The final resting place of Charles Darwin and Queen Elizabeth I will soon be a fashion runway

Source: The final resting place of Charles Darwin and Queen Elizabeth I will soon be a fashion runway

 

I have my own pictures from my second trip to Europe in 2006. This is truly an awe-inspiring place. I just can’t imagine a fashion show taking place here! I mean, will everyone attending be in awe just like I was?? I had to take two pictures as we were driving by because the structure is so tall, and I didn’t want to miss any of the beautiful details.

Europe 2006 087 Europe 2006 088

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Did You See That?

“The X-Files” is gearing up again, and to piggyback off of that, the CIA has released documents and pictures from the 1940s through the 1960s pertaining to UFO sightings and encounters.

The technology that was available during those decades pales in comparison to what we have now, and the world is certainly much smaller – getting a report from, say, the UK or the Belgian Congo can take seconds or minutes as opposed to weeks.

There are times when I feel like an alien, explaining my mysterious disease and strange allergies. However, I did not feel a tug at my heart looking at these photos, so I can only guess that no one has captured my mother ship on film (or the CIA hasn’t released the reports).

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3422014/The-truth-really-CIA-releases-thousands-declassified-X-files-aliens-flying-saucers-unexplained-phenomena.html

Me and Alan

This is just a tough week. My health stuff has been forcing me to push everything else aside – because as some of you know, you only have enough energy for one thing each day, and that is if you are lucky.

I had to go into the surgeon’s office today like I have done every single day since last Tuesday to get my wound checked and repacked. I’m actually a “super healer” and for that reason also very rare. My body immediately goes to town on closing up wounds and building scar tissue – collagen – so it’s yelling last call and shutting the doors before all of the riff raff has exited. The downfall to that is that my body trapped bacteria in its rush to seal everything, which is why the doc had to make hamburger out of my ass. This is also the reason why, when my body figures out that it can’t physically break every shunt, it resorts to clogging and strangling the drainage catheter. I don’t make keloids. However, I have a huge wad of scar tissue on the right side of my brain left over from the cisternoperitoneal shunts I had implanted there. If I press on that side of the skull, I move the whole mass and it’s very uncomfortable, as if I am moving strings that are attached on the inside of my scalp that reach down into my brain.

While I was getting ready to go to show my ass yet again, I was catching up on the news, and so saw the announcement that Alan Rickman died from cancer at 69. Like Bowie, he was another Brit with loads of talent, adopted and adored by us fickle Americans across the pond. This seemed like another abrupt loss that we didn’t see coming – I mean, some people shouldn’t ever die, right?

Like a lot of people in the U.S., my big intro to this man was the role of Hans Gruber in “Die Hard.” He was such a good badass. I didn’t want him to be killed off. I wanted him to return for every installment of that franchise.

About seven years later while I was living in Albuquerque, my roommate introduced me to “Truly, Madly, Deeply” via a VHS tape she had in her vast movie collection. It was a role that allowed me to see past his villainous past and embrace his gentler side, and roll around in his deep voice like a dog rejoicing in sunshine and grass. If God actually existed and had pipes, I do believe that we would hear Alan Rickman speaking.

In 2003, I moved to Arizona without knowing a single person, without having a place to live and without having a job. (Things were really different back then, kids!) A few weeks after I landed, “Love Actually” was released to the theaters for the Christmas holiday. I didn’t have anyone to go with, so for the first time in my life I went to a movie by myself. I’m glad I did – I liked the movie enough to buy, which rarely happens. But Alan was part of the ensemble cast. He played well the role of a man who was befuddled by the temptation placed in front of him and who ultimately could not rise above.

I know this makes me an oddball (judging by just how popular the Harry Potter series has been), but I could never get into the Harry Potter movies. So many people are mourning the loss of Professor Snape; I will instead choose to remember Hans, Jamie and Harry.

European Vacation

I’ve been able to make three trips to Europe thanks to the generosity of my friends who live in the U.K. – I met C. when he was a foreign exchange student at the university we attended in 1992-1993. C. has always been really good about keeping in touch with me, so our friendship has weathered 23 years with an ocean separating us. He and his family have graciously played host and tour guide every time.

