His smile is what got me.
I sat in Monk’s, a local bar near my team housing in AmeriCorps NCCC. We were stationed in Dubuque, Iowa; a little town I had never known existed. And we volunteered at The National Mississippi River Aquarium and Museum.
I was dressed to kill that night so I wasn’t surprised when I caught his eye and he walked up to initiate a conversation with me. His name was “Rocky”. That fact alone should have been enough evidence for me to ignore him, but what freshly turned 21 year old lady could reject those looks? And he knew it too. He exuded confidence and charm. He was 25 years old, firmly built, and was just in Dubuque attending a local college. He was Nepalese and, to be honest, I never knew what that was or what the hell Nepal was for that matter until I met him. He’d always correct me if I slipped up and called him Indian. “Nepal is a little country above India and below China.”, he would say. And I never forgot.
We were the only two in the bar outside of the bartender. Our eyes firmly planted onto our laptop screens, fully taking advantage of the free wifi; only lifting our eyes to exchange sudden awkward glances. I wore my golden oriental printed dress that collected at the neck, exposing my bare shoulders. I ditched my nerdy, thick emo glasses that day and actually wore make-up and attempted to wear contacts. If it weren’t for my celibacy, it was practically a law that I had to get laid that night. Everything was perfect. I had been single for as long as I had been celibate so I was hoping to find a new boyfriend. I met Rocky a little before I started seeing Matt. Before Matt, Rocky was a devil, but I soon learned that Rocky was merely child’s play compared to what Matt put me through. There is nothing more lonely than being single in AmeriCorps. I was the only girl on my team without a boyfriend so, when he asked me if I wanted to go see a movie with him, I tried to control myself from yelling “YES!” It was my (very rare) day off from work and my only options that night were either:
A. Go back to my AmeriCorps “home” and go to sleep at 10pm on my day off like a loser.
B. Go to the movies with this insanely gorgeous Sex God.
The answer seemed pretty obvious.
I always seemed to jump at any chance to get away from my team. Relations with my team weren’t so good at the time. Everyone ganged up on our team leader and, when they weren’t ganging up on our team leader, it was either Matt or myself that they loved to pick at. So I jumped at any chance to free myself from my team. The only thing that would have stopped me from saying ‘yes’ that night was my celibacy promise. I knew putting myself in this position could potentially lead to disaster, but what harm could come from a movie date? Safe, classy, and traditional, right?
We didn’t even know the movie times or what movies were even showing at the time and I got the feeling that neither he nor I really cared about the movie at all. We walked up to the ticket counter and I paused a bit. That awkward pause that every girl does before buying anything on a date in hopes that the guy will be a gentleman and offer to pay. He bought his own ticket and looked at me like I was insane. That’s ok, right? I’m a independent woman, right? I can handle buying my own movie ticket on a date, right? My feminist views flare whenever the man is always expected to pay, but I do feel that whomever initiated the date should at least offer to pay. Am I wrong? After getting my face cracked, we walked near the doors to go inside and, not surprisingly, there was no attempt at all on his part to hold the door for me. And, when I say this, I’m not saying blatantly and obviously holding the door in a chivalrous manner like they do in old movies. I simply mean holding the door normally like any human being would do for another human being. The door practically slammed in my face. I’m an independent woman, right? This is still a good date, right? Right?
We wanted to see Inception, but since Inception started at a later time, we decided to watch The Lottery Ticket first until Inception started. Our plan was to sneak into the Inception theater when it started. I had no desire to watch Lottery Ticket. You know, that lame movie with Lil’ Bow Wow in it. Or, at least, I thought it was lame until I watched it. It was actually pretty decent and surprisingly funny. I was a bit sad when Rockey nudged my side, telling me it was time for Inception to start. I didn’t want to leave and I was scared to sneak in to see another movie, but that was the plan so we did. It was a grueling two hours while watching the movie. You could tell neither of us were really into it and weren’t really interested in it at all. Our minds were elsewhere. Things I should have understood about the movie, I didn’t understand because I was too busy thinking about other things: “I wonder how his lips taste?” It was the same uncomfortableness you would have any time you sit two people who are attracted to each other together in a dark theater. And we were about the only people in the theater.
