Flashback post! WAY back. Back to a simpler time, a unique time for people who date now and have no idea how to do it without a phone app. It was a time where you could murder a date and there wouldn't be an online trail, murderers must also miss this time. I am talking about the 90s.
I met my ex-husband when I was 19, this was in the late 90s, so the last time I dated before this crazy online dating world was when I was just a mere teenager full of angst and unresolved childhood issues. There wasn't a lot of dating, it was more like you met a guy and suddenly you did everything together but always with other friends and there were no 'real dates'.
Recently a person I dated back in those days surprised me with a message on Facebook and this has reminded me of a great time in my life that is definitely blog worthy. More on that at the end. So, I believe it was 1997 but whatever year it was I was 17. My friends and I grew up in the downtown core of the metropolitan city that we live in. A lot of what we did on our spare time was cruise a popular downtown road looking to meet guys (even jumping in cars with hot guys that we didn't know, how were we never murdered?), or we would frequent a billiards place and a restaurant next door that would sell us alcohol without ID (it was the 90s, I.D.ing people was barely a thing yet). The restaurant had drinks called Electric Long Island Iced Teas and they were served in fishbowls and we would sit at the bar and drink these until we could barely walk home. I had two very good friends, one of them is still to this day my best friend, confidant and basically my family (that is a lot of pressure, but she does it well). Let's call these friends Amy and Avery (this being my current friend).
Avery was a little bit of a Tom Boy at the time and Amy and I took it upon ourselves to dress her up girly and parade her up and down the main street in a skirt and see if we could catch us all a man. In hindsight, this is very messed up, but in our defense we were 17 (and shockingly survived). Also, this seemed to work for the most part, as not even an hour into this really irresponsible trio roaming the streets in search of guys, we were hollered at from a hotel balcony by a group of guys. Yes, you read that right, the 90s were a simpler time. So, not only were we roaming the street to meet strangers; we got hollered at, they gave us their room number and these three complete idiots went up to their room!!!!! Miraculously we lived to tell the story.
When we reached the room we stood at the door trying to listen to their conversation through the door for a minute to assess if this was safe (no, this is not safe dummies). Again, we were 17 year old morons. They were excited, talking about some girls coming up, there was some laughing and scuffling and we did the only stupid thing we could do at the time and knock (luckily this story ends well but it was still absolutely stupid and I would kill my daughter if she told me she did this, also absolutely could have ended in all three of us dead...they outnumbered us). The door opened and there stood a group of guys and we were greeted with a Mid-Western American accent (Americans!!!). We would soon find these were visiting American Soldiers from the nearest Army Base across the border (We live in a city very close to a Canadian/US border). Amy (the most neurotic and energetic of the three of us) was immediately drawn to the Texan and he was her man pretty quickly. Avery and I did not rush into decisions immediately but I could tell she was drawn to St Louis pretty quickly. Eventually that night I would make a connection with Illinois but at some point later on (months later) I also made a very real connection with Indiana. I don't want to give out names and it's too much work to make up names so their location is their name now. Yep, I fell for two of them, I do nothing half assed.
That night was a great time and very eye opening to the fact that not one of us had parents that were paying any attention to us (How are we still alive?). We were 17, went out partying all night with some 20/21 year old American soldiers and yep, you guessed it, stayed at their hotel (maybe one of us went home, it definitely was not me, probably Avery). I will tell you I made a very real connection with Illinois, and I did. Up until a few years ago and a political disagreement we talked fairly regularly. I tell people I have never been in love and I'm still pretty sure I haven't but I think Illinois was the closest I got to it. Over the next two years there would be regular visits back and forth. We would go there, they would come here and we would regularly spend our weekends together. We did and still do refer to these men as 'The Army Guys'.
