An Important Life Lesson Everyone Should Learn


Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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54 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Good Judgment comes from Experience.

    Experience comes from Bad Judgment.Report

  2. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    A delightful and entertaining story.

    I foresaw Morgan winding up being Kat’s eventual make-out partner the moment he entered the dramatis personae. Maybe find a way to introduce him earlier on, to enhance the ultimate sad trombone payoff?

    Also… what’s a “Moth”? Other than the insect, I mean, I know what that is. This seems like something I’m just not hip enough to be clued in on.Report

  3. Avatar veronica d says:

    Kat sounds like an idiot. She totally should have shagged you when she had the chance.Report

  4. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Ah to misspent youth.

    I’ve never had a story like this but when I was a freshman at college, there was a concert at college and I remember that a couple decided that my back was the perfect place to stage on of those make out sessions. If I stepped aside, they probably would have fallen down. For some reason, I was too paralyzed to step aside.*

    That is about as close as I got to sex in college.

    I also remember people telling me to stop playing music at 2 on a Sunday afternoon because they were still recovering from last night’s partying.

    Good times, good times.

    I’ve never been tempted to do anything like you did above to prove myself to someone I was attracted to. Not sure if this says something good about me or not. Not that I haven’t done dumb things but there was always a very sensible part of me that prevented me from doing anything even moderately out of my budget for sex.

    Here is an example. When I was between my second and third year of law schools, I was without a car. During the summer my undergrad institution held a young alumni happy hour. A guy brought a friend of his who did not go to school with us and was working in a winery at Sonoma (marketing department or something). We managed to hit it off and exchange e-mail addresses.

    I wrote to her and she wrote to me back “Thanks for reaching out to me.** When are you going to come up and play hooky with me”. At that moment, I thought him I don’t have a car and I dislike borrowing things like cars because what if I get into an accident or it gets stolen and I am on the hook for thousands of dollars or more. So I looked up public transport*** and said “well I can take a bus to Santa Rosa and we can hang out and maybe use your car.” She did not like this idea and suggested I get a zipcar. I looked into it and the prices seemed to take up a good chunk of my post-rent monthly budget. I invited her to come into SF. We never exchanged e-mails again.

    *Years later, I was on the NY Subway going home late at night and feeling lonely. The subway car was very empty. A couple decided to sit right down next to me and hold a furious make-out session like the type you described. This did not make me a happy camper. Not sure if I moved or not but I am stubborn and prone to reactions like “Damn it, I was here first!”

    **The expression “thanks for reaching out to me” makes me wonder whether people see me as being really shy and unlikely to reach out. I’ve heard it more than once.

    ***Even now that I have a car, I dislike looking for parking. I don’t understand the point of driving if you are going to spend 40 minutes looking for a spot but it takes a half hour to get somewhere via public transportation. I’m told this is bad form for dates though even if we are meeting at a place. If I ever moved outside of a few major cities, I think car culture would be the hardest thing to get used to.Report

    • Avatar veronica d in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Good grief. I don’t even own a car.

      People are weird.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to veronica d says:


        When I asked on another corner of the Internet at the time about the car thing, I think it boiled down to two camps:

        1. “You are a student. It was completely unreasonable for her to ask you to get a zipcar just for a date.”


        2. “Dude you are totally getting sex!* Better have some money for a hotel room to perhaps.”

        *I highly doubted this. At least on the first date but perhaps there is some truth in prophecy for people who think everyone is checking them out and they are always going to get laid.Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to veronica d says:

        Well sex is a very pleasant activity that I highly recommend. But I have discovered through experience — and this is totally true! — that you can ride public transit to a location whereupon you have sex. No really, I have actually done this. The human sexual response is in no way hindered according to the form of locomotion you use between the public portions of a date and the more (shall we say) private portions. In fact riding the subway with your special someone can be really fun. You get to cuddle. You can smile at the other riders and then, upon exiting the vehicle, share amusing observations about their behavior, which can help in the pre-sex bonding portions of a date.

        The woman was being a ninny.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to veronica d says:

        Of course sex is pleasant but it isn’t as easy as ordering seamless.

