I've told this story a hundred times, but before I lose my mind I want to write it down for all my nieces and all those that are still looking for an awesome companion, to read. There is some inspiration here...but it's not what you think. Though I wanted to write about being single for 41 years first...that's just not as fun to read about as kissing. And tonight I'm short on time, and my goal is to write something every day. Today I'm thinking about my awesome boyfriend, Andy. Here goes....
LDS young people are taught from the time they go through the famous fifth grade maturation program to abstain from sex until you're married. You happily, stalwartly say, "Yes I can!" But you don't think they mean 41 years. F...O...R...T...Y...O...N...E...Y...E...A...R...S.
Socially, even though I was a debater and a drama geek, I did learn how to kiss boys. When I was the only girl debater on a team full of boys... I learned a lot. I mean...ah hem....I've always been a good student. I also learned how to say "okay, my dad's probably waiting at home for me now, so I'd better go...." My fear and guilt would always stop me before any piece of clothing was removed.
College was a different story. Dad was no longer waiting at home. I learned what it was like for the spirit to leave me completely and distantly. I didn't like that feeling. So I turned around and served a mission. I went for two years without kissing anyone but babies and old hunched-backed Thai ladies.
My mission really solidified my belief system. Which is great, but then for six or seven years after I came home, I was looking for the next prophet to marry, but I was also working 65 hours a week....and let's face it, the pickin's got slimmer and slimmer. I might as well have made myself a sign: "marry me and become an instant set builder, lighting designer and father of 200." I did not make myself very available. I did not separate work from life at the time.
But in my early 30's I kissed my way into getting engaged to someone that bought into the set building and the kids. He was an actor himself, what luck! He would GET me. Even though he was a few years younger than me, I thought things were finally going to work out. But...they didn't. He wasn't ready. Stunned silence. Ring flying. Doors slamming. Ceremonial invitation burning (thanks mom!). I reacted in typical scorned Mormon woman fashion and threw myself into a gall of unimaginable bitterness. F...O...R.....T...E...N.....Y...E...A...R...S.
Truthfully, the bitterness was a solid remedy for sexual abstinence. I wrapped myself in a blanket made of chain mail. I packed on the 80 pounds I had lost (they came running right back to their comfort zone) and settled into a life of play directing and "good friends."
Two of those good friends were Chad Taylor and Andy Hunsaker. I had cast them both in community theatre but Andy was never able to "play" with us (he always had to work. Chad never worked...hehe... I love you Chad!) They were both much younger than I was and I had tried younger and wasn't going there again. Nevertheless, because I was always around Chad, I sure wished he was older. ;-) But still, with age, comes wisdom. My dad was right. So I steered clear of them both, despite my mom saying "Why don't you marry one of those boys, Jan?"
When I moved to St. George to produce a play, Chad and Andy were at SUU (a nearby university). They were my only friends. So we put a lot of miles on I-15 between the two towns. Eventually Chad graduated and Andy and I were left. A...L....O....N....E.
(I KNOW I'VE DRAGGED YOU ALONG.... but this is where it gets good....this is where all you single-over-40's out there, still looking for Peter Priesthood, can put your bitterness down, grab hold of that iron rod once again and keep walking girlfriends!)
Toward the end of the summer, we, Andy and I, were sitting in my rented house trying to decide what to do that night and the conversation turned into a lamentation about the lack of physical contact we had endured for so long. I had turned 40 that year and the bitterness I was holding so close had become useless and annoying. Most people my age had kids in high school. I knew, because I was teaching them. !*$#!
I had convinced myself that I needed to get back into the kissing scene. I was serious about it. But I was not AT ALL interested in kissing Andy. Mostly, because he was more like my little brother and that just seemed illegal in some way. But he was the only one around that night. And that night I needed to be kissed. He said something like "I wouldn't even know what to do because I've always been treated like every girls little brother." Mind reader! Blast.
So I sat for a minute. Thinking about the cost of what I was about to say next...it would be very expensive for me to lose my best friend for a NCMO. (Most of you know what that means and if you don't it will make for interesting homework) Then I said (here goes - this is what will get you pregnant girls, watch out) "Why don't WE just go somewhere and make out? I'll teach you everything I know." Friendship to the wind! Curse words flowing in my head. What had I just suggested? I was about to lose my very best friend.
