About Shoes and Ships and Ceiling Wax, and Cabbages and Lesbians

Professor Batty's recent posts about lesbians sparked a memory I hadn't thought about in years.

In another life, (as Professor Batty would say), I worked at a college book store for $5.10 an hour. The book store had two categories of employees: staff and work experience students. I was in the work experience category.

My fellow work experience students were all friendly towards me. Most of them were driving to work, but I bicycled and so did one other girl, Dena. Dena and I talked about bicycling a lot while we shelved textbooks, and eventually, we decided to go on a two day bike trip together. We worked it all out at work: we would bike out 25 miles into the country, camp at a camp ground for the night, and then bike home.

My other coworkers immediately seemed agitated in a way I couldn't quite place. As soon as Dena left for the day, one of them, Tyson, took me aside,

"You know she's a lesbian, right?" he asked.

"Oh, no. I didn't know."



"You're going camping with her... and she might... you know..."

"Oh. Okay. Thanks." Thanks for letting me know you are paranoid!

Around the same time, there was this other coworker, Rad. I usually change people's names in this blog, but really, how can you change a name like Rad? The same person who told me that Dena was a lesbian told me that Rad had "Sex Parties" and then described some of the strange things that went on at the sex parties. At this time, I had just come back from Sweden, and I believed all sexual rumours to be big fat lies. Because, actually, believe it or not, sex is not just like a handshake in the country of Sweden, but anyway, back to the story-

There were all of these rumours flying around about Rad and his parties, which I initially did not believe, but then he actually invited me to one of the parties, so I started to believe it, but only a little bit. Rad invited everyone at work to the sex party, but the only person who actually went was Dena.

Meanwhile, the warnings from my coworkers about Dena started getting more intense. Well meaning book store employees pulling me aside regularly and say,

"You know, Dena's a lesbian, and she goes to Rad's sex parties. Are you sure you want to camp with her?"

Holy cow did I want to camp with her! Clearly, anything could happen. This was going to be an amazing camping trip.

And then day of our long bicycle journey arrived. I was nervous because I had never ridden longer than 25 kilometers, and I didn't know how many miles that was, but not very many, I figured. I warned her that I was slow. Dena was quite lean and fit looking, but she turned out to ride about as fast as I did. We were pedalling along quite pleasantly, sleeping bags attached to our ten speeds, when she broke the ice,

"So I guess they told you I'm a lesbian?"

"Yes, many times!"

"And that I go to Rad's parties?"

"Yeah. I guess he invited me, but I didn't go."

"It's really kind of boring, you know, because there weren't many girls at the last one, and the ones that did come were all straight, so I was like, 'there's not much here for me,' you know?"

"Oh, yeah." Like I knew! Not. (That's what people said then. They said something and then said, "not".)

Dena was soon talking about sex the way that dentists talk about a root canal. She was entirely clinical. Over the next twenty-five miles, she described in all kinds of detail the things that go on at an orgy full of really (I realized when she described them) geeky nineteen and twenty year olds. I was innocent of all of the procedures mentioned, and for the most part, I still am. As we gaily pedalled through the beautiful prairies and vineyards of Sonoma County, California, Dena gave me the group sex vocabulary upon which I still rely to understand the jokes on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. In general, about half of the insults I read on the internet, I would never understand had I not gone on that ride with Dena. So I owe her one, I guess.

We camped on picnic tables, under the open stars. I was surprised she hadn't brought a tent. I hadn't either. I had a preconceived notion of camping, though, and it involved a tent.

The next day, we rode home on a slightly different route. She had planned on us stopping at Rad's house on the way back, to snack and use the bathroom. I wasn't entirely comfortable with that, but I really had to use the bathroom.

Upon entering Rad's house, it became apparent that

A. Rad lived with his mom, who called him "Raddy" and
B. Rad and Dena were actually really good friends.

We stayed and visited for awhile, and the whole time, I couldn't get over the fact that he lived with his mother. It wasn't that I thought that there was anything wrong with that- most of the book store students lived with their parents- but I just couldn't figure out how his mom fit into this whole orgy situation. Did she lock herself in her room for the evening? Did she travel a lot? Did she participate?

Also, it was awkward talking with Rad, whom I didn't know too well, because Dena had just told me all about Rad, if you know what I mean.

I just knew then that I had reached my limit. I didn't want to know any more!

And then I went back to work on Monday, and everyone asked me if Dena had tried to seduce me. As if.


  1. So, did you ever find out what Rad's mom do during the sex parties? I'm thinking she made lemonade or brownies or something like that.

    And did she have to clean up after the party?

    So many questions…

  2. I never found out! It is still a mystery to me.

  3. But I have to know. Were you just a little disappointed that the apparent raging lesbian lured you out to the middle of nowhere and didn't even try to sneak in a kiss? After all the build up, I would have been.

  4. I pretty much knew that it wasn't like that. No one at work took the time to get to know her at all. After all of that exercise, I was ready to sleep! And all of that sex talk actually put me off. I was very much relieved that nothing happened, actually.