If you’ve read my piece about learning about sex and love in the 70s, then you know things began with me learning about sex from stone-age things like magazines and of course I did the usual experimentation with a couple of girlfriends in high school. I’m still debating whether to tell any of those stories since we were minors (although what the hell–It’s not like I’m going to live forever!), but I feel a little safer in the modern era where information never dies talking about my two girlfriends from the 1980s when I had moved to Arizona at age 21.
If you’ve read my story “No Guts, No Glory” then you already know that I met both of my serious girlfriends Cindy and April on the dance floor at clubs listening to live music. One thing that was very cool about both of them was that they were real music aficionados like me. We all liked real music played live by real musicians. None of this crappy “dance club” plastic pop music would cut it for any of us. I was literally out at clubs listening and dancing to live music 3-5 nights a week for most of my 20s, and I played in bands as well at times.
I met April first because we used to follow a reggae/ska band with a rock edge called The Effects. There were a half a dozen other bands we followed as well, but this was the favorite for both of us. As I said in my other essay, we met on the dance floor constantly, and she was a cute Asian chick so I was definitely interested! I was only 21 at the time, and I really couldn’t tell her age (not that Mr. WTF would have cared anyway!), so I did my best to flirt and hit on her. What I didn’t know initially but she eventually told me was that April was 36 at the time! She didn’t look it but certainly got plenty of attention from guys more in her age bracket. Actually, she was quite the outgoing type and got plenty of attention from everyone! But I remained undeterred and continued dancing and hanging out with her, and I was the only guy who could keep up with her on the dance floor. We were both WTF types who just liked to have fun at the live music clubs. I tried for at least several months to get her interested in more, but we remained just dancing and partying buddies for the time being.
As I said in my other story, I met Cindy at a Big Pete Pearson show because we were both big blues fans. Cindy was somewhat serious about school and not quite the party animal I was, and she was actually 27 when we met at Tony’s New Yorker. That said, she loved music and dancing too, and she ended up making the first move by having our mutual friend Harmonica Bob introduce us and buying me a beer. (One of the reasons I love older women–They weren’t shy back then.) We danced the rest of the night away and ended up spending the night together at her house (lucky me!!!)
Cindy must have woken up before I did and was probably looking at me sober in the morning light thinking: “Holy shit—Is this guy even 18?!” I did look really young for my 21 years, and even a 6-year age difference is already a big deal when you are in your 20s. (FYI–The drinking age in AZ at the time was only 19, so anything was possible.) Cindy apparently had to be sure I wasn’t lying about my age, so she went into my wallet and pulled out my driver’s license while I remained blissfully unaware sleeping in her bed. She lived in a house with 3 roommates and took my license out to the kitchen so they could all have a look in the daylight. Now it’s important to know that in those days (1984) an Arizona driver’s license was filled out by hand in one’s own handwriting, signed by you, and then scanned, printed, and issued to you by the DMV. Well, my birth year was 1962, but a piece of the “f” in my last name below the year extended into the “2” in the year making it look like it could be a “4.” I had never thought about it before, but when I looked later I had to admit you really couldn’t be sure either way.
By the time she came back in the bedroom I was starting to wake up, and we engaged in some morning after small talk before she “popped the question.” I must admit I was rather shocked when she simultaneously showed me my license and asked whether that was a “2” or a “4!” I told her truthfully that it was indeed a “2” and explained that I had simply signed the “f” in my name so that it accidentally looked like a “4” and I could understand how she might think what she had. At this point, I had woken up enough to begin wondering what the hell she was doing in my wallet without asking in the first place, but I can say that I was in no mood to start a fight with a sexy older woman who took me places a mere few hours ago that this 21-year-old had never been before—Hahahaha!! If she was a little nosy, I sure as hell didn’t care as long as I could get another date with her!
Fortunately, I had passed the age test, and Cindy & I started dating on a regular basis. I did find out a few weeks later though that her roommates’ secret name for me had been invented that morning and I henceforth became known as “Barely Legal” to them—Hahahaha!!! I was jealous of Cindy’s roommate Chris who gave me the nickname because his nickname was “The Centurian.” Chris claimed to have banged over 100 women in his 40-some years on earth, and judging by the parade in and out of his bedroom across from Cindy’s I couldn’t call him a liar! In my young mind his nickname should have been “The Inspirer!”
Cindy and I hit it off quite well, and in a few months or so I asked if she wanted to be my girlfriend. I was honestly shocked when she said “no” but that we should continue dating, be open to dating others, and see how it went! We got along great, loved the same music, always had a blast hanging out, and the sex was definitely happening for both of us, so I was somewhat confused and frankly a little hurt. But I got over that fast enough—It wasn’t like the fun or the hot sex slowed down, so what the hell? I was young and just wrote it off to me not understanding “older women.” Maybe I was just a fling for her, but what 21-year-old could bitch about that?
The beauty of this scenario was that I was still free to date other women, so of course I redoubled my efforts on April, my other favorite party girl! Well, April knew I was dating Cindy, and I’m not really sure why, but she eventually decided that if some other “older woman” liked me that I must be worthy for some reason and wanted to at least give me a try. Sooooo…One thing led to another and before long this young dude had a 27-year-old and a 36-year old showing him the “ways of love!” And I don’t need to tell you how grateful I was to have not one, but two super fun, sexually experienced women keeping me busy almost 7 nights a week. Talk about nirvana!!!
