When it is fast approaching 90 degrees outside, the opportunities for disaster are endless. When it is fast approaching 90 degrees outside and you’re a single person dating around town, horny in a sun dress, disaster is inevitable. I’m, of course, speaking of summer dates. Think about it: Theme parks? Enjoy puking on one another. Summer camp? Congrats on getting your period for the first time, and right when Mike asked if you wanted to sit next to him. Beach? Sand, everywhere. Picnics? Hope you like diarrhea.
Sometimes dating outside is good, but it is mostly not great. Let’s hear about the worst summertime date you’ve ever been on, and rejoice in the fact that June is basically over, and there should only be two more months of this hell on Earth.
And now, for last week’s winners: the time your vacation just went to shit.
Seabassy, this is so stressful and simultaneously embarrassing, I feel for your friend. Adolescence is shit:
My dad’s family had been going to this rinky-dink set of cabins in rural Wisconsin for generations. By the time I was a ‘tween in the 90s, they’d at least been retrofitted with electricity, but you still had to use an outhouse. The nearby lake was great, but my fond summertime memories of bonfires, tubing, and jumping off the dock are stymied by other memories of mosquitos the size of my face, accidentally stepping on an anthill barefoot, watching my dad and uncles gut fish and throw the eyeballs for nearby stray cats to eat, and navigating the little gravel path from the cabin to the outhouse in the dark while trying not to think about all of the spiders I couldn’t see. Also, everything always seemed to be wet, and subsequently smelled like mildew, no matter how long it had been since rain.
We’d do this trip as a huge extended family annually, and one year I begggggggggggged my parents to let me bring a friend from school. At 12, I argued that I was getting “too old” to hang out and do “baby stuff” and I wanted someone my own age. They agreed.
My BFF Kristy (pseudonym) was more of an “indoor” kid, so I don’t know why I was so set on bringing her along to a place where 99.3% of activities were outdoor. She got majorly sunburned the first day after refusing to wear sunscreen and sobbed in the cabin all through dinner (we could hear her from the campfire area) and night (we shared a bed). When I’d try to ask how I could help she’d get more upset, so I tried to give her space. The next few nights Kristy would leave the cabin in the middle of the night and be gone for long stretches of time, then not say anything when she finally returned to bed. She opted to stay inside and read in a mildewy non-AC’d cabin while the rest of us did lake things or walked into town for bait or ice cream.
On the 3rd or 4th night, when she left the cabin again for a long time, I waited outside for her to return. She came back holding something and buried it in the sandy-mud between the cabin and boat dock. It was a creepy sight and I got scared so returned to bed and didn’t say anything when she came back in.
The next morning she was sobbing over breakfast and my mom came to our cabin and asked what was wrong for all of these days...what she still sunburned? Kristy said no and went back to bed. I finally got her to tell me what was going on. She walked me to the area where I’d seen her burying something and she unearthed it with a plastic beach shovel — it was a bunch of clothes. I was like “what the heck?” and she explained she’d been having terrible stomach aches and was pooping her pants at night.
I looked at the clothes and they looked fine, not what one would expect shit-stained clothes to look like, PLUS we’d be sharing a bed! I hadn’t smelled anything. I pointed this out to her and she pulled out a pair of undies from the burial hole and pointed to a large splotch and said “see!” I finally realized what was going on... “Kristy, I think you got your period.” It turned out she couldn’t see the color of the stains on her clothes in the dark outhouse, AND her parents had never explained periods to her, so poor girl thought she was pooping her pants every night for almost a week!
I hadn’t gotten mine yet, so I said we should talk to my mom. Plus, we weren’t allowed to walk into town without parental permission, so we had to talk to her anyway. My mom was really sweet but insisted we had to call Kristy’s mom to ask permission about what kind of sanitary products she was allowed to use; so we had to walk into town and use the public phone at the back of this mom-and-pop style bait shop where everyone could hear everything. Kristy’s mom wasn’t home and Kristy was too embarrassed to talk to her dad about it, so she asked my mom to do it. Her dad said she could only use pads because that’s what Kristy’s mom used.
Anyway, this is a super long story, but essentially my best friend couldn’t enjoy a cabin/lake summer vaca because her parents never told her about fucking periods and then when she had hers, she was traumatized by it and then had to sit out of summer activities anyway because they wouldn’t let her use tampons. Also, when we got back to school that Fall Kristy didn’t respond to my requests to hang out, so that’s also my last memories of our friendship.
