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Friday, May 24, 2013

Wisconsin: More Than Cheese


I’ve lived in a number of small towns in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and I’m here to tell ya: The rumors are true.

Particularly in Wisconsin, where jauntily clad tourists are turned into jerky and their clothes sold at thrift stores.

I moved to Wisconsin Rapids in the early ‘90s. Fresh out of school and clutching my newly earned Fabulous Court Reporting Skillz Degree or whatever it was called, I found myself doing per diem work in central Wisconsin.

One thing I had noticed in my move from Minneapolis to Wisconsin Rapids was the change in societal attitude. Minneapolis is a rather liberal town, an open town. Wisconsin Rapids – and forgive me, perhaps it has changed since I lived there? – was full, according to what I was seeing in the courts and in the bars, of domestic violence, child abuse, drunk driving, and rape.

I did not fit in. It may have been the fact that I wore skirts and heels. It may have been that I did not have a mullet. It may have been the lipstick and mascara; but I heard, more than once, “You’re not from around here, are you?”

It showed.

Other than the police officer who stalked me for the last half of the year I was there, I had made only one friend. Angel, her name was; and I was invited to her house for a night of drinking and games. I was very much into games at the time: Trivial Pursuit, Pictionary, Yahtzee, that sort of thing. I hadn’t been out since moving there and was really looking forward to meeting some people.

I was lonely.

I dressed up, in the fashion of the day, put on my big gold hoops and my lipstick and walked the six blocks to her house.

I knocked on the door; and from the looks of things, they had started without me.

The party consisted of me, Angel, and her husband. Angel was a quiet, heavy young woman with an unfortunate perm. Her husband was quite attractive and should’ve been more fun to talk to but there was something in the way he looked at me that I didn’t like.

“Wow,” he said. “You look great.”

“Thanks,” I said.

He nudged Angel and she nodded. They may have felt that this was subtle, in the state they were in, but the elbow in the ribs followed by the self-conscious and blushing wink proved otherwise.

She took my arm. “Let me show you around the place,” she hiccupped.

It was a two-bedroom duplex, and you could see it all from the doorway. We looked in on the baby, already asleep; gave a passing nod to the dining room/living room; and ended up sitting on the foot of the bed in the master bedroom. We sat next to each other and she reached out and touched my hair. I didn’t think too much of this, as my hair was to my waist at the time, and it was common for me to find women or men who would suddenly reach out to touch it.

“We got a friend in porn movies,” she said, apropos of nothing.

“Yeah?” I had tried watching porn once but came away from it thinking “well, hell, I can do that!” and never gave it another thought. Not my thing. “That’s weird.”

“We knew her in high school. She went to Chicago and next thing you know we see her in a porn movie!”

“Well don’t that beat all,” I said flatly. The direction of this conversation was getting on my nerves.

Angel redirected. “How long you been in Rapids?”

“Four months,” I said. “It’s a tough town to break into. This is the first time I’ve been out in a long time.”

“Yeah?” she said. “So. Hey, can I ask you something?”

“Sure.”

“You know anything about threesomes?”

My heart stopped momentarily as the distant wail of sirens was heard in my head. “What?”

“You know: threesomes. Sex?”

I felt oddly angry. Four months in the house, four months with no friends, no boyfriend, no phone calls, three TV stations, no VCR, and when I finally get invited to a party, it’s me, a court employee I had lunch with twice, and her husband.

And they think I will join in on a threesome?

“My husband,” she prattled on, “thinks you’re cute. I mean, we figured, you being from the big city and all…”

Did she --? Did she really just say you being from the big city and all?

Hey, Lady! Who’s the gal with a friend in the porn industry?

There was a pause as my brain slid, like a large coddled egg, from one edge of my skull to the other.

I got my bearings.

“I think if you’re really interested in such a thing that you place an ad in an independent newspaper in Milwaukee or Madison or something and see who answers,” I said quietly.

