If it weren’t for The Neighbor and his shenanigans a year and a half ago I never would have met Marian Green (or Noodle, as I like to call her). It was the night that TN brought home a date when he had told me he couldn’t come over because he had to work late. It was an awful, awful night, really, and I reached out to the faceless, voiceless internet friends I call my Internet Boyfriend for help.
LSAM (or now Caitlyn) and Noodle both rushed in via email, saying sweet and soothing things that friends say.
I paced around my apartment chain-smoking and checking my email when I read this note from Noodle:
So apparently I’m way more empathetic that I ever imagined because I’m giving you my number. Don’t feel obligated to use it. But if words on a screen aren’t enough and you need an actual ear… here ya go. xxx-xxx-xxxx.
It took a little while before I decided to take her up on it — I’d never broken the wall of anonymity via a phone call before — but when I did I was immediately pulled into a warm embrace of a friend. And that was it: we were fast friends.
Since then she’s come to Hyville to visit twice (read about it here and here) and I’ve seen her in a restaurant in the big city near Noodleland once, but I’d never been to her sleepy little town before last weekend and it was, well, pretty fucking fabulous in an am-I-in-a-different-universe?? sorta way.
The short version is this: Noodle was right. The men in her town are vastly more “friendly” than the ones in mine.
The long version of the story goes like this:
My drive to her house was almost double what it should have been and my ass ached and my back throbbed as I pulled up to her pretty brick house. I parked, giddy with excitement, yet irritable, and let myself in knowing she had just gotten out of the shower.
She rushed to meet me wrapped in a fuzzy white robe and I bent down to hug her. All my irritation and agony evaporated as we held each other at arm’s length beaming big smiles then pulled each other close again. I loved seeing her again.
Her hair was long, wet, and curly and she smelled warm and clean as she showed me around her abode and headed back to her bathroom to finish getting ready.
“I thought we’d grill first and chill here, let you rest, then we can go to the bar I always write about.”
“Sounds good to me,” I said as she peeled off her robe and let her giant breasts spill out. I smiled to myself thinking how many of you would pay good money to see what I was seeing.
She finished getting dressed and we popped open a bottle of champagne. We used her grandmother’s glasses — I suspect because I always do with her when she’s with me — and toasted to our visit and the adventures we might have.
The night fell gently upon her sleepy little town and we drove along endless ribbons of country road to get to the nearest grocery store where the bagger insisted on helping us with our things to Noodle’s convertible. In my city, the baggers stare with dead eyes as they fill your bags, bored and painfully cool.
Back at her house we grilled shrimp and I managed not to fuck up a box of Zatarain rice. I sat at her dining room table in the middle of her beautiful, grown-up home, thinking I was living in the pages of a book. Here I was hundreds of miles away from home in Noodle’s house. Contemporary, a little country-living. Where my home is bohemian and eclectic, hers is luxurious and warm.
We finished dinner and freshened up for drinks. She pinned up my hair and made it extra fluffy because, I guess, country men like big hair and Noodle was out to prove to me that men in her town were far more friendly than those in mine. I warned her not to get her hopes up, that “Men seriously don’t talk to me. Ever,” but she snorted and told me we’d see who was right.
I was in a black, V-neck dress and wedge sandals (what I wore on the ride to her house) and Noodle donned a black V-neck T-shirt and skinny jeans. We were casual, relaxed, two old friends with a shared secret: we blog about sex and no one else knows. Totally normal.
“You ready, Hy?” she asked as we jumped into her car.
“As I’ll ever be!” I answered and lit up a cigarette.
The Bar, as I’ll call it, was in a little strip mall. Cars with big wheels and jacked-up trucks littered the parking lot. The big door guy carded us and I wondered if his ass ever got sore just sitting there for hours.
We picked a spot as far away from the karaoke stage as possible and ordered our drinks. A whiskey and diet for Noodle and a white wine for me. The bartender wasn’t even sure if they had any wine, but she returned with what was probably weeks-old Chardonnay. I didn’t care.
I scanned the room and there was a tall, Latin-looking fellow a few bar stools down from me. He tried to make eye contact, but I wasn’t interested. I turned to Noodle instead and we chatted away as she periodically checked her phone. “Lover is going to come,” she said suddenly.
“Lover, Lover?? The one you’ve written about??” I exclaimed.
“Yes! God,” she laughed, “I haven’t seen him in forever! Well, this’ll be fun, won’t it!”
A baseball game flickered on a TV over the bar and a talented black man killed it on stage song after song as our conversation flowed and our laughter came easily. Finally Lover showed up.