The first time I was there, C. was still a bachelor, and he and his father shared the house in which C. grew up. Unfortunately C. was not able to request time off from work, so his father A. was my tour guide. A. was a charming Welshman who liked one particular pub, so every day, we went to The Cricketers Pub.

It was mostly older, retired folks gathering midday for their whiskey and beer, but I became acquainted with two men who were a bit closer to me in age. One was Michael; I remember he wore a blue and tan sweater and blushed like a choir boy, and I’m thinking he was in his mid-30s. The other was Barry, who was around age 45, and had an unfortunate run-in with burgundy hair dye that he had hoped would make him look younger, but instead gave him an unnatural purple halo. The other regulars at the pub teased him mercilessly.

While the older patrons and I chatted, I tried to draw Michael into the conversation, but with my brash American loudness, I think I might have been too much of a bulldozer for him. However, I discovered that I unknowingly caught Barry’s eye.

The next day we entered The Cricketers, the barkeep held up an envelope and sang out gleefully, “I have a note for you!” That set all of the elder patrons into squawks and chirps – it seems it was the topic of the pub, something to break up the mundane. It was a love note from Barry. He was requesting the pleasure of my company if I had time during my holiday to join him for dinner.

I left A. at his table and went to a shop to purchase blank notes to reply back. When I returned I sat with A.’s cronies and I wrote back to him that I was flattered, but I had a boyfriend and wasn’t available to date, and wished him well. I think the elders were hoping for a little more juiciness. I left the note with the barkeep.

The next day we returned to the pub, and the barkeep waved me over for another note. Barry said he understood that I was not available, but wondered if we could at least be pen pals. I left another note with my address. I did receive a few letters after I returned back to the states, but did not keep up correspondence on my end, so that was the end of that.

By the time I took my second trip, I had relocated to Arizona and had been working at a large international bank for three years. I worked in the tech area, which in 2006 was still greatly dominated by men. I managed to become acquainted with a woman in my area, S. (Her brother is the one that set me up with his work buddy who was still married and tried to assault me on our date.) We became closer when I changed from wearing blonde wigs to dark red ones; she walked past my cubicle and said, “Oh, that one girl is gone, and they hired another one with the same name.” Nope, I was the same person, just a different wig – but that’s hilarious and something she will never live down.

By the time I made it over for this visit, C. had gotten married to his wife E. and they had a little girl together, K.. C. encouraged us to go to the town center and see some live music or whatever entertainment we could find – the next day was a bank holiday, so he expected everyone to be out, even though it was a Sunday evening. He dropped S. and I off and told us to call when we were ready to come home.

We walked up and down the center, but it was very quiet, and most places were closed. We happened upon an old church that had been re-purposed as a bar; we asked the doorman if it was worth paying a cover to enter. He looked us up and down, told us we were too posh for the bug eating contest that was happening, and suggested we try to find a particular jazz bar.

We walked up and down that street and couldn’t find the jazz bar for about an hour until we realized it was closed for the evening. S. and I ended up at a pub, bought one rum & coke (no ice, of course, because Brits do not put ice in their beverages) and then called C. to pick us up. When C. got there he had a loaf of stale bread with him; he said he wanted to feed the ducks and geese while we were down there. C. pulled into a spot by the river and we grabbed the bread and ran down to the edge. By that time we were thoroughly cold and jetlagged, so instead of tearing off nice little hunks to feed the birds at 11 pm local time, we heaved the whole loaf into the river with a loud ker-plunk that sounded like an alligator made a landing. We were ready for that day and night to be over.

During the 2006 trip we also all hopped on a plane to visit C.’s friend J. in the Czech Republic. We planned it so C., his wife E., their daughter K., C.’s dad A., S. and I could spend some time in Prague in addition to being hosted by J. and her little family at their house.

