Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Uh, so nobody’s going to tell my mom this story, right?

When I was 17 I saw a naked cowboy in Italy.
Let me back up.
My sister, who at the time was married to a guy in the air force who was stationed in Italy, let me come visit over Christmas break of my senior year in high school.
I was beyond thrilled.  I’ve always had a strong yearning to see as much of the world as I could, though of late that hasn’t really been satisfied.  But this trip was my first big trip and my first time flying, my first time flying by myself, and especially my first time flying by myself to a foreign country.
Heaven, is what I’m saying.
That experience, in and of itself, is another story that I will share sometime.
But for now let’s focus on the cowboys.
My sister had made friends with a group of people who were country.  So country.  They were all soldiers or married to soldiers and they all seemed to wear cowboy hats.  Now I’m not saying that they were all cowboys, but they sure did seem to enjoy the attire. 
And the dancing.
I’ve never seen so many guys willing to dance and actually enjoying it and doing it well.  I learned how to two-step and line dance at country night on base. 
I also learned about butter shots.  Nasty, syrupy-sweet butter shots.
At the time I thought they were awesome.  I have since changed my opinion.  In case you are lucky and have never heard of them, they’re a shot comprised of butterscotch schnapps and Bailey’s or Kahlua.  Now, I’m okay with Bailey’s.  It’s just you add to it a schnapps made to taste like butterscotch and it makes something so sweet and disgusting that it lands with a thud in the bottom of your stomach. 
But at the time I thought I was super-cool and adult for drinking them.
So one night me, my sister, and a bunch of cowboys and a cowgirl or two were gathered around a table where alcohol was being consumed.  I believe we were playing quarters.   (Actually, I totally just looked this up in my journal and yep – quarters.  Apparently I wasn’t that good at it.)
When I’m in situations that are uncomfortable I tend to stand apart, on the outside and just watch what happens.  And that’s how this started.  I think I made everyone nervous, especially one particular man in a black cowboy hat I was crushing on, by not being into the party.  I didn’t really know them, though and I was shy and wasn’t really a big drinker. 
But finally I rallied (I guess?) and sat down to play.  At some point (the details are a little fuzzy and not so much from the wine but from the fact that this was 13 years ago and I wasn’t a good, detail-oriented journaler) the game of quarters dissolved into a game of truth or dare.
Because of course.
So this guy in the black cowboy hat was dared to run to the mailbox outside wearing nothing but his hat and cowboy boots.
I averted my eyes as he ran outside because I was innocent and virginal and also ridiculously embarrassed.  I mean it was a MAN.  A NAKED MAN. 
(I was a late bloomer.)
I think everyone sensed my discomfort through their quarters-addled brains, which only added to their fun.  So after the cowboy got through running outside to the mailbox he came back inside and found me and started chasing after me.  I ran around the house until I found the bathroom and locked myself inside. 
Everyone was laughing, myself included, because the whole situation was hysterically ridiculous.  But I refused to come out until he’d put his clothes back on.
Guess where those clothes were?
Yup.  In the bathroom.  With me.
So I had to open the door to give him his clothes back so he could get dressed.  And, according to my journal, after that “he kept talking to me about what kind of life he wanted & the things he’d done.”  Also, “he skydives.”
I think we made a real connection, you know?
(Somewhere somebody has all of this on video.  I’d actually really like to see it.)

Has nothing to do with this story, but it's the only photo I could find downstairs
of my trip to Italy.  The rest of them are upstairs in my daughter's closet and
she's taking a nap.  Isn't it pretty?

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