I stood up. “I totally forgot that I have company coming tonight, but I have to go.” I didn’t turn around as I went through her bedroom door and into the hallway. “I’ll see you next time I’m in the courthouse.”

I never did get the hang of Central Wisconsin.

31 comments:

Indigo Roth said...

Morning PearlyGirl! You're from the Big City? Hey, do you know Hüsker Dü?! Roth x

Indigo Roth said...

Hell yeah, I'm numbah wun!

Eva Gallant said...

What? A big city girl like you wasn't up for a threesome?? lol

Eva Gallant said...

What? A big city girl like you wasn't up for a threesome?? lol

Sioux said...

OMG! I'm making a comment before 142 comments have been posted! HFFF!

What a weird night that must have been. You were wise to not look back--who knows what you might have seen...and then you would have had to gouge out your mind's eye.

(Really, though, I was surprised by your decision. From your description of Angel, she sounded quite alluring...especially the "unfortunate perm." )

jenny_o said...

I remember reading this one before, because how could a person not? It gives me chills. I'm glad you got out safely!

haphazardlife said...

The mind, it boggles.

Daisy said...

Oh my! You handled that much better than I would have. Yikes!

The Savage said...

My only memories of Wisconsin are of some gas station bus stop across from the Menards world headquarters and... wait, nope, that's the only one.

Now Minneapolis, however, there was this strip club.....

The Savage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kathleen McCoy said...

OMG, Pearl! The doings in those small towns boggle the mind!

joeh said...

I think your cats have been telling tales.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari Om
Lawks, my blood ran cold - for you, but for flashbacks too... let's not go there.

Weekend looking good?? YAM &*>

Joanne Noragon said...

You have to tread lightly in much of Wisconsin if you were not born there, starting six generations back.

Geo. said...

I was under the impression sex was illegal in Wisconsin.

Perpetua said...

I'm guessing that it was because there was so little else to do there. Without the big city lights, what else would brighten their day? :-)

Simply Suthern said...

And the cows started the evening thinking they had the night off.

Belle said...

It is too bad that happened to you when you were lonely and reaching out to someone.

Pat Tillett said...

Crossing state borders in America, is sometimes like crossing borders between different cultures.
Great one Pearl...

Gigi said...

That one gives me the willies every time.

Adding a footnote to my bucket list - No need to visit Wisconsin.

Linda O'Connell said...

My daughter went to work in a small town court house and the sheriff invited her to have a little fun "swinging" after work. She thought he had a porch swing and then when she realized what he meant, she quit her job.

in the coop said...

Oh my word, this makes me laugh. We vacation with friends every year, and they just happen to be from Wisconsin. I'll be keeping a closer eye on them this year!

Elephant's Child said...

I assume that they had a video too, and thought they could, with your assitance, outperform their friend.
Good escape, and excellent exit line.

Rose L said...

LOL Wow! What an experience! I had a guy once offer me $1000 for 1 night with me and I was so shocked! That was back in 1974, long before the movie INDECENT PROPOSAL where Robert Redford offered Demi Moore a million dollars for a night with her.
Of course, the guy who propositioned me was no Redford, and it was not a Million dollar proposal...

Katy Anders said...

I don't suppose there's any good way to ask for a threesome, although your advice seems as good as any.

It's always great when you can manage to make THEM feel as uncomfortable with your response as they did with their request.

This was good. Eeek.

Stef said...

Oh my trash!! That is so out there. Who does that sort of thing????

jeanie said...

Oh my! I once was asked to be in a porn film from such an innocent standing start - it saves playing a lot of TP if the questions are asked beforehand...

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

That was one friend you could do without.........if you ask me.....which you didn't but I am saying it anyway.........I would had died of embarressment..........

River said...

Not the nicest introduction to the Wisconsin party scene. I'm glad you left.

the walking man said...

3 beers, 3 slices of pizza, maybe even 3 pieces of asparagus but when it comes to sex I think two is plenty. Good lord what a weird world we have perpetuated for over ten thousand years.

Along These Lines ... said...

Saw where this was heading at the "Wow"