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Lately I’ve been thinking about how many turning points there are in everyones day that ripple through the fabric of the lives around and ultimately the whole world. These seem to be ubiquitous when you are young and single; life seems pretty uni-directional when you are old and have kids.
When I was not too far out of college in my first job, I had a brief business exchange with a new girl from QC. She had cascading black hair and a body that guys couldn’t resist gossiping about. Think ‘brick house’. She was recently married but that didn’t stop minor heart palpitations on my part. The notion that someone actually had access to her body was something I couldn’t quite imagine. Anyway, it was Friday and that was that.
The following Monday the section secretary who knew everything was telling a few people that Meg, the new girl in QC, was killed Friday evening in a car accident. A drunk sailor had ran a red light. Had she been a second earlier or later – well…. There were still wedding presents in her trunk. I was stunned. Though I only knew her from a few brief dealings, I read everything I could about the accident and her life.
The QC section I’m sure was even more stunned. When they recovered, they called another girl that that had applied for the original job. I guess she had come in second because they offered her the job over the phone and she moved halfway across the country. A few years later I would marry her and have children. I still remember Meg and think about her sometimes.
I’m an expert at how to do things wrong. I make about every mistake you can. Here’s one: get engaged before you even meet the parents. Everyone else meets the parents and it usually goes great. If you’re already committed, meeting the in-laws can go something like this:
We drive halfway across country. Fiancee probably realizes I am not a great conversationalist. She likes to talk but knows how to be quiet too. As an introvert, I am energized by thinking about things and enjoy some downtime. The in-laws are certainly nice enough though they exist in a world in which I have little exposure. The house is on a beautiful plot of rural farm land. Parts of the structure is from the 1800’s with some addtions. The walls are covered with pictures; mostly either of Jesus, Mary, or random angels. Some of the Jesus’s don’t even look like the same person; I guess as long as someone will buy it.
I start to bond with the dad. He carries an M-1 grand military rifle over his shoulder everywhere; and I mean everywhere – even to the 7-11. I learn this is all perfectly legal as long as you don’t conceal it. He shows me the fox holes he is making in the woods with sightlines to all the roads leading to the house. He is preparing for a government siege; ahead of his time when it comes to right wing paranoia.
The first night we drive into town with in-laws heading to a restaurant. Dad and me in the front. The M-1 between us pointing in the back. Through conversation, mom subtely lays out some basic philosophy on life. Among them, breasts are bad. She recounts a movie that would have been good but was ruined when the star was shown topless. I think it was ‘Shakespeare in Love’. Gwenneth Paltrow taking her top off definitely did not ruin the movie for me. She also mentions that breast feeding is over-rated. Oh boy.
Fiancee has a number of siblings living in the area and it’s an always on the go atmosphere at this house. Not much in the way of formal meals – people get something to eat ‘on the go’. Fiancee was going shopping a lot and eating big restaurant meals and never hungry at home. I was usually back home finding something to do on the farm. I wanted to keep busy and was able to. After a couple days, I hadn’t eaten much. I didn’t care – if there weren’t any actual group meals I wasn’t going to go out of my way to find something to eat. Besides, there was a big feast planned for the next day and I was going to be some kind of hungry.
The next day comes and there are Aunts and Uncles and relatives. Lots of cooking and grilling. But first, we adjourn to the TV room to watch some home videos. Most of the rooms in the house are set up as shrines or something so there is little usable space. The TV is actually in the Foyer with a couple couches jammed in there. It’s actually good size for a foyer – but a bit awkward for a living room. So the home movie turns out to be about home slaughtering of animals. Yup, I get to watch a cow being butchered and cut apart and drained of blood and all that. I look to slip out but one exit is blocked with relatives and a couch, another has her dad in front with a loaded M-1. I lost my appetite.
On the ride home, I think about my future. I have doubts but I’m not strong enough to hurt her at this stage. It would kill her. It would be easier to murder her than break an engagement. In the back of my mind I didn’t know how I would react to it either. There was a chance my mind was tricking me into ruining my life which would be so like me. I would pass it off as cold feet. That was the path of least resistance.
