A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD
When I was 10, I wrote a love letter to a girl who lived down my street, which she returned six weeks later, torn into tiny pieces. I wrote a poem about it, at age 17, which came in second in a national competition, landing me on the cover of our local newspaper. Unfortunately, I'd put the girl's name in the title of the poem, and she called the newspaper—asking, essentially, what the fuck I was doing writing poetry about her. So the newspaper called me and arranged for the two of us to be "reconciled," and to run another story about it on the front cover the next week, with a photo. The whole thing was more embarrassing than the original torn-letter experience, and my last year in high school was dogged by cries of "There goes the poetry dick!" Worse thing was, I never even got to kiss her.
CHEAT AND REPEAT
My first boyfriend went to college a few hours away from me, and I'd visit him. We'd go to parties and girls would say hi. Some would stare at him and then look away. I thought I was paranoid.
He'd tell a story and some girl would pop up in it. "Yeah, so Sean and I went to this party and this girl Karen was there. She's way too skinny."
"Huh," I would think. "Why did he say that?"
He came home once for school break and had a party at his house. I wasn't invited because it was for the guys. There was a stripper there. He mentioned the next day that she had "fucked-up teeth." This was after I'd spent the morning after the party throwing rocks at his window, trying to get him to answer the door. He never did. He just called me five hours later, claiming to have slept through it.
After he gave me Chlamydia, I finally dumped him. He called me constantly, sobbing, but I didn't care.
Then one day he sent me a bunch of creepy emails about how he was going to "end it," and a bunch of other after-school special kind of crap. Later that evening he called me, incoherent. He told me he'd taken a bunch of sleeping pills and drank a fifth of Jack Daniels. I called his friend Sam, who lived in the same dorm and said, "Go get John and take him to the hospital. He needs to have his stomach pumped."
I had two huge papers due the next day, and I weighed my options. Should I tell my teachers that my ex-boyfriend attempted suicide last night, and try to get an extension? I kept imagining how lame that sounded. I couldn't muster up any emotion, so that made it sound even worse. I gave up the excuses, wrote the two papers, and got As on both of them.
LITTLE MRS. PIGGY
Wren Ramirez (a name I still find beautiful and intoxicating) had dark hair, freckles, and wide green eyes. Nowadays, her features would make that little cartoon wolf inside my head stand up on his back legs, pant, and howl "ARR-OOOH-GA," then pour water over his head to cool off. But in second grade, she was just another girl, one of the many weird longhaired things that ran around and shrieked a lot and weren't good at tetherball.
One night, out of the blue, I dreamt of our marriage. It was a big one, in a scenic, woodsy location, and all our friends and family were there. There was no end-of-wedding kiss in the dream, nor anything of a sexual nature whatsoever. My feeble little brain didn't even know what that stuff was yet. I woke up, shook it off, went to eat my Lucky Charms, and completely forgot about it... until I actually encountered Wren Ramirez in class about an hour later. One look into her green eyes and the dream wedding came howling back into my mind like a tornado. I felt somehow simultaneously elated and excited and terrified in her presence, a combination of sensations unlike anything I'd ever felt.
It's one thing to have a crazy crush on someone and desire them carnally, to fantasize about kissing them and touching them and licking them—but it's a much stranger and more unsettling experience to have a crazy crush on someone and have no idea what it is you're even feeling, or what the options are to make it go away. My second-grade approach to the situation was to duck my head and run to my desk, stealing furtive glances at her throughout the rest of the day and coming weeks.
My brief love affair ended on Halloween. She came as a pig, and I have an extremely vivid memory of watching her bawl outside the classroom because something was wrong with her costume, snot and tears dribbling down her face. This pathetic display was a big turnoff, and I felt my crush dissipate like smoke. The marriage was off—though weirdly, I have never dreamt of marriage again, at any point in my life, to anyone.
I dated this guy—let's call him DB. We decided to rendezvous at his parents' rustic lakeside cabin—me driving six hours from Tacoma, him driving six hours from Bozeman, Montana. We were to meet in the middle and screw each other's brains out for three straight days over Memorial Day Weekend.
On my drive over I reminisced about our other meetings at this cabin—it was a nostalgic place for us, a place we'd snuck off to many times. Six tedious and randy hours later, I parked my car at the top of the steep and tricky driveway and walked down to the cabin. DB's car was already there. I saw his camera and wallet on the porch, so I knew he was inside.
But did I see DB waiting for me with open arms when I creaked open the door? Nope. He was too busy fucking some bent-over trollop on the bed. I don't even know who this bitch was, but he was fucking the holy shit outta her. What happens next is kinda like that scene in Marnie where the screen goes blood red. I can't remember what I started yelling, but it went on forever. I threw his wallet at him, too. I'm not sure if his camera survived my wrath—I have no recollection.
