paula

I was driving with my kid the other day. On the way to an appointment. And she was controlling the radio. As usual.

This song came on. Work Out by J. Cole. In it, he does a little sampling of Paula Abdul’s Straight Up. I like his song, especially because I’m a girl of the 80’s.

I remember being out of college, living in Manhattan and singing a little Paula from time to time. I admit it. You know what I mean. You’re probably humming along right now. “Is it gonna be me and you forever, oh oh oh. Are you just having fun?”

The J. Cole song, which is also catchy though not the most appropriate for an almost 14 year-old, has these lyrics in it:

I know what’s on your brain
You probably hope it would never end
Like, “is it the real thing
Or is it just a one night stand?”

Right when those words were sung, my daughter paused.

And I knew. 

I knew she was going to ask me a question having to do with one night stands.
 

Kid: Do people really have one night stands?

Me: Umm, yes.

Kid: Have you ever had a one night stand?

(Since I knew this was coming, I should have been better prepared. I wasn’t. So here goes…)

Me: Umm, yes. Just once. Before your father and I were married. But I was much older. Out of college and in my mid-twenties.

(When my kids ask me these kinds of questions, like have I ever smoked pot or when did I lose my virginity, I try not to lie to them. But I try to give them a version of the truth that they can deal with. Telling my kid about all of my sexual escapades just seemed wrong. Even to me.)

Kid: What was his name?

(Shit. I’m so bad at this. I hesitated and she went in for the kill.)

Kid: You don’t know remember his name? How did you meet him?

Me: Through a friend of a friend. She knew him and gave him my number.

(Phew, at least I didn’t meet him in some random NYC bar. Through a friend is so much better. Right?)

Kid: Did you go out with him again?

(Didn’t want to be mean and point out to her that that’s why they call it a “one night stand.”)

Me: No. He never called me. 


(And here I tried to explain why she shouldn’t think that’s its a good thing to do. You know, why one night stands are immoral. But it was a tough thing to do without calling myself a slut.)

Me: You know, having a one night stand is not really something I recommend doing.

Kid: Mom, come on. I know this. Don’t worry.

She turned her attention back to the radio. And that was the end of our conversation. I think we made it through this one mostly unscathed.

But the conversation did take me back. Way back. 

To that one night stand that lasted a full day and a night.

The guy, whose name I don’t remember, picked me up at my East Village apartment in a red Porsche. He had planned a day of tubing down the Delaware River, complete with beer and sandwiches. Day turned in to night and we had dinner. After which we drove back to the river and went skinny-dipping.

Being naked in the water somehow led to a stop at a convenience store to purchase condoms and an impromptu overnight stay at a motel that resembled something out of the movie Psycho. I remember the shower being small but somehow we both fit in to it.

The whole thing was hot. Sexy hot. 

(Hmm, maybe my husband wants to go tubing with me. I could pretend to not know his name.)

Until the next morning. When we had an awkward breakfast at a diner. And I had to excuse myself and go in to the bathroom and vomit. I think I slept the whole ride back to Manhattan. I thanked him when I got out of the car. And that was that.

My friend never set me up on another blind date with any of her friends. Can’t say that I blame her.

But it was an absolutely amazing 24 hours. And honestly, I don’t regret it for one minute. (Except for maybe the fact that I don’t remember his name.)

But I’ll never tell my kid that. 

Some things a mother doesn’t need to tell her daughter. Even if they ask.

Right, Mom?

PS Here’s J. Cole singing Work Out. And yes, it’s explicit.