By that time, A. was elderly and had to be pushed around in a wheelchair – no more pub hopping with him. My friends suggested that S. and I run around Prague on our own since it was our first time in that city, and we could meet up later in the restaurant below our hotel.

S. and I signed up for a tour of the palace grounds and cathedral, as we figured it would be a good introduction to some remarkable history. We bought our tickets and sat in a little bus that would take us to our starting point. After we sat, a man with four henchmen entered and sat directly behind me. They all stared openly at me; the main guy leaned forward and asked me where I was from, visibly trying to turn on the charm. I told him I was from the U.S. He smiled and told me he was from Jordan. Then the men rearranged themselves in the bus seats so we were surrounded on all sides. S. and I gave each other side eyes.

When we arrived at the palace gate to start the tour, S. and I lost all of our cool points because we started swooning over the guards. At one point she and I ran over to one who was standing still as a statue and we both attempted selfies without being too invasive. S.’s picture of the guard was of one eyeball and eyebrow, and my picture was of his very perfect lips and cleft chin. We didn’t feel bad about missing our own faces because he was so handsome. Our tour was timed perfectly because we actually got to see the changing of the guard as well.

Our tour guide was a very short German woman who gave the tour in German and English. At that point I remembered enough German to understand what she was saying.

The Jordanian man and his bodyguards became more bold with me. I’m not sure if he was fascinated because I looked to have green eyes and red hair, but he was convinced I was going to be his next wife. The bodyguards started snapping photos of him standing near me. Imagine if you can a very serious Jordanian man photobombing me to make it look like we were together.

S. and I were creeped out. We tried to stay close to the tiny tour guide, but as stern as she was, we knew she wouldn’t be able to physically help us if the bodyguards decided to snatch me. Susan and I linked elbows and kept moving out of the way of the men. Eventually they tired of the cat and mouse game and started mocking us and imitating us with our arms clasped together.

At the end of the tour, the Jordanian man confronted the tour guide and demanded a refund because he wasn’t allowed to enter a particular room in the cathedral. It ended with him being completely nasty to the guide but finally giving up his demand. After that he turned to me and put on his charm and asked if I enjoyed the tour as if he hadn’t at all been unpleasant seconds before. I simply said “yes” and S. and I linked arms again and took off. No one came after us, so we figured he gave up.

At the end of the day we all met up at the restaurant for some goulash. S. and I were sitting next to the window, and who did we spot? The Jordanian guy with the body guards – they were walking down the sidewalk towards the city center. S. and I immediately dove under the table. Our friends were completely flabbergasted and convinced we had lost our marbles. After peeking a number of times, we climbed back up and told our tale. Luckily, we didn’t see that guy any time after that.

S. and I tried to go clubbing in Prague. We left the rest of our friends at the hotel and went to a place that J.’s daughter recommended. We had to take an elevator to the top floor of a building to get to the club. When we arrived, no one was there, and it was approximately 10:30 at night. The doormen gave us wristbands and said we could leave and come back later when it was much busier. We did, but it hadn’t improved when we returned. S. and I decided we just wanted to dance, so we did. Out of the shadows men converged on the outer edge of the dance floor, basically forming a circle around S. and I as we were dancing. After about four songs we got creeped out and decided to give up and go back to the hotel.

After we returned to England, E. and her daughter K. brought us to London for another mini trip. We were one stop away from the infamous Leicester Square. E. encouraged us to go out to the clubs while she and K. stayed back at the hotel. We went to the square and received many solicitations for the various nightclubs, and we finally settled on one. It was the same as in Prague! Hardly no one was there, and when we decided to say screw it and take over the floor, men came out of the shadows and stood around us in a circle while we danced. That was the final straw. S. and I headed back to the hotel.

When we returned to the town where C., E., K. and A. lived, C. offered to drop us off again in the center for one last night out. We turned it down. S. and I agreed that we were not meant to have wild nights out on that trip, no matter how hard we tried.

