Friday, November 30, 2007

Of Nomads and Amazons © by adrian

I want you to know right off, I'm about 5 feet 9½ inches tall, I have no idea what that translates to in those other measurement number thingies that Prime Minister Trudeau bequeathed to us Canadians, but let's just say, I'm average height. I've pretty well stayed that height since my teens. When I bend over I'm a bit shorter, but when I stand up straight, I don't get any taller. I have a slim build, and since my teens I've weighed in at about 150 pounds. When I bend over, my weight doesn't change a bit.

There's something else I need to explain, but I want your help on this. You don't need to get up or anything, I'll get it myself, but I need you to believe me on this one (if not, for the sake of my story, just pretend you do). Women in general, are taller now than they used to be. In the fifties, sixties and seventies, if a woman was tall, she often stooped to minimize the impact of her height. It was rare indeed to find a woman who carried herself with the full grandeur her height would allow.

Damn, I just remembered something else. Cigarette Girls. If you're older, you might remember them. Some of you young whippersnappers might know them from old movies, or even parties. They became quite campy a few years back, so you may have seen them, or at least pictures of them. These women did tend to be a little taller than average, and often wore brightly coloured tight tunics with black fishnet stockings. Inevitably, high heeled spike shoes were added for more effect. They carried, and balanced in front of them, huge trays of cigarettes and cigars that hung from large straps that went around their necks and came down to their waists. They were hired to walk around in fancier bars selling, you guessed it, cigars and cigarettes.

When I was a puppy, I used to hang around in a bar called The Regency Towers, on Avenue Road near Bloor Street in Toronto. The legal drinking age in Ontario was twenty-one at the time. I was only twenty, but as long as you acted civilized no one ever questioned you or asked for ID in classy joints. This was a classy joint.

At that time, I was going out with my former brother-in-law's housemate. I met her when he invited me to a party at their place. She had a voracious sexual appetite and was driving him crazy with what he felt were unreasonable sexual demands. He reasoned that she might find me attractive, and I probably wouldn't think her enormous sexual appetite was something that needed to be avoided. Well, he got that right on both counts. She lived across the street from the Regency Towers and was fifteen years older than me. There is no question that lady was certainly a great experience in my life, but this is not her story. This is the story of me and my first wife, the beautiful nomadic Amazon I married.

I was sitting at a table in the Regency waiting for my girlfriend, when from behind my chair I heard a young lady walking towards me with the familiar chant of "Cigars? Cigarettes?", "Cigars? Cigarettes?".

I turned around in my chair to buy a pack (yes, I did smoke back then), and all I could see were legs. Above my head and obstructing my view of the rest of her, was the tray full of cigarettes. I could see nothing else, just legs and thighs. Unbelievably long legs, in black fishnet stockings and high heels, asking me if I wanted to buy any cigars or cigarettes. Now, I want you to know, I was a leg man back then, a true connoisseur of legs. I favour rear ends now, but at that time, I thought legs were the most beautiful body part that any women had (that was before I understood about minds). My present wife, Linda, occasionally reminds me that she doubts I've ever met a female body part I didn't think was my favourite. She does have a valid point. This though, was the most spectacular set of legs and thighs I had ever seen; lord forgive me, we called them "gams" in those days.

I remember asking those legs if they could step back a bit so I could have the pleasure of meeting their owner, and they did. She was gorgeous! Fine lovely features, slim, with long hair flowing almost to her waist, and she was about my age. I fell instantly in lust. If you have read any of my previous ruminations, you may have noticed I don't have much hesitation in being direct, and didn't back then either.

I told her I was in lust with her, that I would like to marry her, but if she couldn't make up her mind right away, then maybe we could do something else in the meantime. She said she was sorry, but she didn't go out with her customers, and if she ever did, the bar would fire her. So I explained that if that was the case, then I would never buy any cigarettes from her. I didn't, and we left it at that.

Over the next few months while we flirted with each other in the bar, I learned quite a bit about her and we became playfully friendly with each other. I discovered she was single, and didn't often have much success with men. You see, she was six feet three and one half inches tall, and also extremely independent. Most men, even the tall ones, were intimidated by her height. It seemed that everybody she met didn't quite know how to treat her. Female independence was not usually enjoyed or encouraged in days of yore either.

I have always been a great fan of strong, independent women. Among other things, it's always seemed obvious to me that if I was with a capable women, on the occasions that my brain stops working (which it does from time to time) my capable companion could guide our ship for us. I'm also fearless and not prone to intimidation. I don't mean to give you the impression that my thoughts were pure though. My god, when I was twenty I couldn't possibly ignore how good it would look on my resume if I was able to bed the tallest chick on the block. Well, I didn't bed her, but the flirting continued.