When the movie was over, we made a big sigh of relief. We were free to do what we really wanted to do. It was about midnight, really late at night. To be honest, I had no plans for what would happen next after the movie, but, I suppose, they should have been to take me “home”, give each other a big church hug, and go our separate ways. But that would be boring, wouldn’t it? He turned to me asked if I wanted to get a hotel room together and my mind exploded with all the doubt and questions. If I say “yes”, this would just be another Dani situation all over again. I would break my celibacy and I would hate myself. But I wanted to say ‘yes’. I wanted to feel him close to me and, most of all, I didn’t want this night to end. I didn’t want to be alone, I didn’t want to be bored and, most of all, I didn’t want to go back “home” with my teammates. I wanted him to stay so I said, “Yes.” And I was for sure Narada rolled over in his grave.
When we got to the hotel, I was impressed. It wasn’t a cheap Bates Motel room like Dani would always get. It was definitely a step up. “If you’re going to be a ho, at least be a classy ho.”, I thought. The room had two beds, a tv, a refrigerator, and a bathroom. I immediately jumped on the bed and grabbed for the remote. I might as well have screamed, “MINE!” I was a kid in a toy store. You may not know this, but having tv access, an actual bed, a clean bathroom, and hot running shower water are a rarity in AmeriCorps. It had been months seen I had access to any of these things. I wanted to sit on the toilet and stand in the shower for no reason at all.
After a while of playing with the t.v. and awkward conversations, he spared no time in getting the deed started. The lights were out and the only thing glaring was a muted t.v. screen. Just as Dani would do, he climbed on top of me and I almost threw up in my mouth reliving my past life and my late night escapades with Dani. My mind raced with thoughts, “Is this really how my celibacy is going to end?” “Did I just fail Narada?” and, most importantly, “Oh my God, does he notice how hairy my vagina is?!” I stopped shaving when I started my celibacy back in 2008 in a desperate attempt to stop myself from having sex and I couldn’t help but yell in my mind at the time: “IT’S NOT WORKING!”
He reached down into my underwear into the African jungle (aka my mass of pubs) and he, surprisingly didn’t say a word. He didn’t even flinch. He was merely inches away from entering inside me when he suddenly stopped. He just stopped and rolled over to the side of the bed. And I believe I let out the biggest sigh of relief in the world. I almost slapped myself right then and there for stupidly almost ending my celibacy.
I turned my head with my body still exposed, “What’s wrong?”
He sat on the edge of the bed with his head sunk into his hands, clasping his face. He was crying. “I can’t do this.”
I couldn’t believe my eyes (and ears) and I couldn’t have been happier. If I believed in God, it was like he had sent down an angel. I smiled, “It’s ok. Nothing wrong with that!”
At first, I thought he had erection problems, but that wasn’t it at all. He went on to explain how guilty he felt because of his religious beliefs and mostly because he loved someone else. He told me a story about how he loved a girl back in Nepal, but he had to leave her in Nepal because she was having visa issues. So he fled to America by himself for a better life. He felt like he was cheating on her.
He continuously apologized and asked if I were mad at him, but I was more than happy. I was happy I didn’t end my celibacy with him and I was happy I didn’t break my promise to Narada. What scared me the most about that night though is that if he had not stopped, I would have kept going and went through with it. That realization alone made my stomach turn. When apologies were exchanged, he demanded we sleep in separate beds so he wouldn’t be tempted to do anything he would regret and I gladly followed through. Luckily, the hotel room had two beds and we slept a mere few feet away from each other. I slept in my bed and he slept in his, and I was beyond amazed at his self control. And my own, for that matter.
The next morning was awful. I didn’t expect getting a hotel room and I certainly didn’t plan to spend the night. I had no extra clothes and I didn’t even have my glasses with me. I had contacts, but, of course, I couldn’t sleep in them so I had to throw them away. So, when we woke up the next morning, I was completely blind. I blinked furiously, wide eyed, and looked over at him.
I was greeted with the sight of him shirtless first thing in the morning. “Ugh, why are your eyes so baggy?”
Well, excuse me. Just take me home now, please.