I returned to England in July of 2012, three weeks before the Olympics. By that time, C. and E. added a son to the family, J. Little J. was young enough that that trip had to be planned around the needs of the family, so there was no chance of me venturing out for some clubbing. At that time I was more fit than I had been in decades. It’s too bad I couldn’t go out and become acquainted with some British future husband(s). It may have been my last European holiday.

Vacations overseas never turn out like they do in the movies, that’s for sure.

The Dog Days of Dating

I’ve got two accounts going, one on OKCupid and one on Match. After making one acquaintance and laughing about my crazy exchanges, it really drove home the fact that I am likely expecting too much from one and too little from the other (Match is supposedly where the more serious people go to look for love). So I changed the first line of my OKCupid profile to say, “I’m not looking for a hookup.” I also removed some items and added some more to dumb it down. For instance, my introductory paragraph has bullet points and includes, “I’m a feminist. This includes the concept that no means no” and “I don’t believe in organized religion.” Further down for the section that starts with, “I spend a lot of time thinking about” I finished it with “equality, healthcare, social justice, cats and dogs and why I can’t have them, and how much I want pizza.” Lastly, in the section that begins with, “You should message me if” I entered “- You are a non-smoker (of all things); – You really are single, not looking for a third in your threesome or looking for someone “discreet” so you can cheat on your wife. C’mon, it’s NOT complicated – you just wanna catch you some strange, let’s call it what it is; – We live in the same country. Please, no penis pictures. Seriously.”

So the first message I get after my revisions is from a guy with one photo where he looks like a total mouth breather, 34:
Him: How are you doing today? I would love to talk with you more. You are very beautiful by the way 🙂
Me: Hi, thanks. What would you like to chat about? What style of literature do you normally read?
Him: I read all sorts of books. What are you doing today?
Me: Today is laundry. If you are going to say “Let’s do something,” I have to warn you – I can only be upright for about 30 minutes, tops. We could probably do a high five on the sidewalk. 🙂
Him: Why only upright for 30 min?
Me: Super rare brain disease.
Him: Well we could have fun lying down? Lol
Me: Nope, not looking for a hookup. That was just a line about wanting to chat, huh?
Him: Why no sex
Me: Am I just here on this earth to fulfill every man’s fantasy and whim? No. You want to stick your dick in me without treating me like a fellow human being with value. I’m not interested. After that he blocked me. I am just going to assume it’s because he’s trying to stop himself from making the same stupid mistake again because he won’t remember soliciting me for exactly the same thing I specifically said I didn’t want.

Man, 50, lives 80 miles away:
Him: you want to take me out to lunch your treat
Me: Aerosmith, “Dream On.” It’s my song gift to you.
I blocked him. I didn’t have the energy to educate him on how to score.

Man, 39, local:
Him: Wow…..you are absolutely gorgeouz!! I wish I was your type.
Me: Thanks. So why aren’t you my type? Would you be mean to me, or try to send me inappropriate pictures? Or rub your cats in my face and send me into anaphylactic shock? (He has a couple.)
Him: None of the above…I’d actually treat u like a queen….but I’m sure my cats would cause an issue……hence..not ur type??
Me: Yeah – I looooove cats (and dogs), but have to take four meds and only hang out for two hours, tops. Maybe in my next life I can have pets. 😦 So best wishes to you in your search!
Him: Well….I could always,come over…undress and.hang out. No cat then. 🙂
Me: Would it surprise you to know that’s not the first time I’ve heard that offer?
Him: No….but I’m sure I’m not gonna be the first you say yes to though…
Me: Well, that got weird.
Him: Lol….how so?
Me: It’s never fun to be on the receiving end of implied sluttery.
Him: Oh…no…I was implying the opposite my dear. That you have yet to accept an offer…
Although I’d dig being the first….
After 8 hours:
Guess not
I didn’t bother responding. How would you respond if he acted the exact same way he claimed he wasn’t acting? It boggles the mind.

