RL305 - The Hostess

This week, Merlin and John talk about:

The problem: John has more of a comment than a question, referring to John getting up at events and asking the speaker a question or making a comment.

The show title refers to the girl who took John’s virginity when she hosted a party in Alaska two years after John graduated from High School.

John has a new morning routine and was one minute early to their show.

Draft version
The segments below are drafts that will be incorporated into the rest of the Wiki as time permits.

Giving random compliments on Instagram (RL305)

They start the show making funny voices like Internet perverts: ”Stunning! Don’t let men tell you that you are ugly! You are beautiful! Smile! Show more feet!” Sometimes Merlin clicks through to a dude who pretends to be an ally, but of course there is really no way you can comment at all. Those guys think there is no wrong way to hit on women, because this is America! It is interesting that you would think that although you are some rando on somebody’s Instagram page that the right compliment would put you in the running with them or that they would wonder about this fascinating guy who thinks they are attractive. As someone who is constantly on the make, as John is, and also being made all the time, his Instagram page is full of comments about his beautiful eyes.

Merlin’s early start (RL305)

Merlin is a non-player character. He is a non-combatant, he has no libido, he receives no libido, he has not had libido since the Pixies were popular, he doesn’t have it, and he does what he needs to do to get the job done, but he would rather be looking at his phone. Libido is extraneous to need. Merlin feels fortunate about so many other things! #blessed He got his hair, for example. Merlin is not driven by his animal instincts, because it feels so desperate. There were times when he felt very libidinal.

Part of it is also that he started very early. Was he hot to trot in Military School? He watched a lot of TV as a kid and one of the overriding narratives of TV is needing girls. Merlin was easily infatuated, which is an important distinction, because infatuation is an important thing to be aware of. It is very different from actually caring about the other person, which a lot of these guys on Instagram don’t realize. Being infatuated with somebody’s photograph is very different from seeing somebody as a human being.

Merlin was attracted to girls his age from young age. They passed notes and stuff in elementary school, but he didn’t have a girlfriend until 10th grade, although he had a lot of little friends. There was one instance probably in 4th or 5th grade where Merlin had a mostly-over-the-telephone relationship with a girl from school called Nancy and she was for the first time ever more into him than he into her. There are no Nancies anymore today, they don’t make them anymore, like Deborah or Lisa. Lisa was the name! John even knew a Liisa spelled with two ”i”.

Movie crushes (RL305)

John asked if Merlin was a Kristy McNichol or a Tatum O’Neal. All the great girls! Merlin’s earliest crush was Jacqueline Bisset. One of the early proto-disaster-movies was a Dean Martin vehicle called Airport where she played the flight attendant Gwen. John saw a picture of her the other day. Merlin felt an infatuation with lots of ladies on TV. John’s first crush was Jodie Foster in Candleshoe. Little Darlings had both Kristy and Tatum. Jodie Foster was in Bugsy Malone as Tallulah, which had such a good soundtrack by the great Paul Williams. They continue to talk about movies Jodie Foster was on.

Merlin always enjoyed Fred MacMurray who was like a TV-Jimmy Stewart. John was a little suspicious of him as a kid because he has too much eyebrow and John has always been suspicious of that because he has low eyebrow-T. John always thinks of those Disney films starring David Niven like they were featuring Jodie Foster, but Foxes is also starring Scott Baio.

There was a spate of PG-movies that were playing off the whole sexy teen R-rated movie. Paper Moon is a terrific movie from 1973 with Madeline Kahn and Tatum O’Neal who played Ryan O’Neal’s daughter Addie Pray. In 1974 there was the TV series Paper Moon where Addie Pray was played by Jodie Foster. That is why Merlin confused them earlier! Barbara Bach was married to Ringo Starr and she was in Caveman, Up The Academy, The Spy Who Loved Me and in Force 10 From Navarone. She was the bookcase, she was right in the center, she was the walls, the roof, and the floor!

John’s early time of girl crushes (RL305)

John was always the youngest kid in his grade (they also talked about this in RL156) while Merlin was always the oldest. If he had to do it over, he would have asked his mom when he was 4 years and 10 months old if she could just hold him back, but that is not how they thought back then. When girls expressed an interest in John, his reaction was always ”Huh? What? Who? What?” He was scared and freaked out and he is still to this day. It’s a trap, right? What was going to happen next?

