Monday, February 8, 2010

Dinner for Toot

I know I wasn’t the only kid who had a crush on his babysitter. And I know I’m probably not the only kid who got my babysitter to innocently pretend we were on a date. But I’m fairly certain that no one else’s date ended the way mine did. No, this isn’t some scandalous tale of an older woman who torridly teaches me the ways of love and lust. That would have been nice.

This is me we’re talking about, though - so of course this story ends with embarrassment of the highest order.

Allow me to set the stage…

Gina lived across the street from us. My mom’s decision to hire her had less to do with her qualifications and more to do with convenience I think. Not that Gina was a bad babysitter (we'd certainly had worse), but my parents might have thought twice about leaving us alone with her if they'd known what kind of an influence she could be on us.

See, Gina was the one who taught me how to curse properly and respect profanity as an art form. Once I had that down, she introduced me to the innuendo-laced alternative music that my mom would spend years trying to keep out of my stereo. She also showed me the kinds of clothes the 8th graders were wearing and how lame my wardrobe looked by comparison. Basically, I was under the impression that everything she said or did was cool and I would have followed her off of a bridge if she’d asked. But when exactly did this admiration turn into unrequited love? I remember the exact moment…

I can’t recall who found it or why we were going through my mom’s things. Perhaps my sister Erika and I had been bored. Perhaps Gina had encouraged us. It didn’t matter. What did matter was that this thing existed and it was right in front of us. At first it had looked out of place. Why was this tucked away and not on our bookshelf? Then I got my first glimpse at the title.

“The Joy of Sex”

Indeed. I didn’t even have to open it. Just staring at the word “sex” had turned me into a half-retarded smut zombie. But then I saw four other magical words: “illustrated by John Raynes”. ILLUSTRATED. It may have been the first time I cried out of happiness.

With Gina looking over our shoulders, Erika and I began flipping through the pages. At first it was horrifying. All kinds of parts I’d never seen in detail before with all sorts of names I couldn’t pronounce. What were these people doing to each other? Didn’t that hurt? And why were they so impossibly hairy? But then Gina began to explain what we were looking at. More than that she was using her own personal experiences as an example.

She was pointing to different positions and saying, “Did that… did that… haven’t tried that… did that… wasn’t enough room in the back of his car for that…”

I stopped seeing the naked hippies in the book. Instead I saw Gina committing and endless string of deviant deeds that teased my libido into coming out to play. I felt dizzy. Where was all the blood in my head rushing to? And why were my pants getting so tight? She was still talking but I couldn’t make out a single word. I thought I was going to pass out and slip into a nudity coma. And that… that was the moment my admiration for Gina turned into quite a bit more.

So the next time she came to babysit us I was ready. I had talked Erika into helping me set up a date. Like I said in the beginning, it was all very innocent. I didn’t for one second believe we were going to re-enact our favorite illustrations from the book (*cough* page 157 *cough*). I just knew I liked her and that this is what kids her age did when they liked someone. I dressed up in my church clothes (oh, irony), dimmed the lights in the dining room, and had Erika play the role of our waiter. But since I was too nervous to actually ask Gina out, I came up with what I thought was a better plan… I hid under the table. No, seriously. All freaking night. I was there before my parents left and waited patiently while Erika explained to Gina why she was talking in an English accent (waiters always did in the movies), why the lights were so low, and why Celine Dion was playing in the background. Gina went along with all of it.

I saw their feet enter the dining room. Erika showed her to her seat and I began feeling very, very nervous. Then I started to consider what a terrible idea this might have been. Me popping up to surprise her right before the main course wasn’t romantic… it was straight up creepy. “Hi, Gina… yeah I’ve just been down here staring at your nether regions for the last twenty minutes. Shall we order?” I mean what the hell? Where did this idea even come from? The only thing I knew about seducing women was what I’d seen in James Bond movies. And it’s not like there’s that seminal moment in Goldfinger where James waits patiently under the table for his date to arrive. But it was too late now. There was no way to sneak out and there was no way to get word to Erika that I wanted to abort.
This was happening.

Gina asked Erika what we’d be serving that evening. Obviously, we hadn’t actually cooked anything - at that age, our culinary expertise was limited to Pop-Tarts. If we'd had any in the house, that probably would have been my first choice. Alas, the only thing we had available to us was leftover Halloween candy. To me, it seemed like the perfect dinner. So Erika began listing the choices: “Snickers, Butterfinger, M&M’s, and the rolls of Tootsie”. I’m not kidding. She actually said that. In her terrible English accent. Then she suggested that Gina start with a beverage because she knew serving drinks was my cue to emerge. I was a mess of nerves. My stomach had never felt like this.

Gina never had the chance to order her drink. I interrupted her. I don’t mean I stood up and revealed myself the way we’d planned. And I don’t mean I said anything from under the table. Not with my mouth anyways.

To say I farted would be putting it lightly.

I was in pain. My butt was burning. And what passed through me had felt so solid, I had to look down and make sure I hadn’t dropped anything. My ears were ringing from the volume of it. I felt weak and lightheaded. And then I remembered I wasn’t alone...

God bless Erika. You know what she said without missing a beat? “That… was me.” In her terrible English accent. I broke wind, but she didn’t break character. It was in vein though. The detonation had obviously come from down below. This plan had already been incredibly flawed… now I just looked like a dick. Never mind how disturbing it is that your “date” has been hiding right in front of you the entire time… now he’s God damn farting on you?!

I won’t describe the smell of it because I don’t hate you. But I will say that it hit me, snapped me out of my daze, and made me realize that I had two choices. The first was to try and salvage the date as best I could and not let this unexpected setback stand in the way of what might have been a fantastic evening. I didn’t go that route. I went with my second choice - which was to run up to my room, lock the door, and stay there all night.

It wouldn’t be the last time my body betrayed me. This blog will probably prove that beyond a shadow of a doubt. But so far it’s the only time that one of my farts has had lasting ramifications. It wasn’t as if I could ask my mom to find a new babysitter because I’d tooted on this one. But I knew I’d never be able to look Gina in the eye again. And it would be years before I could associate “The Joy of Sex” , Halloween candy, or Celine Dion with anything else. Our entire relationship changed. I spent most of her visits hiding out in my room not saying much. There were no more music recommendations, no more cool kid makeovers, no more sage wisdom from an upperclassman. It was all over. Thanks, ass.

Eventually Erika and I became too old for babysitters and soon after Gina’s family moved away. I don’t know what happened to her or if she ever got around to crossing the rest of those positions off her list. I only know I wasn’t meant to be her page 157.


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