Kid, 26, 80 miles away:
Him: Hi you’re sexy
(I’m marginally impressed that he knows the proper usage of “you’re” but not enough to reply)

Man, 48, local:
Him (obvious copy and paste without reading anything about me): I am a single father, a bit shy at first. New to the dating scene. I actually look forward to just meeting and getting to know someone, I want that someone to enjoy my company as much as I enjoy theirs. I do not like to play games, I like honest and sincere people Have a blessed Day…
Me: Hi, honesty and sincerity are great. Is your work winding down for the winter, or do you stay busy with projects?
Him: am off work for Now … How Are you doing ? would you like to txt me .. i don’t get don’t the site that much ….. what’s your name Beautiful
Me (cringing at being called “Beautiful” – not at all sincere – and the “blessed day” already rubbed me wrong): I’ve had a few stalkers, not comfortable with immediately giving out my cell.
Him: I understand How you feel … i can see you real an honest and open minded woman … and that what i want in my woman … what do you like doing sweet woman
With only 45% of our answers being marginally close and 70% flat-out enemies, I am going to let him pass me by.

Then I got a message from a man, 30, and in the U.K., and I immediately went on high alert:
Him: hello how are you today?
Me: I’m okay, how are you?
Him: im doing well thank you
just back home from work
i ve had a long day
Me: Ah, you’re working late!
Him: a little bit but have u seen that im living in england and im just having a trip soon to MN and lookining for friends and maybe more….
Me (really, really frustrated at this point): Ah. I’m not open to a hookup or a long distance romance. I’ve got a lot going on with my health right now.
Him: what are u looking for in here ?
Me: I’m looking for a long term relationship. What about you?
Him: im same really just its not easy o meet the right one
After this, I decided to put away my baseball bat before I smashed my computer to bits and give him a chance. We actually had decent conversation and it seems like he is sincere, but obviously I don’t know him at all, so I’m still on guard.

Man, 38, Philadelphia:
Him: hi how r u
Me: I’m fine.
Him: Don’t let the distance fool u I get to fly for free
Me: So, whose photo are you using for this site?
Crickets. I did a reverse Google image search and found that he had downloaded some photos from a bodybuilder’s site who was in the UK competing at the same time we were chatting.

Lastly, I got a message from someone that I knew 24 years ago. My gut reaction was to say “CRAP!!!!” because I’ve never lived in a city long enough to have my past come back to me like that. Now that I’m back in my old stomping grounds, I have to reconcile concepts like my family being fully aware of my dating life, and for previously-known people to find me again. I asked this guy about what his experience has been on OKCupid, and he said he’s had bad luck. I commiserated with him and told him that a lot of guys were just approaching me for sex, and he said he was getting the same thing from the ladies. (Really???? Man, I have a hard time believing that. I mean there’s always going to be the ones who have been married for 20 years and want some action, but I don’t think that’s all of us. Maybe I’m naiive.) He told me that not all men were just looking for sex. I then reminded him that he messaged me out of the blue about 2 years ago on Facebook to tell me that he was horny after we hadn’t talked for 20 years. His reaction was, “Oh, sorry about that – I must have been a little drunk.”

The quest continues!

 

 

It’s Raining Johns

This weekend I received two random friend requests on Facebook, both men claiming to be named John. One had no friends listed, his background pic was of an army unit crouching on the ground and his individual photo was of a guy who was about 26 with full sleeve tattoos. There is nothing listed like his hometown or location, only that he is divorced. The second was of a guy who looked middle aged and had about 8 “friends,” all women, and his cover showed him getting into the European driver’s side of a luxury car. Before I accepted their friend requests I did a reverse lookup of their photos to see if they were borrowed. No hits, so I accepted, which is pretty out of character for me. Wouldn’t you know it – they both hit me up within 20 minutes of each other to introduce themselves 24 hours after I accepted their requests.