He took me “home” and quickly drove off to catch an early morning college class. He had no sympathy for me. He didn’t even drop me off a few feet away from my housing like I wanted him to. Instead, for once, he was courteous enough to drop me off right in front of my volunteer housing. Every good ho knows that’s a no-no. Why would I want anyone to see me? I had to do the walk of shame back to my room and prayed to Poseidon that none of my teammates would be up this early. It was like 6am and, of course, the only person up and walking about like it was 3pm was my roommate Kristin. Honestly, what the fuck, Kristin? Go to sleep. Can’t you see I’m trying to get away from judgement here? Normal people aren’t even supposed to be up at this time. Ho hours are specifically 3am-6am. Did you not get the memo?
Ok, jokes aside, I was expecting to be judged from head to toe by my teammates. It was nothing new to me. It was the same look of disappointment my dad gave me when I snuck in the house at the age of 17 after losing my virginity to Dani (my current boyfriend). The only difference this time is that I didn’t have sex and I was so proud of myself for that fact so I honestly didn’t care what my teammates thought. “Let them talk.”, I thought. AmeriCorps is no different than high school. There is no privacy and everyone is in everyone’s business. It is a given fact since we have to live with each other 24/7. I just figured, what ever a 21 year old woman does on her off day is her own business and I specifically remember the AmeriCorps director, stating during a meeting that sexual activity (or presumed sexual activity) was ok just so long as it was planned off campus/housing (which I didn’t do with Matt, but whatever : / ). I believe that was the only time during that meeting were my ears perked up and I actually listened.
The first thing she asked me when our eyes met was, “Where have you been?”
“None of your business”, is what I should have said, but, unfortunately, since birth, I’ve been cursed with honesty. I must always tell the truth so I immediately casually told her the truth like it was nothing. Like I just took a casual stroll to the corner candy store and decided to come “home” at 6am. “I was out with a guy, but it didn’t work out. He loves another girl.” Why on Earth would I say that? I wanted to face palm after I let those words escape my mouth. Surprisingly, she didn’t judge me (not out loud to my face anyway). She just said “oh, ok” and that was that.
Our team leader gave me a big speech in his team leader voice about how I should be a “role model” (I always hated this term. I’m not trying to be a “role model” to anyone. I’m being myself.) to my other teammates because I was the assistant team leader. I always felt bad because of it. I didn’t have sex with him, but I shouldn’t have went out with him at all. All in all, I was still happy with myself though because the old me would have had sex with him that night. Then a few days after the speech, when we were preparing to leave out the “house”, my team leader turned to me before leaving out the door and said, “I’m going to go get laid!” and winked at me.
>________> I’m done.
Rocky and I stayed friends briefly after the incident before I had to leave to Milwaukee for a disaster relief assignment. He was the third biggest asshole I had met in my life (Matt being the first and my first boyfriend, Raul, being the second). Whenever I called him, he acted obviously annoyed. I almost thought he was joking. That is, whenever he rarely answered the phone when I called and he rarely (if ever) called me. Once he even hung up on me complaining that he had to study for a test. I never had sex with Rocky and, despite how much I wanted to, I never even got the chance to kiss him. He would never let me kiss him. “I don’t like how I kiss.”, he would say.
He took me to his favorite walking trail and showed me the sights of the city. Then he went on to tell me about all the girls he seduced on the trail late at night. We had play fist fights and we would laugh at each other. It wasn’t all bad, but mostly bad. The worst experience was when he drove me home one day and explained to me how he doesn’t like girls who sleep around and how he prefers girls who are more innocent. I cringed on the inside and I immediately wanted to jump out of his moving vehicle onto the pavement. Understandable, but I see nothing more than the pot calling the kettle black here. In other words, I only see a hypocrite or, in my mind, even worse than a hypocrite: a sexist womanizer.
Then he asked me, “How many guys have you slept with?”
After a guy tells you he doesn’t like “sluts”, the last thing you want to tell him is the truth.
“Two”, I blurted out without thinking and I instantly hated myself for lying. It’s rare that I ever lie, but, for once in my life, I actually felt guilty enough to lie. I should have been true to myself. I should have been honest. I shouldn’t have been afraid to be myself. There was nothing to be ashamed of. The honest answer was four. I’ve slept with four men in my life, but I always wished I could subtract two of those men because they were assholes. So that’s what I did. I subtracted two and waited to see if he would buy the answer.
