Barry Chapter One, Part XXVII

Part 27

 

Thus, as Sue and Melissa drifted off to sleep, I “Slept” with both eyes wide open in the dark.  As if ordained by the Creator ,Lisa was closest to me, and using her sleeping bag for padding rather than warmth.  I slowly rolled over so she was just within an arms reach. I moved my left hand like a crab or spider, inching toward my target, that being her hand.  I got an elbow instead.  If it was her left elbow she was on her back, if it was her right elbow she was lying on her stomach.  I slid my hand up toward her hand.  There was no resistance. She was asleep. Her hand was half open.  I decided to flip over again, thus putting my right hand much closer.  This time I found her fingers outstretched.  I was sure this was not by luck or coincidence.  I slid my hand into hers; she intertwined her fingers with mine, then curled our hands together.  This was the beginning of a two year romance.

Barry Chapter One Part XXVI

Lisa:  So Barry, Cathy Martin was telling me your family has some wild fights and loud screaming matches.  Is it true?

Me: Wow, that’s a long story, but my brother just got out of the hospital a couple of years ago.  SO that was five years with Adam fighting for his life.  Mom was in the hospital 24/7 and came home only one or two days a month.  She came home mostly to sleep, but it meant the boys were on our own, and with the stress and all, she snapped.  Before snapping she could bite your head off over nothing.  She was always tough, but the arguments got worse, and louder, and longer because there was never a clear way to go to save him,  so on good nights we’d just sit around crying, on bad ones, the blame game filtered into every aspect, every subject, every bit of our house.

With that, I had put a damper on the romance and possible sex talk. Fireflies were blinking outside, and mosquitoes were easily heard buzzing around inside the tent.  Mosquitoes are so much easier to extinguish when there is a hard wall or ceiling to smash them on. It was about 65 degrees, so eventually the topic of sleeping arrangements came up.

Sue: I’m getting sleepy.

Barry Chapter One, Part XXV

Me: Wow, that’s poetic.  I think it’s funny how opposites attract, and how the couple that has the soft nerd guy with the jock tomboy girl is fairly common, but nowhere near as common as the beauty queen wanting to date the guy who majors in shop and street fights.  Look at our parents, it seems to me the dads say they run the show, but the show they run is at work, while the moms pretty much call the shots, win the fights, and get what they want at home.  Some people just can’t help but push their way into what they want.  Then every once in a while a big fight breaks out when one is tired of being pushed around.

Lisa and Sue looked like the agreed with my assessment, but not Melissa.

Melissa:  My parents don’t fight at all, and they seemto agree on mostmajor subjects. They’re still in love for sure.

Me: Lucky you.

Lisa: My parents are so busy they’re pretty much too tired to fight, and so into being doctors, they don’t bother us with demands.  Both of my brothers are weird.  Ones quiet, and always reading comics, not into sports at all, the other is a wild child running around half crazy .  I get tired of being their mom, especially since one is older.

Sue:  I’m off the hook lately because my sister is the problem.  She gets an earful every day about college, pot smoking, her future, and anything else, like her hippie clothes, or sneaking out late.  If my parents ever found her stash or caught her smoking pot at home I think my house would blow up.  The good news is, I am free to do as I please without being overly inspected.

(Was Sue announcing she was on the prowl, anxious to catch up to her sister, in at least the romance department, or was I over-interpreting in my favor in case Sue became an option should Lisa stonewall me?)

Barry Chapter One, Part XXIV

Silence ensued.  It was the kind of pause that can  kill a co-ed conversation at that age.  I started to think it was going to be an early departure if the other tents were going that same way as ours.  They weren’t though.

I found out during the boat ride home the next morning that both the other guys stayed awake until the girls started to sleep one by one.  When all were sound asleep, both employed Thomas’ strategy:  wait out the whole tent, then pick the girl of your choice.  Both ended up making out quietly, and never got caught, nor did the girls raise a peep of protest, nor a scream, not wake up and kick the guys out.  And there it was:  a perfect example of mutually accepted lying.

As for our tent, the conversation jolted back to life.

Lisa:  Isn’t there a way to learn each other’s language and communicate in a way that is understood?

Melissa:  So you think men and women have entirely different languages?

Lisa:  It’s not so much different languages, as a completely different set of ideas about who is the right type, and how to date the one that’s right for you.

Melissa:  Maybe we worry too much about who is exactly right.  I still think people who hardly know each other can fall in love in an instant under the right circumstances.

Me: If both are hormonally distressed with  “Maximus Horny-Apes-Among-Us Disease, then sure, one glance is all it takes.

Sue: But it has a better chance of lasting if they’ve been friends a long time.  Love at first sight, leads to break-up at first fight.”

Barry, Chapter One, part XXIII

Sue: But that’s the problem.   Guys will date especially when its dating with sex, for a long time, maybe forever, without ever committing openly to the relationship.