John #1 (Army): where are you from..
Me: I’m from Minnesota. My page contains a ton of info, but yours has none.
J1: who told you that my is none
wow nice to meet you, I am from Austin,Texas and I am currently stationed now in Afghanistan for peace keeping we need you prayers..
Me (cringing at the prayers reference): I have a friend in Austin. Are you Army, or Marines?
J1: Are you married and you have any kids? and what are you doing for a living……and how old are you
Me: I am not married and don’t have kids, it wasn’t my destiny this life. I’m 41.
J1: i am single divorce my ex cheated on me and i have 1 grown kid and one adopted son…….i am 42 now
Oh I see, would you like to get remarried again…?
Me: I’ve never been married.
J1: i have been in afghanistan fro 14years now
oh Okay, would you like to be in love again..?i am looking fro the right women to get in love with again ….how about you …how about you
Me: Well, the love question is a tough one. I am not sure how this brain disease is going to play out, and because it’s so rare, the doctors don’t know either.
J1: why don’t you want to be remarried again or be in love with someone again
Me: Quite frankly, I don’t know if I will ever be well enough to date again.
J1: that will never be true
Me: You are optimistic? I have had 10 surgeries in 4 years, the doctors have decided to stop operating on me for now.
J1: why dont he operating on you

Okay, at this point I’m thinking there’s a little Google Translate going on!

Me: Because all of the operations have failed to fix the problem. So are you using your Facebook page strictly to find romance?
J1: no i don’t use it
(Except for now??)
J1: i am looking fro the right women to get in love with again ….how about you …
Me: I’m not into women.
J1: why not?
Me:  I’m just not. I see tatts on your profile pic. Where have you been getting them done?
J1: there is no tatts on my profil pic

(I can see that the guy in the picture has tattoos from his shoulders all the way down to his wrists, full sleeves)
Me: I am on a laptop and can see pictures on a larger scale, it looks like you have full sleeve tatts. Is that not correct?
J1: there is not some thing like what you are saying to me
Me: I can see the top of the bicep in the picture.
J1: dont make me to be came angree with you
Me: So you don’t have tattoos?
J1: yes i have but first i did not know what you were saying..What are you looking to meet on here..?
Me: I’m not looking to meet anyone on Facebook. I’m also not doing internet dating.
J1: why
Me: I’m not well enough to date right now.
J1: why dont you want to be in love with me or any one
Me: I have to concentrate on my health right now.
J1: i no thta you have to concentrate no your health now but you can be in love wells concentrate no your health
Do you have Yahoo Messenger Id were we can get to know more about each other..?
Me: I’m sorry, I don’t use Yahoo messenger. I can’t put any energy into dating right now.
J1: Oh Okay, can you go to http://messenger.yahoo.com/ and download it now..?
I was hoping that it was lights out soon for him, since it was about midnight his time when he messaged me…if in fact he was where he said he was.
Then John #2 hit me up:
J2: Hello C____ . you have a good and nice name , i really like you so much to be your and i will like to be friend, Have interest i knowing more about you, am a nice good and honest person 49 years of age . hope to hear from you soon .
Me; Hello John, where are you from?
J2: Am from Brazil but i live in Californian
Me: I noticed you were getting in on the European side of the car in your cover photo.
J2: I took the photo when i was in England , do you like the photo
Me: It’s a great action photo.
J2: Lol … you look pretty