Moment of regret.
Watch the boy.
He turns bright red. Silence.
"Just kidding." I said.
"I'm a quick learner" he says.
"What if it ruins our friendship?"
"What if it doesn't?" he says.
Sound of shattering glass in my head...should have listened to that premonition. But NO. Stupid. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.
We drove to a video store (back when there were video stores) and picked out the dumbest movie ever made. We planned on coming back to the rented house, putting in the movie and eventually things would turn into (brown chicken brown cow) "The Make Out School." Not sure why we needed the video, but that's a trick I used to know and NO it wasn't porn. Remember - we were still stalwart LDS people trying to avoid porn.
Temple....temple... temple....I had waited this long, I wasn't going to give up that dream for a ten minute make out with my brother. Sheesh.
When we got back to the house, yep, my roommate was there. And she was sick. Emilie I'm talking about you. She was bundled up in several blankets in the basement (on August 9th, in St. George) watching T.V. with a box of kleenex on her lap and when we walked into the room she said "oh good, you brought me a video! I'm sick!" What could we do? We sat down and watched the dumbest movie ever made. Not even looking at each other. The air was so thick you could have cut it. We were bugged. Andy later told me he was scared to death and can't even remember to this day the title of the movie. I admit, I was just bugged. Slowest movie ever!!!!! Whatever it was.
But it gave me time to think. End of movie. Emilie is asleep of course. I have by now conjured Plan B.
We get in the car, Andy's mom's old red Nissan! (His car was in the shop). And I tell Andy to drive "somewhere." He goes toward Lowes and I say "do you need some lumber?" He says "don't worry, we're going to Arizona." Not familiar with the territory, I didn't realize that St. George is about 7 miles from the famous "Arizona Strip." Not a light, not a cop, not a person around for miles and miles. Why do they call it the Arizona Strip? I remind him that this is just a NCMO and no stripping will be happening. Silence. He is in another world and sweating like a whore in church.
I am getting nervous. We are getting farther and farther away from St. George. The tumbleweeds are getting taller. The road turns to dust and we veer off into what can only be described as cocaine traffiking country. Suddenly we stop. How does he know where we are? "I came here once with a girl, but...nothing happened. It was weird." It crosses my mind, that if I don't kiss my best friend tonight, I will effectively RUIN the famed Arizona Strip for him forever. Wouldn't want to do that.
We can still see the lights of the city, but we have crossed the state line. I feel like I have just been cast in Footloose. Permission to do whatever you want. Dark red car, tumbleweeds as high as the windshield. But I feel very safe. This is key.
Car shuts down. Click. Click. Dust settles. Deep breaths. Eyes straight ahead. "I'm 40 years old" I say. "I've never made out with anyone," he says.
Since it was my idea in the first place, he just waits. And waits. And pretty soon, we both start laughing. Well, more like giggling in prologue to duel heart attacks. Why was I so nervous? I was out of practice. It had been so many years. My confidence was gone. What was I thinking?
Finally, disgusted with my inability to muster 20 seconds of bravery, he leaned toward me... he had stopped giggling. Me, not so much. Then I looked straight into his eyes. Well, Andy has the bluest danged eyes. They are sooooooooo blue... have I ever noticed that.... And before I could finish the thought, we had kissed each other.
There is still argument about who initiated it, but the fact is, we now have a child together and no, it wasn't nine months from August 9th.
45 minutes later, we were driving back into St. George. I felt the strongest urge to cry, but instead I reached over and put my hand on his knee. He slid his had over mine and I knew, right then, that we had not ruined a friendship that night, we had solidified one. Close call. And I don't suggest that for everyone, but sometimes, it just takes looking at someone differently for a minute. You might not think of that person as "make out material" but kiss them for a while and see if that changes. I triple dog dare you.
hahahaaaaaaaaaa....August 9th! Arizona. Mom's car, the bluest eyes on the planet and the greatest 45 minutes of my life!