Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Getting Hitched Went Off Without A Hitch!

Of course I'll have a big post (or two) chronicling my wedding weekend, but it won't be soon. We're on our in-town honeymoon, and when that's over, it's right back to work. So I'll have all the details next week sometime at the soonest. Just wanted to check in and let those wondering know that everything came off great, the whole weekend was as awesome as it gets, and I am officially a married man. Kinda weird to say it, but feels good. I guess I'll always be in debt to Blogger for creating the forum that allowed two people with no other methods of meeting to meet each other and eventually marry each other. And of course, always a debt of gratitude to SunShyn, the blogger who worked the same job that I did for a few years. She told me of her blogging efforts, and that led to me starting a blog, and my wife saw it and left a comment, and the rest is history. Or her story, if the wife can find the time to sit down and blog about it as well. I'd love to read her thoughts. Anyway, off to Tunica, MS, for a little gambling action before returning home. Catch y'all in my next post!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Tying The Knot, Part 6: Pre-Wedding Jitters

Selfishly, I have been blogging away the past three days, trying to calm the OCD in me by chronicling things that I feel must be chronicled before I say "I do," such as the debauchery that was my bachelor party weekend and the emotional roller coaster that was my first love in 8th grade. My fiancee has been cleaning house and getting ready for our big day tomorrow. And when she has some free time, she's requested that I come spend it with her in this, our wedding week. And I've said I can't, I have to finish blogging. And what happens when one keeps getting ignored? One starts wondering where she stands and why she doesn't feel excited about the big day approaching and where is our spark. So I shouldn't have been surprised when I saw her get out of bed last night and go into the living room with the lights off. I found her sitting on the couch crying. When I asked what was wrong, she said that it wasn't something she felt she could talk to me about. When I pressed, she admitted that she was worried that she wasn't getting excited about the wedding. I took the responsibility for that because I truly think that she would be more excited had I given her more time this week, not to mention the past five weeks that I've spent watching and writing about football. I've been a dick, plain and simple. I have done a horrible job of balancing my fiancee and my other interests. I don't have experience balancing these things because I've never lived with a woman before. But I've got to do a better job.

I left her on the couch with her emotions because I didn't want to smother her. She obviously left the bed because she needed to be alone. She returned to bed 20 minutes later and announced that she had actually been contemplating life without me. But fear not, she decided that she couldn't stand it if I weren't around. She'd miss everything about me, the football, the wrestling, the OCD...everything but the farting. I breathed a sigh of relief that she didn't come back to the bed declaring that she didn't think we should get married. Hey, I have a fear of rejection, and combine that with the way I've been neglecting her, and you can see why I'd be afraid of her calling the whole thing off. Can't say I wouldn't deserve it, either.

How are my jitters, you ask? I'm a little numb. Of course, numb in the mouth from getting my teeth pulled yesterday, but numb emotionally as well. I just want the whole thing to go off without a hitch, and I want to do my part to not fuck up anything by forgetting to pack something for the honeymoon or splitting my pants or something like that. I'm trying to stay calm in that respect. But I don't have any fears as far as the actual marriage. She's the right woman, we're doing it for the right reasons, and I'm very happy to make our union official. I was proud to sign the big book at the city office when we picked up our marriage license. And I'm just proud of my fiancee in general. She's been under so much stress, looking for work while planning a wedding, and now working while planning a wedding, which takes more time away from her. But she's been a trooper.

And now, it's almost here. Family and friends are on their way into town, we're cleaning up the house getting ready for visitors, and I'm about to groom myself in anticipation of the big day. I'm getting very excited. I'm going to wrap up my blogging here and devote my attention to my wife-to-be and the wedding. We may not be perfect, but we're perfect for each other. And most important, we're committed to working on our imperfections and making our union better and better all the time. We're gonna make it if we try, just the two of us. You and I.

I love you, Grizzbabe.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

My History (9th In A Series)

And my marathon blogging continues. I'm actually sitting here very uncomfortable after having two teeth pulled. The pain hasn't hit yet, but the swelling is there, and the local anesthetic is wearing off. I've already taken oxycodone and ibuprofen, so if I fall off to sleep during this typing and things look even weirder than usual, blame the drugs. And yes, I wanted to have this surgical procedure done sooner than two days before my fucking wedding, but this was the soonest I could do it. So while my fiancee eats pizza and I can only smell it, let's go back in time to another situation featuring something I could only wish for but never have. It's the story of my 7th and 8th grade crush, the most intense feeling I've had for any woman outside of the woman I'm marrying on Saturday. Her name is Tammi Todd.

I don't usually do real names on the blog, but I do it for people who I determine are as real as it gets. We all come across many phony people in our lives, but the ones who aren't phony tend to stand out. Tammi was too shy and lacking self-confidence to be phony. Really, no one should be phony at that adolescent age of 12 and 13, but peer pressure builds around junior high and makes some kids think they have to start being something they're not. No one knows this as well as me. I had built an entire phony sexual history by the time I was 12, and I parroted it to anyone who would listen as I attempted to gain some measure of popularity.

I didn't go to the storage unit and get my diaries from back then, so I have to do this from pure memory. It's 1988, my first day of 7th grade at a new grade school, Ogden Elementary in the Gold Coast area of Chicago. The Gold Coast is what it sounds like, a section of rich and affluent folks, so this school was full of rich and affluent kids. But because there was a gifted program called International Baccalaureate at this school, there were kids bused in from all over the city to attend this program. So the grades 6th through 8th were split into regular classrooms and I.B. classrooms. Basically, if you were just a rich kid and weren't deemed "gifted," you were in a regular class, and if you passed these stringent tests to get into the I.B. program, you were in that class. I would never have been in Ogden if not for the I.B. program because I didn't reside anywhere near there. But Tammi resided there because she and her sister Traci were daughters of Thomas N. Todd, a civil rights activist whose speeches have been sampled on Public Enemy tracks. I had never heard of Thomas Todd. I just knew what I liked. And on that first day at the new school, at the end of that day, I was sitting in the lunchroom awaiting our school bus when I happened to look up at the lunchroom entrance. This light-skinned black girl was standing there looking confused and helpless. It was instant puppy love for me. I had never had my world stop upon my first sighting of a girl. Not quite like that. Oh, I can still list all of my crushes from pre-school through 6th grade, but none of them struck me like she did. There was her raw beauty, plain and simple just like I preferred, no makeup, wide light brown eyes, straight light brown hair, tall and straight posture, a tasty little amount of baby fat. But all of that was combined with this helpless look as she searched for something, maybe her bus driver or teacher or friend, that melted my heart instantly. I wanted to help her with whatever she wanted, but I was totally frozen, plus I was just a new kid in a new place and wasn't in a position to help anyone with anything. But after staring at her for what seemed like hours, I had learned one thing on my first day of school--I wanted to get into that girl's world in the worst way.

