At the moment of this writing the knuckles of my right hand are swollen because last night I got impressively drunk and made an ass out of myself in front of a very beautiful young woman whom I was attempting to court. The realization of this fucking-up was not something Drunk Anderson was particularly well-prepared to handle—dude has issues with mental faculties for some reason—and this led him to punch the ever-loving hell out of the walls of his bedroom where he sat lonely and filled with great regret and self-loathing. At some point he must have realized he was just hurting himself senselessly (but not before apparently smashing the left part of my head against the wall) because I awoke to find one of my disgusting work shoes on my bed and streaks lining the walls from where the bastard had beaten them futilely while hoping that she would call his dumb, drunk ass back.
The problem, which Drunk Anderson couldn’t comprehend at the time, but which I now understand with painful lucidity in the context of this afternoon’s increasingly maudlin hangover, was that I had imbibed too heavily and become a waste of her time. Unbeknownst to me, another, apparently quite worthy, young man had been vying for her attentions that night and she had blown him off to be with me for reasons that are fully known only to her. In my attempt at showing her an enjoyable night out with friends, I pulled a classic drunk’s move and ended up in the charming state where I mutter brilliant, wonderful things into my drink but refuse to share them with anyone else at the table. Instead of the fun, party-boy persona I had hoped to enact, I became tired from the previous week of South By Southwest Hell that is the service industry in March in Austin, and I ended up incoherent.
It was far from the worst I’d done while drunk, but it was the third time in as many weeks that I’d proved to this girl—let’s call her Carol—that I can become something of a boor when I’m drinking. Carol happened to be on the tail-end of a shitty, drawn-out relationship and was in no particular mood to deal with, in her words, “this shit.”
Getting drunk and becoming a reminder to Carol of all the bad aspects of relationships that she was so exhausted of dealing with ended up being a pretty shitty way to try and win her over, so I’m currently in the middle of a little fight with Booze (we’re not talking—if Booze calls, say I’ve gone out for smokes or something), even though my actions were ultimately my fault.
It’s going to be hard to stay mad at Booze for long, though, because Booze has been responsible for almost the entirety of my sex life as an adult and I’m thinking that, for better or worse, there are a lot of people in this city who would have to concur.
Booze was the driving force behind the casting-off of the awkward hump of my virginity, for instance. At a New Year’s Eve party in San Marcos some years back, a girl from Texas State who had previously spurned my advances, was grinding all up on me on the dance floor of a party at a mutual friends’ house. I returned her inebriated affections in kind and the beginning of the following year was comprised of sloppy, whiskey-fueled sex.
This first sexual partner of mine ended up setting the form for my future lovers which I was to unwittingly fall for until my present situation: we drunkenly hook-up while she is just out of a multiple-year, poorly concluded relationship where cohabitation had occurred but to the eventual displeasure of both parties, with one or both members of the relationship being too heavily into abusing a substance of some sort or another, and with the male of the relationship possessing an almost stereotypically domineering personality borne out of insecurity.
If that sounds like an oddly specific type of girl to keep falling into bed with, I am bemused as well.
Another pattern established with this first sexual partner was that we never truly ‘dated,’ though we did have sex semi-regularly, spent occasional quiet nights in together, and communicated in some form or another most days of the week—all of this being a prelude to the eventual return of her Ex into her life which coincided with the abrupt cessation of our activities together.
While in some ways this isn’t the worst type of relationship to keep finding myself in—with sexual partners who are genuinely affectionate though ultimately too fresh out of a serious relationship to enter another one—this being a ‘rebound’ lover is emotionally exhausting in other ways which are both too numerous and trivial to elaborate on at the current moment. There is a succinct realization I’ve garnered from these intense beginnings with short half-lives, however. No matter how earnest the intentions of either party, attempting to begin a relationship based on a booze-induced sexual encounter probably isn’t the best way to find love.