DB pushed the girl away and rushed to get his pants on. I slammed the door in his face and started running toward the driveway. But my escape route was blocked. Who should be ambling down the driveway but DB's parents, grandma, and uncle, ready to get their Memorial Day Weekend party on? I'd been on family vacations with these people, and there was no way I was going to have a polite conversation with them after DB had just humiliated the crap out of me. So I made a run for it.
Crying and running, like some horror movie bimbo, I slogged through 300 yards of blackberry bushes up a near-vertical incline to get to my car. My arms and legs were torn to shreds. Growing up in a town with a population of 5,000, I run into DB's parents whenever I go home. To this day, they still apologize for their son.
TAKING A HINT
It was Easter of 2006. I was unemployed and dating someone I couldn't stand. Why? Because he had a good job and a life plan—both things to which I aspired. I never liked his name, his look, his walk, or his smell. I didn't like how cheesy he was. I didn't like the movies he watched or the books he read, or especially how he repeated the same story 400 times and it was never once funny.
After too many months and countless abusive fights, one could safely say I was "done." Cooked. But I knew we needed one final blowout before it could really be over. This relationship needed to explode in a giant fireball. At least at the end things might get interesting.
The two of us attended a friend's Easter party together. We drank and ate. I avoided him by smoking on the porch. He found me outside and smoked, too. He was trying to spite me: I was supposed to believe that all the heartache I'd caused him turned him into a smoker. And not just a smoker—but a four-pack-a-day smoker. Four packs a day. Give me a fucking break.
Anyway, I couldn't escape him, and every time I saw him I wanted to smash his face in. I got drunker, he got drunker, everyone got drunker, and then the party was over. Except, as is the case with party-folk, a few of us didn't want to stop partying, so we made a plan to head to the local tavern. My two girlfriends and I were psyched to rage, and I told Mr. Annoying that I was going with them. Being the annoying person he was, he invited himself along.
The girls and I chilled at the bar and swapped stories. We ordered shots of whiskey. We laughed and had fun, and I ignored Mr. Annoying as best I could. Then he chimed in. "I have a great story," he said. "The funniest story."
"No you don't," I said. "None of your stories are funny."
He ignored me and tried to tell whatever story it was, but I kept antagonizing him. "Dude, we are talking, will you just can it. Nobody wants to hear your boring-ass story." He persisted anyway, as was his nature, and I rolled my eyes and went to the bar for more drinks. At the bar were a bunch of drunken dudes, one with a cowboy hat and a handle-bar mustache. "Do you want to come hang out with me and my friends?" I asked him.
"Sure," he said.
"Do you want to watch me and my friend Laura make out?" I asked.
"Yeah," he said.
Handlebar was quite into the display we put on, and had no problem ignoring Mr. Annoying in the corner with smoke coming out of his ears. Laura, Handlebar, and I laughed and laughed. Handlebar went to get us some more beer, and then suddenly, from his corner, Mr. Annoying came diving across the table, trying to strangle me. In his defense, I'd say I deserved it, but the bar full of drunken guys didn't agree. All of them got up off their barstools, stuck out their chests, and mobbed after him like they were going to kill him. Mr. Annoying went running out the door like a little girl.
THE GREEN-EYED MONSTER
A friend of mine had set me up with a friend of his. He had a crush on her too, but he'd known her for some time, and he knew there wasn't any hope for the two of them—romantically, anyway. They were just good friends—like a brother and sister.
So he hooked us up. Things seemed fine. One summer night the three of us went to Chopsticks, which was close to the building where he and I both had apartments. After about six too many drinks and a fantastic rendition of "Sister Christian," things started to get nasty. Unlike usual, he couldn't find someone to go home with.
He showed back up at the table piss drunk and vile. He spat insults, which at first I brushed off. I knew that he got this way, and it didn't really bother me. We'd been best of friends for years.
He kept talking, though, and I started to talk back, I don't remember what about. He tried putting a cigarette out on my cheek. The girl and I decided to leave. We didn't want to watch him hurt himself, and thought maybe getting out of there would be the best way to blow out the match. He followed us.
I'm no fighter, but I'm 6'3" and he's 5'7" and shit-housed. He swung at me—a haymaker all the way from yesterday. He missed, and I cranked him right in the nose. He went down into a heap and stayed there—weeping a little bit, probably more from embarrassment and delusion than pain.
She and I started walking home. We were almost back to the apartments when he sped by on his bike, blood flowing from his nose. As we rounded the last corner I heard a crash. Sticking halfway out my bedroom window into the courtyard was a steel bench. Everything was dead quiet. Glass was everywhere (I'd still be finding shards some six months later).
Most of the glass had fallen on my bed, which was right below the window. Even if I'd had a vacuum, it was too late to clean it up. So, she invited me to her place. I think it was the first time I ever spent the night.