I have always struggled emotionally with romantic relationships even at a young age so this time was no different. I was very into Illinois, spent a lot of time with him but I could never share how I felt or fully connect with him. One day, I was made aware that Illinois had an American girlfriend as well and I was shattered. I wouldn't tell anyone how that made me feel and went about my time pretending it didn't matter. It did matter but I did as I always do and turned around and moved on. So, since Illinois was busy with his American girlfriend he no longer came up every time with the guys and one time when he didn't I took notice of Indiana. Or, he took notice of me, or we were drunk and horny or we always took notice and Illinois had fogged our vision. Either way Indiana and I made a connection and we had a brief and fun affair that I will never forget.
It came down to a very weird moment though. Just as had happened with Illinois, I had heard Indiana had met a new girl in the US and things were serious fast. Once again I was upset but had to hide it and I was still upset at Illinois. Both were done for me, even though I truly liked both of them. I heard they were coming up one night and at this time Amy and I were roommates and they would stay with us at our apartment. So, I went out with local friends to avoid them. When I stumbled into my apartment at 3am there were two men in my bed (Illinois and Indiana, Indiana recently told me that they never argued or even discussed their relationships with me...wasn't an issue for them at all). So instead of picking one to cuddle up to (I still wasn't desperate), I laid down on my floor and fell asleep.
In the end, I cannot remember how or why but I ended up seeing Illinois again and Indiana had moved on. I can remember St Louis being mad at Illinois when he went back to me because he thought I was shady to him (remember I stopped seeing him because he had another girlfriend, but I was shady). 2 years had passed and one by one they were leaving the army, Indiana had already gone overseas and we had said goodbye at a final visit he had here. Illinois was now getting ready to go back to Illinois and we went to the Base to say goodbye. He told me over the phone later that it seemed I didn't care that he left when I said goodbye. It was truly that I was sad, wanted to tell him how I felt and just couldn't open up. We went back to Canada that evening and that was the last of seeing our Army Guys. Illinois and I kept in contact for the past 20 years, on and off emotional affair material for me but my marriage was difficult and it happened. Indiana married the American girlfriend and just recently got in touch with me again. Avery and St Louis (and his friend from Florida) remain in contact today.
These men all remain in my heart today, the two I dated but also the few that were just my friends. That two year time when we were all friends were some of the best years of my life. They weren't boys even then, they were respectful young men. We could be ourselves, we had fun and they were good friends to us. The things that exist now, like ghosting or using a date for sex and then disappearing weren't things then. Our connections were real and we would have stood up for one another always. This is why we still connect and reconnect to this day. What I wouldn't give for a reunion with this Motley Crew.
So when Indiana messaged me recently, after basically being stood up by The Pilot, it made me very happy. My heart always has a place for him and he reminded me why I liked him so much originally. His kindness, his need to remind me that I am better than the way I was treated. He told me that he never forgot, even that every time he saw a Maple leaf he thought of me. He felt like bringing me up and being there for me when he too is struggling right now. He proved that after all these years he still cares. I told him about this blog; he read the entire thing, he related to it and spoke to me about it. He confided in me and I only hope I gave him the right advice that he needed. I hope we keep in touch.
Indiana, I know you are reading this and I don't for a second think any of y'all would have ever murdered us but as you know I have to at least show where it was likely...so here are the ways (since we were such morons we were making it easy, damn lucky y'all weren't murder happy)...
Going into a hotel room with a group of men we didn't know that outnumbered us (so many ways)
Drinking heavily with the brand new strangers we met and then sleeping at their hotel (we are so lucky these were good men, being drugged and killed at this point was easy)
If Illinois or Indiana had any jealousy about me it could've ended in a double murder, but turns out they weren't worried about it
The guys who didn't get a Canadian girl to date killed us all in a jealous rage
In the end, my heart carries 'The Army Guys' with it always as I know they live in Amy and Avery's hearts as well. Glad the moron 17 year olds survived and also gained lifelong friends.
Young ladies, stay sexy and DO NOT do what we did! Ever!