I have three stories that I'm itching to tell. The problem is, each has the potential to portray me in an unflattering light. They involve the following topics:
They all involve men.
One involves three men.
One is embarrassing.
One is reckless.
The other is down right ridiculous.
Come to think of it, they are all embarrassing, reckless and ridiculous.
took place during my late 20's.
took place last summer.
took place two weeks ago.
Before I can write a story, I tell it. Typically, I tell it more than once. My husband has heard them all a dozen or more times and, like Pavlov's dog, has learned to respond accordingly.
It's helpful to get an raw reaction. If the response is repulsive, I tone it down. If the story insights laughter at me, instead of with me, I turn it around. And if the story fails to hold the listeners attention, I let it go.
I want to tell these three stories without focusing on what you'll think of me. To accomplish this, I'm going to pretend that I'm writing fiction.
To say I was insecure as a young woman is an understatement. My misconstrued mirror image confirmed that my thighs were fat. My hair was flat. I was cute, not pretty. I was witty, not smart. I had a tainted past, lacked a formal education, was not well traveled, and had no accolades I could boast about.
To counteract the compulsion of feeding my self loathing, I journaled. After purging my flaws and vowing to repent, I wrote poetry about lost love and short stories about the idiosyncrasies of a mundane existence. Writing was something I wanted to be good at and yet I lacked the desire to read or be taught.
As a young child my mother bought the complete collection of Dr. Seuss books and I was not amused. In grade school, the only book I remember reading was Charlotte's Web. In 9th grade, we read Diary of Ann Frank, out loud, and in high school, my only required reading was Catcher in the Rye, which I never completed.
When I moved into my first apartment I had a bookshelf in my living room and no books. Thanks to a classic novel offer from my fathers borrowed Mobil credit card, I ordered a collection of the classics that included Yeats, Faulkner, Hawthorne, Tolstoy and Twain. I never read more than a page or two, instead, I bent the binders back and forth, fanned through the chapters, and earmarked the tips of every 100 or so pages.
The books were more than decorative, I was convinced that by surround myself with the works of literary geniuses I could channel their talent.
By the time I hit my late twenty's, my plan was to become a stay at home wife and a romance novelist. My journals revealed a deeper truth. What I wanted was to feel worthy of being loved.
I dated a lot and I wasn't picky. Everyone deserved a second glance. I had a rating system that I'd tally up on my fingers, sometimes being so bold as to jot it down on a bar napkin, in clear sight. Anyone still in a plus category after two drinks would be given my home phone number.
I was fraternizing with my best friend and coworker at our favorite haunt - the Georgetown Salon in Ridgefield, Connecticut, when a stout (-2) mousey looking man (-2) offered to buy me a drink (+1). And I accepted.
And so our relationship began.
After a romantic dinner, we returned to his home - a renovated former grist mill nestled alongside the Connecticut river. After a tour of his well appointed abode, which included an extensive collection of water lily paintings and photographs, we retired to the living room where he lit a fire and poured from a bottle of what I was told was a rich, rare vintage, Russian River red that he had been saving for a special occasion.
With the fire now roaring and the bottle half empty, he clumsily steered me into his bedroom. As we rounded the corner of his four poster bed, my sweater caught the tip of a heart rimmed, rough-iron, closet door latch and it creaked open - revealing a well organized collection of women's
Cross-dresser I wondered?
The dresses were veiled in clear, dry cleaning plastic and the shoes, although primarily red, were somewhat sensible and looks two sizes too small for his burly feet.
In needed more proof. I turned towards a double wide dresser and, without asking, pulled opened the top drawer. It was filled with fine laced panties and padded bra's.
"Cross-dresser?" I questioned. This time, out loud.
"No, No, NO!" he defended.
He went on to explain the untimely death of his beloved wife. How she suffered. How he missed her. How he deliberately kept this from me in fear that I would pity him.
"How long has it been?" I asked.
"Two years," he sighed.
Quickly, I gathered my things and left vowing never to see him again.
In truth I was jealous. Sure she was dead, but I wanted a man to love me this way. To love me so much that even after two years, he couldn't bare to get rid of my things. That the mere mention of my name brought tears to his eyes. Still, always.
But he was persistent, professing that he was desperate to start over - to build a new life with a lovely, vibrant woman such as I.
To prove this to me, he would put his house on the market, and spend his time at a flat that he recently rented on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
After hearing this, I agreed to meet him for dinner, this time in the city. Afterwards I asked to see his "flat" and he was eager to show that.
It was your typical bachelor pad - sparse, disheveled, and colorless. The closet was filled with suits, ties and starched shirts. The drawers were packed with wrinkled undershirts, shorts, sweatpants and boxers.