It’s last week; I’m riding with a co-worker in a Chevy Suburban. We were heading back from a project in the eastern part of the state. A late lunch was in order. Andy’s sounded good – it’s a regional chain with chiliburgers and cheesefries – that sort of fair. The place was mostly empty at 3:00 as our waitress took our order. She was young but not blessed with naturally good looks; rather heavy with a round face, mousy brown hair, and breasts prematurely affected by gravity. Very efficient and pleasant; she kept my root beer full.
In a place where you can eat for about $6, her tip income had to be minimal. I thought about how much more the perky pretty waitresses make in this world. I certainly contributed to that bias in my many single years. Why? I think on some level guys are not willing to give up on the hope that a pretty waitress will notice a 25% tip and track us down in the parking lot and tell us what time they get off. Pretty pathetic really but yes apparently some of us are this stupid. I thought how our waitress probably never got an exceptional tip, probably wouldn’t get asked to the prom, or get many of life’s benefits normally reserved for the genetically anointed.
We paid at the register; I returned to leave the tip. My co-worker left the predicable dollar. I matched that and upped the ante with my loose change for a grand tip of $1.16. I walked out as our waitress held the door, smiled, and wished us well. As we left, another group entered and was being seated by said waitress. Not normally known for my quick or spontaneous thinking, I pivoted.
Back inside I went, our table still unattended. I had been to the ATM the day before so I had ample cash. I surrepetitiously opened my wallet and pulled the wad of twenties. I stuck it under the sweating glass and scurried careful not to make eye contact with anyone. My new tip total was $221.16.
I hurried back through the parking lot.
Coworker: “What were you doing? Did you steal my dollar?”
Me: “Yeah I stole your lousy dollar. Just shut the fuck up and drive”
I don’t think of it as pity or charity. I think of it as an equalizer for all the jackass guys in this world who treat certain strangers a little different. Spouse still brings up a story when she waitressed as a teen; a particularly large and demanding party stiffed her. She still remembers. In umpteen years, this girl will tell the story of an unexpected afternoon at Andy’s. I liked that thought. I made someone’s week and it was worth it. I’ll do it again sometime.
Some background, bear with me:
I’m fairly cheap. I don’t personally give that much to charity but mainly because spouse can hardly say no. Especially with regard to the countless church collections. I’m frugal to partly balance her out; and partly because I don’t get choked up from the mailers with pictures of hungry African children. They will go to any graphic length necessary to tap your emotions and your wallet. The thing is – you really can’t stop it. The more spouse donates, the more hungry children show up in our mailbox. It’s a vicious cycle and I’m not home enough to throw away the mailers before she gets them.
First The Bad:
The doorbell rang. I steeled my normally pushover self to brush off a solicitor. It was a boy selling something completely useless. I said no thanks. As he walked away I realized he was only about 7. I then saw he was heading to his dads car parked at the corner. It just kept getting worse – I realized he was in my daughters class, that he was shy and stressed about having to sell stuff; that his dad drove him specifically to someone he knows house figuring we’d be receptive. I felt horrible, I mean really really bad for days. I vowed to buy anything any kid tries to sell at our door for the rest of my life; though I imagined word of my beat-down would spread and my house would be marked as the grinch’s cave never to be approached by youths unless armed with eggs.
A year or so later, the doorbell rang, the solicitor was a male, caucasion, early 20’s, some facial hair but that’s not important right now. He was a veteran back from Afghanistan seeking support to put together care packages to send to the troops. Who doesn’t support the troops? Who could say no to a veteran trying to muster some support for the guys back in the foxholes battling it out. It was a well thought out pitch that was aimed at the gut and extremely difficult to turn down. I felt my stomach tighten as I stood firm and said ‘not today thanks’. The pitch was so hard to turn down I think it was conjured. I doubted a couple guys in their 20’s were going to spend their weekends doing this because their buddies on the battlefield don’t have enough shaving cream and chewing gum. I didn’t buy it, and I felt good about sending them packing.
