Vanilla Man

I was sweet sixteen and never been kissed. I would be seventeen in a few weeks. I wanted that damn kiss before the day of reckoning when I turned seventeen. There was a party going on in teenage land that my brother was going to. All the cool kids were going to be there. I begged my eighteen year old brother to take me. He finally relented as I was making him miserable with my excessive pleas. I was hoping to get closer to that kiss. There I was walking into my first “real” party. I remember it felt like my coming out party in manner of a John Hughes movie (pick any one of them).


Dont you forget about me! Whats your name again?

I didn’t know anyone there except my brother and he did not speak to me the entire time. Well, it wouldn’t be cool to socialize with one’s sister. I understood that. I was trying to act cool too. I was sitting there all alone acting like I really wanted it that way. I might have acted a little too cool since only one person spoke to me. She was trying to find out about my brother. YUK! Then, I saw him. Yes, that’s him over there looking at me with that “who is she?” look, my Vanilla Man.

Well, he was really good-looking. Everyone thought he looked like Tom Cruise. He really did too. He had arrived very late and the party was breaking up. My brother and I were getting ready to leave. He had seen my brother telling me that we were going to leave soon. Vanilla Man then asked my brother if he and I were dating – EWWWWWW! He thought I was dating my brother. That is disgusting. He was happy about the answer and came right over and asked me out – the movies next Saturday night. Yeah! Maybe I would get kissed before I turned seventeen years old after all. What a stupid yardstick!

He took me to see a really stupid movie too. I can’t remember the name of the film but it was about professional skiers and there was a lot of bared breasts and illusionary sex going on. It was pretty boring. I thought about the kiss through the whole movie. He is gonna kiss me I just knew it. And it’s gonna be so cool and the next day I would call my best friend and give explicit details about everything. I was so naive. Still am, in a lot of ways actually. Well, the movie was over “Whaddya wanna do now?” he asks. I replied, “I dunno, what do you want to do?” So, we took a drive and then we parked.

So, he puts the car in park. He turns towards me and then it was all tongue for the next thirty minutes or so. Unga Bunga! It wasn’t a very magical experience but it wasn’t unpleasant either. I kind of felt suffocated by his tongue at first. It took me a minute to figure out to draw breath through my nose. That’s better. It was kind of yucky all that moisture but then it was all right. I realized I was in a little over my head. He was a gentleman though for the most part. He did cop a feel, over the clothes.

Do you want to know why he’s called Vanilla Man? You do, don’t you? Well you will have to wait till the end of the story. Sorry, no backsies.

So, just like that we were dating exclusively. I don’t know. Why not? I’ll have a boyfriend. I was so diffident back then. Whatevs! I remember sitting in band. Oh, yes I was in the High School band. I played the clarinet. I was awful, second string second to last seat. I worked just hard enough not be dead last. When I first started playing, I was first string first seat. Clarinet playing is an artful endeavor but ultimately I just wasn’t really interested. I just did it to do it and we had a clarinet in the family. So, there you go. This one time, in band camp … no way, not a clarinet! I couldn’t resist the “American Pie” reference.

Anyway in band, I sat next to this girl, Yvette. All the guys liked her. She was a girlie girl. She did have a graceful way of being sort of effortless. I could see why guys were attracted to her. Anyway, she was in the grade above me and had dated Vanilla Man. “Oh, so you’re dating so and so, huh?” she said. I replied, “Yes we are going steady.” She says, “Oh, that’s nice. So and so is a really nice guy. He just was not for me, ya know.” “No, what do you mean?” I was genuinely curious. “Well, he’s really cute and all. He’s just not that exciting.” I was thoughtful thinking of what Vanilla Man and I had been doing. He took me out every weekend to the movies or dinner or parties or gatherings. He bought me gifts all time. In the summertime, he would bring me a bouquet of flowers from his farm. See! He was a good guy. So, I didn’t agree with it being unexciting. She saw my face and basically said something like boring might be fine for me but not for her but she said it in a nice Yvette kind of way so I wasn’t pissed.


Should I listen to the Chili Peppers and just give it away?

You know how things people say leave a mark on your brain. You replay it over and over but don’t seem to really be paying attention to it.

