The Wanton Wasteland

Have you ever been really happy and your mind automatically wanders into the murky wasteland of what was and what (shudder) might have been? Maybe it’s a compare and contrast kind of thing your brain does to quantify the good stuff. I’m there. In my mind, there has been a running montage of dates from yesteryear. The good, the truly bad, and the horrifically ugly, there is extensive footage. So I’m taking a little nostalgic walk. Y’all come, too. Just so you know, this is not a dig at the dudes of Christmas past, I have managed to embarrass myself in a myriad of ways, some of this is all on me. Here we go.

In my first week of college, I met Craig in my economics class. Side note, all I learned in economics besides widgets is that the professor had man child-bearing hips and Craig had back muscles I didn’t even know existed on the human body. It was lust at first sight for me. We hung out, we were friends. There were looks, there were some lingering touches, but that was about it. Craig was the king of mixed signals. I wasn’t sure where it was going at all. One step forward and two steps back. He asked me to midnight yell. This was a thing. If we were going to be, this was the invitation to make it so.  At Texas A&M, midnight yell is like a school sponsored hook up. Gig ‘em. After midnight yell, we went back to my dorm, I don’t remember why. I was a little tipsy, opened the door, and he went in, me after him. There were tampons everywhere -on my desk, all over my bed, on the floor. Everywhere. I didn’t know the term at the time, but I was gobsmacked. I made small talk while I went around the room shoving tampons in my pockets. Ridiculous. Meanwhile, Craig had the look of deer in headlights and left quickly. If he could have made a Craig-shaped hole in the door, he would have. This changed things for us. I was totally friend zoned, he thinking I was menstrually crazy. This remained a mystery for a couple of years until I found out his ex-girlfriend lived a floor above me in the dorm. This would have been useful information. That heifer sabotaged me in a way that makes 19 year old boys wither. Tampons. That bitch. Toxic shock in the wanton wasteland.

I once went on a first date to the seawall. As we sat, he asked me three questions. It was a test, but I didn’t’ know that at the time. The questions were thus: 1. Who is Lee Iacocca? 2. Describe how a fluorescent light bulb functions. 3. It was something square-rooty – I don’t remember the number. I knew the answers, but he didn’t expect me to. He had underestimated me. It was my first and last oral exam on a first date. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge, but seriously. If I had been older and wiser, I should have been offended with the condescension. Don’t let the blonde hair and rack fool ya. In the words of Tyrion, I drink and I know things. By the end of the date he told me he used to masturbate with a troll doll. I, also, underestimated him.

I was on a double date once. Bert and Todd. Bert had a fondness of mousse that was obscene, and Todd, well, he was a Todd. A Chad. A basic tool. I can’t make this up. This is what happened. We left dinner, Bert and his date in the front, Todd and I in the back. Bert had made an aggressive traffic move and had flipped off some bubbas in a truck. A chase ensued. Bert and Todd excited to their mousse laden highlighted tips. We zigged. We zagged. The bubbas stayed on us. Eventually, Bert and Todd thought they had lost them and pulled into an apartment parking lot. We sat there for one second, literally one second, and the door was pulled open. Bubba pulled back and slugged Todd a couple of times, not giving one fuck. Bubba stopped half- cocked, looked at me and said, “Bitch, you need to jog.” Fuck me running. My date is punch drunk, fucking Todd, and I was rethinking my outfit. Some dates need to end, one always hopes gracefully, this was not it, but it did end. Thank God.

Many of my troubles come when I’m just being a wingman. My friend Sarah, casually (six degrees of separation) knew a guy we ran into one evening. He and his friend asked us over for drinks and a movie. Of course, we went. How I made it out of my 20’s not bound and gagged and shoved in someone’s basement is a mystery. Sarah was with the tall one. I was not. I was charged with keeping the little guy with elastic waist jeans entertained. I’m a good friend. Maybe y’all remember pappasan chairs – it’s like a futon on a rounded chair base. I sat there. Little guy hopped on up there with me. Sarah sat on the floor with hers, we will call him Stretch, and to be clear, we will call my guy Skippy. We settled in and Stretch started the movie. Straight. Up. Porn. Stretch gauged our reactions before changing it to something else. Dude, young men sometimes think that a shot of porn will turn women into nymphs. Not this night, my friend. I’ll paint a picture with words. Stretch was gassy. A bunch. Skippy was handsy. He pulled out that old tired move of yawning and putting his arm around me, but he was aiming for boob, and he’s little, so he was almost mounted to my leg to get traction. Good times. As women often do, I called for a conference in the bathroom with Sarah. Standard operating procedure, we looked in the medicine cabinet. Gas X and Propecia, of course. I told Sarah that this farty abomination needed to end, posthaste, Skippy had a reach that is surprising for a little guy. She said as soon as the movie is over, we will go. Bitch. Here’s a little fun fact – elastic-waist jeans do a poor job of hiding an erection. I spent the next hour bobbing and weaving little Skippy. Sarah found that kissing Stretch worked like a fart embargo. Longest hour ever. Finally we were going. Skippy walked me out. This is where it got weird, or weirder. He started doing jumping jacks, and yelling ‘Whoo!’. He told me he felt like jogging, he needed a jog, and Skippy, the poor bastard, took off running. We finally left and Sarah Jane owed me a blood debt for life. I’m waiting to collect.

Life is a wild ride. If we want to be philosophical, this little walk down memory lane is a study in duality. Can’t have light without dark, can’t have happy without sad. I think my mind replays some of the wasteland so I can appreciate the good.  Always, gratefulness is important, and memories are the measure. Appreciate where you are and how you got there, and know that sometimes, the odd little side roads in life, make some really great cocktail stories. Cheers.

Go forth and conquer.