An average sized man with a bushy beard, a flashing smile and a baseball cap, he hugged Noodle hello, sizing her up with appreciative eyes. He nodded me a hello of my own and I saw immediately how he wiggled his way into Noodle’s pants. He looked like a good time on two legs.
The three of us got on like gangbusters until I noticed Noodle motioning to someone to join us. I turned to my right and the Latin-looking fellow had sidled up to me. “Hi,” he said grinning down at me and presumably at my cleavage, too. “I’m Tony.”
I said hello and resigned myself to Noodle winning our argument that men would talk to me if I weren’t in my shitty big city. Too bad Tony was a douchebag.
He had a big smile, but no charm. He couldn’t understand why I didn’t like his scary skull tattoo with the American flag bandana. “But it has a flag!” he pouted.
I told him scary shit didn’t impress me. Lover intervened and decided to share his tattoo with us then: a simple outline of a state with the head of a Mallard duck in the middle. It was atrocious.
We laughed our asses off at his pained expression. “Hey! I was doing an ex-girlfriend a favor!” he protested laughing, feigning hurt feelings.
“Was she drunk??” I asked choking on giggles.
“Well, sorta. She was all doped up on meth,” he answered with a lopsided grin.
We all burst into laughter and Tony thought this was his moment and closed in for body contact. I moved away subtly, not interested, but he followed. I pushed him back. “What? No love for me?” he asked.
“Nope, not tonight,” was all I said. I thought of The Neighbor and how true it was.
Tony was undeterred, however. He tried again later after Lover lifted one of Noodle’s heavy breasts and said something about loving big tits. She laughed and swatted his hand away. So Tony reached around and also lifted one of hers, then lifted mine, but I remained motionless. His hand dropped and smile faded from his face as I looked at him implacably. That hadn’t just happened.
The four of us stayed there on our little corner of the bar for another drink and I got teased some more for my wine. It seemed no one could believe it: a woman drinks wine in a bar! I laughed at how much I stuck out without even trying.
Though I was having fun with my Noodle and her Lover boy, Tony continued to bend my ear and wedge his way into our conversation. I was getting tired of him, like a day-old rash.
Then, while outside talking with more friendly strangers, Tony pissed me off with some misogynistic, racist, foul-mouthed bullshit. I blithely got up and walked away from him saying, “That’s it. I’m fucking done.” I heard a woman at our table say, “You go, sister!”
Back safe and sound with Noodle and Lover I told them what had happened with Tony. It was then this small-town bar transformed into a fighting ring. The giant, $10 and hour bouncer dashed to a mass of people throwing punches. Women screamed, men roared, the music stopped, blood spilled. It was pretty much the perfect fucking country bar experience, in this city girl’s opinion. It was goddamned amazing.
However, Noodle and I decided to hightail it out of there anyway.
She was mortified, I was fascinated. [Later, we’d find out that her favorite little bar had earned a new, more sinister reputation since she’d been there last nearly a year ago.]
Our night was off to an auspicious start!
As the police and EMS vehicles sped to a stop with lights flashing in the parking lot Noodle, Lover and I made plans for our next stop. “Let’s go to the Country Bar,” suggested Noodle, her curls twitching in the evening breeze. Lover and his big beard agreed to meet us there and we hopped back into the convertible.
The yellow center lines the only trail to follow, we swept through the darkened countryside in her speedy car recapping our exciting night thus far: Tony the disgusting, grabby fellow, Lover and his ridiculous tattoo, the bar fight.
“I totally feel like I’m on Mars right now or something!” I shouted into the wind.
“I told you the men here were more friendly! I told you you’d get hit on!” she shouted back triumphantly. “It’s kinda cool, right?”
I smiled. It kinda was. Douchebag or not, it’d been a long time since a man had paid me any kind of attention like that.
We pulled into a tree-covered gravel parking lot not long after. The bar looked like it’d been plucked from the bayou with grey, worn planks and sagging eaves. As the crunch of gravel under the tires ceased and she cut the engine we heard a woman’s voice shouting, “Fuck you fucking shit bag! Get your fucking ass over here NOW or I’ll come fucking kick your goddamned teeth in!” or some such nonsense.
Noodle and I froze and looked at each other, then looked back out into the darkness to find the source of the vitriol. We couldn’t see the woman, but knew she was near the entrance. “What do we do??” I asked. “This is fucking nuts! She seems freakin’ homicidal!”
“I know!” answered Noodle, “She does! I dunno! Maybe we should wait a minute.”