In 5th grade he fell in love with Laurie Basler, but she knew that she was Top Kid. Deminidor Gor-Belleza was Top Student, but Laurie was that as well. She was just top! They were not fated to be together at all, but they were both teacher’s pets and neither one of them was a do-gooder, but they were just the best at what they were doing. They knew it and they had a lot of confidence.

Deminidor was from the Philippines and Laurie was a blond as you could be, almost snow-white. John was new to the school in 5th grade because he came from Seattle, the big town and had just moved to Alaska. Laurie had a Dorothy Hamill haircut, but it was the color of straw. She knew that John liked her, but was just like ”I’ll put that little 3x5 card in my card file or cards I don’t really care about”

Kris Fayette liked John and he missed an opportunity there. She had braces and headgear, but she was a great girl. She was a skier and she had a lot of moxy, but John just couldn’t see her because all he could see was Laurie. He could not have ever talked to either of them, it was all academic, like ”Hey, can I give you a call on the phone and we will talk on the phone?” If Kris Fayette had called him, he would have been like ”What? What?” and would have tried to get off the phone as fast as he could.

Some girl came up to him on the playground that year and spoke for her friend Babette that ”Babette wants to go with you!” and John asked back ”Go where?” It was so bad that he didn’t even know what that meant and it was very sophisticated talk for the time. All the girls laughed at him for that, although Babette surely felt bad. John’s first girlfriend, the doctor, was much later and even then he was behind. She was his first girlfriend when he was in 11th grade and he was already halfway through the year.

For Merlin, that time was the beginning of a long career of total serial monogamy. The times between the dating times - a term his mom used - were the going with times. They once had an episode called The Going With Years (RL232), which was a terrible TV-show. Merlin was not a cheater and he looked down his nose at the cheaters, but he was a passive-aggressive breaker-upper.

There were a lot of cheaters in 11th grade at Merlin’s school, but John wasn’t advanced enough to even recognize cheaters or cheating when it happened. Merlin is not super-bright, so he is only aware of 2 or 2,5 times when he was cheated upon, which was very painful to him. He would just hang on to a girlfriend as long as he could and start acting passive aggressive, hoping they would break up with him. Then he would get mad and hurt. Merlin was not a terrible person but also not a good person.

Learning Math in school (RL305)

Merlin should have spent more time on his studies. If he had spent more time with Algebra, he would be a better person. He didn’t have Geometry until he was a Senior and he never had pre-Algebra. They put him in consumer-math-class, like ”How to write a cheque” In 9th grade he did not get a good enough grade in Algebra and had to take it again. He had Algebra II in 11th grade and he had Geometry in 12th grade along with mostly 9th graders. It was really humiliating!

John loved Algebra II, but he didn’t like his Algebra II teacher who was a jerk. Algebra made sense to him, but he didn’t care about Geometry. John didn’t want to make a proof, just give him the answer! The way they teach math now is pretty brilliant and way better for getting into Algebra. John learned a lot about how the Chinese teach math. If you speak Chinese numbers you don't say sixteen, but you say ten six. Instead of twentyfour you say two tens four, which makes a lot more sense when you are doing addition. Fiftyfive is five tens five. Just in the way you say the words you are already thinking in sets. Five tens five plus four tens four is nine tens nine. That is freaking genius! Merlin says that the way his daughter does multiplication, like a 3-digit number times a 2-digit number is so sensible. They don’t carry the one anymore, but they do basic multiplication and add it up, it is all super-easy. To watch a child do it when you don’t know how it is done is very frustrating.

John walking his daughter to school (RL305)

Today John set his alarm for 8am, it woke him up, he hit the snooze button once and then it was 8:10am. He got up, put on his clothes, got in his car, drove over to his daughter’s mother’s new house in her new neighborhood in Mid-century-modernistan, he walked in, said Good Morning to everyone and her mother said that there was a homework that their daughter hadn't told them about that was due this morning, which is not weird at all.