Next: The Unexpected
I want to be young. I want to be in love. I want a wife that I can’t wait to see. We tend to want things we can never have – at least I do.
As I tolerate my way through life, I hope happiness for my kids. Kids are happy when they have friends. I have noticed at about the age of 10 or 11, my kids have begun to drift apart from their childhood friends. With two parents who were nerdy and dateless through adolescence, genetics is apparently catching up with them. Their peers developing girly figures and learning about the world in their own ways. Our girls being largely isolated from pop culture and the signals it sends.
The tenth birthday of daughter 2 was approaching. She had been exhibiting signs of middle child syndrome – “Marcia Marcia Marcia”. So, without mother approval, dad scores some tickets to the ultimate pre-teen experience – The Taylor Swift concert. Oh yeah, for one night we were up there with the cool kids – and on a school night at that.
I pretended to be the reluctant chaperone who didn’t want to be there. Of course by the time of the show the other week it was me who knew the words to Teardrops on My Guitar and a few others. I didn’t want to embarrass them, but of course I couldn’t resist, they caught me singing along anyway. My favorite part, aside from seeing the kids experience the excitement, was when she played an acoustic set with a song called Never Grow Up. The lyrics really hit home.
Sometimes I still get to act like a kid – at least when I can hide behind the cover of some pre-teen daughters. As for the girls – they had a good time, but their thing is still going to be being the band nerd or reciting pi to the 142nd digit (yes the older one can do that).
Following the big 3-way tryst:
College: College invited me over to her place a couple times but I never went. She wanted something longer term. Something I didn’t have to give. Though I felt lust for her, I realized I wasn’t infatuated with her for whatever reason. She would be fine. She moved on without any drama.
Spouse: Spouse enjoyed her experience but was not keen to bring it up. I asked if she felt like she liked girls better than guys. She admitted she has flaws but the only thing she made clear is we wouldn’t be doing anything like that again. Her mood improved when she announced she was pregnant again – yes from the forbidden event. She doesn’t use birth control and her ‘available’ days are a couple windows per month that we missed that fateful night. Being the ultimate Catholic, two kids really weren’t enough for her anyway. It was enough for me, but now I have a third girl. All in all, a pretty cool kid was the result of a very risky gambit. I never believed in fate; but I wonder.
Laying in bed with spouse, I told her about the flirting at work. That it just happened and was largely harmless. As the years of marriage ticked by, I was becoming a little bolder about proposing or stating over the top ideas. Once scared to death of her, I was now pushing the envelope. More willing to take a chance with her outrage and the possibility of her flying off the handle. I introduced and talked through – in fantasy terms – the thought of having college girl in our bed. Of us both sucking and kissing and having our way with her young hard dark super sexy body. She participated in this game. Perhaps there was a streak of naughty in the church girl. I also wondered for not the first time if deep down she didn’t kind of prefer girls.
Things had settled back to normal with college girl. Flirting and stuff. Getting a bit more physical with lap sitting and such. I never took her up on offers to visit her apartment. Either out of a fear of the idea of cheating or a fear that I would go down that road and be confined by my inherent sexual nervousness and embarrass myself with a spectacular non-performance; I still am not sure which. I could talk about anything with her. She was quite forward and would talk about sex with me. I told her how I wanted her to come home with me and meet spouse. To watch us have sex; maybe join in. She was lukewarm on this; but I was pretty sure I could at-least get her to come meet spouse and have drinks with us some evening. My mind was working, scheming, calculating. I was processing plans in my mind.
About five years ago I was working in a fairly small office of about 10 people. There was an administration desk with a woman in charge who would hire college students basically to do her job for her. In life, there are workers and there are managers and she wanted to be the latter. I was getting to know one of the college girls. Not that I was trying but through casual comments and brief conversations that became more and more comfortable. Somehow it evolved to me giving her a hard time, insulting her, making fun of her, belittling her future – though always in a playful way. She seemed to thrive on this kind of interaction and would give it right back to me and then some. In my late 30’s with 5 and 7 year old daughters, had I finally stumbled upon the secret to girls? Was this really the way girls wanted to be treated – like shit?