We sat there giggling nervously as this woman spewed drunken hate like vomit. The crickets never had a chance.
Finally we decided we’d just have to rush past her as she yelled incoherently about “some blonde bitch.”
We kept our eyes to the ground as we, two of the blondest of the blondes, sneaked out of the car and hustled past the raging, volcanic woman. I walked in first, out of breath and laughing, Noodle followed behind. We’d made it!
A quick scan of the place and I found the bar ahead of me a couple of steps up, adjacent to a little dance floor where a couple or two were dancing to some country song. They looked a little bored.
As I got about two feet to the bar a tall, older gentleman walked up to me and without a word picked up my hands and twirled me off to the dance floor. My purse hung heavily on my shoulder as I looked up at his grizzly face, his eyes were closed and a little smile sat on his mouth.
I could hear Noodle laughing at me as I danced with this new Martian.
I let him take me for a couple of passes then begged off, asked for another glass of wine from yet another bartender who wasn’t sure if they had any and then spied two chairs side-by-side next to some pool tables.
“Let’s go sit there,” I suggested, “and we can watch some pool.”
We made our way through the plumes of smoke and sat down and approximately 1.5 seconds later, 4 men were standing over us asking us our names and, naturally, making fun of my wine: Austin, Rick, Shawn, and Some Dude.
Shawn decided I was his immediately and was forceful and sloppy; he wore a paunch under his unbuttoned plaid shirt. Rick was quiet, big and brawny, with the looks of an MMA fighter. Austin was baby-faced and all over Noodle from Hello. Some Dude was just some dude.
My head spun as a deluge of compliments spilled over us and I barely had a moment to look at Noodle I was so busy bantering and deflecting, blinking curiously at this strange event. I’ve never not flirted so much in my life.
Another glass of wine was placed in my hand by someone and I felt small with my back against the wall surrounded by giant oak men. Noodle parried like a pro to my left and I tried to emulate her casualness, her quick-wittedness.
At midnight the music switched off and Lover, who’d made a short appearance, disappeared into the night. “Where do you ladies want to go next?” asked the oak men.
Noodle and I looked at each other as if to say, “The night is still young!” The locals picked the Third Bar and we headed back out to the car. Volcano Lady was gone, passed out somewhere in a ditch, I presumed, angrily twitching in her sleep.
Shawn groped me stupidly now that we were outside and I calmly removed his hand from my person. My ire rose as I envisioned a gang-rape beneath the pecan trees. “Well, officer, her tits were hanging out and she was drinkin’ wine!” they’d say.
He tried to ride with us, but I told him No and reached for Rick, who felt safe, instead. Shawn moaned his dismay and Austin grabbed him and directed him to an SUV parked next to us.
Rick sat without complaint in the tiny backseat, his 6’4″ heft wedged in like a clown, his knees splayed wide to make room. We zoomed down more slips of country road and pulled into our last stop for the night. Here, the other oak men met us upon arrival like a hungry pack of wolves and the bartender unapologetically had no wine for me this time. I ordered a vodka soda and looked out over the crowds.
The dance floor lit up like a rave and country music pumped out of the mouths of a band, smoke hung like a blanket over us all. It was definitely Mars.
Before we sat down, Rick pressed his body against mine and fondled my bottom. “Mmm,” he said into my ear. “Are you wearing any panties??”
I moved away from his hand, not at all wanting it on me and said pertly, “Yes! Of course I am!” and walked away to the nearest table. I played it off as coy, but that’s the game: hide your anger, be nice, give a second chance. You don’t want to make a scene, after all.
Shawn snagged a chair to my left, Noodle to my right, and Rick floated around while Austin looked at home to Noodle’s right. We talked and I watched the country folks do their country things. Partners twirled on the dance floor with the occasional bump and grind and people hugged and laughed all around us.
Next to me, Shawn crept closer. His questions became more probing, strange. All of his attention was laser-beamed onto me, like a drunken homing device. I began to feel closed in.
Abruptly, I stood up and told Noodle I was going to the restroom. She said she’d come with me.
Alone and away from the horny oak men I told her Shawn was getting dangerously close to over the line with me. She said she could tell and we planned for the two of us to switch places to put some distance between me and Shawn, but I forgot the second I walked back out into the flashing lights and loud music. Country Bar Amnesia, you could call it.
Back within arm’s reach of Shawn he turned up the volume on what I can only assume he thought was wooing. He begged and pleaded with me to dance with him to which I resolutely refused. He asked me endless questions to which I wouldn’t answer. And he kept trying to hold my hand. Then Rick sat between us and I felt better… for about 10 seconds.