        Well there are ways in which it is but those come with risks.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to veronica d says:

        @veronica-d, in heteronormative dating a plurality of women seem to think that a man with a car is a massive turn on. Our mom isn’t a particular traditional type of women but she said a guy with a car was always more attractive than a guy without a car during her single years.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to veronica d says:

        Definitely the case back home, but I always figured that was because cars are very important there for logistical reasons.Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to veronica d says:

        What is this, the 1950’s? You hetero people!

        But seriously, if I lived out in the burbs this would make sense. But if you have decent transit? Cars are silly.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to veronica d says:

        In a way, it is the 1950s or earlier. Just because women can be more free with practically everything, doesn’t mean that a plurality of them have given up on their traditional expectations.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to veronica d says:

        One of the interesting things, to me and probably nobody else, was how much more important it was the kind of car you drove was in my high school than it was after. I can think of multiple reasons for why this might have been the case:

        1) My social environment was more class-conscious in high school than post-college. I went to a relatively upper-crest public school and often felt like I was at a disadvantage socially due to economics. I grew up with little idea how well off we were relative to most of the country, because of how well off we seemed relatively compared to other people who went to my school.

        2) Little $#!+ matters more in high school because most people don’t have as much big $#!+ responsibilities.

        3) Being responsible – or at least partially responsible – for your own transportation gave greater appreciation for anybody who had it at all. The details being less important.

        4) Utility starts to matter more. This, too, is a “having a car is kind of important” thing. It also has explanatory power for college. That guy with the mini-van that seemed weenie in high school? Now it’s much more useful if you need something.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to veronica d says:

        @will-truman, I grew up in a very affluent area and even though a lot of juniors and seniors drove to school, I didn’t notice much snobbery about the type of car you drove. I expect this is because we were an inner-ring suburb of New York and car culture is much weaker in the New York metro area than elsewhere. Sure, millions of New York metropolitan area residents drive but the other options are available so car snobbery is a lot less. I also suspect that car snobbery is less in the New York City area because most entertainment options are in the city rather than outside the city and people take the trains into Manhattan because parking is tough. If your going to a game or concert at Madison Square Garden than you take the train or subway into Penn Station because its right near Madison Square Garden.Report

      • Avatar RTod in reply to veronica d says:

        I think that part of this is an East Coast West Coast thing… or at least a regional thing.

        Most people here (even non-heteros!) have cars, because so much of the activities one moves to this part of the country to do you need a car to get to.

        If I lived in NYC or Boston, where there was amazing transit and it was assumed I would either stay in the city or travel to another different city, I wouldn’t want to deal with a car.

        But the thought of not having a car in Portland sounds sad.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to veronica d says:


        There are people who survive LA without cars. I have a friend who did his PhD at UCLA and never owned a car during his time there. Though I generally think that if you don’t own a car in LA, it is seen as a sign that you are really, really poor. There are plenty of San Franciscans and Bay Area people that don’t own cars but NYC is probably the place where it is easiest not to own a car. There are people who are born and raised in NYC who spend most of their lives without learning to drive:

        Sullivan did feature some letters from Portlandians (Portlanders?) who do not own cars and seem to do so out of being environmentally conscious. They seemed very “new Portland”. And did stuff like grocery shopping on bikes with carriages attached to the back. I’ve seen articles trying to denounce or disprove the American Love Affair with Cars and whether it was manufactured much later than we think it was.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to veronica d says:

        yes, of course you can take public transportation to a place where you can have sex.
        Just remember… the cameras are watching you.

        “Why do you have a camera in the graveyard?”Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      If I were you, I would have stepped away. Nobody is going to use my back as a support for a make out session unless they are willing to pay top dollar. I would be immune for tort liability because they assumed the risk.Report

  5. Avatar North says:

    Well at least it was the Pacific so it wasn’t too cold.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to North says:

      I think this is a relatively speaking kind of way. Isn’t as cold compared to the Artic or Atlantic? Sure. Still plenty cold.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        It’s pure North Atlantic snobbery: our Salmon is better too. Plus our ocean has more history and more character. All that said, though, the Pacific is bigger*.

