River Review

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