The pieces slowly fell into place over the next month as I asked kids about her. I got her name, I got her grade which was 6th grade in the regular class and not I.B., I got a sense of her personality which was she didn't seem to have much of one, I got to observe how she got special treatment because she wasn't on a school bus with other kids. She had a yellow station wagon pull up for her after school, and it dropped her off in the morning. Was it an official school bus? Was it her personal driver with an agreement to pick her up in front of the school? I never found that out, but she sat in the auditorium with all of us waiting for her ride every day after school. But while we were grouped in the auditorium by school bus number, she sat all by herself in the front row, where you had to walk by her as you entered every single day. And if you had a crush on her, this could either be glorious if she had her head down in a book and didn't notice you staring, or terrifying if your eyes met. But this torture was starting to get to me. I was shy, she was shy, she certainly had been put on notice by her classmates that I had been asking about her because she made sure to see me every day when I entered the auditorium, and I could do nothing but quickly avert my eyes. I had to do something, but I didn't have the balls to say hi. Remember, I was completely unsuccessful with girls at this stage in my life. No fooling around, no lunch date, no nothing. So I came up with a way to introduce myself and let Tammi know how I felt without stepping to her face. I wrote several of the sappiest, most sickening love letters ever written.

And I signed them "Your Secret Admirer."

And I slipped them into her locker during class when no one else could see me.

What a huge, throbbing pussy I was.

I may still be slipping her notes to this day about how I just wanted to be her friend even though I couldn't bear to reveal myself if not for one of her classmates catching me slip one of these notes into her locker. So now that Tammi was going to be informed that I was her secret admirer, as if she didn't already know that the fat guy asking about her could be the secret admirer, the next move would be on Tammi to approach me and either shut my "game" down or reciprocate the interest. But she was as bashful as I was. So we went around and around each other for days, catching each other looking and quickly turning away. One day, while at recess, we finally spoke, but I think it was only because our respective classmates dragged us towards each other. They were sick of us beating around the bush, understandably. We didn't say much of anything, but we did say something, so at least we knew what each other's voice sounded like. I fell even harder for her because her voice was so soft, and she had some sort of slight speech impediment that only made her sound British to me. She occupied my every thought.

Fate would give me an opportunity at the annual school carnival to be there for Tammi in a time of need. As I walked upstairs to the 3rd floor, my eyes came upon Tammi playing some game that required hand-eye coordination, and she was playing it hard. I could see her frustration, so I asked what was the deal, and she said she was aiming to win this plush doll, like a green frog or something like that. I wasn't a great athlete at all, but I knew I could win this game, so I played it, won, selected the doll as a prize, and promptly gave it to Tammi. Those light brown eyes lit up like constellations. "Thank you," she said in that soft voice, and she hugged me and bounded away down the steps. I was absolutely floating the rest of the night. I'm telling you, I couldn't have been higher if I had Nate Newton's marijuana stash.

But as crazy as I was about Tammi, I just could not pull the trigger on making a definitive move. We kept walking around each other throughout that school year, making googly eyes at each other, but nothing real came of it. I did present her with a rose on Valentine's Day, and she thanked me, but I had no follow-up. I stared in her direction during that year's sock hop, but I never went over and asked for a dance. I had never felt like this about a girl. I was walking around the Gold Coast on my lunch breaks, playing "Can You Stand The Rain" by New Edition on my headphones, trying to figure out how to take my fantasies about Tammi and make them a reality. And by fantasies, I don't mean sexual. I mean white picket fence and white wedding dress and red rose petals on the bed. I actually couldn't think about her sexually. Yes, you read that right. As hot as she made me every single day that I saw her, I could not even fantasize about the girl. Everyone else was a dirty, nasty potential sex story, every other girl had a role in my fantasy world, but not Tammi. She was just too pure. I mean, I tried to force sexual thoughts about her, and I just could not do it. It was so damn weird. I actually got my first sexual contact with a girl that summer while I stayed at my uncle's house. But I even told that girl about Tammi, how I felt about her, how bad I wanted her. Yep. I had a girl there literally begging me to fuck her. And I would say yes, but then I couldn't make a move with her partially because I felt like I would be cheating on Tammi even though Tammi had not given me any indication that she was interested in me. We wound up not having sex, which is good because considering I got my next sexual contact pregnant twice four years later, I'm sure I would have knocked up this girl too.

Tammi even affected how I viewed other potential conquests. I was sitting at the March 1989 science fair with my project, bored out of my mind, when someone a year older, in 8th grade, told me that there was someone who claimed to know more about pro wrestling than me. I was angry that some mere mortal would challenge my rasslin' knowledge, so I demanded to be introduced. And over to my table sauntered damn near the hottest girl I had ever seen in my life, Margaret Brown. She had short brown hair and hazel eyes that would rival Jennifer Aniston if I knew who Jennifer Aniston was back then. And her body was just killer. We chatted for the next couple of days, but it was always short chats because we were in the science fair and we had to stay very close to our respective projects, lest a judge decide to drop in. So we wound up sending wrestling quizzes back and forth to each other by messenger. And she was right there with me in wrestling knowledge, although her area of expertise clearly was Sting. Boy, Margaret had the hots for Sting something fierce. But anyway, one of our messengers was a buddy of mine, and he asked me what was going on between me and Margaret because he couldn't believe that my fat ugly ass could have anything to say to such a smoking hot babe. I told him that we were just having wrestling quizzes, nothing more. He said that was the point, why wasn't I trying to talk about something more? Why wasn't I going after this hottie? Simple, I said. I don't like her in that way. I like Tammi. He rolled his eyes and grabbed me by the shoulders and told me to look at Margaret and then look at Tammi and tell him why the hell would I pursue Tammi and not Margaret? I couldn't tell him anything that would convince him that my choice was the better one. And from the outside, the choice would have been Margaret by a mile. But my decision was based on what my gut was feeling on the inside, and Tammi was the girl that I couldn't stop daydreaming about. Tammi had my heart. It was just that simple.

So 1989 into 1990 was a stressful year because it was my last year at Ogden before I had to move on to high school. Tammi, being a year younger, would be there after I left, so even if I tried to get into a high school near the Gold Coast, I'd have to hope she enrolled there as well, and I'd have to wait a year to find out. So in that context, in a world where this girl was on a pedestal and seemed unattainable, no e-mail to keep track with her, no cell phones to have a chance privately to let her know how I felt, I thought this year would be the most important evah. I had to let this girl know how much I wanted her, shyness be damned, fear of rejection be damned. So the events that happened could probably fill up a few seasons of a TV pilot about grade-school love unrequited. We played out our version of Winnie and Kevin on The Wonder Years. And looking back, it may have put me through a shitload of moods on a daily basis, the ups and downs of a daily skirt chase, but boy, was it a hell of a lot of fun.