How’s that saying go? Out of the fire and into the frying pan?
I felt Rick’s heavy hand on my thigh slide up to my crotch. I sat motionless, not acknowledging the grope. A new man claiming me for his own in front of his drunken friend who’d also “claimed” me. What the ever-loving fuck? In these situations, I’ve learned to play possum. It’s also part of the game.
When I didn’t respond to Rick’s advance, he got up and went somewhere else.
I nervously chewed on my little finger then, not sure what to do with myself. “Don’t you bite your nails!” Shawn suddenly yelled at me.
“What??” I asked, confused.
“I said, ‘Don’t you bite your nails!'” and he tried to swipe my hand away from my mouth.
And that was it for me.
I stood up and grabbed my purse off the back of my chair, leaned down and told Noodle I was done and would wait for her at the car. I wasn’t thinking that she’d follow me, though, of course she would, I just couldn’t breathe under the weight of the attention.
I felt like a piece of meat on a slab in front of a crew of starving men. Nothing I said or did seemed to matter to them, just the fact I was a woman was enough and it overwhelmed me. It scared me. Yes, me, the sex pot who writes about all her conquests got creeped out. It happens.
Noodle met me at the car and this time I apologized to her for running off like that. She assured me it was ok.
Back in the car headed home I couldn’t help but laugh. It was incredible, the amount of attention I’d gotten. Noodle wasn’t joking when she said the men in her town were friendly! But me?? Little old me?? I’m used to feeling like nothing special in my big city; being invisible and ignored are what I know.
“I promised you quantity, not quality!” she laughed riotously.
“Well, that much is true!” I laughed back shaking my head. “Jesus fucking Christ… that was intense!”
We walked tiredly into her kitchen and she grabbed another bottle of wine and whipped up a cheese plate. We sunk gratefully into the soft cushions of her couch. Her phone buzzed and she said Austin was down to meet up with her soon. “Good for you!” I said sipping some fresh and delicious red wine.
Then my phone chimed. “Who’s this??” I asked Noodle when I saw her area code.
“Oh, Rick wanted your number. I hope you don’t mind!” she giggled mischievously.
I read his message, something to the extent of “Sorry for my drunk and stupid friend.” I didn’t bother to text him back. He might as well have been talking about himself. He just wasn’t as scary or weird.
In the morning I awoke with a giant, ratted bouffant in a beautiful guest room. I was happy and tired, having slept later than I had in years thanks to the black sheers in my room.
I headed to the kitchen where fresh coffee and pastries awaited me and Noodle swayed around her kitchen in a light green cotton nightgown. “Morning!” she said to me smiling. “Let’s go out on the porch.”
I followed her outside and sat on a large, soft wicker couch; a quiet field stretched out to a two-lane road and round bales of hay rested patiently in the green grass. I thought of The Neighbor then. “My dad used to tell me those bales of hay were Shredded Wheat for buffalo,” he’d told me once while driving to a softball game.
I smiled, missing him a little and sipped on my coffee beside my friend Noodle who was also looking out at the pasture behind her little house, her coffee cup cradled in her lap. What a different world just a few hours away, I thought.
We dressed for the day and sped through what I’d call back roads, but are really the main threads of a country web. We got manis and pedis from small, black-haired women who clipped, rubbed, and painted us within an inch of our lives. We drank rosé and closed our eyes and giggled at the decadence. And then we topped it off with brunch at a little farm-to-table place with jars of orange marmalade on the table.
It was easy to be with Noodle, my sweet friend with a secret like me.
On our way back home the sky crowded together in dark, angry clouds and we raced its release home. We parked and quickly ran inside just as the sky opened up and rained down on the warm, sleepy little town. Trees and bushes thrashed, the ground drank and drank.
We made another cup of coffee and sat on her couch, prepared to wait out the storm inside, but I had to leave soon. It’d been a magical 24 hours with my Noodle, but I had a birthday party to attend for a bestie back in Hyville. Life is filled with stolen moments with secret blogging friends, no?
When it was time to go we hugged and promised to make another visit happen soon. She wanted me to come back with TN next time. I told her I’d do what I could, but not to hold her breath.
The skies were taking a breather when I jumped back into my car and pointed its nose towards home. I waved goodbye to Noodle as I pulled out and drove off. Later, a rainbow arced in the east.
I drove through the rain for hours and finally got home. I texted TN I’d made it back and as I wearily climbed the last few steps to my front door he came out of his apartment holding two glasses of wine.