Well, he’s just not that exciting

Anyway, it was a few months later and we were still going strong for the most part. Anyway, one night we were playing a drinking game, “Quarters” with another couple and I got a little tipsy. So, we made out afterwards. He was all over me like an animal. But I was so drunk I don’t remember much except kissing and groping. I don’t even remember how I got home. No, we DID NOT have sex that I know for sure.

I remember waking up the next morning and I went straight to the bathroom. In an effort to de-fog my brain, I figured I would splash some water on myself. I was washing my face when I caught my reflection in the mirror. Good lord, what the hell is that? No, seriously, what the hell is that? What is that all over my throat? Oh my lord, I looked like someone beat me up in the freakin’ neck. That son of a bitch hoovered me. It was world’s biggest (and ugliest) hickey right there in front of me in that mirror. And, it was on my neck!!!

How the hell am I going to explain this to my parents? “What’s that on your neck, sweetheart.” I reply, “The weirdest thing happened I actually fell on my neck on to a vacuum cleaner and it sucked on me for a good hour and left that bruise.” Thank goodness it was winter. I wore turtlenecks for two weeks. I did get teased by this one guy until the hickey went away because the bruise went up underneath my damn chin. Every day in health class, “What is that underneath your chin? Is it a growth or something?” Every day he would ask me how my growth was doing. I really would have liked to punch him right in that smug goofy assed expression. POW! There’s your growth, ya smug ass bastard.

That summer I got a driver’s license. I was having a lot of fun hanging with my friends and going to the movies and to dinners and to parties with them. And I was beginning to realize what Yvette meant by “not that exciting”. Vanilla Man wasn’t a boring person. He just was a person of simple tastes and amusements. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. I was into the arts and writing and trying new things. He was an outdoorsman. He enjoyed hunting and sports and more traditional pursuits. Well as time went on, he wanted to become better acquainted with me if you know what I mean.

I didn’t want to. I just didn’t feel it. I liked being with him but not all the way. I had thought I would have to get married if I had sex with him and that prospect scared the hell out of me. Marriage I mean. I realized that marriage was very serious and should only be for two people who were well suited for one another. No way was I going to follow in either course that laid before me – marriage or bank teller – as if those were my only options. But at that time it did appear that those were my only paths in life that were expected of me.

I have a plethora of female cousins, all of them ten to twenty years older than me. They all got married before twenty-one. Most of them did not go on to higher education as they got married fresh out of high school. I didn’t want that life. Eventually, marriage would be great but not now. I wanted to go to school and get a job doing something I was remotely interested in and traveling and most of all living on my own. I very much wanted that. I wanted to know that I could take care of myself in the real world. Doing things myself is a major theme in my life. “Bugger off, I can do it myself.”

So Vanilla Man was getting more serious and I was getting less serious with each passing date. It grew difficult going through the motions as he shared more of his emotions. One date in particular sparked my determination to end it with him…

He picked me up in his Chrysler LeBaron. He spent all day cleaning it. It was a very hot evening and we decided to go out for ice cream. While he was in the store ordering our sundaes, a woman was admiring his car. She struck me as quite odd. Then, Vanilla Man walked out with our sundaes and handed me mine. The woman asked, “Is this a new car?” He said “No, but I just washed it.” She was so enamored of the car. She said, “Are the windows rolled up? Oh, my goodness I thought they were rolled down. I can’t even see the glass you cleaned the car so well.” Another one of those imprints

Can’t even see the glass….

over and over again. He says, “Thanks” to the strange woman and he gets in the car with me and we are eating our sundaes. My sundae was gooey hot fudge with rocky road and chocolate chip ice cream scoops covered in nuts and whipped cream and cherry on top. I was really enjoying it. Then, I looked over to see what he was eating. I kept staring at his cup as I couldn’t make out what was in his sundae.

I saw white and more white and a bright red cherry on top. I couldn’t take it. I wanted to know what he was eating. So, I asked, “Did you get a sundae or just a cup of vanilla ice cream with whipped cream on top?” He replied, “No, I got a sundae.” I asked, “What’s in it?” He said, “Vanilla ice cream, marshmallow topping (what the f….), and whipped cream.” If I could have seen my expression, it wouldn’t have been of disgust but one of complete incredulity. I just simply couldn’t understand that sundae. It didn’t make sense to me. If only he had put nuts on it, maybe things could have been different. I remember sitting in a daze for a bit but then I became resolute to end it with him.