        *Admitted begrudgingly through clenched teeth.Report

      • Avatar RTod in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        “It’s pure North Atlantic snobbery: our Salmon is better too.”

        Yeah, when they’re raised in the Pacific they get all flavory.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        @rtod, yes but you have sucky bagels in the North West so you have nothing to put the lox on. Salmon was meant to be smoked.Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Fresh, wild Pacific King salmon is WAY better than Atlantic salmon, even more so than the farmed Atlantic stuff. And don’t get me started on the Halibut and the razor clams.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Lee – we have Montréal bagels. They’re infinitely better than the New York variety, which I find far too dense.

        And Pacific salmon is far, far, better than Atlantic salmon (which is why it’s advertised in preference to the farmed Atlantic varieties).

        I thought the north Atlantic was warmer than the north Pacific, due to the Gulf Stream. At any rate, that’s the case around the Canadian east coast, where people can go swimming in the ocean reasonably comfortably. On the northwest coast the ocean stays very chilly year-round.Report

    • Avatar zic in reply to North says:

      The water generally won’t be below freezing. For penguins and polar bears, it’s the warm place.Report

  6. Avatar Johanna says:

    The waters of the Pacific Northwest are quite cold as I too can attest. At a shaded deep riverside pool on the McKenzie, I decided to jump in off of a small cliff on a stop while rafting. It was a warm summer day and yet that water was so cold it knocked the air out of me and try as I might to convince James to also jump the obvious blue tone of my lips, the chattering teeth, and shortness of breathe I think gave me away.Report

  7. Avatar zic says:

    I had an series of encounters with the male counterpart to Kat. I’ll call him Vick. He was Greek, and made you understand why all those ancient marble sculptures are so beautiful — he was beautiful, and could have modeled for one; long curly hair, bright blue eyes, perfect proportions.

    We had a few ‘encounter dates,’ meaning we’d run into each other around campus, go have a coffee or for a walk, sometimes make out a bit; never anything more then kissing and cuddling, never slept together. But he called me his lover, so I don’t think Kat’s term meant what most of us Americans would read into it from that experience. He never sought me out for company, planned anything ahead of time, etc., which would have, to me, been indications that I was more then a temporary distraction for him.

    And then one day, I was in a coffee shop with a man I’d just met and liked very much. Liked him so much, in fact, that today, some 38 years later, we’re married. And it was very obvious that Vick didn’t like that one of his potential targets was so focused on someone else. So he did something that I’ll never forget: he plucked a flower out of one of the vases on the restaurant table, and came over to me, put his arm around my shoulders, and said, “Hello, darling, for you,” and handed me the flower; turned and walked away. Like, I wanted the attention of someone who’d steal a flower from a small business to show how much he cared?

    Saw him a few days later, and he asked if I wanted to go get coffee, I told him to piss off, I didn’t like thieves who stole flowers.

    /and I’m really glad you were okay. Hypothermia, how did you prevent? And another problem with polar bearing is putting your clothes back on before your dry; wet clothing doesn’t allow you to warm up; so not only away from the ocean, but somewhere they’ll keep dry while you’re in the water is really important. Says the woman who’s husband just fell into the water out in the bog with me in 12? weather.Report

  8. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    I’m attracted to women like Kat. I like exciting, cosmopolitan women, especially if they are continental Europeans with an artistic expression, even though the rational part of my brain tells me that any relationship with them is going to contain a lot of drama. Dancers, actors, and artists are also alluring. Especially dancers. The problem is that these types of women tend to be attracted to “outrageous and dangerous” men and I’m a careful and scholarly lawyer. One of the mysteries of life, what do you do when your attractions are to a type of person that is more likely than not attracted to your type of personality and whom you probably won’t make a good fit with. Luckily for me, I’m also attracted to educated and intelligent women but my real passion is for the Kat type.Report

  9. Avatar Damon says:

    ah what men will do for cute women with or without accents. 🙂Report

  10. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    So what was up with Kat’s roommate?Report

  11. Avatar Notme says:

    I thought the lesson was going to be “life isn’t always fair.” It seems to be one of those lessons liberals have trouble with.Report

  12. Avatar DRS says:

    Moral of the story: ALWAYS think with the large brain.Report