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The Reluctant Adventurer: Top 10 Lessons Learned While Reluctantly Adventuring in 2014

Friday, January 02, 2015


A stuffed animal found in "The Bins." Be sure to wear gloves.

Not sure about you, but I've noticed there have been a lot of "don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out, 2014!" social media posts this year. 

I agree that as far as world and U.S. events, 2014 has been Giant Stinking Suckfest. No question. Racism, terrorism, sexism...almost all the truly shitty "isms" had a banner year. 

But on a solely personal level, 2014 wasn't all that bad for me. And in large part, I can attribute that non-suckiness to starting to write this column back in July. If nothing else, it's made my life a lot more interesting. It's also taught me some lessons, which I would like to now impart to you.

Always bring your own tortillas to Build-Your-Own-Burrito Night at the Sex Club. Because they WILL run out.

This was a rough lesson to learn, but I should've known. Who goes to a sex club for the food? 

I also have to say I was very surprised at how collegial and, dare I say it, sweet members of the fetish community can be. 

Even though I wasn't a participant, they were totally open and willing to answer my questions, even while tied up.

So if you're out somewhere and someone suggests it's time to "Bring out The Gimp," say, "Yes! Absolutely! I'd love to meet him!"

Before going into a flotation tank, tell the attendant your musical preferences to signal the end of the session.

I got the digeridoo BWWWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAA from “Inception.” It was TERRIFYING.

Wear rubber gloves when sifting through items at The Bins.

My brother touched poop on a Barbie once. You shouldn't need more reason than that.

Never wear patchouli to your appointment with a professional cuddler.

I didn't wear patchouli myself, but someone prior to me did. The fact that I know this should clue you in: don't do it. 

I dated someone who wore patchouli for a while, and there's something about the oil that makes it more powerful than any other scent I've experienced. My bed smelled like the quilt from the bench seat of a Vanagon for weeks.

I don't want to disparage patchouli wearers, because I liked that guy a lot, but I will say two things: it doubles as an insect repellent, and Mattel used it to create the "Stinkor" scented action figure, an "anthropomorphic skunk with magical control over its own stench." 

I'm not making this up.

I'm just gonna leave that there and let you make your own choices.

When you're waiting for fellatio class to begin, and the dildo you've been given to practice on accidentally brushes the thigh of one of your classmates as she squeezes past you to take her seat, don't apologize—JUST IGNORE IT. It's best for everyone.

This one's self-explanatory, I think.

If your friend hates heat and hates yoga, don't tell her Bikram Yoga will change her life.

I feel like I shouldn't have to say this, but weirdly, I do.

I know that when I find something that changes my life dramatically for the better, I feel like everyone should benefit from it. 

But I need to remember to know my audience. Just like my life-changing practice (curmudgeonry) isn't for everyone, neither is Bikram. 

But I'm happy for the people it IS for. Their bodies are SLAMMIN. (I Imagine a Bikram teacher standing at the front of the class like Oprah. "YOU get six-pack abs! YOU get six-pack abs! YOU get six-pack abs! EVERYBODY GETS SIX-PACK ABS! NAMASTE, BITCHES!!")

Never choose a Billy Joel song at Karaoke.

I think everyone just imagines themselves in that “Piano Man” video no matter what the song is, and that was just a terrible, terrible video.

Strippers have started wearing jeweled anal plugs. 

I learned this during my trip to Casa Diablo, Portland’s vegan strip club. 

So, yeah. If you were thinking that innovations in the world of taking off one’s clothes for a living had ceased, you were dead wrong.

Want one for yourself? Why wouldn’t you? Just a cursory internet search brings up Swarovski Crystal Jeweled butt plugs, which the website boasts, “makes anal play even more fun by adding glamour and bling.” WAIT. Is it even possible to make anal play more fun? That seems unlikely.

But still, I imagine it feels so much more…feminine than those manly black ones. 

I hope this is helping.

If you live in Portland and you’ve never been to the Jesus Spaceship at the Grotto, you’re cheating yourself.

Take the elevator up and go to your left. If Jesus were a character on Battlestar Galactica, this would be his office.

Don’t write off speed dating.

I know it sounds terrible, but you will never have another opportunity to get a concentrated five-minute window into the lives, passions and questionable clothing choices of 20 people in one night. 

Will you meet the person of your dreams? Probably not. Will you be entertained? Absolutely.

And while I’m on the subject, don’t write off internet dating either. I’ve learned more about people and myself in the past 10 months than I have in the past decade.

The biggest lesson? I’m not a misanthrope. 

I’d always claimed to hate people, but when you’ve gone on over 20 first dates (well, over 40 if you count the 18 from speed dating) in a year and you’ve found something to like about all but one of them, you simply can’t claim that anymore. Mathematically, it’s a flat-out lie.

The things I liked weren’t necessarily huge. I liked the way one guy’s bangs flopped over his eyes when he told me his insane ayahuasca stories. I liked that one guy told me how difficult it was to be away from his daughter in the first five minutes he knew me. And I really liked how one guy’s face turned muppet-like with joy when he talked about his one trip to Club Sesso, where he realized that it IS possible to have group sex and biscuits and gravy at the same time.

If the horrible news we’ve gotten in 2014 has taught us anything, it’s that people can be dicks. They can be hateful, and cruel and literally torturous. 

But while I’m cringing at the next crop of horrible Buzzfeed stories in 2015, what I’ll try to remember is that 2014 also taught me that people are endlessly fascinating and surprising, kind and vulnerable and made up of some pretty interesting stories. Many of them about psychedelic drugs.

Hopefully, that’ll be enough to get me (and you) through another year of adventures.

Courtenay Hameister is the Head Writer and Co-Producer of Live Wire Radio, a syndicated radio variety show distributed by Public Radio International. She is currently working on a book that will be released through Audible.com in 2015. Follow Courtenay on Twitter at @wisenheimer. 


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