I'm sure I'll forget a lot of occurrences, but here's what I remember: There was a day where I was spreading lies about getting some pussy the night before, and I told some kids on the school bus that I bet the chick I was with would be a much better fuck than Tammi, and Tammi upon being told this hunted me down in the playground and confronted me about the quote. She was actually upset that I was with another woman, even though she had not given me a clue that my interest in her was something she wanted. There was another day where she decided to knock me down a notch by making fun of my boobs, and that was a rather painful day. I took it as a signal that she would never be interested in me just from a physical standpoint. Never mind that no other boys seemed to be interested in her. She just wouldn't give me the satisfaction of pretending that she was interested in me. Sometime during the winter, I decided to become a playleader, which was a fancy name for class monitor for the little kids. Tammi was a playleader too, but I wasn't doing it just to be near her. I was doing it because my grades were shitty and I thought I had a better chance to be accepted to the high school of my choice if I had some community service on my record. During this time, I saw Tammi running after kids from her class and towards kids from my class, and she slipped and crashed right in front of me. She had to be taken to the nurse's office crying and bruised up, and I was the one who grabbed her glasses off the ground and took them to her. So I got to hear another "Thank you," but it was a sobbing one, and sad to hear. There was another time where the kids from her class dragged her over to me and dared her to hug me, and she gave me a quick little hug and ran away while the kids oohed and aahed. Another time, again encouraged by the kids she was monitoring, she walked over and started kicking snow at my feet as if it were just a normal thing to do, and I kicked snow back at her, and for thirty seconds we kicked snow at each other's feet, smiling and carefree and communicating in that socially awkward way that boys and girls at that age sometimes communicate. I actually recall that as a very sweet moment. I promise you she doesn't even remember that.

There was Valentine's Day 1990, where I went out in the rain to get a couple of roses for her before class began. We were all in the auditorium because we couldn't have morning recess, so this was going to have to be done in front of the whole school. I didn't just have flowers, though. I had a small white teddy bear that I played $10 worth of Skee-Ball at Great America to win for her a few months ago. Problem was, while working up the nerve to give her this bear, it sat in my locker along with my smelly gym shorts and shoes, and when I finally gave it to her with the roses, she replied, "You're giving me the bear that's been in your smelly locker?" I guess everyone knew that it was sitting there for many weeks, and she knew it too. But she still thanked me for the flowers and the bear. There was the time where I finally worked up the nerve to ask Tammi out to lunch, which was all I could possibly ask as far as a date. It's not like my folks were going to allow me to get on public transportation and come all the way to a part of the city that I didn't know that well and take her out on a weekend, and it's not like I had the money to take her anywhere really fancy, and it's not like her parents were going to let her go somewhere with me, not when she's only 12 and hadn't been allowed to date at all. And sure enough, I convinced her to ask her parents if I could have an innocent lunch date, only for her to come back the next day and tell me that the parents considered that a date and she wasn't allowed to date yet. So much for that. There was the time Tammi convinced her nerdy friend, Shani, to ask me out on a date, as a test of my commitment to her even though we weren't together. I rejected Shani's advances for three reasons--not just because I liked Tammi, but because I didn't think Shani was attractive and I thought Shani was clearly making a move on me on behalf of Tammi. Shani thought I was a pig thanks to my rep as Dr. Pervert, and out of nowhere, she wants to see a movie with me? Come on. I was young and dumb, but I wasn't that stupid. A guidance counselor actually advised me to invite Tammi down to Tribune Tower to watch me in the Chicagoland Spelling Bee, which I thought was an incredibly geeky move, but I was desperate, so I asked. Of course, she said no.

There was the play "Annie Get Your Gun" that we produced that year, the tryouts for which I referenced in this post. That tryout wasn't the most unusual thing about the play that involved Tammi and me. During a practice, Shani pulled out a piece of Play-Doh and pressed it against my arm without warning, then announced to me that my skin and Tammi's skin can now become one while she put the Play-Doh together with a different piece. I glanced over in Tammi's direction, and she was actually watching this happen before she quickly turned away. Shani would explain to me later that she did that at Tammi's request, so Tammi may not have been attracted to me, but she did appreciate the attention from me. I was a part of her world, a small part to be sure, but as probably the first guy to express a serious desire for her, she did consider me as a part of her. As flattered as I was by the Play-Doh incident, I must say that I was also a bit weirded out. Then there was the Big Penis incident. My role in "Annie Get Your Gun" was a bit part as a train conductor, and I was using my aunt's husband's bus driver jacket as part of my uniform. But I was using old light blue pants of my own that were a couple of sizes too small. So during a dress rehearsal, I'm sitting in the gym, which doubled as sort of a lounge for the cast members, and Tammi and her friends walked by, and I was totally unaware that the position I was in pulled my already small pants closer to my body and really accentuated the boner that I was sporting for no other reason than I was 14 and popped boners at odd times. The girls pointed at me and laughed, and when I shrugged and wondered what was so funny, Tammi pointed between my legs and giggled, "Big penis!" Now, understand, this was when she and her friends were like 12. Big penises were something to laugh at, not to be in awe of. I was embarrassed. I mean, I couldn't even fantasize about the girl, so my dick was not something I was proud to show her under these circumstances. And the event actually mortified me for a few days, until I explained what happened to my dad, who gave me some perspective by telling me, "You should be very proud that she's calling you Big Penis. Better than being called Little Penis!" Ah, dad. Always choosing the high-minded side.

The main event of this whole "courtship," if you'd like to call it that, occurred at the 1990 carnival. My friends and I were planning all these major moves on girls that we liked considering it was our last shot at some kind of score. Graduation was approaching very fast. So my friend Dan and I were sitting on the stairs about an hour before the carnival would begin, just shooting the shit, plotting moves on girls, when someone said "Excuse me" and bounded down the steps and split Dan and me. It was someone in a gray skirt that came up just above the knee. She had milky skin and smooth, shiny legs that made my heart stop, not to mention a perfect little ass. Yes, Tammi had stopped the show, and I didn't even see her face. And I saw her earlier in the day, so she changed for this. Dan and I looked at each other with eyes wide and mouths agape. "This may be a big, big night!" I said with a huge smile.

And yet, I was still being a chickenshit and didn't speak to her all evening. Songs played in the gym, couples awkwardly slow-danced, and I stayed glued to a bench chatting with my uncle, who was there just to be my driver once I was ready to leave. I bounced in and out of the gym, playing games, trying to psych myself up to ask Tammi for one dance. Just one dance. But fear paralyzed me every time I even thought about it. Other classmates were even trying to pump me up to do it. But I just couldn't. The night was winding down, and my opportunity was being wasted.

So some slow song is coming to an end, and the way the DJ has spun, another slow song is coming next because he was playing the slow ones two at a time. And I'm sitting there on the bench still trying to work up the nerve...and I look up, and there's this lovely light brown girl in a gray mini skirt standing over me, and she grabs my hand and says, "Come on, you big chicken," and she leads me to the dance floor as "Girl I'm Gonna Miss You" by Milli Vanilli starts to play, and no shit, the entire gym erupts in applause at the sight of us two finally getting together after two full years of me lusting after her. I mean, even little kids who I monitored who knew how I felt about Tammi were running up and slapping me on the butt and congratulating me. My mind was spinning in my head. We smiled at each other and had a very tentative slow dance, not very close to each other, lots of distance between us, yet hand in hand, my right hand around her waist, our eyes locked together. I was in heaven. Tammi had one thing to say to me in the middle of this dance, and it was very telling of her mental state: "I still don't know why you like me." I tried to babble some stuff about her beauty and poise and whatnot, but I figured I was ruining the moment and shut it down and just kept dancing. The song ended, I thanked her, and I ran out of the gym and off of that level down to the basement lunchroom, sweating profusely and in need of a soda. My uncle and I left not long after that. Why stay? I just had my moment of glory.

