One of the most important events in my divorce recovery was a girls’ weekend trip to Montreal four months after I moved out. The idea came up at happy hour one night, when my friends Meghan, Carly & I decided to take a road trip for a long weekend. Even though it was early spring, the weather was unusually warm, so we were able to put the top down on Meghan’s convertible for the trip. Carly & I were ready for the open road, with sunglasses and scarves wrapped around our heads like Thelma & Louise, only we had no intention of driving off a cliff if we encountered Brad Pitt.
It only took a few hours before we realized what an incredibly brilliant plan this was, because on top of being peak bachelor party season, there were not one, but three hockey tournaments going on in the city. Every bar was teeming with 20-40 year old hockey players from all over the US and Canada. It was like a pilgrimage to Mecca.
We stumbled upon a drinking establishment in the bar district that was teeming with single men. However, despite the abundance of hockey players (with teeth even) we somehow found ourselves in the middle of two competing bachelor parties who arrived post-strip club. Meghan and I initially fought over the same hottie from Ottawa, and inconceivably I lost that battle. After telling her that she was dead to me, I moved on to find my own boy toy from the rival bachelor party. He looked like a young, muscular Joe Scarborough from MSNBC’s Morning Joe. If you’ve never seen the show because you are normal, Joe Scarborough is MSNBC’s token Republican. I admit to being a political junkie, and I find men who debate political issues incredibly sexy (see, e.g. Cory Booker and Joe Biden). Even though I would rather have sex with Richard Simmons than vote for a Republican, I do have naughty fantasies about Joe Scarborough. “I know I’m wrong for supporting solar energy subsidies, I’m a baaaddd girl. I need to be spanked!” So Baby Scarborough, as he was promptly nicknamed, took me down to the dance club downstairs from the sports bar area. Over some quality Canadian beer, he informed me that he was unhappily married for less than a year. Normally I would have let my conscience kick in here, and walk away, because having been homewrecked I believe in Karma. However, I believe that when you cross the border, the rules of engagement no longer apply. He was an enemy combatant, and I intended to take him as my prisoner for the night.
So Baby Scarborough led me out on the dance floor. I don’t dance, but again, the rules don’t apply in outside the U.S. border. Over some bumping and grinding, we kissed. And being the first man I’d kissed in 10 years, it was goooood. He wasn’t just a pretty face with giant biceps. We talked a bit comparing our sexless marriages. I gave him the sage drunk advice to do the right thing by his wife and get out rather than live a lie and devastate her someday by having an affair with the drive-thru attendant at Tim Hortons. (Which, if you don’t know, is the most fantastic Canadian donut chain, because I’m pretty sure they put Ecstasy in their Timbits.) This went on for a good 3 hours. As it approached 4 am closing time, he invited me back to the Holiday Inn suite that he was sharing with his fellow partiers.
As we walked in, the room was dark, but I heard a couple having sex in the other double bed in the suite. A bit voyeuristic, not really my scene. For a second I thought the whole thing was staged and I would end up on some Canadian amateur porn site. But Baby Scarborough was delicious. And a polite Canadian. As I’ve said, I can’t resist an accent. What girl doesn’t melt at an “aboot”? After a while making out on the bed, our neighbors started to get more animated, so we rolled down onto the floor for privacy. My germophobic self couldn’t help but instantly be consumed by what disease I would pick up off the floor. I hoped that Canadian maids would be slightly more committed than American cheap hotel maids to cleaning up bodily fluids. I was more concerned about catching something that way than from my Ottawa boytoy. My fun was ruined though, when the other partiers came back shortly thereafter. Obviously Baby Scarborough was concerned about this encounter getting back to his new bride. So of course his only appropriate response was to pretend to be passed out, or dead. I didn’t check for a pulse.