It doesn’t help that the initial intentions on my part are rarely pure, but generally convoluted and involve everything from loneliness and horniness, to self-esteem issues and a genuine desire to make a meaningful, if possibly brief, interpersonal accord. What this has lead to is the paradox that the best place for me to meet women, in a bar or similar situation when my confidence and self-assumed charm are running high on liquor fumes, is also the absolute worst. What begins as something hatched between the two of us during a drunken hook-up ends up clawing around in the pre-dawn blackness until it finds the capacity to appear as though it could ultimately become something more substantial when the previous night’s stranger, with whom I find suddenly myself sharing a bed upon waking, becomes more strongly personified in the morning’s semi-sober afterglow. Any relationship that might happen to follow this set of events is doomed to mercurial exponential decay.
To be sure, Booze has been responsible for a majority of the sex I’ve had. While the affirmatory aspects of this—the times when the sex and overall encounters feel positive; all the worthwhile experiences shared after an initial contact between two people who might not have otherwise met or engaged—are numerous, they are inextricably linked to the stability problems that arise in the future, especially those which occur as a result of young people in our society’s tendency to abuse alcohol in great quantities at random intervals, particularly as a need to deal with stress or search for human connection in our fast-paced, often alienating lifestyles.
A drunken night out is, in fact, how things began with Carol. While I certainly regret neither this night out, nor the brief but truly enjoyable times we shared after, it begs to reason that this inebriated beginning was always to be the overture to our operetta; one that began light and flirtatiously before the author saw fit to scribble a messy ending.
But being sloppy is not something with which I’m unfamiliar.
One of the earliest memories I have of making a goddamn mess of things is from when I was two-and-a-half years old, and a gigantic Winnie The Pooh plush toy had a permanent perch at the front corner of my bed. He was a big guy, at least my size, and I was in awe of the way he kept watch over the room and lorded over the other toys by acting as a semi-benevolent despot in my absence. Pooh, plush-tyrant though he was, also happened to be a tremendous endomorph and was aptly suited for cuddling against my tiny young frame. Often, I would simply hug the bear and note how rays of sunlight slipped through slats of the blinds and highlighted the bits of dead skin and other dust that plumed into the air when I gave his golden yellow fur an asphyxiating, full-body squeeze. During times like this I mused that his fur color made rather poor camouflage for a creature of the forest, but never told him. He was a sensitive soul, and I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.
One afternoon, sitting alone in my room, I decided that this day’s playtime was going to rage particularly hard. I busted out the paint set (Parenting Pro-Tip: Never leave paint in reach of a toddler’s goddamn greedy fingers) I had managed to liberate from its hidey-place in the closet and, thinking my walls at the time were a rather boring white, I decided the best course of action was for Pooh and I to kick their ass with color. Purple, to be specific.
I gave Pooh a brush and took my own to the walls. To my mother’s horror, when she walked in later, I had the time of my little life. There was a cost for this sort of proscribed, reckless-abandon fun, however, and this was the first time I was to learn that particular lesson, though it apparently didn’t stick as well as one might hope.
The walls were cleaned easily enough. I received a reprimand of some sort I’m sure, though I don’t recall anything particularly notable. As far as I was concerned, I had committed my transgression and remained unscathed. Pooh Bear wasn’t as lucky. I remember holding him and crying at the sight of the purple streaks that were to stain his bottom from that day until he finally went into the attic and out of my mind save for the occasional reminiscence. I apologized profusely to my friend, for the fact that he suffered because of my desire to have fun. In the end, I like to believe he forgave me. The mark was left, though, and for the first part of my life, like so many things since, I took the whole incident entirely too seriously and it made me feel quite terrible.
As things stand now, I’m alone in my room with stained walls, but at least I’ve traded in my toddler’s paints for a keyboard and word processor. Sitting here chain-smoking, I’m replaying the scenes in which Carol starred in my mind, with Booze playing a supporting, but ultimately deterministic role.