Your humorous columns have reminded me of a date I had in my college days -- a story that’s only laughable upon hindsight.
She was a tall, willowy blonde, whose laugh was the first thing that attracted me (strong and sure: no pretence). I knew from conversation that she had experience with horses, and I knew of a riding stable outside of town. I'd been on a hayride there the year before. I'd never been on a horse, but how hard could it be?
With sliced cheese and crackers packed in Tupperware and a nice Rhine wine, I took my date to the stable.
We got mounted without too much hassle and followed the trails.
Dismounting and setting up the picnic went swimmingly, until we went to open the wine. I'd forgotten the corkscrew. No wine. Then I discovered the cheese left something to be desired after sitting in the sun in a backpack for four hours. Oh yeah, for the record, Tupperware plus hours of shaking equals unrecognizable crumbs.
Obviously, we decided to forego the picnic, opting for a restaurant with chairs and tables. That's when things really went amiss.
When I slung myself back into the saddle, the backpack (not as neatly packed now) slipped to one side, forcing me to lean at a slight angle to keep my balance. The horse, suddenly realizing we were heading home, took the bit excitedly between his teeth and set off at a hearty trot back to the barn.
Hanging on for dear life, stifling my own screams, I rose, the saddle fell, and my bottom connected with a repeated, audible whack, whack. Since the backpack wasn’t fully closed, the blanket started unfurling behind me. That's when Lynn started to laugh. The sight of some spastic, hunchbacked super hero wrestling with a wild horse was too much for her.
Ironically the first thing I was attracted to turned out to be the mortifying thing that finally turned me off.
Even more ironically, the woman I am married to all these years later laughs even louder every time she thinks about that story. -- LANCELOT - RIDGETOWN
Dear Lance Romance,
Thanks for sharing. I’m laughing as quietly as possible.
It never ceases to amaze me what we’ll do to show off for the opposite sex. Get in over our heads. Risk life and limb. Endure humiliation. And live to do it all again.
Your candid confession reminds me of the time I had a crush on a very tall young man, who just happened to be celebrating a birthday.
Given the knowledge that Tall-Dark-and-Handsome had a penchant for tall women -- and me at only 5’4” -- I strapped on the highest heels I could buy. Not as dangerous as riding a horse, you’d think.
I was determined to make this a birthday he wouldn’t forget. So, for an icing-on-the-cake effect, so to speak, I insisted that I be the one to deliver the birthday cake from the kitchen, up the three steps, to the dining room table.
Evidently, there were four steps and, had it not been for my five inches of imbalance, I might not have fallen up the steps, landing smack-dab on the professionally-decorated cake.
Thankfully, when my reason for showing off finished laughing, he helped me clean the cake off my dress and graciously told me that I was the brightest candle that had ever donned a birthday cake.
If you’re thinking that my story ended more happily or that I am charmed, all I have to say is: “Where is the birthday boy now?” Probably wiping frosting of someone else’s dress, leaving me still Single In The City.
Have a question, a thought, or a story to share (anonymity guaranteed)? E-mail Christine at: email@example.com.
Originally published in The London Free Press on November 28, 2002.