When I think about it, he was a lot like his choice in sundae – very sweet but nothing that interested me. We broke up two weeks later. I like to tell people it’s because of the vanilla sundae since it seems to make people laugh. But, really it was because we were two different people who could never really get on well, not for the long haul anyway. He could never make me happy and I would make his life miserable if we had ever gotten married. There are many things in life that are just not meant to be. And, I still feel a vanilla sundae is one of them.

This is a true story from my perspective anyway.

A Ghost Hunt in York

Itinerary

Itinerary

Many years ago I visited York, England. I was on a “if it’s Tuesday it must be Belgium” kind of tour of the British Isle. My traveling companion was my anal retentive sister. She actually made itineraries for each day of our trip. The only thing missing from the schedule was time to go to the bathroom. I’m completely serious. A single line item read something like “12:30 pm -1:30 pm lunch at a pub see attached for choices”. You can just get the sense of how tightly clenched her butt cheeks are just from that single statement. Relax, release, enjoy!

Our first night in York we planned to go on a ghost walking tour at 7:30 pm exactly according to the schedule. I’ve always been fascinated by the supernatural. Oh, the prospects I’d imagined. We had visited some areas in York that day and heard about its medieval history. It’s so freakin’ old that ghosties are everywhere so I was hearing. I really recommend going on a ghost tour if you ever go to York. We had a great tour guide and it made it even more fun.

The tour guide was striking for he actually looked like an honest to God human ghost. He definitely cleared six feet. He wore all black. His skin and hair were startlingly WHITE, seriously white. We’ll call him Casper because I don’t remember his name. He was sexy (I know but he was) and he was very funny. Well, anyway I thought he was cute. Found out later my sister thought so too. She’s such a pain in the ass with stuff like that.

Casper

Casper, the friendly tour guide

Anyway, while dreamy ghostie man was conducting the tour. I noticed a cute a little couple, seriously little couple, maybe four feet tall each. I found out later that they were Welsh. The man was missing a few teeth and either we was seriously intoxicated or he really talked all slurry and blubbery all the time. I thought he and was wife were so adorable because they were so freakin’ happy. I actually thought he and his wife were just walking around with us and didn’t realize they had joined a tour group.

Then, the pivotal part of the tour, when I went from hunting ghosts to hunting for sex. Well, not exactly sex, I just wanted to make out with someone. Is that so terrible? Well, we reached the part of the tour where the unsuspecting tourists are taken down the dark deserted alley. We had just been told of a ghost beast that haunted that particular area and oh yeah, we better watch out. Casper looked at me and grabbed me by my shoulders (“how’s your father!”), ushered me to the beginning of the line and declared, “Colonists first!” See, at the beginning of the tour, he had asked us where we were from and Long Island, New York was my response. He gave me that look like I’m gonna see you naked later and I was titillated to say the least. He then directed my sister behind me. He might have given her that same look. Cheeky, Casper!

Anyway, I was all like “What is gonna happen, now?”. Little did I know as the group was following my sister and I, the tour guide went down a parallel alley and was hiding on the stairs behind a dumpster in the area where the two allies intersected. The exact same spot I was walking towards. So, I finally reached the intersection. I heard a noise and looked to my left and there was Casper jumping from the stairs toward me and my sister. I ran like hell screaming at the top of my lungs the entire way through the rest of the alley. Casper, the friendly ghost, gave chase.

I turned my head round at one point during the chase and in manner of a “Bugs Bunny” cartoon looked directly into Casper’s eyes and he started to scream at me and flail his arms about. I then screamed at him and turned my head to look where I was going so as not to get run over by cars as I was headed toward the street. I screamed bloody murder as I ran out onto the actual street. I might have jumped over a car. I can’t be sure. Somehow, I was on a sidewalk still sprinting. But, as I was scared I also knew this wasn’t a ghost it was my tour guide but my natural reaction to screaming people chasing me is to run like hell.

Anyway he tore ass to catch up to me and grabbed me and hugged me like in a restraining manner right there in the middle of the sidewalk. I liked it. I felt tingly all over, even in the loins. Once I acknowledged I was caught, I noticed he was shaking. I realized after a minute that he was laughing uncontrollably but he was still hugging me tightly (Yeah!). I think he did not want me to strike him for I surely would have if he let me go. I might have still been screaming too I can’t remember. After a few moments as he was able to catch his breath, he looked at me and told me that I made his whole career as a tour guide. He had dreamt of a reaction like that. My brain was scrambled I really wanted to keep hugging him but he had to go back to work.