How old are you if i may ask ?
Me: Thanks. I’m not on Facebook to date or make hookups though, just be warned.
J2: Why do you say that ?
Me: Well, I usually don’t accept friend requests from people I don’t know because I post somewhat personal stuff.
J2: But why do you accept me , don’t you like me ?
Me: I am always open to making new friends, but there are some things I post on Facebook that people who don’t know me wouldn’t understand.
J2: I understand that so very well, i don’t get into people stuffs i just like the person you are and i am looking for friendship that’s the reason why i send the request
(Yeah, right!)
J2: Am 49 years of age  How do you see me ? But right now am in Africa for work
(Ah ha – there it is!!)
Me: What are you working on there?
J2: I work as an Contractor and right now u got a work of roads so am making it and directing am also the Supervisor.
what do you do for a living ?
Me: I am not well enough to work now. I’m not sure if I will be able to work again. I have had 10 brain surgeries.
J2: Ohh so sorry to hear that what has gone wrong with your brain ?
Me: It is a rare disease – so rare that I might be the only one with it – and none of the doctors know what it is or what to call it. They have tried 10 operations and have decided for now to stop operating.
J2: How did it go on with you ? Qhat are the observation, i think you are on good track right now and i don’t think there is something wrong with you but i may not understand please explain
Me: You mean, how did I become sick?
When I am upright, the fluid in my brain presses on the nerves that lead to my face and also puts pressure on my brain stem. My face becomes paralyzed and I can’t see, and it also makes me very dizzy and unable to walk.
J2: and how do you get along ? does that have any problem with the way you talk or send message ?
Me: I can’t drive or walk great distances. When I lay down, the fluid moves away from the nerves that it presses on, so I can see nearly perfectly again. So in order to do anything, I have to be laying down flat.
J2: i can send you some african herbs and will heal you but it’s cost
Me: lol – no thank you, no herbs necessary.
J2: You don’t believe in herbs ?
Me: That would be like throwing parsley down your clogged drain.
After that, crickets.
This just reminds me of a Family Guy episode that a friend sent me a long time ago – it has to do with a guy insisting that a few minutes with his penis would cure a woman of all of her problems. I am convinced that is the universal belief around the world.

Youth is Wasted on the Young

The summer I was 19 was a magical time. I don’t mean that everything fell into place perfectly and I knew what I was going to be when I grew up, but rather that I had a lot of firsts and I wasn’t burdened by disease. I had all of my beautiful, fine, soft hair and had no inkling that in four years I would be sidelined by fibromyalgia or that a weird brain disorder was looming over me.

I had managed to make it through my first year at university with my virginity intact. A couple of guys had tried to talk me out of it but failed. I certainly wasn’t holding onto it for a special occasion – I did not have any grand illusions that I was saving it for marriage or anything misguided like that. But by the time I finished that first year of college, I decided to let go of a few things, including going back for a second year, as well as that nagging virginity. I moved back to Mackinac Island and lived above the busiest bar on the island – very much a departure from the “Virgin Vault” the previous summer – and there was a constant whirlwind of many, many people to meet, both workers on the island and visitors.

Within the first week I was introduced to a guy who managed to get my knickers off within the second hour of becoming acquainted. At this point I just wanted to get it out of the way because I had heard too many stories about how it was painful the first time. Well, I didn’t have the experience of a hymen being torn or dealing with blood. Unfortunately, the guy didn’t believe that it was my first time because of that, and he was pretty rough (and also a bit drunk). I ended up with a lot of bruises. We went through a lot of condoms. We finally fell asleep in my bed (the bottom bunk in a 4-bed room), and I woke up in the wee hours suddenly startled by the fact that I couldn’t remember his name. I knew it was four letters, that was all. In his drunken slumber he kept elbowing me in the face while he rubbed his mug vigorously, so that was a zero sleep night. Not the best first time, but at least I got it out of the way – and thanks to his choice in seduction music, I still can’t listen to “Ziggy Stardust” to this day, even though I adore David Bowie. A few weeks later he came back for a repeat performance but I turned him down.

This was the year that I became acquainted with a lot of foreign workers. Within the first three weeks on the island, I knew them all. They represented England, Germany, Austria, Spain and Portugal. I got to make out with one of the Austrians, my first foreigner. He was very relaxed with sleepy eyes and permanent pot high. I imagine he’s some sort of public official back home now, he just had to get some partying out of his system.

