Monday, August 13, 2007

Open for business

Have you ever taken one of those vacations where you need a vacation after the vacation? You spend your time “off” running from place to place, with an agenda full of to-do lists, must-see attractions, and general knee-bent-running around business, until enjoying the attractions themselves becomes less important than crossing them off your lists?

I just returned from the opposite of that vacation.

Every summer, I vamoose with The Lovely Becky’s family to the beaches of North Carolina. We rent a house by the ocean on a fairly quiet island. I have made it a habit to leave everything behind when I go: work, the Intertubes, e-mail, even writing. Instead, I head into the surf, crack open books, crack open beers, and generally let myself completely relax for one week out of the year. No other vacation ever leaves me so prepared to stop being on vacation.

This year was fairly uneventful, unlike last year’s Adventures in Skim Boarding. No sharks, no dolphins, no real drunkenness. There were a couple amusing moments:

We showed my in-laws the video for Dick in a Box. They had never seen it, so TLB fired up YouTube and played it for them. As the video rapped through its first couple of verses toward its namesake chorus and Justin Timberlake popped the lid on a box attached to his crotch, my mother-in-law said, “Wait, what’s in the box?” Only someone so completely unaware of the punchline could have delivered that question with such perfect comic timing.

The other amusing thing was seeing a young man—a seemingly heterosexual male who appeared to be there with his girlfriend—with a lower-back tattoo. Now, having lived in a Big Ten college town for six years, I’ve seen this lumbar lure quite a bit. And not once, whether it was at a bar or at a fiction reading or at church, have I seen a guy lean over and reveal an ornate arrow leading to his ass.

Most straight men, at one time or other, obsess over appearing gay. I am not too bad about it. I freely admit that I like shopping, Project Runway, and using fancy salon products in my hair. But seeing a lower-back tattoo on a guy? It's practically screaming I want you to look at my hiney and then make sexy time.

It was…well, confusing. He seemed perfectly straight, splashing around with his female companion. He had no other tattoos, just this one. His girlfriend had no matching tattoo which might explain some drunken couples excursion to the tattoo parlor that lead to an inky bond between them. Was there some O. Henry-esque story here, where he got the tattoo on a bet to raise enough money so his girlfriend could have her lower-back tattoo removed, only to learn that his girlfriend sold her hair to raise the money so that her boyfriend wouldn’t have to get a stupid lower-back tattoo? I would have asked him, but I also considered that he might have gotten it in prison, and I'm...well, a guy who likes to get home from shopping in time to watch Project Runway.

Anyway, I had no really embarrassing pictures of me this year, but in downloading the pictures from the trip, I did find this one, from an earlier jaunt to Lake Geneva with TLB’s college friends.

Yes, that’s me with a pitcher of piña coladas. Yes, I am chugging straight from it. Yes, I graduated from college fifteen years ago. But hey, I was on vacation in Wisconsin. I was just trying to fit in.

And let me tell you, after that, I needed a vacation from the cold headache alone.


almostinfamous said...

personal observations:

vacation with family = need vacation from vacation

vacation with friends = need vacation from friends

vacation by self = need a life :)

Noelle said...

Maybe that guy with the lumbar tattoo got it done in the one week in 1999 when it wasn't a solely feminine spot. Or perhaps he's embraced his ass.

After my vacation this summer, I learned the trick is to come home on Friday so that you have Saturday and Sunday to decompress before facing the world again. It was the only vacation I've ever taken that didn't need a recovery period.

Adorable said...

My favorite tat diss was my Bubie to one of my siblings West Point Cadet buddies:

That's a smart idea. Get an Asian symbol and American flag inked on your body. That will come in handy when you are in combat and they are looking to tag you afterwards.

Damn kids today.

She is teh awesome.

P.S. Did you forget to wear some sunscreen in that foto or are you red from the etoh?

Chuckles said...

What happens at the beach and between fruity drink cocktails means nothing. I drink all kinds of weird drinks at the beach, no harm, no foul. I beat that was a bitch of a headache.

Snag said...

Keep drinking out of pitchers and you'll end up with a tattoo you can't explain.

I have a friend who didn't want to wear a wedding ring after he got married. His wife told him he could do that or she could just tattoo "Property of ___" on his ass. His choice. He's wearing a ring.

Adorable said...

Is Chuckles challenging you to a drink off, Guitar Hero off?

almostinfamous said...

ooooooo AG, i think the theme to that contest should be "If you like Piña Coladas"

re: the photo, that looks like me when i'm after margaritas, only less brown.

The Uncanny Canadian said...

The tattoo clearly states, "Pound me here". But it doesn't specify by whom or with what. I don't think it makes an overt statement about his sexual orientation, except that he wants it hard and he wants it often. I'll bet his girlfriend rams him with a really really large strap-on till he squeals like a pig ... a spider pig.

Churlita said...

I've never seen a guy with an ass-hat tattoo either. Did his have hearts and butterflies on it too, or was a barbed wire or something halfway masculine?

Brando said...

This is one vacation with the family that doesn't leave me exhausted. TLB's family is pretty good about not pushing an agenda too much during this week, so it's pretty relaxing.

The tattoo was the standard issue scripty handbarish thing that you see. It was a little higher on his back than where females usually put it, but still more or less saying "pound me" the way UC said. I don't really care how Tatt Boy gets his kicks on Route 66, but I was just surprised a seemingly straight guy would get a tattoo like that. It's not like he was all glam or anything.

My neck is super red in that picture because we walked around Lake Geneva and I burn like a lit match.

Anyway, hoping to get a Top 10 up later today. Work has been pretty busy since I was out.

Brando said...

I meant to say "handlebarish". Although that is also a made-up word.

Grendel said...

The look on your face, from the limited vantage point, is great: closed eyes indicating simultaneous denial and resignation, mixed with acceptance of what you are doing -- or even, acceptance of who you are -- and yet under it all a stiff resolve to see the damned thing through.