The Christmas Date Part 3
By Karen Rempel
George was waxing philosophical again. “I have a trite aphorism that I offer all the time: men are driven by egos, women are driven by emotions.” The first time he said it, I disagreed, gave it some thought, and disagreed again. Now that I had heard it 48 times, I was beginning to believe him. This is called brainwashing.
He said that this storm of ego and emotions caused a lot of fights among the staff-family at the paper. He must have had a fight with someone that morning. “People hate each other. Reason falls like snowflakes in summer.”
I said, “That’s so insightful, George.”
George said, “That’s a good phrase. These things just come to me.” Uh huh. Ego.
But maybe there was something to it. How much does emotion tangle with ego when two people get into bed with each other?
Before I go on to explore this question, I’d like to thank the readers who shared some of the qualities they look for in a romantic partner in response to George’s invitation in Chapter 5. Sally, Margaret, Suzanne, I loved your idiosyncratic wisdom! My dear friend Arthur wrote a list for me that was better than my list. It seems we all agree about the importance of humor.
If you’re just tuning in, I’ve been on a thrilling date night with a British architect with Rolling Stone hair and warm hazel eyes. Not the world’s greatest lip reader, however.
We were back in our posh Euro room at the Standard Hotel. It seemed like the evening began months ago. “Hungry Like the Wolf” was on a repeat loop in my brain.
The moment he’d led me from the dance floor, Keith had taken charge, whisking me down the outside elevator and up the inside elevator with dizzying speed. Or maybe it was his heated kisses on my neck that changed the dimensions of time. My whole body was on fire by the time he opened the door to our room. He took my fur coat and beaded handbag and dropped them on a chair by the gigantic bed. He flipped on the bedside lamp and drew me down onto the fluffy white playground.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment all night,” he said, his voice husky. He sat beside me on the edge of the bed, and pulled my hand to his thigh. Mmm, those muscles!
But before I went on a road trip up the highway, he took my hand and tickled my palm. He lightly spider-stepped up my inner wrist to the sensitive inner elbow. Heat rose eagerly through the blue veins just under my skin.
“Yes, darling,” I whispered.
I did a quick mental check. Condom in my micro beaded handbag, in case he didn’t bring any. Check. Still good on the bladder front. Check. Hormones raging. Check. Good to go. Prudence was hovering warily, but the condom mollified her. She was being a good sport and going along for now.
“Darling, I can’t wait to see you naked,” Keith said. He kissed his way along the sensitive skin from my elbow to my shoulder and slowly tugged the strap of my dress with his teeth, drawing the bodice down to the point of revelation. Girl #1, Marilyn, said “Hello!” He reached behind me to unzip my dress, and girl #2, Rosalind, leaped out to join the party. Both the girls were ready to play, trembling towards his mouth.
Keith took the hint and took the bait. Marilyn has always been the most popular of my two girls. Aiyee! Inferno!! Just the right amount of suction, like the perfect setting on a dustbuster.
“Aaaah!” My body arched towards him for more. Rosalind was feeling left out.
“Shhh,” he said, and gave her what she wanted. Fire down below!
My mind went hazy at this point. I fumbled with buttons, and Keith pulled my dress off, and soon we were naked and floating on a white cloud.
Keith was on his elbow beside me, and we were both trying to annex Poland.
“Did you bring any…?”
His breath was ragged. “You’re like the Volga River.”
He reached for a condom in the bedside table, and unfurled it along his flagpole. I tickled his belly and he pounced on me and occupied my country.
I wrapped my arms around him to draw him close, but my hands encountered a foreign substance on his back. My mind couldn’t compute what I was feeling. I have never. Never, ever. Prudence was in shock. “Never, ever!” she agreed.
Keith’s back was covered with hair. It must have been six inches long. Normally that’s a good number. But not when it refers to my lover’s coarse curling back hair.
“Ewwww!!!!!” This was my inside voice. A duet of Prudence and me, for once in complete agreement.
I wanted to run screaming from the room. But I’m a polite Canadian. Part of the Commonwealth. Lie back and think of England. Plus, I was fairly impaled at this point. Not so easy to make a getaway.
Keith was absorbed in his own pursuits and didn’t notice the shift in my mood.
“We’re having really good sex right now!”
I couldn’t believe my ears.
“We’re having really good sex right now! I am very large.”
