By Ginger Truitt
I have recently entered a phase of life that can either be described as a mid-life crisis or an experience in adventure. Creating my 50x50 list — fifty things I’d like to do by the age of 50 — made me realize that there are many things in life I’ve never done. New experiences broaden one’s perspective of the world, and as a writer, they increase my mental stores.
I could write until the cows come home about the experiences of a conservative Baptist preacher’s daughter who did most of her growing up in a Christian school in Tennessee. I can regale you with page after page on mothering five children, the adventures of a quarter century of monogamy, and my opinion on the demise of the hymnal. But until recently, I could never have written about zip-lining through the woods, shopping at Victoria’s Secret, or two-stepping at a country-western bar. In other words, I could have told you everything you wanted to know about hell, except how to raise it!
So, in the name of adventure, hubby and I asked two other couples if we could tag along to their country-western hang-out; a place that, due to the name, I expected to be located on 82nd Street. Instead, it was on the total opposite side of town, and was not 82nd Saloon, but rather 8 Second Saloon. The intrigue just kept growing.
We shared our assigned table with Colton and Hailey, an extremely friendly 22-year-old couple. Hailey handed me a beer from a bucket. I tried to give it back, but she insisted. I never even had beer until the age of 41. And I only drink it on certain occasions, in Germany, and mixed half with Sprite. But drinking beer from a bottle seemed like a very authentic country-western thing to do. It tasted pretty horrible. Beer companies should be held accountable for false advertising.
Cutesie little Hailey must have been heavily affected by the beer. She leaned across the table, batted her eyes at hubby, and said, “So, you are what? Almost 30?”
He didn’t actually agree, but he didn’t disagree either. I decided to give him his moment, and refrained from spewing my nasty beer.
Hailey turned to me and said with much less aplomb, “So, how old are you then?”
“I’m much, much older than he is!” I didn’t mention that on the screen behind us, you could probably pick out our 20-year-old daughter’s red hair in the crowd at the IU game.
I turned to the elderly friends who let us tag along, and laid out my plan: “I’m going to finish drinking this crappy beer, then I want to join the boot-scootin’ boogie lessons, dance on the main floor and ride the mechanical bull. Once I have the full country-western bar experience, we’ll call it an evening.
My decrepit old girlfriends and I made our way to the lessons in the back room. Everyone was quickly made aware of something I’ve known my entire life. I have Baptist hips. They don’t swivel and sway. They don’t even wiggle. I figured what I lack in hip-motion I could make up for with fancy foot moves, but it was complicated. In frustration, the teacher asked, “Can’t you count to four, or did you go to public school?” I wanted to reply, “Christian school kids have math skills that are far superior to our public school counterparts, we just never had to do it while listening to the devil’s music!”
I took my new dance moves onto the main floor. I soon realized that it didn’t matter much if I knew what I was doing, because the crowd would carry me in the right direction.
Finally, it was time to ride the bull. I kicked off my new cowboy boots, figuring my argyle socks would identify me as a fraud. Or my mounting technique might have given me away.
My friends told me that if I wanted to look “legit,” I should hold one hand in the air. So, I did. But it was the wrong hand, and I pulled off the tether, successfully killing the bull before we even got started.
A little cowgirl came out and got everything reattached, and then I was off! Literally. I fell off the bull in about 1.5 seconds. If you’d like to see my humiliation, nathant6 posted a YouTube video. It was the perfect end to my adventure in debauchery. “Debauchery.” That’s a word from my Baptist vocabulary list.
Ginger is an author, speaker and mother of five. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.