“Two? Really? No, you’re lying!”
Uh-oh. He caught on to me. Could he read through my shy demeanor?
“A girl who goes to a hotel room with a guy on the first night is not that innocent.”
Shit, shit, shit. This guy was good. He could read through me. But, eventually and surprisingly, after going on to ask me if I have STD’s (mother fucka, do YOU have STD’s?) and me denying it profusely, he bought into it. I smiled to myself as if I had won a war then I turned the tables onto him, “How many girls have you slept with?”
Just as me, he also answered smoothly: “I’ve just had sex with one girl.”
“A guy who goes to a hotel room with a girl on a first night is not that innocent.”
Both of us lied that night. The car had two liars planted in its seats riding to Liars-ville on the corner of Liar Central. But we just sat there and smiled and accepted it.
The night before our project ended in Dubuque, I went to meet up with Rocky at Monk’s, the bar we met at. I figured I should at least give a proper goodbye to him. Of course, he wasn’t there when I arrived. I bought him his favorite beer- some strong manly beer that only men drink- and waited for him to arrive. When he did arrive, he spoke with me for literally about a minute and gave me the most awkward church hug in the world. He didn’t stay long enough to finish the beer I gave him and I don’t even think he said thank you. He rushed to get into his car and I followed him thinking he would take me home; a mere five minute drive down the road. But he basically told me to get out, he closed the door, and that was the last I saw of him. I walked “home” by myself crying.
He texted me randomly and briefly during my next volunteer project in Macedonia, Iowa, but then he stopped. I didn’t hear from him again until AmeriCorps ended and he randomly sent me a message on Facebook apologizing for how he treated me. He told me that I was the prettiest and kindest girl he had ever met and that he would like to meet up with me again. Yeah right. I told him I was back in my home state, Georgia, and that I now have a boyfriend whom I love (Dani).
He said “ok” and that was the last I had ever heard of Rocky.
This is the “wiki-up” my team and I built. We had to harvest cattails on the side of highway, thread the cattails together by hand, bend massive tree branches for support, and basically build this thing with our sweat, tears, and maybe a bit of blood along the way.
This is Monk’s; where I met Rocky. This is by far the coolest bar in all history of mankind. It is so relaxed and chill inside. Very dimly lit with a basement and they even have a bed in inside… It’s almost as if they want you to do something dirty >___>
This was our “home” for the Dubuque, IA project in AmeriCorps. Now do you understand why I continuously wrote “home” in quotation marks? I am one of the few people who can sing the “I’m on a boat” song and really mean it. It’s a dredge boat the museum would hold tours on. Sometimes we would be in our rooms sleeping or casually getting dressed only to be greeted by an 8 year old and his tourist dad with a camera. Most of the time, they thought we were wax figures so my teammates thought it would be funny to just stand really still and play along. Lol.
The trolley cart. I would ride up a steep hill to get a good view of Dubuque. Scary, no?
The view on the hill above the trolley cart.
We worked with all sorts of reptiles and marine life (and bugs ^^;;;;) for our project. We helped feed them and clean their cages. I believe this was on about the very first day we volunteered there. This was the shark tank.
Cute lizard ^____^ We mainly only worked with the smaller lizards though. There was a little komodo dragon at the facility that needed to be walked like a dog, haha. I was a bit scared of some of them because they can bite (obviously).
Outside the entrance of the museum.
One of the exhibits we would help with. It’s a water works exhibit were kids learn about different aspects of water and get to play around in it. It was always wet there so our main job was to really watch the kids and make sure they were safe and squeegie water off of equipment. We conducted tours and educated the public about the different exhibits while helping around the museum.
I’m sure the other teams in AmeriCorps were jealous of us. If they weren’t, they should have been. Honestly, in my opinion, we got the best projects over any other team within our unit. Just about all our projects were in fun locations. In my mind, I would joke and say it was because our team leader had sex with the AmeriCorps director. Haha, but, seriously, we had so much fun in AmeriCorps and helped so many people. It was a great experience.