Uh huh. Ego. But he was definitely of pleasing proportions.
Keith picked up the pace, and I decided to make the most of the moment. I shut the hairy growth out of my mind, and focused on the fire down below. There was still a small flame. I could work with this.
Suddenly I heard a thud on the pillow beside my ear. It was a kitchen implement. Don’t ask me which one.
Keith didn’t notice and kept pumping. Prudence said, “You have to do something.” What should I do? “I got nothing,” I told her. “Do something,” she insisted.
I tapped Keith on the shoulder. He stopped pumping.
“I think you dropped something.” He couldn’t hear me, but he knew something was wrong. “It’s here on the pillow,” I said, looking towards a small object dimpling the pillow next to my head.
He picked up the implement and somehow reattached it to his head. He resumed pumping.
Okay then. I grasped his biscuits, which were strangely smooth, and got into the rhythm. Maybe this could still work.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Prudence said. “Okay, you can go now,” I told her.
I compartmentalized back hair and kitchen implements and fell back on some of the moves that take me to lift-off. I was afraid to touch his Rolling Stone hair in case something fell out again. I didn’t want to touch his back. But the girls were happy pressing into his chest, and his buns were hot and cross. I hung on and went along for the ride.
When the kitchen implement dropped onto the pillow a second time I was so bummed out. He couldn’t hear my sexy sound effects. Not just garden-variety moaning, but customized statements like “Darling, I am flying on your glorious manhood!”
I didn’t mention the implement jailbreak again. I let it lie. I just thought of Mick Jagger and managed to salute the Union Jack.
Soon after, Keith received the Order of the British Empire and collapsed.
“Darling, that was lovely,” he said, and kissed me sweetly.
I handed him the implement. “Yeah, great, it was really, really great,” I said.
I lay there next to him until the sun came up, then dressed, shoved my party dress into my overnight bag, and fled the scene before he woke.
A few days later, I told him on the phone I didn’t think it was a good idea to go to London together. He seemed to accept it pretty well.
Prudence was another story. “You bought the ticket from London to Barcelona. I want to go to Barcelona. How are we going to get there?” $2,000 later, I had paid for our airfare to London and three nights’ stay at the Bloomsbury Hotel, with a direct flight home from Barcelona to New York. I bleached my hair and headed to Jolly Old E.
London was one discovery after another—all thanks to that pivotal moment when Keith invited me on a romantic getaway and I said, “Darling, I’d love to.” George thought I was crazy to go on my own. Prudence did her best to keep up.
On my last night in London, I went to a Peruvian restaurant for dinner. I asked the bartender about the music that was playing and he told me that punk rock started in Peru in the late ’60s. I said, “Prove it,” and he sold me a double vinyl LP called Peru Bravo, on a UK Peruvian-focused music record label called Tiger Milk Records. The music is more California surf than punk, but it’s an interesting artifact.
Then I went a few doors down to Ronnie’s Jazz Club. Unlike New York, everyone was on the dance floor. Fantastic! I jumped in. Between sets, the band came onto the dance floor too, and the drummer tried to pick me up. We had a lovely chat about healthcare systems in Canada, the UK, and the US, but I declined.
After that, I was drawn into a trailer-wide heavy metal club on my way back to Tottenham Court Road. I ordered a whiskey and sat down to enjoy a solitary nightcap. Soon a young metalhead who was barely old enough to drink started chatting me up. I told him that I’d seen Mötörhead in ’83, and he tried even harder to pick me up. I thought he wasn’t very good at math. We showed each other our drivers’ licenses. He wasn’t deterred. I was flattered, but I declined.
I carried on up Tottenham Court Road towards the Bloomsbury, and was enticed by hip-hop music coming from another club to my left. I went in and started dancing. At closing time, two young college women I’d danced with picked me up and took me on the tube to an afterhours grime club. Then we went for chips at an all-night café that was a London version of the pizza dive next to the Vanguard.
Well and truly hung over, on the last morning I went to see Abbey Road Studios and bought a copy of Abbey Road. Maybe you saw the picture. Then I flew to Spain. In Barcelona, things were pretty quiet, as it was Christmas time and the Catalan region was trying to secede from Spain. I can relate.
A lover is like the sticky end of a banana—hard to wash off your hands. Even now, three years later, whenever I look in the drawer of kitchen implements I remember my wolfman Keith.