John’s daughter said she wanted to ask her teacher for an extension, John looked at her mother and asked where she got that terminology from, she just shrugged, took her keys and went to work. Then John told his daughter that they wouldn’t ask for an extension, but they would work on her homework packet during breakfast. She was slightly indignant, but John said ”Oh, there will be no indignance!” and they did some math over breakfast. John was sitting there trying to learn how they do math, while at the same time trying to be helpful. He could already see that one day very soon he will be backbenched.

They completed the homework and walked to school. On the way he drilled her on spelling words, got her to school and as they got about halfway across the playground she said ”I think I’ve got it from here, dad!” and ran ahead while John was standing there, looking around. He walked back over to his daughter’s mom’s house, got in the car, drove home and was a minute early to record the show with Merlin.

John did not go to sleep any earlier than he normally does and he is a little bit tired. He still only sleeps about 4-5 hours a night. Getting over to his daughter's mother in the morning frees her up to put on her business bonnet. She said she was interviewing a new candidate today, which was why she was wearing a motorcycle jacket. Good luck to that person! John and his daughter get to walk to school, which is the whole game this year. It is so good! Do some homework quizzes, make some dad jokes, ask her about her reading list, all that great stuff. You got to find those moments where nothing else is going on and you are both outside of your usual element, because a lot of times that is when kids say something cool or offer something up that they wouldn’t if they were playing Zelda for 16 hours a day.

The other day John's daughter said that mama had a drawer in her house that is full of money, and John asked her mother about it and got the reply ”How do you know about that?” and they discussed that although she is a fully grown person who has a big-time hot-shot job, she shouldn’t keep a drawer in the house full of money, especially if she has workmen coming through the house. Also, don’t put a sticker with a dollar-sign on it. They worked it out and John recommended her to put it in silver and use it as a door-stop, because nobody will ever know.

John’s by-year after High School (RL305)

When John graduated from High School he was still a virgin. He took a year off before he went to college and he travelled around America. They didn’t call it by-year back then, but ”couldn’t get into any college because of 1.2 cumulative grade average”-year. He spent a year hitch-hiking and during that year he never ever talked to a single girl. Sometimes he would end up in a diner in some little town in Idaho at 1am and he would be sitting at a booth in the back, watching the other kids his age, which is to say 17 or 18, who were at their liberty to go to a diner in the middle of the night and smoke Clove cigarettes and wear dark eyeliner.

John was in the same diner and he was the same age as them, but he was wearing some kind of denim jacket that had a bunch of dirt on it, he had twigs in his hair and he didn’t smoke at that time. He was just sitting by himself, having a Grand Slam and a milkshake, watching the other kids and wondering if he might be like a character in the movies that these kids want to meet because he was a hitch-hiking across the country. John was the Charlie Sheen in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off in this scenario and yet they were not coming over to talk to him and he had no idea how to talk to them. He wasn’t even staring at them, but he was looking at them from under his bangs and he can’t even recall if anybody did come and talk to him, because he would have been ”What? Huh? What?”

This means that John was still a virgin a whole year after he graduated from High School. It was on his mind and he has a history of wondering what he hasn’t achieved yet. He knew he was developmentally behind, but he didn’t care about that because he was also really a moralistic young person. He didn’t want to do something bad and kiss somebody who doesn’t want to be kissed. He figured that if they wanted to be kissed, they would tell him and the fact that no-one had ever told him meant that no-one wanted him to kiss them. Kris Fayette never said ”I want you to kiss me!” There were plenty of girls standing around holding their pillbox-hat-boxes that they had drawn paisleys on, like ”What are you doing?” - ”What? Huh? Nothing!” It was not getting through to him.

When John came back home from his year of hitch-hiking, he was a seasoned man with perma-twigs in his hair and scars like a road-warrior. He did get into Gonzaga University and when he started as a Freshman, he was the appropriate age, 18 going up 19 and was the same age as the other kids, but he was stunted by all his years being stunted. He was a Freshman in college and he was still a virgin throughout his Freshman year.

John’s roommate Greg was Joe Player with a different girl in there every 3 days. He was a slim guy who wore Tassel Loafers and had swoopy hair. One time he said ”I think I understand why they put us together! They put the smartest kid in the school and the coolest kid in the school together!” John would be in bed and Greg would be in bed 6 feet away from him making out with a girl. They didn’t seem to care that John was there, which was also crazy. Doesn’t she care at least? John was not fun and quiet, but he was over there so mad.

