It's that time again. What time you say? It's time for me to reveal a story from my past that will cause you to laugh or at least smile at my expense.
It was the mid 80's, and I had just returned to Ft Dix, NJ from Explosive Ordnance Disposal School. I'd been able to get back to NJ to see my girlfriend (we'll call her Gigi), about once a month. It had been closer to six weeks since I'd seen her and I was very eager. What made my return even more special was the fact that it was my birthday. My 18th birthday had been spent doing 1,800 pushups at Basic training in Ft Leonard Wood, MO and my 19 hadn't been much better, spent alone, friendless and more importantly, girlfriendless. But number 20 had real potential. I had a girlfriend, and I was going to get me some. Heck, it was my birthday, so maybe I would get something…special.
I caught a ride with a friend back to Ft Dix. I got to my barracks, dumped my gear, showered and got ready for my birthday date. Gigi was going to pick me up and take me to TGI Friday's, her treat. Now that may not seem like a big deal for some of you, but you have to remember that it was the 80's, and I was making about $12,000 a year as a Specialist in the US Army. Also, eating out at restaurants was a fairly new experience for me, and any place that didn’t have a drive through was classy in my book.
Gigi was on time for once and greeted me with a deep kiss. I wanted to throw her over my shoulder and carry her back into the barracks, but that type of activity was frowned upon, and besides, I was hungry. We got to the Friday's and she gave me balloons and a present. It was a good sized box, but light and I had it pegged as a shirt. I was right. It was a shirt. A shirt composed of the most interested combination of colors, but it did have sleeves and a collar so it had to be a shirt. I thought it was the ugliest damned thing I had ever seen, but I smiled and thanked her for the gift and tried to figure out a convincing story for how it would get ruined while we looked at the menus. Still, like a jingle that you just can’t stop thinking about, I kept repeating in my mind a happy tune. I’m going to get some nookie, I'm going to get some nookie*.
*The actually word has been replaced with "nookie" to keep this story PG-13.
As I said, I was not rich and neither was Gigi, so when the waiter came I ordered a hamburger for my birthday meal. The waiter turned to my girlfriend, who promptly ordered the swordfish. Really? Swordfish? I wish I had ordered second. But what's the big deal right? I’m going to get some nookie, I'm going to get some nookie.
All the servers came over with my complimentary desert and sang me the happy birthday song. I could have done without that, but what the heck, it was my birthday. When the check came, Gigi said she didn't have any money. She must have spent it all on the shirt. Thankfully it was just after payday and I had stopped by the cash machine, because back then hardly anyone making less than $40K had a credit card. I only knew two enlisted soldiers that did. So cash was still king and thankfully, I had enough to cover our meal and would have been able to cover the steak I really wanted, had I known I was paying. But what the hell, I was back from training, I had a girlfriend and it was my birthday. I’m going to get some nookie, I'm going to get some nookie.
We walked out to her car and I watched her ass sway this way and that. I thought that there might not be time to go back to her place and maybe we should find a quiet place to park. I climbed in the passenger seat and watched her get in. My gaze traveled from her cleavage to her eyes and back to her cleavage. The shirt was forgotten as was the Swordfish, burger and my $50 bucks. The moment was drawing near and I was past ready. I had a fleeting moment of regret that I hadn't rubbed one out before the date, but back then 2-3 times was no problem for me, so I shrugged it off. Besides, I was always a giving lover and tonight was my birthday. I was halfway between her cleavage and eyes for the 4th time when she uttered these five words to me:
"I'm breaking up with you."
It took a few minutes of silence for the message to get into my brain, past my nookie chant. My reply was articulate as always.
The ride back to my barracks was long and quiet. She had her reasons, though she didn’t seem to be able to articulate them. For months I had ignored the allure of the women in class and the surrounding area because I had a girlfriend and you just don’t do that sort of thing. I'd visited when I could, called regularly, but now that I was back, she'd broken up with me.
On my birthday.
In retrospect, things did work out for the best. Gigi was not the girl for me. A couple of weeks later, my roommate saw the birthday shirt and liked it. I traded it for one of his that I liked. The first night I wore it, I caught the eye of an exotic dancer. It was white and glowed in the black light. The exotic dancer said it made me look innocent and thought she should corrupt me. I finally got the nookie I so badly needed, but that is a story for another time and another venue.