Because of ThinWhiteDutchess I will never eat Jack in the Box again:
My best roommate I had had was getting married in San Francisco and my husband insisted on driving (about 8 hours). It was winter, and we were slow going bc it was around thanksgiving, the weather was bad, and it was actually sleeting and California drovers are bad in any kind of weather. We stopped for fast food, bc it was quick and off the freeway, so we could hop right back on the road. We hit snow in the grapevine. And that when my husband’s food poisoning hit. Hard. Pulled over in the middle of nowhere, in the snow, and he simultaneously shit and puked on the side of the road for about an hour, and then had no energy, was shaky, and could not drive anywhere. I pulled blankets out of the trunk, along with those foil emergency blankets and wrapped us up, and he slept it off. I could not drive us, bc I don’t drive, so we just sat there. About two hours later, he woke up, realized he had shit himself in his sleep, changed clothes, drove until he found coffee and saltines, and we got to San Francisco. We were crashing at my friends from college place, and they took one look at him, and put him to bed until 30 mins before the wedding, and took me to a bar until then.
The rest of our trip went well though. But damn. Thanks jack in the box.
YoucancallmeAL, I hope your luck has changed:
I’m not sure if this counts because technically the vacation was amazing, but I dropped my plane ticket in a canal running to catch the bus to the airport when I spent a week in Amsterdam during college.
I was able to buy another seat for $800 which maxed out my only credit card, but was expecting to get most of it back through a refund. About six weeks later, a lightning strike burned my college’s post office to the ground along with my $600. It took forever to explain, but I eventually got another check.
SingedVinegar2, you win. You just... you win:
Hmm. I’ve had a variety of holiday-related disasters - being stuck on a plane which flew over the tail-end of the Great Storm of 1987 (fucking hell, never again), being on a 747 that experienced rather dramatic turbulence flying over Indonesia (always fun when you’re trying to quaff a G&T and the wee telly says you’ve just dropped two hundred feet in about five seconds and you want to drop a brick as well), that-one-time-I-faced-off-an-armed-mugger-in-Lisbon (he was fucking gorgeous as well, the fucker), the time I stayed in a fancy B&B in Quimper in France and I had the awful realisation at 3 am that the “Quaint” hooks and eyelets in the ceiling were actually there because the previous owners of the house were clearly into BDSM (do not ask how I figured it out), that one time I stayed in a B&B in Aberfeldy in Scotland and had to deal with the most miserable, piss-faced, eldritch little woman in the history of bitchy grandma’s...
But instead, I will tell you all about That Time I Went To New Zealand And Had To Share A Room With A Furiously Masturbating Englishman Who May Or May Not Have Later Been Arrested For Murder.
Sitting comfortably? Good.
In 2002, I went to New Zealand. It was to be my first super-long-haul holiday in more than ten years, I’d just come out of a seriously toxic relationship and I wanted to be alone for a few weeks. This was pre-Facebook and “share with everyone that last shit you had because it made such a pretty shape” culture. Social media just didn’t exist. Well, Livejournal existed, but fuck that. I had decided that from late August 2002 until early October 2002, I would be incommunicado and that was that. I had money saved up - originally going to be a deposit for a flat for myself and the ex to buy - and I wanted to get away from it all. And so, a friend of mine in New Zealand said “Hey, come visit me and you can crash on my couch but not straight away, because I’m going to be in Brisbane for a job interview when you get here!”
So I arrived in Auckland (my least favourite city in New Zealand, though Hamilton comes close to eliciting the same hissing and spitting response from yours truly) and I decided to check into a hostel. It’s the done thing in New Zealand, by the way. Some of them - like the one I stayed in later down in Dunedin - are incredible, some - like the one I stayed in near Taupo - are sublime (seriously. The hostel in Taupo had rooms that had French windows you opened and you just threw yourself into Lake Taupo and we won’t even touch on the fact that Lake Taupo is the drowned caldera of a still-active supervolcano and Yellowstone has nothing on it)...and then there are some, like the hostel I stayed in for one night in Auckland, which are completely and utterly shit.
Imagine a Soviet-era hotel, or, if you’re not aware of what those are like...a Holiday Inn. Now, make it shittier. Make the carpets a suspicious swirl and swish of eye-reaming techicolour patterns that were first made in the 1970s and weren’t even popular then. Give the rooms huge, massive windows that have a layer of grime on the panes that you’re terrified to wipe because it, too, has a multitude of colours. Give the bathrooms American-style stalls with doors that don’t lock. The showers all proudly proclaim, with a cheery little sun-logo, that the water in the showers is heated “naturally” by solar panels on the roof. (You might be impressed at that one and I might very well think that you need to get out more and then remind you that Auckland seems to be predominantly overcast with the exciting frisson induced by near-constant drizzle (at least, it was when I arrived) so the water isn’t even tepid, but warm-breath-hot. Yeah. Got that in your head?