He turned and smiled at me, shirtless and handsome, a twinkle in his eye.
In minutes I was on my back, screaming his name, his giant cock buried deep in my cunt and all the country boys washed away like the endless rain drops I’d driven through to get here.
Noodle’s account of our debauched Friday has been met with a lot of interest regarding Downstairs Neighbor. Apparently, a lot of you pictured an impotent figure, so to speak. None of you imagined him to be a sexual contender; he was either gay or unattractive in your minds.
Well, the truth is, he’s fetching.
Where The Neighbor is manly, yet boyish in his features, Downstairs Neighbor is all rough and manly. DN is 6′ flat-footed, but is rarely out of his cowboy boots so he towers at 6’2″ over The Neighbor. They both have broad shoulders and dark hair, but DN sports a beard where TN a 5 o’clock shadow. TN clips his hair in a tight crew and DN shaves it close to offset his balding. DN wears heavy metal band T-shirts and plaid and TN wears whatever it is I make him buy for himself — an easy, quirky style. DN shares a larger than average cock with TN, as well.
These two men would never be friends if it weren’t for me. They’re from opposite ends of the universe. DN is closer to a conservative/libertarian type, TN is liberal/centrist; DN smokes a pack a day, TN works out every day; DN prowls the local bars and music venues snapping pics and roaming like a wolf several nights a week, TN is holed up in his office playing video games alone. We’ve talked about the unlikelihood of their friendship. They know it, I know it, and none of us really care. We get along because of our intelligence and intellects and shared love of booze, laughter, and conversation. TN and I have been interrupted by DN countless times with his booming laugh and doorway-filling presence. It’s equal parts irritating and endearing.
In fact, as Noodle, TN and I headed to my room on Friday he asked if we should lock my front door in case DN barged in on us. I assured him he wouldn’t do that, but that’s exactly what he did. DN told me later as we all laughed about his surprise entrance, “You shoulda seen my face, Hy! I had my hand up to knock on the door, but then was all, ‘Fuck it! I know it’s open!’ So I pushed it open and no one was inside and then I hear, ‘Ohh! Ohhh! Ohhhhhh!’ ” his falsetto is high-pitched and ridiculous and I cringed at his interpretation of me in rapture. He continued, “And then I hear ‘slap, slap, slap!’ Of course I just went in the kitchen to make myself a drink!”
And that’s DN. He’s loud as fuck, doesn’t give a whit about his health, writes feverishly in his spare time, is a photographer, works too much, and gives big, massive, glorious bear hugs with kisses on the forehead.
We aren’t together — and never have been — because when I met him I was adamant about not shitting where I eat. Ha! Oh, the irony! That was part of the reason I kept TN and my affair a secret from him: I didn’t want to hurt his feelings that this kid could get in my bed, but he couldn’t.
We did make out the night we met, briefly, while the other boy I’d invited up waited in the kitchen for me to finish. I ignored his text the following morning, “If you ever need a savage fuck come down to #322.” I said, “Thanks, but no thanks, we’re neighbors and I can’t do that,” and he let it go at that and we’ve been friends ever since.
He’s a master observer, but I don’t think that he’d fare much better than TN is right now when he was 28. Today he’s got the benefit of being 32 and suffering through some loss and he’s generally a more emotional person that TN is. He cries when his heart gets broken, but he’s been abysmal in his relationship attempts, shying away from anyone who’s actually interested in him and hiding behind his work schedule.
I’m happy that he and Noodle hit it off. I can’t think of two people I’d rather see have amazing sex than those two. I never imagined it’d be with each other, but I am singularly thrilled that they both got sweaty and released lots of fluids on and in each other. DN likes to say he’s a “sexual camel” and doesn’t need sex. I think he’s a goddamned liar, but whatever. Noodle took care of that anyway.
Downstairs Neighbor didn’t have the desire or gumption to pursue me when I said no to him like The Neighbor did and, ultimately, that’s why I never picked up with him. I respect him for that on the one hand, but it also says a lot about him on the other. TN and I are two peas in a pod, complimentary in every way, yet comfortable and snug. He wanted me and came and got it. DN didn’t.
You can think I’m crazy for preferring TN over DN, but there’s no accounting for the magic that happens when you meet your match and DN was never that man for me.
Besides, I’m a warm and fuzzy socialist-type and DN’s basically a misanthrope. I can’t be fucking someone who wants to get rid of the welfare system. I’d lose my bleeding heart liberal card.