The exes did their share of things to embarrass me. Joe regularly stole my scrunchies (for the younger among you, we used to put our hair up with those) and stuck them in his pocket, then dared me to retrieve them. (I refused.) Shane didn’t really embarrass me until we broke up. Luke was just full of loud and weird, but, in his defense, if he realized he was embarrassing me, he would immediately stop.
And, in all of their defenses, I was (still am) easily embarrassed.
But Matt brought things to a whole new level. We couldn’t even go on a trip to the store without him climbing something or singing a dumb song at the top of his lungs or picking a loud, dramatic fight with me.
Herein I shall share one instance of this– the one that sticks in my mind the most.
The singing group I was in during college had gotten on the schedule to sing the national anthem at a local small potatoes minor league baseball game. I think it was a Saturday night and Matt was in town visiting. (He lived a couple of hours away and came up most weekends.) So he decided to come along.
Matt didn’t tend to get along with my friends. (Red flag, I know.) My singing group friends were no exception. He judged them (and me) for being young, nice, and in college. Matt was, off course, old (a full two years older, Jesus you guys), wise, worldly, and educated by the far superior School of Hard Knocks.
So no one was very comfortable that he was hanging out. To be honest, I wasn’t thrilled about it either. I tended to keep Matt and friends separated fairly successfully: Friends all week, Matt on weekends.
After the national anthem, we all stayed for the game, and it didn’t take long until Matt decided he’d had enough amiable and slightly nerdy chit-chat and he needed a drink, so he went and bought a Big Gulp-sized beer. I was nineteen years old (and so were most of the other people with me), so I declined. He drank that one and got another. And maybe another. I lost count.
By the time he was on his last one, he was rowdy and loud, and he offered me some of his beer (loudly). I quietly refused, and he offered again, this time with a “bock bock chicken” implication. Mostly to shut him up, I accepted the beer, took a tiny sip, and handed it back.
“You like it?” he demanded on a bellow.
“No. It’s warm. It sort of reminds me of piss.” (I was getting grouchy by this point.)
His mouth dropped open, his eyes lit up, and he took a giant inhale that I knew meant he was going to embarrass the living shit out of me. The inhale was interminable. It was slow motion, like in a movie when the kid in the lunchroom trips and his entire tray full of nothing but ketchup flies toward the most popular girl in school and you just know it’s going to land all over her blouse and everyone screams, “noooooooooooooo,” and you get a good long look at all of the kids’ horrified faces because everyone else knows what’s going to happen, too. It was like that.
“How do you know it tastes like piss? Have you tasted piss? You’ve tasted piss! EVERYONE! Ramona has TASTED PISS!”
And I died a thousand deaths because everyone— even the drunker man in front of us, who’d had the mascot sign his bald head earlier– turned around and looked at me, all judgey-faced.
Then we had to carpool back with my friends and he alternately passed out and moaned the entire way, and I died some more.
He later swore he did not remember doing this to me. I guess it’s possible, although I personally have only been drunk enough once in my life to not remember portions of time. I think it’s more likely that he was covering his ass. And his ass, in this case, was the whole of him, because he was a giant ass that night.