The school year wound down, and I got up the nerve to ask Tammi to pose for a picture for me, and I'd still treasure that pic if I hadn't lost the camera before I could get the film developed. I asked Tammi to sign the first page of my autograph book, and she wrote: "Have a nice summer, and I think I'm going to miss you." Hey, I'll take it! Of course, I had to write another long letter telling her how I felt, except I didn't have to sign this one Secret Admirer. And I ended this letter with the words "I love you" and my phone number. Yeah, "I love you" was over the top for a girl who I never went on a date with or kissed, but it's how I felt at the time. New Edition had another song out at the time that said, "If it isn't love/Why do I feel this way/Why does she stay on my mind?" And when you hear that a few dozen times over and over, you can convince yourself that this is love that you're feeling. What the hell else could it be? Can't sleep, can't think, can't enjoy the things I usually enjoy without the thought of her popping into my head. I felt that I was justified putting "I love you" into that goodbye letter. Besides, it was my last hurrah. What were the odds that I'd ever see or hear from her again? I had left my phone number on previous notes, so it's not like she would ever call me...

So I'm chatting with "Jacob" the day after my graduation, and the phone I was using beeped indicating that I had another call, and I click over, and this soft trembling voice said "May I please speak to Andre?" And I almost fainted once I realized who that voice belonged to. It was Tammi! I told her to hold on, then I clicked back over and stammered out the sentence, "I have to call you back, Tammi is on the other line." Neither Jacob or I could believe what I just said. But when I got back to Tammi, she had to get off the phone but said she'd call back. And she did a little while later, accompanied on another line by her older sister Traci. They basically interrogated me on why I thought I loved Tammi. I got to run down the list of how I felt live over the phone, although I laid everything out in my letter, I'm sure. Traci played the role of hardcore skeptic while Tammi played the background. But I was rather cool and calm during this line of questioning. I knew how I felt, I said what I said, and I had no regrets. They let me go after maybe a half hour. Tammi then called me back by herself later that day, and that last conversation will always have to be a mystery because one of her parents caught her using the phone almost immediately and made her hang up. She never called me again.

How long was I hung up on Tammi? Well, fast forward to 1995. Now I'm a man, baby, a 19-year-old coming off a 3-year relationship with my high school sweetheart "Giselle," much more experienced with women, dating a co-worker, confident, relatively secure in myself, a whole world in front of me. It took a long time, but I was finally at a point where I didn't wonder about Tammi every day, ponder where she was or if she was dating or how she was developing as a woman. So "Ronnie" and "Drew" have mutual friends they went to high school with, and those friends have a girl crashing at their house that they knew from somewhere, and the girl is named Heidi. Now, Heidi is a unique name. I knew of only one Heidi in my life, and she was a thin blonde chick who was in the same class as Tammi at Ogden. I asked Ronnie and Dave to ask their friends if this Heidi girl's last name was Vienup, and they got back to me that why yes, it sure is! How did I know? Well, my emotions launched like a rocket. If I can meet up with Heidi, maybe she still knows Tammi, and maybe she can give me Tammi's number, and maybe I can reconnect with Tammi, and maybe now, out of that elementary school atmosphere, we can build an actual relationship and really get to know each other, and who knows, from there, she may fall for me as hard as I fell for her...my brain couldn't calculate all the possibilities fast enough. Ronnie and Drew and I went to their friends' house on a Friday night, and I was so excited that I dressed up for the occasion, as if I was going to go see Tammi herself. Alas, things didn't work out because Heidi had lost contact with Tammi, and as an aside, Heidi informed me that I wouldn't want to be around Tammi now because she'd become stuck-up and full of herself. Of course, I would have loved to meet Tammi and judge that for myself. But it wasn't meant to be.

On the eve of my first and last marriage, I felt the need to reflect back and remember how I felt about Tammi. This represents some closure. Not that I was hoping Tammi and I would meet and fall in love someday like a fairy tale, but...okay, maybe a part of me has always wished that would happen. It's an unreasonable thought because Tammi and I are certainly vastly different people than we were twenty years ago. So many things have happened to us that have shaped who we are and how we view others. But I think all of us hold on to someone from years past that represent that pure, unbridled passion that occurs when it's love at first sight. I know Jacob has his from that same time period, because we would sit on the phone for hours with the lights off talking about our respective obsessions. I bet you, dear reader, have yours as well. As much as my stomach grumbled and my heart raced and my emotions got put through the ringer on a daily basis, I wouldn't change anything about my two years with Tammi. I use her as a guiding post on how to treat my fiancee. Because of Tammi, I know that when I put my fiancee on a pedestal and worship her like Athena, I need to savor every moment. I never know when my love or obsession could go unreturned and leave me alone with nothing but hopes and dreams.

Tom Hanks Ain't Got Shit On Me!

Okay, I gotta tell the tale from a couple of weekends ago about my "bachelor party." My time is obviously limited with the wedding a couple of days away, so if I don't get back to the computer to blog before then, I need to talk about the bachelor party before I get married. The shit that happened there cannot be referred to by me after I'm married; hell, I'm not sure if it's legal in Tennessee to even think about what happened after I enter holy matrimony.

Like a lot of guys, I grew up watching the movie Bachelor Party and thinking, man, my bachelor party is gonna be wild like that! Strippers, a huge hotel, a school bus filled with my buddies, hot girls from my past showing up and offering themselves to me, maybe some drugs and a donkey OD'ing on coke...hey, what can I say, it's one of my favorite movies. Tom Hanks and the rest of that cast must have had an absolute blast filming that debauchery, and I always thought that any successful bachelor party had many of those elements, if not all. What happened last weekend did not happen in the movie, and if it did, the movie would have been rated X.

My uncle, who is my best man, said that he'd throw me a bash in Chicago if I could come up for a weekend. However, when he found out that I'm a loser and only had one or two friends that would be able to make it, he scrapped his original plans to go all-out and hire a roomful of talent and go somewhere private. Instead, we went to a gentlemen's club. Now, he claimed that he wasn't familiar with the area strip clubs, even going so far as to say that the last time he went was when he took "Ronnie" and me back in 1995. Really? Well, he may have been telling the truth, because the place he chose wasn't very good. It was called Atlantis, and no one I asked had ever heard of it. My buddy "Drew" was coming out for this, and he and his friends and brother are strip club connoisseurs, but they never heard of it. But my uncle said that it looked classy on the website, so he was sold.

The issue with that is that in Chicago, contact is not allowed between strippers and clientele. So the classier it looks, usually, it just means the more expensive the air dance will be. Drew and I have been fans of a strip club in Hammond, IN, called Industrial Strip, because contact is allowed in the form of what they call "friction dances." And Hammond is very close to Chicago, about 15 minutes depending on where in Chicago you are. So he and I had already decided that after this official bachelor party Saturday night, Oct. 1, we would go to Industrial the next night for an unofficial soiree. The wild card would be the person Drew was inviting to take part in Saturday and Sunday's festivities. His brother and friends were unable to come out, but someone was willing to. That someone was "Ambrosia."