Now imagine me, a delightfully charming and witty Scottish gay man with a snazzy dress sense and zero fucks to give, being informed that my pre-booked single room is “unavailable” so that I’ll need to share a dorm room. Well, fucking hurrah. Thankfully, I ended up sharing with only two guys - an American that I later found out was supposed to be in the military but had fled to New Zealand when the Bush Monkey started making overtures of war and was living off-grid and under-the-radar to avoid deportation...and a rather miserable little Englishman who I took an almost immediate dislike to. Seriously, his first words to me were “You’re Scottish. I hate Scottish people.” The American was lovely, albeit a bit nutty and overly friendly in that irritating American way. Anyway.
The plan was stay in the hostel until my mate returned from Brisbane, which should have been the next evening, meaning only twenty four hours in the presence of the American and that fucking miserable little cunt from Basingstoke (I know he was from Basingstoke because he fucking mentioned it every fucking ten or twenty minutes, the useless prick). And then I got an email from my friend to say that they were going to stay in Brisbane for another twenty four hours as they had just met the man they clearly thought they were to spend the rest of their life with. They didn’t, by the way. And so, my stay in the Hotel de Hell was extended by twenty four hours and I decided to make the best of it. I spent the next day or so exploring Auckland. I went up the Sky Tower and made rude comments to fellow Brits about how marvellous it was that our former colonies were so much happier that we’d fucked off back to where we belonged, went to a gay bar in Auckland (on the K-Road!) where I snogged the face off of a Maori guy with biceps nearly as big as my head and who, I will admit, was fucking spectacular in bed...and then, on what should have been my second - and thankfully, last - night...the masturbating began.
Now I’m no prude. Hell, I come from a country where the gays love wearing kilts in the traditional way because it provides easy access. But I draw the line at someone who I don’t know (and frankly don’t want to know) spanking his monkey into submission at 1 am, 2 am and 4:30 am. Seriously, the masturbation was frankly furious. I don’t know what sort of mental or emotional difficulties that boy was exerting upon his tiny member (I saw it one moment when he came back from the showers, dear readers and all I could think was....chipolata served in a bed of musty mouldy hair) but my goodness, it was probably eating him up. What made it worse was that the room had one single bed (occupied by yours truly) and bunkbeds. The top bunk was occupied by the Englishman...and the bottom bunk by the American. And I distinctly remember looking over at the American at 2 am, and realising that the American was looking back at me with a look that shrieked “HELP ME, OBI WAN McKENOBI, YOU’RE MY ONLY HOPE!” What was creepy - and hilarious - was that the bunkbeds were metal, and thus, there was a large degree of squeaky protestations from the bunks. And so, when he started up again at 4:30, I practically roared at the Englishman to stop playing with himself so I could get some sleep.
I checked out the next day. I promised the American that I would try to keep in touch (I did, by the way. He’s still in New Zealand, albeit legally now and happily swapped his American passport for the frankly cooler NZ one a decade back), gave the Englishman the sort of look that would curdle milk in a fridge next door and went off on my way.
Now here comes the horrid part.
My time in New Zealand was spent bouncing about, going place to place and getting to see the sights thanks to my friend and a couple of her friends. I got to see trees release massive clouds of pollen in North Island, I got to stand on the southernmost point and look out into eternity and realise that the next place south would be fucking Antarctica. Camped out a few times under the stars in Fjordland and got shouted at by an angry wee bogan-type for daring to take the last currant bun in a cafe in Wellington. And then, one day, about four days before I was due to fly back to my miserable life in Scotland, I happened to pick up a newspaper and, upon reading it, learned that a Brit matching the description of the furiously-wanking Englishman had been arrested on suspicion of murder. I can’t remember the full details, but apparently he had went travelling into the bush around Coromandel with a friend of his, had vanished, and then his friend was found with his head bashed in. Not too sure if he ever got charged (I meant to keep an eye on the case, but, ahem, other men got in my way. Yes, I’m grinning and yes, I’m talking about that Maori guy and yes, we hooked up again before I flew out and no, I won’t tell you the details, Becky) but I do hope they put him in a cell by himself if he was ever found guilty. I wouldn’t want to inflict his turbo-wanking on anyone.