One day when I dropped into the bar she announced she was going to Europe in a few days. She planned on buying a scooter when she got there, and was going to travel around the country for a year or so. She gave me a forwarding address to write her if I wanted, and I gave her my address. We kissed each other goodbye hesitantly. This was our first kiss, and I don't think either of us thought we would ever see the other again.

A few months later I received a letter from her. She wrote that she missed me! I wrote back immediately, and we began an ongoing, increasingly intimate, communication. Seduction by mail is an easy road to travel, you don't even need to get up and wash afterwards. You can write majestic things, and they slide into the body with far more ease than the mechanics of sex allows. On the strength of our one kiss we became lovers by mail. It was extremely horny and exciting and went on until her return a year and a half later.

We got together as soon as she came back and acted like inexperienced teenagers with each other. We had consummated our relationship a hundred different ways by mail, and yet had only kissed each other once.

There was much fumbling about. It was so bad and amateurish that at one point we joked that perhaps we would have more success if we went to separate rooms and just slipped notes back and forth under the door. Eventually our bodies found their own way of communicating and we glided together. We were both very proud of ourselves, and became, as they used to say "an item".

Lord, we were a sight! As I said, women were rarely as tall as her, so when people saw us together it was cognitively difficult to understand that I was average height, and she was very tall. We were always referred to as "that lady with the really short man." I used to occasionally wear a beret, and if we were out together, I have to admit that standing beside her, with my beret on, I looked like I was about four feet tall. It was great fun; it added to our individuality as a couple, and we always enjoyed the gaping stares of others. I was way too young to be a sugar daddy, so others were forced to imagine all sorts of reasons what this gorgeous creature could see in a perceived little runt like me. It added immensely to what others thought must be my enormous sexual prowess.

We continued to enjoy being with each other, and a year or so later, we moved in together.

In 1965 we decided to move to California and look for the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. We also hated the cold Canadian winters. As soon as we got our American immigration papers, we shipped our belongings to Monterey, California, got in our little British two-seater MGA convertible and drove off to greener pastures. Upon arrival, we rented a house in Pacific Grove, California and settled in. I started a photo-finishing company for other photographers, shot weddings and did jobs for the local Chamber of Commerce. She got a job as a switchboard operator.

California dreaming: At that time the singing duo of Sonny and Cher were just becoming famous. Cher has an average female height of about five foot six inches, but because she wore heels all the time, she always appeared to be much taller than Sonny. Whenever we went out, because of our height differences, people often mistook us for Sonny and Cher and wanted our autographs. Initially we protested and insisted we weren't them, but that just pissed people off and they would become verbally abusive. It didn't take long to figure out it was just easier to reach for our pens and get ready to sign away whenever we saw people running toward us. If you're a collector of autographs, I'd recommend you check the authenticity of any Sonny and Cher ones you might be interested in buying.

California was good for us, but that "it's cold, and it's damp" line from the Frank Sinatra song rings true. We went to be warm, and ended up unhappy with the mid California climate. After a year, it was time to move on. We still wanted warmth, so Houston, Texas became our next target. We didn't understand that although Texas is indeed warm, someone forgot to add air flow to the State, so unfortunately, breathing is rather difficult. I was also just beginning to notice that the nomadic life didn't appeal to me as much as I thought it might.

We hated Houston when we got there. It was a city that was intolerant of almost everything unusual, and we were certainly unusual. Among other oddities, I was probably one of only four people in the whole state who had a goatee. Eventually I got a job with Gittings Studios, a very upscale high society photographer. I soon became a novelty item for the rich and famous and started getting many requests to attend and photograph important functions. I was always encouraged to bring my girlfriend along. We weren't signing autographs, but we were once again in demand. During this high rolling period of success we decided it was time to make plans for marriage.

We had wedding rings inscribed with a Latin expression that roughly translates into "We can, because we think we can". In San Antonio, we found an accommodating United Church minister who agreed to remove the U.S. flag that was flown in his chapel, and he let us write our own words for the service (unusual in those days). We were married in a delightful and very private ceremony. A couple we knew joined us at the church to act as witnesses, and I had a friend from work join in to take pictures. After the service they left and we drove to Mexico for a two week honeymoon.

We eventually tired of America. In the States, it seemed that we constantly needed to explain ourselves, whereas in Canada, we found that people generally didn't care what you did as long as it didn't hinder them. Longing for this ideological freedom, we moved back to Toronto.

We didn't live happily ever after though, but we did have a great time that spanned ten exciting and wonderful years together. Over those years we both changed dramatically, me certainly more than her, (check my Image in the mirror © by adrian story) and we became incompatible. We still occasionally see each other, but long ago decided being good friends was a better deal for us than marriage.

Through all of the years that we shared a wanderlust together, her need to travel was much greater than mine, and she often went away on her own to exotic places to explore new experiences. She has spent her life searching for something. I found what I was looking for a long time ago.

Maybe it's more accurate to say that she always went out looking to find life, and I always preferred to wait and let life come and find me. It certainly always has!