I was born gay. And here's what happened when I dated a jock named Jason: Jason and I grew up together and lived across the street from each other. One fateful Boy Scout weekend trip included Jason and I... um... erecting a tent together to share for the weekend. So after we get erected (the tent, folks, the tent), Jason gets all coy and goes, "Wanna kiss my penis?" and I said, "Um, yeah, sure, whatever." And so I did. We were kissing each other's penises the rest of the weekend. Now, Jason had a girlfriend named Trish, but Jason and I were blowing each other every day after school. One day Jason came over and said, "I have something to tell you." He goes all red in the face and says Trish is pregnant. Her folks freaked the fuck out, and they made—and I do mean made—her marry Jason. I had to wait a year, until college, before I got back into kissing penises—that time it was with a teacher, but that's a whole different story.
HIS MOM, HIS LOVER
So I was on the East Coast, working for this start-up design company. My first day there, I learned through the grapevine that two of my coworkers were dating—which wouldn't be a big deal, except it was a mother and son. I was told the two were in a romantic relationship, and were currently living together. Due to his mother's young age, he was put up for adoption as a baby, and 20 years later, they reunited. One thing led to another, they hit it off, and fell in love. He moved in with her and her two kids (from another marriage). To say this arrangement caused an uncomfortable work environment would be an understatement.
Especially after they asked me to join them in a threesome.
VALENTINE'S DAY: A WARNING
I'm a bartender by trade, and every year I see guys at the bar, grumbling about Valentine's Day. How it's a stupid holiday, that they're just going to ignore it, and how their girlfriends can just suck it up. And every year I tell them it's in their best interests to reconsider. Your woman may act like she doesn't care, but she does—at least a little.
Let me tell you about a memorable Valentine's I had. I had been dating a guy from work, "Pete." I'm the first to admit that Pete's a loser. I mean this guy actually bought my birthday present at the dollar store. I let it go because he was perpetually broke. Valentine's Day was on its way, and I told him all I wanted was to hang out with him after my happy hour shift. Guess what didn't happen? Pete went off that afternoon to score a bag, then proceeded to ignore my calls. The night shift bartender crowed about all the nice things her man had done for her while I seethed into my after-shift drink. Out of nowhere, my ex, "Ramsey," called. I told him how Pete had blown me off, and Ramsey was more than happy to take his place. Bang! A cuckold was born.
That weekend Pete would try to call me after his closing shift, as usual, and Ramsey and I would laugh at my ringing phone from our Reverse Cowgirl position. Pete thought he was The Man and that these things couldn't happen to him, so he assumed I was just passed out. Any twinge of guilt I felt was eased when I remembered Valentine's Day.
You are probably thinking, "My woman would never do that to me!" That's your ego talking. I don't come off as being that way, and in fact, I wasn't—until my man decided I wasn't even worth his time on Valentine's Day. I don't care how awesome you think you are; every girl out there knows your sausage isn't the only one in the supermarket.
Blowjob-wise, 1997 was a good year for me.
On one particular night, however, I must have forgotten to drench myself in Drakkar Noir (or mistakenly used my roommate's Jean Nate), because at 1:30 am I was suitor-less.
Even with my shirt open to my midriff, no one had approached me all night. At last, as Toni Braxton's "Un-Break My Heart" was spinning, a man with hair resembling Michael Bolton's neared, eyeing my chest. He liked what he saw. And I, wearing a foggy pair of gimlet goggles, forgave his long hair long enough to plow his ass in my Eastside walk-up.
Fortunately, he left soon after I finished, saying he had to get home by morning. I figured I'd never see him again. On the contrary, he returned five hours later, relentlessly ringing my doorbell.
I gagged upon seeing him. Daylight revealed that he had Jim Varney's body and Kid Rock's face topped with—indeed—Michael Bolton's hair. My initial shock distracted me from the elderly woman standing next to him.
"Good morning, great to see you again! My mother and I were just going to breakfast and wanted to invite you. She always likes to meet my new boyfriends."
I gagged again, yet outstretched my hand to his mother. No response.
He grabbed her hand and placed it in mine. "Oh, Mom's blind." She was also apparently mute.
"So, how about breakfast?"
My fabricated answer involving brunch with my own mother seemed wise at the time. Mentioning my mother only encouraged him to leave me daily phone messages, suggesting we take our moms out together. Two weeks later (after not returning any of his calls), I found him on my doorstep. I told him to fuck off:
"You're 45 years old! You should be able to take a motherfucking hint when someone doesn't call you back for two fucking weeks. And don't fucking call someone your boyfriend after one night, especially if he refuses to kiss you! And you certainly don't bring your mother over at eight o'clock in the fucking morning! It's too bad you're such a crazy bitch, because your mother seems really sweet."
Maybe he took the hint—it's hard to gauge the reaction of someone after you've slammed the door in their face.