Ambrosia is a woman with whom Ronnie became close because we all worked at CBOE back in the late '90s. She's about our age, which would now be mid-30s, white, heavy, but very pretty in the face, and she knows it. She's a little arrogant, smart-mouthed asides hidden inside a sweet voice, and a little racist, so it's a sign of how funny and friendly she is that I'm still friends with her. The racist in her came out one night way back when she was feeling down about herself because she was recently divorced with a child. We were in someone's basement on a Saturday night waiting for Drew to get off work so we could go out. It was the guy whose house we were in, me, Ronnie, and Ambrosia. At one point she asked rhetorically who'd want to go out with her, and all three of us slowly raised our hands. It was pretty comical. But later that night, Ronnie decided to make his move, sensing a desperate woman, and within earshot of me, her response right to his face was a quote I would never forget: "I don't want to catch jungle fever. I might get malaria." Classy. So with that barrier built, Ronnie never got with her, and I never tried. But over the years, she's e-mailed and called me asking for advice dealing with men. And hey, that always made me feel good, because she was admitting to me that she didn't have all the answers and she respected me enough that she thought I may have some insight.

Her son, who's a teen now, has severe health issues which put him in and out of the hospital, so I wasn't shocked when Drew said that Ambrosia would be coming out to the strip club and hanging with us. She gives the vibe on Facebook that, as much as she loves her son, she really likes going out and getting away from everything. She has to have a billion pics of herself at various parties and outings. The mild surprise was that she would come to a strip club, because I wasn't aware of her being into girls, although Drew has seen her get drunk enough to start making out with women and immediately regret it the next morning. So I was looking forward to the evening because I'd get to see my good friend Drew, I'd get to see Ambrosia, and my uncle and Drew were going to buy my lap dances. And hey, if things got really wild, maybe I could get Ambrosia to accept a lap dance or two and fulfill the fantasy of every man, which is watching two girls rubbing on each other.

So my uncle drove me to Atlantis, and it was a little after 9P, which is kinda early for a strip club, and sure enough, there weren't many guys there yet, and we were descended on by everyone soon after sitting down. The club manager came over and wanted to give us a tour of the whole place. The strippers couldn't stop coming over and saying hi or sitting on our laps. One after another, they wouldn't let us breathe. One girl asked if I wanted to buy her a drink. (That's another Chicago strip club indicator--alcohol served means no total nudity, which sucks because what's the point of a strip club if the girls can't strip everything off??) Another girl was right in my face with big-time cigarette breath. My uncle theorized that we were dressed nicely so they thought we had money. I think it was that there just weren't many men there. Drew had to go pick up Ambrosia, so they were on their way while all this was happening, and I kept thinking, I don't really like this place and when they arrive I think I'm gonna have us all go to Industrial Strip.

I held off all the strippers from talking me into a private dance...except one. She looked Latina and had a thick accent, which she said was Peruvian. But I clearly understood the third sentence she said to me: "So, you wanna stick your dick in my pussy?" Yeah, she was really aggressive. I like really aggressive. And she was really hot, nice rack and everything. So about the same time some black girl named Sunshine talked my uncle into a private dance, the Peruvian took me into a private room as well. The dance was way more contact than I expected at a Chicago club. She grabbed my hands and put them on her tits, which would never happen at Admiral Theatre. At one point she put her hand on my jeans and felt around for my cock, and when she found it, she exclaimed, "OH! There it is!" and started grinding on it, although again, it's Chicago and there's alcohol on premises, so her G-string was still on the whole time. "It's so thick!" she purred as she had herself a grand time at the rate of $30 per song. Two songs later, I had to leave before she stuck her hand down my pants or something.

A great private dance, for sure, but I was still uncomfortable with all the attention at this place. The manager was waiting at the table when we returned to ask if we were ready for that tour. So I went into the lobby and called Drew and told him not to pay for parking or the entrance fee when he got here because we would be going straight to Industrial Strip. My uncle and I left, almost feeling like we were sneaking out because we had told so many women that we may give them a dance later once we settled in and my friends arrived. We met Drew and Ambrosia outside, we drove to a nearby cash station because my uncle was already running low, and I got my first look at what Ambrosia chose to wear on this evening, which was a halter top accentuating her ample bosom. Nice. Like I said, she knows she's hot despite being a large woman. If you're wondering, she's about 5'6", 240, I'd guess. Oh, and she's got the "beauty mark" mole above her lip, and she's claimed from the day we met that Cindy Crawford, the original beauty mark, is a distant cousin. I've always been skeptical, but whatever.

So on to IS, and a totally different atmosphere. It's later at this point, about 11P, so the place is packed, the smoke is thick because Indiana hasn't banned cigarettes in all public places yet, the talent is aplenty and many are heavily tattooed. Ambrosia was allowed in for free because she was a girl, so at least we didn't have to cover her cover. Drew paid $60 extra for three VIP seats, which were just leather seats right behind the main stage seating. It's a ripoff for sure, but Drew offered. So all four of us kept rotating between sitting at the stage and sitting in the VIP seats. We probably seemed like a rowdy bunch to those sitting behind us, constantly getting up and blocking their line of vision. We got Ambrosia to sit at the stage for a while, and every time a dancer got on the main stage, despite all the guys circling the stage, she headed straight for Ambrosia and immediately buried her head in Ambrosia's cleavage, tickling me to no end. Some of them slowly gave it to her, rubbing their breasts in her face or dragging their lips across her neck, and she really seemed to be enjoying it, making me and my dick very happy. Look, I've lived a bit of a sheltered life, so I don't often get to see women rubbing on each other and making each other hot, and of course there's a little something extra when one of the women is a friend you've known for a long time and she's attractive. Every time I offered a dollar to a stripper for a little stage action and then directed her to give it to my female friend, not only was it hot to watch, but I felt a little like a director of my own porn fantasy. "Yeah, sweetie, give it to her. Make it steamy. Motorboat her tits. Oh, yes. That's very nice."

I got a private dance that night, and it was memorable for many reasons. One is that she gave me a first and last name and told me that she's got a website. Her name is Raquel Sieb, or at least that's her stage name. She sat on my lap and for the next 30 minutes proceeded to tell me all about her life, as if I asked. It's a strip club and therefore very dark, so I wasn't able to tell just how old she was when she sat on me. But within a few minutes she volunteered that she was 49. 49!! And stripping!! Really?!? Oh, that wasn't all. She was also a porn actress. Wow. I was kinda speechless. Her body was excellent for a 49-year-old, curvy in the right places, including a great rack. I couldn't tell she had tape covering the nipples, but then she took the white halter top down and peeled off the tape, and out popped one of the longer nipples I've been around, and she basically had my attention for the rest of our time together. She seemed intelligent despite telling me all these things about herself that would make me run the other way if I were trying to pick her up on the street. But she was compelling in her own way. I volunteered some things about myself as well, the most shocking to her being that I had been dating my fiancee for 5½ years and we hadn't had sex and I had been faithful the whole time. I think her head may have exploded. Finally, because it was getting late and my uncle was getting tired, he shoved $40 in my hand and told me to go ahead and take her to the private area. She gave a nice friction dance, but under the light in the private room, her age became rather obvious, and it was a bit of a turnoff. When a woman bends over in front of you and sticks two fingers deep in her coochie, that should be awesome, but her pussy was so weathered that it was a little gross. Nonetheless, I would Tweet her after I came back to Memphis a few days later, and she Tweeted back, "I remember you!" I would hope so. You only sat on my lap for a half-hour.