John meeting his first girlfriend at a political debate at Gonzaga (RL305)

One time there was an event at Gonzaga where G. Gordon Liddy debated with Timothy Leary about drug culture. John did smoke pot at this point and he was very stoned at the event. He got up and walked to the front because there was a microphone to ask questions and he asked ”Have you ever smoked pot, Mr. Liddy?” He meant to say something to the effect of ”Don’t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his moccasins”, but G. Gordon Liddy turned on his heal and was suddenly 4 feet from John. He said ”No! I have never smoked pot!” and he scared the shit out of John and John didn’t have a followup and they stared at each other and he gave John the most contemptuous shrug. John went back with his tail between his legs. The problem was that John was so baked that he couldn’t tell if he had done a good job or not. After the thing, John went out with Timothy Leary and a group of students. John established himself as somebody who would get up at those things to ask questions. Merlin was the guy who had more of a comment than a question.

Not very long after that there was another event with somebody from the Reagan administration, not an under-secretary, but somebody important, John can’t remember who it was. John was slightly less baked this time. They guy was talking about how Europe loved America and how his experience of being the chief of Nato was that American foreign policy and our anti-Soviet-Communist global hegemony etc etc.

John got up at the end and was like ”This is more of a comment than a question: It seems to me that in Europe we routinely see footage of giant protests against the Reagan administration where they are burning him in effigy. It does not appear to us that we are beloved in Europe, but rather that we are regarded as war-mongers” He turned on his heal, looked at John and asked ”Have you been to Europe?” at which point John had not, but the guy had been to Europe and said this was a media-bias problem, the normal people in Europe regard Americans as heroes and John was just seeing the liberal media. It was before that was even a term!

After the event the students were all kind of milling around in the lobby of the big theater of Gonzaga and a girl who was extremely beautiful in John’s way, which is to say tomboyish, very capable, no make-up, like she was in the Israeli defense force, but this was a Catholic university, so there were very few Jewish girls there, and she had a little entourage, a couple of people following behind her and she was the leader, and she said ”Your comment… ” and John felt a cold fear, because Gonzaga was a conservative school and John was positioning himself as The Liberal.

It was what his dad always did: He would get into a group of Republicans and was The Democrat of the group. Begin The Liberal was John’s job at Gonzaga. As she started with ”Your comment…”, he expected that she was going to rip him a new one, but she continued ”I have been to Europe and I took your observations to be correct. Would you like to discuss this over some hot chocolate?” at which point she may have even slightly waved her hand and her entourage dispersed. All of a sudden John had a girlfriend. They would walk for miles just talking with their hands behind their back.

This was one of the first times when John was in a relationship with somebody and they were on par. There was no competition between them! John was not threatened by her and she was not threatened by anything. Even though John grew up with Catholics and went to Catholic school, everything he knew about Catholicism was just her explaining to him what it was. They would walk, she was explaining things to him, and he was learning a lot from her because she had a confidence that John had never seen before.

She also wanted to spend all of her time with John and he kept wondering why. She had no gayle, but she was just 100%. But John never went to kiss her although he felt that she probably did want to be kissed, but he just didn’t know how. He had kissed his girlfriend in High School, the doctor, but she had kissed him first and then he understood he could kiss her. But this girl didn’t kiss him first and he didn’t know how to do it. Their relationship continued for months, which is a long time for that kind of tension to be mutually okay in college. They spent 10 hours a day together!

John’s girlfriend had a roommate who was a Chinese girl named Gi Yu (and everybody called Gonzaga University for GU) who was extremely smart and 4’2" tall (127 cm). She had decided that she didn’t want to sleep in a bed, but she wanted to sleep under her desk. She built a fort out of chairs and blankets and lived under her desk and you could be in the room for hours and not know whether she was there or not. In the relationship between the three of them it didn’t matter. Gi was listening, every once in a while she would comment from under the blanket and they would know she was there. John and his girlfriend started sleeping over. She slept over at John’s dorm and John slept over at her dorm, but no touching! It wasn’t that she didn’t want him to touch her or he didn’t want to touch her, but she would lay down in John’s bed and he would lay down next to her and he would make sure there was always 1 inch between their elbows.

