Earlier in the week, I talked about a guy that I met that came on really strong. He said he didn’t drink but he told me he smoked copious amounts of weed. I had said that he was my type. He was except for the fact that he was so insistent that I was “sexy” and he was blowing up my phone in text messages and audio clips of himself playing the guitar. And then, the shirtless picture came through and I was done. He wanted to come over and massage my feet. A bit mortified of the thought of letting him into my house after only a 15 minute in person conversation set alarm bells off in my head. Hell no. But, see if I were still drinking, I probably would have had a few drinks and talked myself into letting him come over because it’s nice to feel that someone is attracted to you. He isn’t ugly by any means and he seemed to have a good vibe when I was talking to him last Monday, he seemed smart and well-travelled and from the west coast. He kinda looked like a guy that I dated and had fallen hard for in my twenties.
I have always felt a little deficient in the dating world. Super shy. Really awkward when boys liked me or pursued me. I have three brothers ten years older than me who didn’t make dating or even talking about it easy. They would tease me relentlessly about how they were going to kick their ass or embarrass the hell out of me if I ever brought a guy home. So, I rarely did. And when I did, they were never good enough. I know they didn’t do this on purpose but they didn’t make it easy on the poor boyfriend or my incredible awkwardness. I guess it’s some sort of man code or initiation or something. I don’t know. My ex fiance was really tentative about meeting them which he never did because it wasn’t at the top of the list of our relationship goals and my brothers lived so far away.
When I was thirteen or so, I had a best friend, a boy in my neighborhood, who is still my friend today, we’ve been through a lot of shit together. We rode dirt bikes together and built forts and watched ski movies in the summer and basically just ran around the neighborhood until we were able to drive. He was the first person I ever drank with and the first person to smoke pot with, we smoked dried out tomato leaves until we finally found someone with actual marijuana. We’ve known each other since he moved in next door the summer between second and third grade. His mama is the one I stayed with when I moved to Nashville until I could get my poop in a group.
One Sunday dinner, it was just my mom and dad and I living in the house and my dad had started going to AA. He sat me down (he was notorious for his Sunday Dinner Lectures) and told me that the reason my boobs were growing was because this friend wanted to have sex with me and I was to stop hanging out with him. I was crushed. Completely devastated. Humiliated. There had been some truth and dare games when we would sleep out on the trampoline with the other kids in the neighborhood but sex was ridiculous. And so in retaliation I started to slouch to hide my budding breasts. They were small and people made fun of them. Neighborhood boys called me Mosquito Bites. I didn’t need a bra until at least the 8th grade and they are still in the A cup range to this day depending on my weight. My friend is now a chiropractor and he has helped me get my back realigned and able to stand up straight. He says he feels terrible for making fun of my boobs and had no idea what a toll it had taken on my psyche.
I never had a real boyfriend in high school. I went to the proms and dances and shit but in Mormon culture it didn’t seem like sex on prom night was a real thing, we’re all saving ourselves for marriage- that was the deal. When I lived in Sweden, my junior year of high school, all my friends were having sex but I wasn’t. No way. I had gained weight and was definitely a weirdo about my body. It was all I could do to get comfortable to the nudist attitudes of Europeans. I did eventually, I could shower and be free but don’t touch me. Besides, I was way too busy drinking underage to worry about sex. Who needed it? Not me. I’ll just go pass out while y’all get busy. That’s gross and forbidden.
I lived with the same two roommates for most of college. They had boyfriends and had lots of sex, they were on the pill and talked about it a lot. I remember one morning having a conversation with them over coffee discussing my virginity status. And one of them said, I distinctly remember, “What’s the big deal? Who is going to get so mad at you for having sex? GOD?” I stiffened and thought, “YES, God is going to get mad.” Mind you I was not religious in anyway shape or form but I had developed these core beliefs that somehow I might get in trouble. So, I just started to drink more when I was around the boys that liked me. It made me braver. Not so inhibited. And then, I knew in my head, the next one to round the corner of interest would be The One. I did fall in love with him. I told my roommate when I met him that it was perfect, he was leaving. He had been accepted into the Actors’ Program at Juilliard and would be moving to New York at the end of the summer. That relationship ended with my heart in complete tatters but I was off and running. Drinking, boys, hiding from them, disappearing, finding new ones, drinking, drinking and never getting that close to anyone. Staying afraid but hiding it with booze and drugs and parties and just trying to find my way.
(The Juilliard boyfriend sang and played this on his guitar on our first date)
I was a waitress at the local University hang out and it brought a lot of prospects my way. One in particular was an Australian, working on his post doctorate in chemistry. We liked each other but I didn’t like him until he was really, really leaving (he was a nerd and I was afraid) I visited him twice in Australia. We wrote letters, this was before emailing was really a thing and made phone calls. The drinking on my half got in the way- it really did- our last day in Queensland, I was an asshole and spent the whole day in a layover in Auckland, New Zealand writing him a letter about how sorry I was of my drunken behavior and I sat through a movie twice because it was raining- I can’t remember the movie, I just know it had Meg Ryan in it. He was a good one. I went back the following year and spent two months with him Tasmania. His mama didn’t like me. He was from a small town in Victoria that we visited and well, his penis was awesome. It had a curve to it. When I got on the plane I knew it was over, Clinton was about to be impeached for gizzing on Monica and I wanted to go to Africa. He had sisters, 6 of them or something, and well, my drinking/scared of what could be… it didn’t turn out well. I didn’t wave from the plane when he asked me to, I just knew and turned my back.
Peace Corps. 2001- I left a guy behind. He liked me. He sent me so many care packages including a plane ticket home and phone calls at my neighbor’s house where I got to talk to all my friends.
My Host Country National love interest was a tennis star. I met him at the bar. The first night we met, we got in a taxi looking for weed. I made in back in one piece and my PCV friends told me I was stupid. Yep. That was stupid. Even a rumor of smoking pot was grounds for sending a volunteer home.
He showed up at my house in my village a few days later. Even though I told him a different name and village. I was Rosey from Kolonga. My village was not happy. They threw rocks at his car. They wanted me to marry one of their own. Send money home.
(What do you do? The Southern Cross…. awwww)
I got pregnant. I knew it, I felt it. I was like dude, you spludged.. Why? Oh you love me.
I found out I was pregnant in Samoa. I was sent by Peace Corps at a Women in Development/Gender in Development conference. I deserved to be there. I was smart. I was changing the world. You couldn’t buy pregnancy tests in Tonga. So that happened. Don’t drink. No support. It was awful. The PC gave me three options, couple of abortions and going to go home and have the baby. My mama got to Tonga and I lost the baby in the toilet. No meds. Just heavy bleeding and David Sedaris. ( I saw the baby sack, I flushed it)