Have you ever been in the wrong place at the right time? Experienced a moment which changed your life for the best, although you didn't realize it until it was over?
It was the seventies. The decade of tie-dye clothes, disco dancing, big hair and swinging. It was my decade of wanting so badly to be loved, to find a husband, to start a family that I was willing to say yes to anything.
So when Bryce, a co-worker I had a huge crush on, asked me if I wanted to go to a swinger's party, I said sure. Seconds later the word NO swelled to goliath proportions within my mind, but failed to come out. Instead I asked, "What should I wear?"
"Oh, just regular clothes," he answered. "They're regular people."
For the next few days I felt anything but regular. I pondered his motives, second-guessed myself, then finally turned to a friend. She explained guys needed dates to get into swinger parties and pointed out he wouldn't have asked me if he wasn't into me. Which got me thinking that if the magic was there for both of us, maybe at the party, we could just be with each other.
The night of our date, Bryce picked me up fifteen minutes early. He wore a three piece suit, which I thought was a bit odd, but he'd been to these parties before. According to him, he was in the "know." And he did look hot. I wore hip hugger bell bottoms jeans and a yellow crop top, exposing way more skin than I ever had at work.
"You look terrific," he said. The surprise in his voice hurt my feelings. But I reasoned it was simply my insecurity causing me to feel that way.
As we drove, I willed myself to relax. To stop analyzing every little thing. Be in the moment and enjoy. After all, I was with Bryce. I'd dreamed about our being together for the past two years.
After several trips around a white picket-fenced neighborhood, we finally located the address scribbled on a scrap of paper. With my insides scrambling, I held on to Bryce's arm as we walked to the front door.
We were greeted by a clean shaven, short haired guy in a plain white t-shirt. He appeared to be about twenty-five or so. Without introducing ourselves, Bryce walked past the guy and into the living room. Seated on the couch and chairs were several couples, chatting about the current problems at their daycare.
Bryce and I squeezed our way onto the couch. The guy to my right stiffened his back, quickly picked up a joint and sat on it, eyeing Bryce suspiciously. Our host raised his eyebrows making eye contact with a pretty girl across the room who I assumed was his wife. She raised her shoulders, shaking her head slightly. No words were needed for me get what she was asking "Who are these people?"
While Bryce made conversation dribbled with double entrendres and innuendos, the guests on the couch started squirming and not from any sexual desires, of that I was sure. I took handful after handful of potato chips from a silver bowl on the coffee table.
Suddenly Bryce stood and demanded to see the room "where all the action took place." Without getting an answer, he headed down the hallway toward the back of the house, the owner following on his heels.
Too mortified to even move, I stared at my hands. It was obvious we were not at a swinger's party. We had crashed a simple friends' get-together. I felt a shaker of emotions, the least being lust for Bryce, as I waited for him to return to the living room and come to his senses.
When he finally appeared, he caught my eye and flicked his head toward the door. Behind us, I heard a collective sigh of relief.
We didn't say anything on the way to the car. Once inside, I busted out like a hyena. Not once did Bryce laugh. He was all business-like, blaming our mistake on the person who had given him the address.
How could he not think this was funny? I studied his profile as he took me home, thinking how close I had come to having sex with this man I really didn't know or respect. All because I was so desperate for love.
That night taught me to listen to myself and trust my instincts. From then on, I never failed to speak my mind with Bryce or for that matter, with any of my boyfriends. I learned to say "no" when it didn't feel right. I focused on the kind of life I wanted and who I wanted to share it with.
A few years later, when I least expected it, my future husband walked into my world. And since then most of the swinging in my life has involved pushing children and grandchildren at the park.