Because I wanted love, not sex, and was convinced that, (based on his elfin sized fingers) his paunchy appearance was linked with a petite, gherkin sized penis, I declined his advances. And because I needed to be at work by 9:00 am, and my office was an 45 minute train ride away, I declined his offer to spend the night.
This became our pattern. His advances were met with resistance and like cinderella, I'd leave before the stroke of midnight.
Eventually, my curiosity got the best of me, and after an evening that included flaming shots of tequila and a dimly lit room, I agreed to share his bed.
He was clumsy and his charms were not captivating or climactic. From above, his strained face and passion swept hair reminded me of a troll. Once, in the middle of his hog huffing, I yawned.
I sought refuge in his shower before his buttocks hit the bed sheets. Twenty minutes later I was gone.
The following morning, tucked safely in my bed, I slept through the alarm and after a forty minute shower, two cups of coffee, and four Advil, I arrived at work an hour late and was greeted by a bright yellow note on my desk.
It was an urgent message from the Troll
. I balled up the note and tossed it into the waste paper basket. Less than 10 minutes later, he called again. I declined his call. Five minutes later, he called again, this time, demanding I speak to him.
Reluctantly, I took the call.
He was angry.
"What did you give me!" he spouted.
"Give you?" I asked.
"For Christ's sake women, what did you give me!" he screamed.
I was confused and he was panicked.
"My penis is covered in spots - RED SPOTS!" he roared.
"I'm sorry to hear that," I mumbled, trying my best not to laugh.
"I'm going to the emergency room, tell me what disease you gave me so they can treat me accordingly," he pleaded.
This troll had me seeing red.
"Gave you? Gave YOU! How dare YOU!" I screamed and hung up the phone.
My office consisted of twelve women, most of whom were married longer then I had been born. After hanging up the phone I turned to find all of them huddled behind me, eager to hear the catastrophe of a twenty something single.
They did their best to hide their disapproval behind palm covered, open mouthed gasps. All of them agreed that a trip to the gynecologist was in order and that I should waste no time getting there.
"I'll drive you," offered my coworker and confident, whom I was with the night I met the troll.
Instead of going to the gyno, we went to a local pub for a greasy cheeseburger and a beer or two. We returned tipsy about three hours later.
"He called again!" yelped a coworker.
"What did your doctor say?" asked another.
"It's too early to tell," I lied.
On their insistence, I returned his call. This time he was calm and down right sheepish.
"Oh my," he confessed, "I'm so sorry to have troubled you. This whole mess is rather embarrassing."
He went on to explain how he had grown accustom to my dismissal of his sexual advances. And because of this, he had taken the matter into his own hands - literally.
To get himself in the mood, he fixed himself a bloody mary, topped it off with a limp stalk of celery, three olives and a freshly squeezed lemon. Unfortunately, he forgot to wash his hands after squeezing his lemon and before stroking his gherkin and that, coupled with a lack of lubrication, caused an irritation.
"I truly am sorry," he professed.
Without speaking a word, I hung up the phone.
The following weekend, with the sting of the troll still weighing heavily on my mind, I returned to the Georgetown Salon with my coworker and confident - intent on line dancing my cares away.
There, at a corner table, beside a roaring fire, sat a refined looking redhead and... the troll.
"He wasted no time," said my friend.
Quickly, grabbed the hostesses attention, and quizzed her on the cozy couple.
"Oh that's Mr and Mrs. Turpin," she boasted. "They're regulars here."
"Turpin?" I questioned, "Not Thompson?" I asked.
"Yes, Turpin, I'm certain" she insisted.
I marched up to the bartender and demanded clarification.
"Do you know who that is sitting with Bill?" I asked.
"Bill who?" asked the bartender.
"Bill, Bill Thompson. The man I met here. The man in the corner, with that raunchy looking redhead."
The bartender stretched his head up high, opened his eyes wide, and question, "Do you mean Bob?"
"Bob?" I asked.
"Yes, Bob. Bob Turpin"
"His names not Bill Thompson?"
"No silly," laughed the bartender.
"Who's the women with him?"
"That's his wife."
"His wi-wife!" I stammered.
"Didn't he tell you he was married," roared the bartender.
All the information I needed about the troll could have easily been uncovered, and my embarrassment could have been averted, had I taken the time to quiz the friendly, open-eared, bartender.
Turns out the trolls wife wasn't dead, she was a public relations executive for Aerosmith and often accompanied them while on tour. She had just returned from a 6 month European tour with the band and they were celebrating their reunion with a romantic dinner.
I did what any foolish, scorned woman would do - sent them over two bloody mary's, rimmed in cayenne pepper and lemon, and called it a night.
Silly Morah. A monkey would never fall for a tale as convoluted as that!
or would she???
All rights reserved by Shannon E. Kennedy 2012