In a way this was a nightmare situation because it was just a tiny little college bed. She didn’t sleep over because it was late and she wanted to stay over, but she was staying over. John’s roommate had put down a line of masking tape in the center of the room because any time some of John’s pile of dirty items fell across the room, he would kick it back over the masking tape. He was over there making out with girls all the time and John and his lady-friend were just laying there as chast as can be.

She was a devoured intellectual Jesus-seminar catholic, the ones who looked at the bible and decided what Jesus really said. She was really deep into the historical Catholicism and she was a real smart catholic. She went to Sunday’s communion and would take him with her. She also went to confession. She took John to his first Latin mass. It wasn’t a regular thing, but every once in a while Gonzaga had a Latin mass and she urged John to go to this as part of his education. She also took him to museums.

This was back in the say when John would take on everybody else’s baggage. He thought that she was a catholic who didn’t believe in pre-marital sex and for John to touch her and tempt her would be a crime against their friendship because there was no way she would engage in this sinful activity. She was not waving in, like the doctor had done. John also never asked her. She was just laying there, waiting for John to do something and John perceived her as somebody with pure confidence, but of course she didn’t, she was just a girl who was laying there next to the boy she likes and he was not moving on her, but he was also not trying to break up with her or doing the passive aggressive making-himself-really-difficult. Instead he just showed up at her door bright and early and wanted to spend all day together again, please. They never made out.

Eventually she started to get frustrated and assumed that John didn’t find her attractive, but this was the 1980s and they never talked about it. She never said ”Why haven’t you ever kissed me?” and John never said ”Is it okay if I kiss you?” and she never tried to kiss him. John was terrified of rejection and he didn’t want to offend her or impose himself on her, but if she really loved him him, it would ”happen”, but if it didn’t ”happen” by magic. He also didn’t want to kiss her and have her passively receive it, because then he would be in a relationship where he is kissing her and she is fine with it.

That is how John imagined so much of the world was: People were in relationships and one of the people was just there because they were stuck there. They would lay together at night and she would roll into him, like into the small of his back and she would try to touch him and John would recoil, not because he didn’t want her to touch him, but because he was trying to be honorable. Eventually she got a boyfriend. She just started hanging out with another boy who was nice and cute. John saw them affectionate with each other and kissing and stuff and he had the experience of not realizing that it had been an option.

When John talked to his doctor-girlfriend later and asked ”Why didn’t we have sex in High School”, she said ”You never tried!” - ”We could have?” - ”Yeah, we could have all along, I was always surprised that we didn’t!” Because John seems confident, people think he is confident in all the things he is doing and it seemed to them that he was confidently not having sex with them for a reason. They had given him every opportunity! The girl from Gonzaga came over to his dorm and was sleeping in his bed, trying to cuddle with him and he was rigid like a board. He didn’t want to get it wrong! It is college and you are hanging out with a lot of people and eventually the other guy went for a kiss and it beats not getting kissed.

Now John was in the dessert again, this time in the dessert of having met somebody who was really extraordinary and a peer, somebody John absolutely oriented his whole day around, but now he was devastated. Even when she had this boyfriend she still wanted to continue hanging out. It wasn’t the thing where she never thought of us that way and always wanted them to be just friends, but she thought that John thought of them as something friend-only and John couldn’t continue to be friends with her because he was devastated. It was terrible!

John's first time (RL305)

At the end of Freshman-year in college John was still a virgin! He was now 19 years and 10 months old, he had hitchhiked around America and spent a year in college, he had a college girlfriend, but no-one had ever touched his penis. At the age of almost 20, in the middle of August, one month shy, John was out with his friend Peter Nosak. They were driving in the national parks back of Alaska in the summer up above the tree line by Hatcher Pass in John’s 4-wheel-drive Nissan truck and they were very stoned.

John got pulled over by a park ranger in a big jacked-up (Chevrolet) Blazer who came around some rock and asked if John had a permit. Because John was stoned, the ranger arrested John and asked Peter to drive the truck down off the mountain. He put John in handcuffs in the back of his Park Ranger Blazer and drove him all the way down out of the mountains into fucking Wasilla and put him in jail. John gave Peter his credit card and Peter bought himself dinner before he bailed John out of jail and they were headed home in the truck.

