“A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapors; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.
More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitch hiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have “lost”. What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with.”
Signs you may have drank way too much last night...
1. You puke in the bathroom stall of the club and then go back out dancing and ordering more shots.
2. You get lost in a residential neighborhood far away from the interstate when you decided to drive home and you call a friend and ask them to “un-lost” you.
3. You fall just slightly to the left of your bed, land on the ground face down, naked, and decide that the maroon carpet smashing into your face is more comfortable than a cloud.
4. You wake up the next morning at the crack of dawn and find yourself magically in your bed with 12 blankets on top of your head, suffocating your face, and a tiny sheet covering the rest of your body.
5. You take an hour long shower and simultaneously puke up all the water you downed only a few minutes prior, and it’s still cold when it comes up.
6. You stare at the same wall for over an hour naked with sunglasses on, convinced that putting on clothes is more exhausting than competing in a triathalon, and decide that Mongolian Beef has to be the hangover cure-all.
7. You dread going into work because that will get in the way of your nude Stevie Wonder impression.
8. You blank on the word “box” when describing to your mom what contents in the fridge she should not throw away.
9. You realize 3-4 rousing hours of Presidents and Assholes was a retarded idea, but you’re okay with playing it again soon.
I once had a friend who stole boys’ hats as an inclination that she wanted them to kiss her. Not right away, of course, but to end up kissing would be nice. She thought it nothing to lean over and pluck a hat that sat snugly on the head of a pre-pubescent boy and dangle it smugly before his eyes, placing it on her own head and then begin staring poignantly in his direction, hoping that he would reach over and take it back. Or, as she secretly hoped, that he would tickle her and she would beg him to stop and then they would laugh joyously at this proposterous attempt at wooing before holding hands and sticking tongues down throats. She would go on to imagine the 2.5 children and house with a white picket fence before ever realizing that the boy promptly retrieved his hat from atop her red locks and had already set it back into place before she could realize that they would, in fact, never marry.
Within 2 minutes she would steal that hat once more, and so this game would continue on for the rest of the study hour and, unfortunately for her flirting techniques, for the next 10 years. My desire for attention from the male species came in the form of aloofness - well, I’ll be honest, I label my bookish-ness aloofness because then I am mysterious and, subsequently, very sexy. And very sexy is an important label to brand when you are 14 and wondering what it would be like to kiss a boy. Clearly, stealing hats does not work because my friend and I remained in the same sinking boat. So, I could only hope that by being quiet and avoiding eye contact and muttering non-commital opinions like maybe and uh-huh and yes, perhaps that I would someone morph into this mysterious goddess of insatiable sex appeal and that every boy with budding acne and intonation problems would want to kiss me.
So, it should not come as a shock that my first kiss was with a gay boy. He wasn’t out of the closet at that time, but we had been close friends since we were 10, and I had basically known since then that he was gay. And so, at my first Homecoming dance, no date in tow, I had my first kiss of pecking portions and only thought, Yeah, okay. In fact, I probably said those words out loud when he asked if he could kiss me after telling me I looked gorgeous. And so it went, against a brick pillar with the lights dimmed low, his face reaching toward mine and then it was over, lips pouted and then not in the same second. I didn’t even close my eyes. He then proceeded to kiss each one of us, as if to see which one could turn him back in the hetero- direction. Despite the circumstances of my first kiss, I felt my deemed aloofness was working and so I proceeded in full swing with the high school dating scene.
Two years later I had my first “boyfriend,” meaning we walked hand-in-hand down the hallways and sat together at lunch and attended each other’s home soccer games. Other than wanting to play tonsil hockey, we had little in common. After quickly deciding to ditch my friends to attend prom with the esteemed “boyfriend,” I realized it was going to be a long, quiet night. Whenever we walked hand-in-hand down the hallways or sat together at lunch we didn’t say more than two words or, rather, I was convinced he was a mute. How did he ever ask me to be his girlfriend? The details escaped my mind whenever I started to think about why I had said yes, and he never appeared interested or coherent whenever I brought up any subject: politics, religion, music, movies, various pool cleaning techniques, or even food. So, prom night consisted of his hot breath hyperventilating into my ear and his boner rubbing against my thigh. By that point I no longer wanted his arms or subtle desires within a 5-foot radius of me, and I was starting to think I would have fared better stealing hats.
My flirting techniques changed quite drastically from my aloof days. Perhaps taking cue from too many Sex and the City episodes, I thought it appropriate to walk up to a guy and strike up fascinating conversation, usually preluded with a quick remark about whatever sports team was playing on the television dangling above the bar and followed closely by a You’re hot, can I get your number? However, after a growing number of failures in gaining much interest because it doesn’t always work like it does in Television Land, I realized it was a lot easier to proceed with such measures if I was stinking drunk.
Whispering I’m not wearing any panties while nuzzling against the drunkest guy in the bar is a lot like asking for herpes. I collected one-night stands like someone with a hoarding problem might dig through dumpsters and walk away with a ketchup-stained McDonald’s bag and a broken picture frame. Downing one jack and coke after the next became a habitual flirting technique that I mastered within 4 months. I was like the Jedi master of drunk pick-up lines - men ate out of my staggering, bleary-eyed palm. And I thought nothing of bedding one after the other, always leaving the next morning with my Ray Bans held firmly in place, the sun too much for my transparent, hungover lids.
I have yet to catch herpes. After too many nights out, almost flunking my last semester of college, and having several nervous break downs, I retreated into bookish-ness, lived in corners and cringed whenever someone approached. Going from being the drunk life of the party to emanating a flock of nuns was also debilitating on my psyche and balance would prove to be a skill I clearly lacked.
Shortly after my attempt at chastity and sobriety, I realized I was stealing hats. Flirting is nothing more than seeking attention, making that cute boy laugh and hopefully he’ll want to unzip your pants later. Flirting meant wanting to exchange substance for sex, but, instead, actually revealed to be a system of doling out contrived notions of compliments and receiving nothing. At least with my very sexy and mysterious aloofness I maintained a certain amount of dignity and self-respect, a ritual that proclaimed drunken sex decoys as the epitome of hat stealing. I only ever imagined good things to come out of my one-nighters, like a negative pregnancy test; however, I didn’t think a facade of confident, sexual woman could be taken back so quickly when the sun rose, to be placed firmly atop someone else’s head to show what I had never owned in the first place.