I had been on a mission to find a woman willing to give a private dance to Ambrosia while I watched, because since she was enjoying things so much, I thought she'd be up for this fantasy. She was, and Raquel said that it wouldn't be a problem, but Ambrosia didn't want a dance from her. And another dancer Ambrosia propositioned said that she couldn't do that. So it seemed that, depending on which stripper you asked, this would be something that could be done. But my uncle was ready to go as soon as I emerged from my private dance with Raquel, and once you get a round of applause from all three members of your party, I guess that's a sign that you have reached the end of the evening. So I got a promise from Ambrosia that we would come back the next night and find someone else willing to fulfill my fantasy.

The next day, I went bowling with my uncle, and we wound up staying longer than I expected, so I kept texting Drew throughout the day, letting him know when I'd be back home at my uncle's so he could come pick me up. It wasn't until about 10P that I was ready, but thankfully Drew and Ambrosia were ready as well. Ambrosia's top this time was exactly the same as Saturday night, black and heavy on the boob support, except this one had one shoulder strap. Drew had an internet coupon for 2-for-1 admission, and of course Ambrosia walked in for free again. But the scene was very different. Sunday nights are very, very slow for a strip club. There were no more than seven strippers in the whole place by my count. There were a lot less patrons as well. But I was fine because I didn't feel like it was too crowded. I had some space. Plus, there were a couple of dancers that I liked. It would have sucked if all of the dancers were undesirable to me, but a couple of them were yummy. This one Amazon woman was there Saturday night and also Sunday. She was white, about 6' in heels, and not skinny. There was serious cottage cheese on her ass and thighs. And yet, she was hot because she worked it like she was Paris Hilton, and she didn't care that she was the biggest girl there. Plus, when she got on the stripper pole, she actually spun around using just her legs. Baby girl had some gymnastics training before she put on the pounds. I was strangely proud of her for putting herself out there like that, and Ambrosia reacted the same way. She said if someone was willing to give her a private dance while I watched, she preferred it to be the big girl. Well, it took almost all night because the big girl was giving private dances, but I finally got a hold of her and asked if she'd be willing to dance for Ambrosia while I watched, and she said yes. Then she said to give her some time for another customer, and she'd be over to give us that dance. She seemed smart and eager. So it was all set.

Well, things don't always go as planned. In this strip club with about ten men in it, one of them kept the big girl engrossed in a conversation for a good 45 minutes while the night drew close to its conclusion. I mean, there weren't any other strippers around for a while. There was a 15-minute period where every stripper working was off the floor, presumably giving private dances. Music was thumping, customers were sitting around, and no one was stripping. Ambrosia actually got up on an auxiliary pole at one point and did a couple of spins, and we howled and applauded as a female patron yelled, "Amateur night!" A bouncer told Ambrosia to go sit down after about 20 seconds. Drew and I tipped her a buck, and she considered updating her Facebook to talk about her new experience on the stripper pole until she realized that her boyfriend, who doesn't live with her, thought she was home asleep right now. It was after this adventure that a couple of strippers finally made their way onto the main stage, and the big girl emerged but got caught up in that long conversation on the other side of the building.

So the place is getting ready to close and we haven't gotten any private dances, and at this point I don't even want a dance for myself, I just want to get one for Ambrosia and watch because that's a scenario that I don't have a chance to see often. A dancer who looked Indian or Mediterranean came up on the main stage and gave a vibe like she actually wanted to be there, and she told me that she would do a private dance for my friend while I watched, so I asked Ambrosia if she'd like to get a dance from this girl if I couldn't get a hold of the big girl, and she said sure. Then I finally saw the big girl walking in our direction, and I asked if she was ready for us yet, and she said "Give me five minutes," and I said okay. At this moment, the DJ announced last call. I made the decision to grab the Indian-looking girl and ask her for the private dance because I didn't want to risk the big girl getting caught up in another long convo on her way to us. The Indian girl said let's go right now, and we were on our way. We all walked past the big girl on our way to the private room, and I didn't know what the big girl was going to do or say. I was kinda sorry that we couldn't have her because that's really who Ambrosia wanted, but she took too fucking long. The big girl's eyes got wide as she recognized us as her potential customers, then she shot two thumbs up and forced a big smile and said loudly, "You guys have a great time!" I will never know if she really meant that or if she was incredibly pissed that we didn't wait for her.

Ambrosia would tell me later that while I was grabbing a chair for myself, the Indian girl asked if I would be jealous during this dance, indicating that she thought Ambrosia and I were a couple. Considering her "jungle fever" comment years ago, this really amused me. We were assumed as a couple by almost every dancer on the main stage, probably because of how I drooled and stared every time one of them cuddled up with her. But also, I'm a big black guy, and she's a big white woman, and this is not an unusual sighting anymore. Big people tend to gravitate towards each other, and black men tend to gravitate towards white women, so I totally understood how we could be assumed as a couple. Hell, Ambrosia doesn't look all that different from "Karen" or "Sarah" in body type. She's much prettier in the face, but otherwise, she looks like the kind of fat white girl that gets shunned by white guys because they want Barbie dolls, and then the niggas get their hands on her because she's thick and we're attracted to thickness, and they get a taste of a big black dick, and they never date a white guy again. I'm guessing that's what would happen to Ambrosia if she went black, especially considering she has an ex-lover that she calls "Chapstick" because his penis was about the size of a tube of lip balm.

Anyway, the lap dance happened, and it was much hotter than I expected it to be. The first three-song set saw the Indian girl, who called herself Lavinia, stick her hand between Ambrosia's legs and rub her off through her jeans while gyrating her pussy in Ambrosia's face. Ambrosia seemed to be thoroughly enjoying the attention and the rubbing, occasionally opening her eyes and glancing at me with a wry smile. I sat still in the corner doing what I do best, watching and taking mental pictures. Ambrosia seemed to be tentative about what she wanted to do with Lavinia. She rubbed her hands all along Lavinia's body but seemed to avoid touching her breasts, which were on the small side but were still pretty. Lavinia kept ramping up the heat, touching herself, letting out small moans, rubbing her pussy and Ambrosia's at the same time, then flipping over and kissing Ambrosia's neck and cleavage. That first set lasted about 12 minutes, and I would have been very happy with that display. Lavinia asked Ambrosia, "Do you want me to continue?" She answered, "That's up to him." I thought about how little money I had on me and whether I really wanted to spend more than the $60 this set cost, but it was just so damn sexy that I didn't want to end it, so I said, "I guess we can do one more song." Now, a song is $35, and a three-song set is another $60, so that's why I said one more song. I wasn't trying to buy two full sets. But Lavinia kept going after the first song ended, and it was so hot that I couldn't make her stop. And thank goodness I didn't stop her. It was during this 2nd set that Lavinia put her head between Ambrosia's breasts and covered what was going on with her long black hair. I had to stand up to see what was happening. I was very excited at the thought of Ambrosia's tits being sucked, because that just takes the fantasy to a whole new level. A thought went through my head as I stood up--maybe this is too far for Ambrosia. Maybe she won't want me to see her topless. After all, we're longtime friends, and not lovers, and she has a boyfriend, and maybe this is the edge of her limits...and before that thought could be completed, Lavinia raised her head to show Ambrosia's beautiful tits, and Ambrosia opened her eyes and smiled at me. I wasn't expecting that. She said later that the look on my face when I saw her tits was absolutely priceless. I can imagine. They kept rubbing each other, including Ambrosia finally rubbing Lavinia's tits, and at one point when Lavinia's hand was between Ambrosia's legs I heard a rather loud moan. I couldn't tell who was moaning or why, but the whole scene was just so awesome that I didn't care. Lavinia pulled Ambrosia's top down a couple more times and sucked her nipples before the set was over, then when it ended, she told Ambrosia, "Wow, I wish I could keep going and finish." Ambrosia, red-faced and smiling, replied, "Me too!" I paid the $120 plus tip and led Ambrosia to Drew's car, where he was waiting for us.

