Suspicious: Eric Reads the Week, #80

Hi! It's R. Eric Thomas. From the internet?

This week: I'm in the kitchen with Queer Eye's Antoni, pitching rom-coms for Lucy Liu, and a Disney Prince emerges at a the World Cup.

Our new next door neighbors are always smiling. Suspicious. The apartment next to ours was vacant for a few months (because this building is too expensive, if you ask me, but nobody asked me so I'm staying out of it.) (Just saying.) (We're moving anyway, okay.) (If you have a townhouse for rent in Baltimore this fall holler at ya boy.) Two weeks ago, a new couple moved in to the apartment to our right. They're a heterosexual couple, which is fine with me--I don't judge. Live and let live I say. The man is very tall, built like a lacrosse player (I imagine; I've never seen a lacrosse game but I'm sure this checks out). He's brunette, tan, and wears a lot of baseball caps. And a constant smile. The woman is petite. Somewhere between 4 feet and 5'4" (I'm not good at guessing heights. That's why I got fired from the carnival.) She is also brunette (suspicious), wears earth tones, and constantly smiles. I've got to get to the bottom of this.

David says they're like a young, white couple straight out of Central Casting, which is very accurate, actually. The student has become the master. They look like a couple who get interviewed on CSI because they went to college with the suspect, but are gobsmacked that he would do anything like what they're talking about. (What they're talking about in this episode is probably cyber-crime or a helicopter-related embezzlement scheme gone wrong.)

I assume they're in the mid-20s for a few reasons. 1) They have a youthful glow that I'm trying to siphon through the walls. 2) He has a lot of tie-dyed shirts from concerts, like Jack Johnson or something (I assume that when you go to Jack Johnson concerts, you wear tie-dyed shirts. If I am wrong, my whole investigation is off.) 3) They moved themselves in. And they had the help of one friend who doesn't seem to resent them. Suspicious.

They even smiled while they moved themselves in! And they didn't bicker at all! These people must be sociopaths.

Last night, David and I were walking up the hill to go to a movie and I was in the middle of complaining about a new cinnamon bun place that has too many options for toppings (it's a cinnamon bun! It's already perfect! I don't need pie crumble and strawberries on top! I will take them, of course. But I will be very angry about it.) We spied two people in date-wear walking toward us. As I continued my rant, I realized they were looking at us. Always like to be friendly to fans, so I waved. They kept looking and smiling. "David, why are those white people smiling at us?" I asked. But before I could answer, I realized it was our neighbors. He was in a button-down and she wasn't in earth tones so I didn't recognize them! Disguises! Suspicious!!!

I have a theory that everyone in this building is up to something and this plays right into it. We didn't even realize we had neighbors on the other side for months because we have never heard them. Then they got a dog and we still don't ever hear them! Suspicious. What would result in so much silence? Padded walls for a murder room, obviously. Also, the guy in that couple got Lasik and now I never recognize him and that seems suspicious also.

Before the smiling couple, the woman who lived next door had a sweet child who had night terrors. I decided they were innocent but that the night terrors--which we could hear--made them the perfect tertiary characters in the mystery thriller I am starring in. Also, sometimes she would text me in the middle of the night with photos of the lock to our floor's staircase, which according to her, someone had been taping open. Nothing is more suspicious than a text at 3 a.m. showing a wad of cotton and some tape with the words "found this in the door."

Honey, this place is wild. I haven't even gotten to the one neighbor I Googled who was part of this big New York socialite scandal. A scandal!!! I'm living my own personal Agatha Christie novel and all my dreams are coming true.

I'm sure my new neighbors are very nice. I'm sure everyone is very nice. But I'm still going to keep my guard up. (After all, this year's Pride theme is Constant Vigilance.) I just don't know about all this smiling. Why are they so happy? Did they embezzle some money from a helicopter tour business? Do they eat right and exercise? Are they plotting to kidnap me? Who can say?

All I know is it wouldn't be me. I am almost never smiling, despite the fact that I am generally pretty not-unhappy and I recently got away with a helicopter-related embezzlement scheme. I am just physically unable to be smiling all of the time. It takes work. I have Resting Bitch Face. No, not even that. I have a Resting Bitch Life. I can't help it. But every time I see our neighbors, I plaster on a huge grin and make small talk like the fake-ass, nosey sociopath I am. Just two suspicious neighbors, showing their entire teeth to each other and backing away slowly.