Me:  I gotta relax, and unwind.  Lisa, can we grab some beers from your parents’ refrigerator?  I’m sure they won’t be home for a while.

Lisa:  But then everyone will want some, and my dad doesn’t keep count, but sometimes my mom does, and she’d notice if they were all gone.

Me: Why would I tell the other tents?

Sue: Oh you’re just rude.

Me:  Ok Ok, I’ll drop it, where were we?

Lisa:  We were at the different ways guys and girls approach each other.

Melissa:  Right.  Is it personality match, all about looks, blind luck?  I think the girls who think they are not pretty sometimes make things worse by adopting negative personalities.  Boys can still be jocks or even respected if essentially negative, but it’s harder for girls to pull off, don’t you think?

Me:  But the less pretty girls are rumored to be very eager to please, and loyal, so who would want to date a stick up cheerleader?” I insisted, noting that there were no cheerleaders in Lisa’s tent, albeit too late if there had been one.

(Oh, I surely stepped in it with that line. Three babes, and I’m talking up the merits of the also-rans.  What an idiot!  And looking back, what a wildly adolescent generalization.)

Barry, Chapter One, Part XXVII

part 27

 

With this Lisa looked at me, and without even having to put an upward-angled nod on her head, I knew her idea was to have us three boys boat home right away, even if it was 4am.

Me:  I’m fine without a sleeping bag, I’ll just crash over here on this side of the tent.

Lisa: Isn’t it better if you take your friends home . Your parents will be missing you.

Me:  I doubt that.  After a deep alcoholic sleep they will wake up and see the boat gone and figure out we’re out messing around on the lake somewhere.

Lisa:  You mean they don’t know you came down here at midnight?

Me:  Your mom knew, but otherwise, except for longer lines at the bar, I bet no one noticed.

Lisa: Then that’s worse.

Me:  Oh? But your parents have already come home, and they never even bothered ot look in on us.  If your mom was worried about what we were doing, don’t you think she would have come up to say hello?

Lisa:   Maybe.

Me: Well, either we have parental approval, or the other guys are asleep already, or both.  It’s more dangerous to try to get home in the dark than in daylight. I haven’t heard any of the girls scream, so it appears everything is under control, right?

Lisa:  I guess so Barry; you sure have a gift for persuasion.

Barry, Chapter One, Part XXII

 

“I don’t know, but it’s more fun with boys and girls than just girls, isn’t it,” I begged.

“It changes the conversation entirely,” Melissa quipped.

“But it doesn’t have to,” I said, thinking a mile-a-minute.

“But we were talking about boys,” Lisa said.

“So keep talking about boys.  I know about boys,” I said, knowing they would never be brave enough to bring up sex anyway.  Among the boys there was a culture of mutually accepted lies that ranged from tepid to kinky via imagination…but how could you fool a tent full of girls?

“Then why is it that all boys want from girls is to have sex?” Sue asked.

I know I turned red all over, but I also know this was a defining moment in my chances to date or never date Lisa.

“I think it depends on the boy.  Some guys really love their girlfriends, and not just for the sex either.”

“Oh?” Sue said.  “I think they say they are in love just to get sex.”

“Yeah maybe, but then what? The girls have sex and later find out whether the guy is really in love or not? Or the girl can say ‘No, let’s wait’ to test the guy, risking he may run off. I mean I have no idea what girls think, but people end up sleeping together, even if there are different reasons why.  As long as no one gets pregnant, I figure sex is fun for boys and girls.”  Ah, I was in full swing now.  Those early days of proselytizing “Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex, But were Afraid To Ask,” off the balcony of my room paid off, and I didn’t have to lie!  Yet, at the time…:

(I so wanted this to be my final statement on the subject.)

Lisa: “But you said you had sex with Jeanne, but it wasn’t true!”

Me: “My God I’m the bad guy. I already apologized to Jeanne.”

Melissa: “That’s not the point, the point is, why are boys so hung up on sex?”

Me:  “And girls aren’t hot to trot?  What were you talking about before we showed up?”

Melissa:  “I was talking about Todd, not sex, or sex with Todd, but just Todd, you sex maniac.”

Me:  “So who do you like Sue?”

Sue: “Well I can’t decide.  I think one of them will ask me out soon.”

Me: “How can you be so sure?

Sue: “I have my ways?”

Me: “See, it’s these ‘ways’ you talk about , this is what boys like me are interested in.

Melissa: “The girls way is to get into the guy’s eyesight in as many different situations as possible.”

Lisa: “Well, it’s the way you present yourself to a guy.  It’s not just repetition, because a first impression can seal the deal.”

Me: “How many times has a seductive approach worked for you, or any of us though?”

Sue: “Boys are too shy, and you coujld walk up to them and hit them over the head with the frying pan of love, and they’d still miss it.”

The girls laughed.

Me: “But what is the goal? Dating?  Marriage? A Fling? Someone to hang out with? To go steady? I mean it’s confusing.  I think guys are less confusing, and take life as it comes.”