When I started dating after my divorce, I felt I had to try to reinvent myself into a fun, interesting person, instead of a divorcee and mother who gets her accolades when Words With Friends posts “Amy just played davenport for 63 points.” To build my self confidence, I would begin chanting over and over to myself, “I am fun and intelligent” as I walked out the door for a coffee date, but then my confidence would wane as I realized I was at the wrong Starbucks and had already spent close to five bucks for my vente low fat latte. This does not make for a fun and fascinating woman.
I knew I had to do a little reinventing (aka lying) when I started dating. I mean sure, I find the Food Network utterly fascinating, but I had a feeling my dates probably wouldn’t. ( I did have one date however, who after finding out that I think Family Guy is funny, printed me out a picture of Quagmire and presented it to me over cocktails. Dude. Srsly?) Anyway, I knew I had to step up my game a little bit, which is how I came to be taking skiing lessons at Bill Jackson’s in St. Pete, Florida. Yeah, Florida. Ski lessons.
A guy I had been out with a few times had mentioned how he loved skiing, and how he had been doing it since he was a kid. He made it sound awesome, the clean air, the glimmering snow, total peace on the mountain. He had me so entranced with his heartfelt description, that when he asked “Do you ski?” I of course answered “Oh, yeah.” I then admitted, “Just a few times, but I really loved it,” which was what I call a slight exaggeration but what others might call a total bold faced lie. I have never had skis on my feet and I haven’t even seen snow in about six years.
This was not a problem until about a week later when he invited me out to Park City, Utah for a long weekend where we would be getting “12,000 vertical feet” in every day before lunch. What? I’m lucky to finish my coffee and Facebook stalking before lunch. Anyway, I really liked this man and I really wanted to go soI really needed to learn how to ski in the two weeks before the trip.
I had been in Bill Jacksons’ to buy long underwear for a trip I was taking to New York City a few years back and remembered seeing a sign for ski lessons. I immediately called and booked four lessons in the next two weeks. Seriously, how hard can it be?
I showed up for my first lesson in tennis socks and running shoes and was immediately escorted by my instructor Brian, to the back room where I first had to purchase a pair of ski socks. Just a heads up for ski newbies here, if you already have large feet, ski socks will give them a very Bugs Bunnyish appearance. With my ski socks on, I then was fitted for ski boots. There are two words to describe this process-inhumanely painful. Once he found a pair that was somewhat bearable, he said I had to walk around the store in them. Here, try this-stick each of your feet into a Chinese vase and then walk around. I am clomping around the store, with my feet in two blocks of cement and wander into the hunting section, where conversation and tobacco spitting had come to a stand still. Gentlemen! Lay down your arms! What sounded like a herd of deer entering was in fact a middle age woman in Gap capri pants and ski boots.
FInally, Brian leads me back to the ski area where there is a ramp covered in blue carpet that is going to act as my mountain. He attaches skis to my feet, hands me two poles and tells me to climb on slowly.
I get situated at the top of this contraption, and he carefully turns on the ramp which begins to slowly move. I step on and point my skis into a v (known as a wedge to us ski bums,) and immediately fall flat on my ass, emitting a groan much as a water buffalo makes when giving birth. This of course aroused quite a bit of interest as people gathered from all areas in the store to see WTF was that?
After two weeks of lessons, I realized the only way this could be even more fun is to put me into freezing temperatures on an icy mountain. Oh, and add really beautiful people whizzing past me from all sides as I make my way down the mountain, most likely by sliding on my ass. Good times...good times.
As I said goodbye to Brian after my final lesson I thanked him for his patience and asked him for final words of advice. The only words of encouragement he could offer was “As soon as you get there, sign up for lessons.”
I’m sure you are wondering how I made out in Park City on my romantic ski vacation and I will be glad to tell you in my next post. The more important question, however, is when does a lie go from being little and white to, if you’ll excuse the pun, mountainous? Here is my advice, when it comes to death defying sports, tell the truth. My desire to appear fun and exciting may very well lead me to a broken leg or displaced hip. Realize that just because you haven’t skiied before does not mean you are not a fun, exciting, vibrant person. In my opinion it means you are afraid of pain and looking like Marvin the Martian in that ridiculous helmet. Also consider this, it may be that your desire to try something new will be a real turn on to a new man who wants to be your first...at skiing anyway.