Ah, life in community is grand.

This week, your neighborhood snoop gets to the bottom of Antoni's avocados, Lucy Liu's film career, and Trump's misogyny. But first, WORLD CUP THIRST!

Tim Riggins x Disney Prince Presents My New FIFA Boyfriend

Edinson Cavani looks like Tim Riggins if he were illustrated by Disney. You know what they say: Clear eyes, full hearts, slide directly into my DMs. Dear NBC, please reboot Friday Night Lights but make it about global football and cast Edinson Cavani as someone who is frequently shirtless but also never wears a shirt. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

Queer Eye's Antoni Porowski Is Making Love in the Kitchen

Porowski's domain is teaching tricks and recipes for better, healthier eating. "It's a service show," he says. "It's a service job, to figure out how we can cater to these people." This is surprising to me, as Queer Eye positions its stars as demi-gods of a sort: sassy experts who will raid your cabinets and closets, and fix whatever tragic situation you've found yourself in. The Fab Five perform physical labor and emotional labor for the benefit of the show's subjects, and perhaps more importantly, for the benefit of the viewing public. But, for Porowski, the former waiter, he is just a human doing a job. [READ THE FULL PROFILE]

20 Rom-Coms We Would Like Lucy Liu to Star In, Please and Thank You

#7 Talk of the Town
Lucy Liu plays: Samantha, a big time publicist who is trying to make sure nobody finds out about the very messy divorce between two of her big Hollywood clients.

Lucy Liu's meet-cute: When a gossipy talk show host (Priyanka Chopra) gets ahold of some damaging footage, Sam must make nice with an old rival: Armand, the producer of the show (played by Idris Elba). Sparks fly as the two bicker and try to trick each other at every turn. [READ THE FULL LIST]

The Line From Misogyny to Trump to Violence Is Undeniable and Unacceptable

This week, politicians and pundits engaged in toothless virtue-signaling about the idea of civility. Frankly, every one of them should be ashamed. The president called the press the enemy of the state at a rally this month. He called a congresswoman "low IQ" and told her to be careful what she wished for. Yesterday five people were shot at a newspaper and the congresswoman received a death threat. These are not events occurring in a vacuum, and it's atrocious that anyone would behave as if they are. Any congressional leader who is not openly and repeatedly taking the president to task for his behavior is complicit. Any member of his administration who is silent in response to his bullying has blood on their hands. [READ THE FULL ARTICLE]


New play alert!

I've been developing a play called Safe Space with Cohesion Theatre Company in Baltimore for most of this year. It's a farce set in the present about an antebellum ghost, radical black feminism, do-gooders, and the movie Clue. I've snapped!

We're doing staged readings of it with minimal blocking (that means moving around, for the non-theater folks) and lights and a conversation to follow on Saturday July 21 and Sunday July 22. I'd love to see you there! I'm very excited about it and eager to see how it grows.

Click here to get tickets. Performances will be in “The Fallout Shelter” at United Evangelical Church (923 S. East Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21224.


Next week the name of this newsletter is changing! Newsletters 81 and on will no longer be called Eric Reads the Week, but rather Here For It. As in, "I'm here for it! I'm excited! Let's do this!" The content won't change! Just the name. So, look out for that in your inbox.

The reason is simple: is starting a newsletter version of my columns and that will be called Eric Reads the News, so we didn't want to create confusion. Should you subscribe to both? Yes! But honey, do what you want. Here's how they'll be different:

Here For It (this newsletter): Comes out on Sundays, has a little essay up top and includes all of my writing from the week. Good for catching up and also exclusive #content about my Target purchases and funny things David does.

Eric Reads the News (new newsletter): Comes out Friday afternoon. Good for that point in the day when you've decided you don't want to work anymore. Has a rundown of jokes about the news, stuff that didn't make it into a column, a Snack of the Week section, and a couple other little quick bites.

Okay. That's that!

Random thing on the internet...

I made this very elaborate grilled chicken summer salad last night and it used every single dish in our kitchen.

Off to enjoy my Resting Bitch Life,