My nirvana continued for a couple of months, and April knew I was also dating Cindy (April was dating other guys too, including her 18-year-old neighbor half her age!), but Cindy didn’t know I was hanging with April as anything more than a dancing friend at the live music clubs. But to be clear—I wasn’t cheating or anything. I had asked Cindy for an exclusive relationship; she had said no to that, and that it was fine to date other people. So I wisely kept my normally big, honest trap shut for a while and went along with the flow. There was one Saturday morning when April and I were out having breakfast and shopping on Mill Ave. and we almost accidentally bumped into Cindy though. April came rushing nervously back to me after wandering into a store telling me that Cindy was in the same store! My response was to shrug and point out that nobody was doing anything wrong, but I guess women have an intuition about these things that I sure as hell didn’t at the time.
That incident did get me thinking though about whether I should tell Cindy or not. It’s my nature to be honest and I would have felt better with everyone knowing what the score was. And it was getting steadily harder to schedule two women every week without complete transparency all the way around. So after a couple of months of nirvana, Mr. Dumbass blew it and casually let Cindy know about April one day when we were scheduling our upcoming week of fun at the clubs. Cindy was a bit of a “hippie chick” in those days; she hadn’t mentioned my exclusivity offer in the several months since I made it, so I mistakenly assumed that it just wasn’t important to her and I honestly thought it would be no big deal. Boy—was I wrong—Hahaha!! It just goes to show how naïve a young guy can be and how little I really knew about women. The minute I opened my mouth and inserted my foot, I got an earful about “how could I do that, and with HER?!!” and a bunch of other stuff I won’t go into detail about.
The end result was pretty good though—Cindy immediately changed her mind about my boyfriend/girlfriend offer, and we moved in together in short order! We actually were quite a good couple at the time, and we continued our fun life together sharing musical stuff, hanging out and partying, and of course the loving got even better as we became more intimately acquainted. We both had such large record album collections that when we merged them together, it took up half the living room! Fortunately, neither of us gave a shit about television and didn’t own one, so we spent a couple of years going to school, working, and having lots of fun together!
Cindy used to live in Flagstaff and took me on several trips up north for my first experiences in the beautiful mountain woods. She had a nice Ford F150 pickup truck, and I can still remember camping on a mattress in the back of the truck in the open air. We eventually broke up when Cindy graduated and got a job in Sedona but continued to reconnect every once in a while for some friendship and fun (lucky me!)
In the meantime, April had gotten serious with a guy close to her age, they had a son Alex together, and she dropped off the radar as my club dancing buddy. She had taken it well when Cindy gave me the ultimatum. I think she pretty much laughed at my youthful stupidity, and she wasn’t in love with me or anything. We certainly did like each other, but we were pretty much party friends with benefits.
Fast forward about five years (I was about 26 or so by then), and I ran into April with her man at one of the old clubs we used to frequent. I knew him from the old days too (his name was Michael and he was in The Effects, one of the bands we loved), so we all just started talking and rekindled old friendships. It started slowly at first, but I had graduated from college in a pretty crappy economy and was just starting to write term papers for a living (see my piece called “Do You Have the Term Paper Blues?” if you’re curious…) and was also ( believe it or not!) a babysitter for another friend’s kids on the side. April mentioned that they sometimes needed a babysitter for Alex and voila!—Our friendship was ramped up initially because of Alex and my “babysitting skills”—Hahahaha!!!
Unbeknownst to me initially, April and Michael were having some issues, and I eventually became more her friend and confidante than Michael’s. I won’t get into the gory details on a public blog, but I will admit that April and I started rekindling the old flame, and I am ashamed to this day that I did that to Michael, who was also my friend at the time. I had been cheated on, and I already knew that it didn’t feel very good, and I’m still very sorry I did it to someone else. That said, I think I was a “soft landing” for April to get out of a bad relationship, and we ended up as boyfriend and girlfriend for about a year and a half. We moved to my home state of Wisconsin for a year, and it was April’s first time in her 44 years living in a snowy climate! While we were there, I joined the best band I would ever be in, and April went out to many of the Brave New Groove gigs and danced for us all night long. The gringo Polacks in Cheeseland didn’t know what the hell to make of April! Some things never change… 🙂
I’ve never had my own children, and it was very cool for me that Alex lived with us for that year in Wisconsin. He was about 3 at the time, but he knew me quite well since I had been babysitting him since he was about 9 months old. That part was pretty chill—It wasn’t like he moved in with a stranger, but things were a bit difficult for him because he was uprooted at such a young age and I know he missed his dad. I doubt he remembers a lot of our year together, but I certainly do and I am grateful for it to this day. He taught me (at age 3-4!) how to play some primitive video game called “DigDug” I think! There aren’t a lot of photos from the ’80s era with Cindy and April, but fortunately April saved some pics of Alex, and they bring back some great memories of all the fun things you do with little kids.
Eventually, April felt a little bad for Alex because he missed his dad (and I honestly don’t think she was all that fond of the Wisconsin winter!), so she decided to move back to Arizona after a year or so. I moved back about 6 months after she did, but the gap in time had made things a little weird and it didn’t really work out on a permanent basis. I started working in film and photo production shortly after I moved back to Arizona (see “It Beats a Real Job” if you are curious about how that 28-year accident changed my life!), and I met my future wife Sandy on a fashion shoot in 1992.
April wanted to remain friends but that didn’t really work as Sandy and I got together, but 20 years after that, April and I became friends again, and we are still friends to this day! Cindy and I are still friends as well, and I’m very grateful to have both of them as friends to this day. I don’t think there are a lot of guys who can say they are still friends with their girlfriends from decades ago unless they have kids together. Cindy and April have both reached out to me with kindness and concern since I became ill, and April and I have even enjoyed a few music shows together like the old days. We also went out to dinner with Alex and his girlfriend Sami, and I’m glad to say that he turned out to be an awesome dude! I’m a lucky guy in so many ways…