The moment we got into the car and closed the doors, Ambrosia exclaimed, "So, I actually orgasmed!" "WHAT?!?" Drew and I said, looking back at her like she was lying. But her flushed face and trembling voice told the story. Lavinia had found the combination that released Ambrosia's waters--rubbing her clit through her jeans and sucking her very sensitive nipples. "I can cum just from having my nipples sucked," she explained to us as we asked her to repeat the story slowly. So if I hadn't agreed to a 2nd set, her nipples wouldn't have come out, and that would have made the night not as great for all of us. She wouldn't have cum, Lavinia wouldn't have had the knowledge that she made a girl cum that night, and I wouldn't have had the experience of watching a girl make another girl cum. And not fake cum like on a porno, real life orgasm ripped from my friend's body while I watched. How fucking awesome is that? I thanked Ambrosia for giving me a wedding present 100,000 times better than all the gifts we're gonna get combined. We all had a late dinner/early breakfast, and Drew dropped me back off at my uncle's house at about 4:30A.

A funny aside to this adventure is, I could have had my oldest cousin a part of everything had he been able to access his woman's cash in time. Huh? Well, my 22-year-old cousin, my uncle's oldest son, was in town, and he was at the house when I was getting ready to leave Sunday night to go to IS. I invited him along, and he thought for a second and decided that he would come along. I then told him that the admission is $15, and he recoiled, which told me that he probably shouldn't be coming along because getting a dance is much more expensive than $15. He then actually said out loud that his baby momma gets paid at midnight on some kind of direct deposit deal, and it was going on 11 now, so maybe I could wait about an hour to go? I told him no, although he has his own ride, so if he really wanted to go, he could have showed up later. But I felt guilty about him potentially taking his baby momma's money so he can go see some titties, so I gave him the vibe that maybe this is bad timing and we can go some other time. The killer is when I saw him after I got back home, and he asked how things went, and me still stunned at having saw what I saw, I described it to him as the greatest night of my life, and he growled, "Ugh! Why'd you have to tell me that??" Too funny.

So that's the story of my bachelor party. It's fitting. It involved me not having enough friends to fill a small room, me having to pay to see what good-looking guys can see for free, me having to accept money from my friend Drew and my uncle to see it because I could never have financed that weekend by myself, and me going crazy over seeing a fat white woman's tits. Not only that, but a woman who normally wouldn't have given me a shot to see her tits or anything else, but because I was paying for her to get off, she had no problem. It all made sense. But in the end, I got to watch a version of Bachelor Party that I actually would not have imagined in my wildest dreams. And I didn't cheat on my fiancee, so I got to watch it guilt-free. Winners all around, if you ask me.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Some Things Never Change

I decided to start this wedding week by looking up Linda's Big Connections, the website where I met "Karen," to see if she was still making herself a part of the social scene amongst fat people in Wisconsin. And sure enough, she's still on the message boards, still has pics of herself taken at the Milwaukee dances, still has a drink in her hand at all times...the only different things about her are that she's bigger and she wasn't surrounded by ugly black men like most of the pics of her at various social outings. Kinda sad to think that she's still stuck in her little world as she approaches 40. But also kinda funny.

In other news, the programs are printed, our officiant has given us a notarized form detailing our pre-marital counseling which gives us a deep discount on the marriage license, and I can't get my sore tooth removed surgically before next Monday, which obviously is after the wedding. I was hoping to not have to eat and drink on one side of my mouth on my big day, but that's what it looks like I'm going to be doing. My trip to the sleep clinic last night went well. They put me under the oxygen mask all night, which meant that I had to sleep on my back, and I was wired up again. But I think I could get used to the mask. Having air forced into my nose is very weird at first, and I couldn't open my mouth to speak because speaking and having air forced through your nose just doesn't work well together, but so long as I relaxed and didn't try to speak, it was all good. One hiccup earlier today: I guess it's my first car accident, although no one else was involved. I blasted the car's left tire off a curb because I never saw it, and the hubcap is hanging off. Don't know how much to fix that, but it may have to wait until I get my bonus in a few weeks.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Where Oh Where Does The Time Go?

Here we are, a week and a half from the biggest celebrity wedding in the history of Planet Dre, and I haven't been updating all of you faithful readers out there! Things have been unbelievably hectic in my world. Weddings are a bitch to plan, of course, but throw in my fiancee and I still getting to know each other and having a major blow-up a few weeks ago, and no wonder I haven't found the time to write. Oh, I've been writing somewhere else, though. The football blog that "Jacob" and I started last year, In Much Less Detail, is chugging along, displaying our terrible football analysis and picks for the world to see. So that takes up a lot of the time I could be using to blog here at the place where my fiancee discovered me, Planet Dre. But time is so precious now that I'm not living alone. My fiancee and I actually spend less time together when we're at home than a lot of couples who just moved in together, but we're both accustomed to our own space, so I hang out here in her spare bedroom on the computer for an hour or two after a long work day and dinner. But we do have to carve out time for each other as well.

So here's what I wanted to do on this blog before the wedding: I had always envisioned myself hunched over the computer banging out a post describing in great detail the story of the lady that I loved the most before I met my fiancee; Tammi Todd from junior high. I briefly referenced how I felt about her in this post, but I intended to sit down with my diaries from that time period as a guide and go over every little piece of that story because it was such a big part of me at the time. I didn't think I would ever go a day without thinking about Tammi, and for a couple of years after the last time I talked to her, I didn't. Well, I'd have to make a special trip to a storage facility to dig out my diaries, and with all the wedding planning and errands, that seems like a selfish thing to do. But I may do it anyway because I'm going to have the car next week, the week before our wedding. And I really want to read the diaries and capture what I was going through because to try to recall my feelings about this girl right now wouldn't do justice to how I felt. (Hell, I'm still intimidated by her--I found her profile on Facebook, but I didn't try to friend her because I assumed that she would just reject me again, like she did in 1990.) I also wanted to update the blog regularly with all the little minutiae about planning a wedding, the ups and downs, but it's a little late for that considering the wedding is ten days away. I also need to write a post about this past weekend. My uncle invited me back to Chicago for a bachelor party, but because I'm a loser and have like 2 friends, he decided not to hire adult entertainment for a room full of 3 or 4 men, so we went out to a strip club. The weekend turned out to be totally fucking awesome, and the event that happened Sunday evening was fitting for a bachelor party because it's nothing I've ever experienced, nor am I likely to ever again. But that should be a post for later, because some serious shit has been happening with me and the fiancee which needs to be chronicled now.

