For Mother's Day this year, I sat down with my dear mother and had her recount her love stories—the peculiar, the eccentric, and the crack addicts.
I urge you: sit down with your mother. You may not know everything about her.
It's been a pattern in my life that most of my true stories sound made up, and I think my mom is a big part of that. My mom has been married for thirteen years, is an accomplished nurse practitioner, a homeowner, and mother of four. By all means, she's a responsible, normal, and upstanding citizen. But before she fully got her shit together, she was a single mom of three kids and an ambling cast of characters ran through our lives from the time I was an infant to age eleven. My early memories shaped them into tall, carnival-esque figures, only informed by the half-recollections of a toddler. I wanted to know more about the real people behind these absurd myths.
For Mother's Day this year, I sat down with my dear mother and had her recount her love stories—the peculiar, the eccentric, and the crack addicts. My mom lived hard, freely, and sexily, and I love her for it. Here are some of her finest hours.
When I had asked her the weirdest thing she ever did for a date, my mom reminded me of the two years I spent omitting my birthday and Christmas from the calendar. Oh, right. Converting all your kids to an exclusive religion is kind of a weird thing to do.
I became a Jehovah's Witness for a guy. [laughs] Steve was the first black guy I ever dated, but that wasn't even an issue, it was more personality and life choices. It was more a chemistry thing. He was much younger than me, maybe about 20 years old when I was 26. At that age it was a big difference. His mom was a Jehovah's Witness and sheltered her sons and I don't even know if he had slept with anyone yet. Think about how guys that age kind of like that older woman thing. He was infatuated almost immediately, and I enjoyed the attention. It was intense. He got this fellowship from the church, so I became a Jehovah's Witness for a year. In reality, I thought I joined it as a way to be together, but then it felt like my thoughts were being controlled. For years we remained on-again, off-again, casual. Anytime he was being naughty and not being a Jehovah's Witness, we were together. I tried because I thought he was the love of my life for so long.
But that wasn't even the strangest thing I had remembered that she did for a man. I then begged her to tell me why she had once brought a man home from Mexico to live with us.
I wanted a souvenir nobody else could have. Haha, kidding! I went to Mexico on a little weekend vacation with my mother, and I met Pablo almost immediately at Fat Tuesdays—he worked there. He catapulted over the bar and started dancing with me. The next day I saw him at a hotel where we were staying, a really shitty hotel. We had a little vacation fling, and it was kind of an unusual situation for me to be able to do something like that with three kids. A couple months later, I went to visit him again at his house. The first time I met him, I realized he was a pretty smart guy who was only working at a restaurant. I said, "Why don't you go to college?" He didn't know how to do that. So, I suggested going to school in the United States.
A few months later, the most bizarre thing happens. He calls me on a Friday and tells me he will be there by Monday and asked me to help find him an apartment in Boston. I really didn't know my way around Boston, so I said I'd at least pick him up at the airport. He got in the car and I immediately said, "Listen, I had fun with you, I was on vacation, but I have a boyfriend now, so in the United States we are going to be friends." And that was true. I never actually slept with him when he lived with us! I had just started dating this man Matt and we were getting serious. But he still lived with us for a month before he got on his own feet. So yup, that's how I brought a Mexican home from vacation. When I graduated from college, Pablo actually came to the graduation party. Everybody misunderstood his name and kept calling him Paco. He never corrected them. I just thought you should note that. I don't know, he ended up being a jerk and I didn't stay friends with him for very long.
Then there was the time my mom got crabs. I asked her what was the worst dating disaster of her life. I can't imagine any of ours involve pubic lice and a crack addict.
Dylan. He was gross. He gave me crabs and then actually accused me of giving them to him. I dated him really briefly. A relationship is doomed when you need toxic chemicals. Also, I didn't know this, but he was a crack addict. He stole my car one time and my ATM card. He took all the money out of my bank account and when he returned my car a week later, there was a crack pipe under the front seat. I never got the money back and after he returned the car, I never saw him again. I was young then, 25 probably. You were probably one year old. All I know is that under my seat there was something with tin foil, a pipe, a coat hanger or something. So, you know, I'd never seen it before, but I figure, crack.
It wasn't always all men going after my mom, though. I was especially fond of Jessica as a romantic prospect, mostly because she had a huge trampoline in her yard.
This one breaks my heart. Jessica was my friend, and that's what I thought it was about, not even realizing she wanted more. Though, during the time I was friends with her, that's when I met Pablo and Matt and all that stuff. I was boy crazy. There was no if, ands, or buts about how boy crazy I was. There was never any pretense that I was interested in women. Jessica even babysat you guys when I went off to Mexico to meet Pablo. But, she had something else in mind. I remember she said, "How did you know I was gay?" and I said, "You play softball, you drive a motorcycle, and you never talk about dating men. Do the math." For years and years later on August 2nd, I realize it's her birthday, and it makes me a little sad. Why couldn't we have stayed friends? She was the one who ended it. She made advances after a little wine, things were awkward, and we never spoke again.
I had fragments of memories of most of the men my mom had been telling me about, so I asked my mom to surprise me with a story about someone I had never met. I'm pretty sure what followed was something she had planned to take to the grave.
Hank. Hank is who you do not know about. So, I was out with my friend Ted the Puppet Guy who I had originally met on an AOL dating chat room, but there wasn't really chemistry, so we decided to be friends. Ted the Puppet Guy made marionettes, but he didn't really have a job outside of that. He actually squatted on someone else's land in the middle of Massachusetts and made a very elaborate pot farm. There was irrigation, it was solar-powered, and he got busted. This was all before we met. So, I think he was still sort of rich from being a drug dealer, but was now riding on the puppet thing. That's not even the funniest part…
One night Ted the Puppet Guy and I went out with a few of his friends and I met Hank. At the end of the night, Ted calls me and asks if it is all right to give Hank my number. I agree to it. We get to talking and he tells me he is a painter. Then later he told me that he didn't really paint. "Oh, what do you do, then?" I asked. "I'm a hustler. Do you know what that means?" he asked. "I think that word can have many meanings," I said. "Well, I date guys for money, but I'm not gay," he explained. The thing about it was, he was really handsome. He was like a bodybuilder and handsome, but really full of himself and not very bright. He practically only ate boneless chicken breast and it was pretty disgusting.
He would tell me the things he did with guys for money. He said, "I don't fuck and I don't suck," but there were other things he did for guys. Dates and maybe some weird kinky stuff. He pursued me for a long time, but he never got to meet my kids. When my cousin Sarah got married, I wasn't actually seeing anybody at the time, so I asked Hank to go with me. He gave me money to buy a dress because he didn't like anything I owned, and he came to my cousin's wedding. Everybody, I mean everybody said, "Oh my God, your boyfriend is gorgeous." I felt like saying, "That's cuz he is a hooker. My date is a hooker." But don't worry, we were never serious. He wanted a relationship with me, but I figured someone who did what he did couldn't be that emotionally stable.
I definitely had a lot of fun on those four days of the month that you kids went away to your father's house and I had my own time. Those four days of the month were basically my teenage years. I'm not even telling you all the good stuff.