About two months into my time on the island I did what a lot of seasonal workers did and got a second job. I was hired to be a hostess for a restaurant (now closed) and managed to also be designated as the karaoke host. For any of you that have worked restaurant jobs, you know that a lot of bed hopping goes on. This was my first foray into this business so I didn’t go hog wild. However, I did manage to catch the eye of two men. The first was M. He was tall with long, dark curly hair. When I think of him, I think of the saxophone player with the oiled up muscles and long hair that appeared in “Lost Boys” (see the picture immediately below). M. bounced back and forth between Naples, FL and Mackinac Island to cash in on patrons parting with big tips while on vacation. Normally M. was very crabby; I chalk this up to him being in his mid-30’s and having to work with youngsters like me. But at some point he lightened up and started flirting with me, and eventually worked up to asking me back to his place. It was my first time with an older guy, especially baggage like his – he had an ex-wife from England and a baby, and he was deeply wounded from their divorce. M. was passionate and strong. He also wanted to jump into a relationship. I wasn’t so sure because he was older, he was still planning on leaving at the end of September, and I simply did not have a lot of dating experience. I still remember the walk of shame back to my apartment in the early morning. My hair was tangled, my mascara and eyeliner were everywhere but on my eyes, I was wearing the previous day’s clothes…and wouldn’t you know it, some customers I had helped the previous day were the first people to see (and recognize) me.

TimCapello

The next night he wasn’t working, and all of the sudden a British waiter, S., became very flirty with me. He talked me into going back to his place that night. I know, I know – two nights in a row, different guys – slow your roll down! But again, I was largely inexperienced with dating and flattered that another handsome man found me attractive. S. had blue eyes and dark wavy hair, and his features reminded me of a much cuter Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. He gave me a massage with the best smelling body oil I still haven’t been able to find since and we put the Sade album “Love Deluxe” on repeat to sleep to the rest of the night. S. was brooding and dark, and confessed that he was still hurt by his recent breakup with his long-term girlfriend, Jackie, who was supposed to be traveling with him while they worked their way around the world to Australia. We talked about the possibility of me taking her place and the logistics of trying to earn cash without a work visa. The next morning when we woke and cuddled, I informed him that I had been intimate with our co-worker the night before our night together. S. explained to me that M. was outright rude to him simply because his accent reminded M. of his ex-wife, and that this would likely cause problems at work, but I would have to decide between the two of them.

S. was talking about a future with me; M. only wanted to forget his past. That night, all three of us happened to be working at the restaurant. M. was very excited to see me – he was dressed up and wearing cologne and a huge smile. M. and S. took turns hanging out at my hostess station and flirting but keeping away from each other. I was torn. I still cringe from this, but I finally made up my mind and told M. that I had decided to date S. M. was hurt and angry, and he had every right to be – there was no way he could have known what I was up to the night after we had been together. I am still not convinced that I made the right decision and I wonder how different things would be now if I had gone the other way.

S. and I had our share of fun. One of my best memories with S. is that a co-worker offered to let us use her car to take a trip to a city two hours away from the island. S. insisted on driving first because he had made it a point to get an international driver’s license, but after a few scary turns into oncoming traffic, he pulled over and begged me to drive. We spent the day shopping in Traverse City and then headed back. The co-worker failed to tell me that her car was leaking transmission fluid. When I got to Mackinac Bridge, the fifth longest suspension bridge in the world, the car suddenly began to decelerate, despite me having the gas pedal to the floor. S. woke up in the passenger seat when cars began honking at me. He was yelling at me to stop slowing down, and I was yelling that I wasn’t doing it on purpose, something was wrong with the car. We made it across the bridge going 10 mph and ended up coasting into the first parking lot off of the bridge, which happened to be a hotel. We had missed the last ferry and so had to stay there for the night. S. did the best thing a boyfriend has ever done, which was go out and buy tampons for me at a convenience store because I was not prepared for my period to start that night. He also scored a pizza for our dinner.

S. and I dated until the very end of the season before the first snowflake fell. Instead of taking me with him across the globe, though, he broke up with me. He was still hoping to reconcile with Jackie and was convinced he would see her in Australia. I still remember the day he left. The main street was very quiet and it was an overcast, windy day. I was watching out my window onto the street because I knew which ferry he would be taking, and there he was walking his slouched-over British walk with his big travel bag on his shoulder, not looking anywhere but straight ahead. I wanted to yell goodbye to him but instead watched him as long as I could before he disappeared into the ferry while I cried big, fat tears.

Now that I am older and bed-bound, I lament the fact that I will never have the opportunity to choose between S. and M. again.

(Thank you to George Bernard Shaw for the title quote.)