So instead, I'll talk about the "worse" part about "For better or for worse," which describes the hell my fiancee and I have been unintentionally putting each other through. The problem is sleep, or lack thereof, or what one thinks is happening during sleep while the other is convinced that it couldn't be happening, and the resulting shitstorm.

It started around the end of July, when she complained one Saturday morning about the bad night of sleep she had next to me. I expressed empathy for her, and then after we got in the car and she started driving me to work, she said that we should talk about the reason she wasn't getting good sleep lately. I had no clue what she was going to say next.

"We have to talk about you masturbating while I'm trying to sleep." Wait, what?

Here's the deal: I have undiagnosed sleep apnea. The handful of women that have slept with me have always told me that I stop breathing when I sleep, and it's worrisome. I'm aware that it can be curtains for me one night, only because I'm a big sports fan and I'm well aware of an all-time NFL defensive player named Reggie White, who died I think before he turned 40 because he stopped breathing in his sleep and never woke up. So I'm not totally ignorant of its severity, I just hate doctors so much that I've never had it checked out. But I have never gotten a really good night's sleep, because I'm always thrashing around in my sleep, presumably gasping for air. I've awaken on the floor sometimes, I've awaken with my head at the foot of the bed, and almost every morning of my life, my sheets aren't where they were when I went to sleep. My fiancee has slept with me before, so she knows all of this. But for some reason, she took my movements and grunting as me jacking it right next to her while she was trying to sleep, which I would never ever do.

So when she threw this accusation at me, I laughed it off because I was genuinely stunned and didn't know how else to react. This led to a couple of weeks where we were not exactly communicating well with each other. She thought I was lying to her face, and I thought she was crazy, and we weren't getting along too well. Then one night, I woke up to hear her sniffling and walking out into the living room. I asked if she was alright, and she let out a wail. I got up and followed her, scared that something was terribly wrong, and when she finally spoke to me through her tears, she said, "You were masturbating again." I didn't react very well to this, because I thought the issue was past us the moment I said that I wasn't masturbating. I told her firmly that I loved her and wasn't trying to minimize her feelings, but she was dead wrong about me jacking off and it didn't feel good to be called a liar. I then went back to bed, only to have her tell me that she thought maybe I should sleep in the guest bedroom. That's what I did, although I was steamed. She was contrite the next day as she explained to me that no matter what I told her, she had to listen to her gut, and her gut told her that I was masturbating. It made for a terrible feeling on my part. After all the lying I did to past girlfriends, here I was actually telling the truth and not being believed. It really hurt.

Her solution was to "put it behind us" and move forward, because after all, me getting off in bed with her was kinda hot to her, and she said that she'd join in next time. The problem is, I was never jacking off. There was nothing in which to join. I even begged her to turn on the light next time I made these noises and movements so she could see that I wasn't doing that, but she didn't want to play "Gotcha!" with me. We tried to move on, but there was another evening when she left the bedroom and I got up and tried to convince her that I was asleep and had no idea if I was moving or making sounds. She tried to play "Gotcha!" this time and asked me to pull my pants down to show whether I had came in my shorts or not. I immediately did it to show her that not only had I not came, but I wasn't even aroused. She asked me if that was humiliating, and I told her that it didn't matter. All I wanted to do was convince her that I was telling the truth. She sobbed that she was sorry for ruining the relationship, and I told her that she wasn't doing that. And the reason I didn't think she was ruining the relationship was because I was 100% sure that once I proved to her that I was right and she was wrong, all of this bullshit would go away and we'd go back to normal. But this woman was not letting go. She refused to believe that I was telling the truth. She wouldn't even refer to it as a possible truth, just "what you claim to be true" or "your version of things." We even went to the reverend who will officiate the wedding for an emergency counseling session. But we were at an impasse.

She said at one point that it was up to me do something about this problem if it really was being caused by my sleep apnea. I put a Band-Aid on my nose one night in an attempt to keep oxygen flowing through my nose. It didn't work. I thought that maybe I needed a product specifically meant for this problem, so I sent out for free samples of nasal strips, which also didn't work. It finally got to the point where I made an appointment with a sleep clinic to get an overnight test done so I can get my sleep apnea diagnosed and solved, because I kept moving during my sleep and she kept assuming I was doing it on purpose. But the sleep clinic was very unorganized and kept putting off my night to come in and do the test. Meanwhile, the fiancee and I kept getting on each other's nerves. I kept insisting that we don't have an issue because the moment she accepts that I've been honest this whole time, everything goes away. She kept insisting that even on the slight chance that I've been telling the truth, I need to get over how she basically called me a liar for a couple of months and just put the whole thing past us. But I was having trouble connecting with her emotionally, physically, in any way, because she hurt me so much by insisting that I was being dishonest. I didn't even want to go to sleep at night because I was losing trust in her mental stability. I was wondering if I was going to wake up one night with her standing over me holding a knife or something. She did turn on the light one night to try to catch me in the act, but I was not totally asleep, so I woke up fully when she hit the lamp. She assumed that I once again stopped jacking it for fear of being caught. But I didn't even remember moving much before she hit the light. I may have turned over, but that was about it. She went back to our reverend for another counseling session, this time alone, and she came out of it resigned to not bringing it up anymore because--again, even if I'm lying--the issue isn't worth fucking up the relationship. Basically, she refused to give me the satisfaction of her saying she was wrong, and she became the hero, saving our marriage by being the bigger person and letting the issue go. I'm still not totally over the whole fiasco, but we haven't argued about it in weeks. Plus, the sleep clinic did indeed diagnose me with moderate-to-severe sleep apnea, though they didn't capture those sounds and movements that my fiancee accused me of making. I go back this Sunday night to figure out how much pressure I need for a new mask which will force oxygen into my nose during sleep, ending my breathing problems and (we pray) ending my need to flail around.

Throughout this ordeal, she has been fond of telling me that this is how marriage works, that it's not always flowers and sunshine. Look, I'm well aware that there's no such thing as a perfect relationship. But I absolutely have no idea how I'm supposed to react when I tell the 100% whole truth and get totally shot down. I called my uncle for advice, and he just said that I have to be willing to not get the win in this battle because it may cost me the war; in other words, stop pressing her to say that I wasn't really masturbating because I may do irreparable damage to our union trying to force her to admit she was wrong. To an extent, this is also about my competitive streak and how much I despise losing. It really could be easy to let go and move past this thing if she's willing to do so, but part of me hates just throwing my hands up and moving past it because I never willingly disrupted her sleep and I'm willing to do absolutely anything to prove it. Videotape me sleeping. Audiotape me sleeping. Hit the lights every single fucking time I start moaning and shaking the bed. Whatever it takes, just give me the win and admit you were wrong. But it looks like that's not gonna happen, not unless I totally stop moving once I get this oxygen mask. And even then, I can't press the issue and throw it back in her face if I stop moving during sleep, because she could take it the wrong way and have another mental meltdown. The whole situation has left me feeling rather helpless, and if anything similar happens in the future--where I tell the Goddamn truth and get figuratively spat upon in response--I don't know what the hell is gonna happen.