It always comforts me in my hour of need to hear people tell terrible stories about past hookups. It is that moment when you sneeze in the face of the person you’re boning, or when your grandmother walks in on your threesome, that feeling is the very crux of human existence. The bone-deep, mind-melting humiliation that one feels when something goes awry during a romantic adventure is one of the most primordial experiences we all share, unifying us as a species, for better or for worse.
As such, I figured I would share with you all, in no particular order and in High-Fidelity-esque style, the top three worst hookups I have ever had in my life. Of course, yours truly is a woman who met the love of her life at the age of 21, which mean that all of these stories are from high school or college, but the naivety of it all makes the awkwardness all the more pungent. Enjoy!
1) The summer I turned seventeen, I went camping in western Pennsylvania with my historical reenactment group. That’s right – I said historical reenactment. Like the renaissance faire, only with history. So, for context, the setting is a campground in Slippery Rock, PA, and we are surrounded by about ten thousand people in corsets and doublets. Kind of like a Burning Man for people who hate the sun.
I met a boy there, naturally. Because how could I not fall for a tunic and leggings? Odds bodikins, verily he doth stole my heart. We learned to juggle together. We sampled homemade mead together. We attended a bardic circle together. Ahh, young, medieval love.
Eventually, we decided to blow that popsicle stand. We took his car (er, his “horseless carriage”) out to a back country road, where we could have some privacy. We wasted no time in shedding our petticoats, free of the meddling, unwashed masses that plagued the campsite, free to enjoy each other’s company in complete and total isolation, nooooo one around for miles and miles –
Oh, except for the group of horseback riders who rode right through our little clearing just as things were getting interesting. I was the first to see them, and I slowly stopped what I was doing as I made eye contact with the foremost rider. She was gazing at us with a colorful combination of shock and distaste, rather as though she had eaten something she had just been informed contained human remains. Carefully, we disentangled ourselves from each other and groped for our clothes. The riders and the horses remained motionless, staring.
Finally, with about half our loins covered with what must have appeared to be the leftovers from a pirate’s panty raid, we put the car in gear and crept out of the clearing at 10 miles an hour, not looking back and not speaking. Forsooth, his boner hath mightily shrunken.
2) My long-term boyfriend in college had very conservative parents. I was nineteen or so at the time, and he was in his early twenties, but we were strictly forbidden from sleeping together in his mother’s house – and I mean even losing consciousness in the same bed was against the rules, not just knocking boots. One night, we were leaving on a long trip the next day from his house, so his mother kindly set me up a little nest of twigs and leaves in the guest bedroom. “Don’t forget,” she twittered sweetly at me, “if I catch you two sleeping together there’s going to be hell to pay!”
With an ominous wink, she slammed the door behind her, leaving me wide-eyed and trembling in my lump of blankets.
Twenty minutes later, I crept into my boyfriend’s room and, naturally, fell asleep an hour later, far too exhausted to move back to my prison cell. I set an alarm, figuring I’d sneak back before anyone woke up in the morning and no one would be the wiser. Little did I know that his parents were also devout Catholics who woke at 6 a.m. for morning mass.
I was awoken from a dead sleep by, apparently, a flock of crows being put through a blender. I unglued my eyelids to find my boyfriend’s dear mother, standing four inches from my face and screaming as if possessed about damnation and hellfire and living in sin. Paralyzed by fear, I merely lay there under the quilt next to my boyfriend, also paralyzed, like two corpses on a marble slab. Finally, the screaming stopped. As the mother fled the house, pursued by all the demons of teenage lust, I excused myself to the bathroom to make sure I hadn’t had an accident. Amazingly, we continued to date for a year after that.
3) When I was in high school, I met a guy at a party, the way the movies told me to, and we decided to have a sleepover in his car. Fun, right? Of course! What could possibly go wrong! We were seventeen, we knew everything there was to know in life!
We took his car out to a parking lot and shut the engine off to save gas, obviously. Of course, it was November and the high that day was somewhere in the forties. Now it was after midnight, cold as a witch’s tit, and we were having difficulty doing anything exciting due to increasingly numb fingers and hands. Eventually, we gave up and lay down to quietly die of hypothermia in the back seat.
We were saved from this fate by flashing blue and red lights in the night. Squinting, I rose from our icy grave and rolled down the window to behold the police officer standing outside.
“Get out of the car, both of you,” he barked. We complied, shivering and blue-lipped. “Miss, is this gentleman holding you against your will?” asked the cop. If my lungs hadn’t been blocks of ice, I would have laughed. Instead, I glanced wildly at my somewhat chubby, bespectacled “gentleman,” who no more looked as if he could hold someone against their will than model bikinis, and shook my head. “No, officer.” The cop gave the boy a solid People’s Eyebrow and looked him up and down.
“Well, you can’t sleep in the parking lot of a Home Goods. Plus, it’s like, twenty degrees out. For Christ’s sake, get yourselves home.” Gratefully, we both nodded and tumbled back into the car, turning on the heat full-blast and breathing a sigh of relief. The police officer followed us to my house to make sure this hooligan wasn’t taking me to some back woods orgy.
And that is how a kindly police officer saved me from dying of pneumonia because I wanted some action.