Jackie was a black girl; somewhat light skinned with wavy dark hair as though maybe there was some mixed race in her background. She had an incredible 20 year old body that attracted attention, – rock hard, athletic, and curvy all at the same time. She acted white, her friends were white, I think she thought of herself as white. I had never so much as fantasized about an African American girl. Maybe this is why I wasn’t overcome with my usual fear of girls.
I ran into her outside of work at the pickup volleyball courts. She was with a big group but I ended up working with her and teaching her to play doubles with me. She was in some sort of performing dance club and invited me to come watch on a few occasions. I never did.
She got me using instant messaging on my computer at work and we communicated in this way – sometimes for hours on end. No subject was off limits; anything that came to mind was shared. This was a new experience for me. Then, out of the blue, came the IM that paralyzed me: “I Love You”. No explanations, no prelude. Why? How was I supposed to respond to that? I froze up and shut down. No snappy comebacks or witty retorts. This isn’t the way it worked, I was always the one falling in love with college girls, not the other way around. She later explained that she thought she was IMing her mom. Was this true? I was really confused now. This wasn’t over yet.
Soon after marriage two little girls came along. That can happen with a Catholic spouse who doesn’t do birth control – even when you only ‘do it’ once a month or so. Cute and fun; the little girls have a way of becoming the focus of your attention. Happiness for me was now when they were happy, when they had friends, when their lives were right.
My sex life was suddenly not so important which was probably a good thing because spouse was pretty set in her ways on the subject. No trying new things, no different positions, and forget about introducing porn – which I really wanted to do. To my surprise though, I broke through the confines of ‘pope approved’ maneuvers and past the ‘please don’ts’ and forced my way south with an all out assault with my tongue and lips.
She bucked like a colt; but wouldn’t ask for it again. I would have to take charge. Next time I included the fantasy of another girl in the action and, though not a big fan of dirty talk, she fully responded to this even joining in on the descriptions of the mysterious fantasy girl and taking the lead in our oral and phallic exploration of the imaginary buy nubile body. She really went wild. For maybe the first time ever, I had really hot sex.
This was a very unexpected discovery. I needed to ponder what it all meant and where this would lead.
I was scared of getting arrested; scared of somehow getting caught. On travel and staying at a hotel, I nervously picked up the phone and did it: I called an escort service – a total of three times before I declared it to be out of my system, as if you can get pretty girls out of your system. The first time the girl took all her clothes off and plunked down a condom. I wasn’t going to go that far. We talked and touched some. She talked too much; so much that I felt sorry for her because that much talking would be tough for any guy to take. Eventually I rubbed myself against her and came on her belly.
The second time the girl was young (about 20) and pretty. She took off her shirt but not her pants which was fine with me. Her hair was long; and her body had the firmness of a 20 year old hot girl. We talked and touched. I heard her story and listened to her dreams to marry a doctor. I didn’t tell her I was married and at one point she gave a subtle hint that maybe I could have her as a girlfriend. I wished I had thought of this way to meet girls earlier in life; I might have pursued it. I liked her. I wanted to take her away from this; make her happy; love her forever. It wasn’t to be so I paid her more than she charged and missed her when she was gone. Some come got on her pants so she took them off and wore a hotel towel home.
The last time was in Las Vegas. The girl was 26 and gorgeous. She wanted way more money than anyone should pay. I knew I shouldn’t but she was beautiful and I didn’t want to let her go. I wanted to have a beer with her and talk and look at her; her fake boobs were spectacular. We held hands as we walked to the casino cashier where she knew just how to get cash from a credit card. We talked about her son; we talked about how she lied to her parents about her job. I showed her pictures of my two young daughters. She gave me the idea that this was ‘entertainment’ instead of cheating. I liked that thought and embraced it. I couldn’t get hard as she worked me with her hand. Probably because I was intimidated by her looks and maybe partly because I had comet by myself that morning. I walked her to her car – a Lexus. I didn’t feel sorry for this one; she knew how to take care of herself. I was mad at myself for giving her as much money as I did and decided I wasn’t going to do this again.