Being pretty drunk and having my first taste of fun out of a 10 year sexless relationship, I was mad that I didn’t at least get to enjoy a little much-needed fun, so I decided to call his bluff and hang out with the friends to see just how long his charade would continue. I have to give him credit, he kept up the act for a good hour. If I wasn’t heading for a long drive home in 2 hours, I would have stayed to see how long he could hold out without getting up to pee. Alas, I had no sleep and a six hour car ride ahead of me. I needed to get home.
Except, I was down near the docks, with no ATM in the crappy Holiday Inn, and no cash for a cab. I started to walk along the waterfront in the general vicinity of my hotel which was nowhere near there, completely oblivious to how easy it would be for some would-be rapist to jump out and attack me and dump me in the harbor. And I don’t know how to swim. The streets were empty, and as I contemplated taking off my shoes to hike 20 minutes to the hotel, a taxi came by. He stopped for me, even though he had a guy in the back seat. I explained I had no money on me and needed an ATM. The French driver offered to take me to an ATM & my hotel, after we dropped off the other passenger. In yet another brilliant decision, I got in. As the driver spoke French to the other guy, I couldn’t help but think how Meghan would yell at me for this, assuming I made it out alive and didn’t end up chained up in a basement. I tried to dust off my four years of high school French to listen to their conversation, but that was pretty useless because they didn’t say anything about Didier tinkering in the library. My mind started to wonder if they were discussing selling me into white slavery. I secretly wished I paid more attention to Mrs. Schueler my senior year.
My driver, let’s call him Guy (as in Gee, not guy, try to roleplay with me. I promise I’ll be gentle.) Guy kept his word, we dropped off our passenger, and he took me to an ATM. Of course, the ATM was in the lobby of a dark office building on a deserted street. I came back to the minivan, and he drove me across the city to my hotel. Somehow I disclosed that I was going through a divorce and was there with my girlfriends. This prompted Guy to start lecturing me in broken English about family values. Did Guy listen to Fox News? What the hell? Young women have no respect for themselves, they just go out partying all the time and having sex, and picking up gonorrhea . . . Guy was seriously killing my fun buzz. It was the longest cab ride of my life, and the U.S. Dollar was worth less than the Canadian at that point, so it was also the most expensive ride.
The sky was just beginning to brighten as I walked back into the hotel at 5:30 a.m., and I quickly realized that I was doing the Walk of Shame in a foreign country. The staff at the front desk barely looked up at me, so I was spared their scorn. The hotel aparently had a deal with Lufthansa, and had pilots and flight crew staying there. I kind of wished I held out for a blond pilot. I lost my key, so I had to pound on the door for Meghan to get up and let me in. I just wanted to go to bed, so after a few minutes of hearing how she spent all night calling me and trying to think of how to get bail money, I promised her I’d tell her the story after I got an hour of sleep.
I literally had 90 minutes of sleep before we got ready for the long drive home. We stopped for breakfast in the hotel, where I expected Meghan’s lecture on my promiscuous behavior. I would have thought that after my proclaiming her dead for stealing my first eye candy of the night that she would have had a good story. Alas, she left the bar shortly after I disappeared with Baby Scarborough to the dance club. She went back to the hotel and watched dubbed versions of Law & Order.
Fortunately, I was spared the full force of her scorn by Carly. Carly left the bar before all of us with one of the guys with Meghan’s guy (the one I declared her dead over). The friend offered to walk Carly back to the hotel so he could stop off and get a cigar. Somewhere along the way, they met up with two college girls who invited them back to their apartment to party. Carly decided to go along. But first they took a shortcut down “Crack Alley” as the girls called it, where there was a homeless man peeing on a fire hydrant, but a distinct absence of crack. One of the girls stopped and hiked up her skirt to pull out a flask (an actual flask!) out of her underwear and pass it around. Apparently the VAT tax forced young girls to stockpile booze in their underwear. Carly only made it back to the hotel an hour before I did. There was no making out with strangers for her, but still an excellent story.
In hindsight, it wasn’t the smartest decision I’ve made. But as I’ve said before, strolling the Montreal docks at sunrise didn’t scare me at all. But conservative Guy scared the bejeezus out of me. Good times…