The Welsh man approached me and laughed heartily and said something utterly incoherent. I started laughing hysterically because of the whole heightened emotion thing. It was a really funny sight. I can just imagine what it looked like. I was walking around through the rest of the tour in a kind of daze wondering if he would ask me to go out for a drink. How could he not? After all, he wants to see me naked.

Well, the tour was over. I went up to thank him and his expression was definitely clothed in a see ya around sort of wink. What? How disappointing! I was really feeling that one too. Don’t touch me if you’re not gonna kiss me, stinkin’ tease. So what did I do with all that sexual tension that needed to be released. Disappointed and exhilarated, I and my sister went to the pub that Georgie Porgy supposedly inhabits. On the tour, we heard his ghost tickles ladies in the powder room. I didn’t get lucky with Georgie Porgy either. He wasn’t feeling me and I didn’t feel him.

da stooges

Larry, Mo, and Curly

After my longest bathroom visit ever, my sister and I then had drinks with three gentlemen from York. None of them were really appealing to me. Mostly because they were too serious and drunk off their ass, a bad combination. I was picking which one I would make out with when one of them asked me why Long Island was called Long Island. So, I replied, “Cuz it’s long and it’s an island.” Well that was greeted with disgust and not guffaw as I anticipated. One of them, Mo I think, said, “You yanks know nothin’ of your own ‘istory, do you. C’mon now don’t you want to know the derivation of its name.” I looked the man in the eyes and said, “Dude, I was gonna make out with you but now I’m leaving.” I didn’t really say that. That would have been cool if I did. I think I just said, “No, not really.” I gave my sister the “let’s blow this popsicle stand” look. She returned the look. After all it was getting close to midnight and we needed to be asleep by 12:30 am according to the itinerary.

I was feeling a little tipsy. On the drive back to our hotel, I was romanticizing my prospects for the next day. After all my name is Catherine and we would be visiting the Moors in the morning. Those prospects seem much better than Casper, Georgie Porgy and the three stooges from York combined. Doesn’t Heathcliff just hang out in the Moors like all the time looking for someone named Catherine? Although, I have to say Heathcliff scares hell out of me. He really needs to mellow a bit but it could be fun for a day. Anyway, the Moors were beautiful but alas no Heathcliff just a smug ass goat on the hillside. Even without any romantic prospects or evidence of the supernatural, I still managed to have a lot of fun on my trip. Cheers!

Related: Poem, “Feet in London

Scent

The rush…
Extremely potent, like the feel of water racing round my ears.
I’m drowning in desire want so bad to draw near.

The smell is penetrating, goes very deep within.
Lost in the fragrance, I can barely begin.

Closer.
Maybe I can feel with my fingertips
what my mouth wants to swallow.

Settling.
Fleeting graze ‘gainst my lips;
it’s timidity leaving me hollow

Brazenly cupping, feels lush in my hand.
The bud, surrendering, seems unusually grand.

Tracing circles on the outside; wishing to mesh.
Those inside petals almost better than flesh.

Flower

As tinkerbell Lies Dying

tinkerbell

tinkerbell

I dedicate this poem to Belfast David, a supporter of fairies and wood-nymphs everywhere. I hate technology yet how can I live without it. Maybe I should go join the Amish but I really like my laptop and they have no outlets. That’s my problem, among others, stuck in the middle of reality and mystery and the truth like a zipper that connects the two. I find myself deeply conflicted on this score.

Silence in a magicless world

Breath abatement

Will the poison overtake her or will there be applause, affirmation for make-believe?

Distracted by technology, no one has time to applaud
The lavish qualities of mythology and fantasy
There is no time to worship a deity

Twittering text and the tapping of fingers.
Fast cash to spend on designer outfits.
Who are you wearing, darling?

Perspectives drastically opposed.
Secular versus the non
In the face of it all
Tink’s last breath falls
as a viral video explodes.

How many hits on youtube?

Cell phones blossoming from ears.

Replacing the crowdless heavens with cleaned up landfills.

What is the priority? All my worries transcend to fear.