I work at a bar in Brooklyn. Its decor is made up of a lot of pictures of naked ladies. I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily pornographic in nature (though, I guess that depends on our definition of pornographic). Its Russ Meyer meets Pulp Fiction meets Betty Boop meets a hundred girls with herstorys. (Put this bit of information in your pocket. You might need to reference it later.)
Many, many years ago, when I was 16, I dated a boy who was probably too old for me. I lied to my parents about his age and I feel the need to mention that so people don’t blame them for my poor choices and mistakes. I was raised quite well and, generally speaking, I was a good kid (I think.) But this guy was a real jerk. Out of the people I have dated, I have only dated two jerks. One, when I was 16 and another in my mid-twenties. That’s not too bad, considering my fondness for the troubled.
Let’s call old man, Mike. Mike was a jerk in every way. He loathed homosexuals. He hated authority. Banks were out to steal his money. He believed that if you agreed to become an organ donor, the police, should they find you after an accident, would let you die. He disrespected women completely, starting with his mother. He had very few friends. (I now understand why.) And while his musical inclination was downright amazing, that’s about all the good I can say about him.
We were together for just under 2 years. During that time, he did hundreds of impolite things. Innocence can make a girl overlook nearly anything. And somehow, I forgave him each and every time, including the one where he AND his best friend got sideways with said best friend’s girlfriend. I’ll call her Susan.
Susan grew up in our hometown. At the age of 18, however, she moved to the big city and hit the big time posing nude for the Penthouse Forum. (Her story stops here. I’d like to receive a PG rating for this post.) Susan, for lack of a better word, was a loose girl. Along with the number of boys she was sleeping with in the Centre County region, she had a number of New York Dolls, too. I met her only once. At that time she showed me her magazine spread. Sometime later, after I returned home to meet my curfew, a different spread was shown.
Susan, Mike and Mike’s best friend (aka Susan’s Centre County boyfriend—a boyfriend on certain weekend’s and holidays) did things. As one might imagine, getting it on with a Penthouse Forum model ensued a badge of bragging rights. And so the two bragged about it to other people. Eventually, word got back to me. We broke up for a month and then dated again for another 3 months. I then wised up and stopped speaking to him but only after punching him in the face in front of about 15 people.
Those were horrible times. I hope to one day forget about them entirely. But, for now, they make for humorous stories, stories that get better and better as I become older and older, stories that make me appreciate the boy I married more than words can possibly say.
On Saturday, I work brunch. Our brunches are very busy. By around 3 p.m., the restaurant dies down an I finally get to use the bathroom, eat something or just breath.
The bathroom at the bar is covered from floor to ceiling in old Pulp Fiction book jackets, images of big-breasted women torn from magazines, paintings of naked girls, illustrations of angry ladies, every inch of all four walls is covered in women. I sat down to pee. And that’s when I saw her. About 6 inches from the floor, to the left of a wastebasket filled with used tampons, tissue paper, and hand-towels, was Susan. And I laughed and laughed. I am still laughing.
I wonder where she is today and if she ever thinks of the time she unknowingly took a teenage girl’s innocence. I wonder if she remembers it at all. I wonder if she even knew. I wonder only a little bit and then I stop myself and think, “Oh thank goodness, Michele, you aren’t still so stupid.”