There was a girl who went to High School with John, but she was a 10th grader when John was a Senior and now John was two years out of High School and she had graduated and was going off to Smith and was having a party at her house. It was one of those Ferris Bueller things and John grew up in an affluent neighborhood and the neighborhood across the street was also affluent and she was an affluent girl who had a big house, but she wasn’t a snob, she was on the cross-country running team and she was fun. She was a member of John’s gang, but she was young and John was clearly not a 10th-grader who was scamming on 10th graders, he couldn’t even get a thing going with somebody his own age.

They were all home for the summer and everybody knew who everybody was. She had gotten an invitation to a party called the Sex on the Beach party and John didn’t know that was an alcoholic beverage. At this point in his life, almost 20 years old, if you just said the word Sex to him, he would start to fidget. Just the word was almost more than he could handle emotionally. She was like ”Come to my sex on the beach party!” and John wondered to himself that you could just freely say such a thing and not get flustered and blush. Was she saying this to him because she was in love with him? No, it was just the name of a drink. Just come to the party!

John had just been arrested and Peter had just bailed him out and John wanted to go to this party. Peter didn’t know anybody there because he went to a different school. They showed up and there were all the kids who had been 10th-graders and who now had all graduated and were on their way to college. They all felt like grown-ups at 18 and 19 years old. Because John was a year younger, he was 19 as well, but he had also been two years out of school and they were thinking of him as a veteran of the psychic wars. They were drinking and partying and John was finally the oldest kid in the class which felt pretty good! These were the kids that had made up the rank and file of the group of college-going smarty-pants preppies who all looked up to John, because he had been a leader of that group. He was also the one who got bad grades and hitch-hiked across America, but he was a leader of the preppy smarts and here he was at their party and they were thrilled that he was there.

It was one of those nights when John was just ”on” with his game. He was funny, he was cool, there were kids passed out on the floor, it was a huge party with Keg cups everywhere and the last two people standing were John and the hostess. Everybody else had crashed including Peter who just wandered off into some back-closet and made a nest for himself. They were sitting there and she was like ”So… It’s been great to see you. Super-glad that you came to the party!” and John was like ”Yeah, I’m really glad I came, too” and then Parents Just Don’t Understand came on the stereo, which was a brand-new song at the time. John was really keyed in to Rap-music during this period, he knew all the lyrics to You Ain’t Fresh by the Boogie Boys and he was pretty good at rapping. John sat there next to her on the couch and rapped the whole song to her and she melted.

John realized later that she had set her sights on him and she actually did send him this Sex on the Beach party invitation knowledgeably. He came to the party and he was exactly what she had hoped: The star of the party. There they were on the couch and John was not putting on a big presentation, but he was really low-key. ”We ordered two Big Macs and two large fries with Cokes… I got arrested, the car was impounded, there was no way for me to avoid being grounded” She climbed into John’s lap and was like ”Do you want to have sex?” and John was like ”Sure!” For the first time he was not like ”Huh? What?” because it was all happening and she was confident enough.

All the people in John’s High School thought that he was really good with girls, because he was popular, everybody liked him, he was always surrounded by people. Girls liked him and girls came onto him, which was visible to everyone else but him. Everybody thought that he was confident about dealing with the opposite sex and maybe the assumption was that he was having sex with girls who were older and at a different school, like a girlfriend in the Niagara Falls area.

She thought that this was how grown-ups talk to each other and John wondered if it was just like this, then, and they went into her room and she found a condom in a box that she had and then it happened and John had sex. For the last month of the summer, John had a great relationship with her. She was very much like the girl John had known at Gonzaga: Smart and confident. She was not aware of her role at the time.

Years later in 2006 she came to a Long Winters show in Arizona. She was a Jewish girl with a big curly black Gina Lollobrigida mane, but she didn’t spray it up, but it was naturally like that. It had gone salt & pepper at the age of 35. After the show they were sitting and talking and John told her that he lost her virginity to her, but she had no idea! John would not let his other band-mates come around while he was talking to a pretty lady. You guys go in on the other side of the bar, I’m going to talk to this nice girl. I heard something about 24th and Mission? Cool!

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