I don’t know about you, but the world seems to be getting pretty (insert your favorite colorful word here) intense. While I like to stay informed, I also like to laugh to deal with stress. And, I need some chuckles these days.
Today, the wonderful KJ is here to help us laugh with an embarrassing story. Also, KJ is giving away 1 ecopy of Kick Back. Below the guest post, you’ll find more details about the giveaway.
Take it away, KJ.
Ultimate Dork Mode
When TB sent the call-out for embarrassing moments for Project Laughter, I found myself in a dilemma. Would I choose the time I got my blouse snagged on a sliding window catch as I walked into an entire campus staff meeting and twisted so violently to un-snag myself that all the blouse buttons flew off and I flashed every single one of my colleagues? Or would I choose the time when we had EpiPen training, where we had to pretend to jab the thigh of our training buddy and even rub the fake injection site, but my buddy was the really lovely nurse on staff who was gorgeous but rubbing her thigh was rather awkward although kinda nice, then she saw me blush so I told her it was because the central heating was too high? Then the thought of thighs sent off a lightbulb! I will regale you with the story of the night I met my wife.
The setting was the giant ballroom of a hotel on the Gold Coast in Queensland in Australia. It was a Saturday night. The Annual Lesbian Night Out (It was the year 2000, folks. Not a lot of originality in event naming or frequency of said event). I had decided to attend after a friend had finally worn down my introvert walls with pleading, begging, and bribing. So there I was, one of possibly eight-hundred lesbians; a seething mass of excitement, pheromones, plaid, and safety. There was a band, a DJ, people-watching, and I was having a lovely time moving slightly awkwardly near a wall as my friend yo-yoed between me and the bar. However, the fun of the night was just starting to develop that chemically-tarnished edge that bring on headaches or bad decisions, when my hand was clutched by another’s. I did emit a slightly high-pitched yelp which was swallowed by the latest NSync song blaring from the overly large speakers. It was my friend, who then peered into my face in a slightly inebriated manner, and shouted, “You have to meet this woman!” I was given absolutely no say in the matter, as my hand was gripped and we zig-zagged, slalomed and ricocheted our way across the cavernous space. I hurled apologies over my shoulder at the many crushed toes we left in our wake. Finally, my friend brought us to an abrupt halt at the second bar provided for the night—the organisers knew their clientele—and she thrust a bottle of Stolichnya Lemon Vodka mixer into my hand, which was unexpected as I hadn’t asked for it, but clearly looked like I required it. I turned to find my friend looking at me expectedly, so I produced a shrug in response. “What?” I said.
My friend swept her hand sideways like a game show product model, nearly collecting a couple of women in the opening moments of getting to know each other. “This is Jo!” she announced, thrilled with herself.
I looked past my friend’s arm and into the bluest eyes ever. Jo was taller than me—not hard as I’m only five foot four. She had curly hair, and cheekbones, and a swimmer’s body—all shoulders and that V-shape which is amazing, and a soft blue shirt with the sleeves rolled halfway up her forearms. And the nicest, shyest, friendliest smile I’d ever seen. Nope. Not smitten at all. (That’s a lie.) So, of course, I was suave and full of game and completely at ease. (Also a lie.) I did what I always do. I went into KJ Ultimate Dork mode. I stuck out my hand and said the following piece of elegance;
“Um, I’m KJ. A teacher. Sorry. I’m a teacher. I teach. Well, yes, ha ha. Because that’s what teachers do, don’t they? They teach. Right.” To her credit. Jo hadn’t released my hand. She simply smiled, leaned closer and said, “Hi, I’m Jo. It’s lovely to meet you.” Which sounded much better than what I’d attempted. And then…and then, she was standing close and smelled so good and I wanted to keep talking to her, and the world about us did that weird movie stretchy time thing where suddenly you’re in a bubble with that one person. And we were talking, folks. Talking. Near each other’s faces because DJ and NSync and it was amazing, and intoxicating, and really lovely so of course I panicked and babble suddenly became my only method of communication. Leaning forward, I looked earnestly into Jo’s beautiful face and spoke so clearly yet rapidly the following brilliance;
“So I’ve been doing track cycling lately. It’s terrific being on that velodrome. Great workout. Really good for my baseball position. I play for Queensland. I’m a catcher, so I like to keep in shape.” My rambling was loud because now DJ and Bon Jovi, and just then in that perfectly timed moment when the song stops and the DJ hasn’t quite cued the next song and the crowd is frozen in anticipation, I yelled, “Yeah, so I’m in really great shape. Feel my thigh!” Silence. Looks of interest from around me, then I noticed that Jo’s eyebrows had shot up into her hairline, and her face projected a wonderful example of the All-My-Christmases-At-Once expression.
“Really?” she queried.
While Jon Bon Jovi was suggesting that we were all living on a prayer, I blinked. “Oh my God! I mean…well, no, not actually feel my thigh. Well, you can, if you want to, because you’re gorgeous, but not like ‘feel-my-thigh-wild-rampaging-monkey-sex-feel-my-thigh’, you know, just regular…I should stop talking now.” And my face was the colour of the ambulance lights that really needed to arrive and rescue me from myself. Luckily, Jo thought I was adorable, dated me for months, we moved in together, and in 2018, she became my wife. And yes, she did feel my thigh that night.
(Anyone who’s read ‘Home’—my novella—will recognise that scene. The novella is actually a version of how my wife and I met. You’ll guess who I am if you read it.)
Available in Kindle Unlimited
Sophia Lindstrom plays football for South Melbourne. She’s tall, focused, intense, and has some major trust issues, which she’s currently ignoring. Sophia just wants her life to stay exactly the same, which means playing AFL, running the boutique fine foods and wine store with her brother, and volunteering at the homeless shelter. The same.Cameron Weathers is smart, sassy, also has some major trust issues, and knows she is a great reporter if only she was given the chance to shine. Her sexist editor assigns her the job of shadowing some of the players from this season’s women’s Australian Rules Football League so she can write fluffy stories for the lifestyle page. Not exactly hard-hitting journalism. When Cam and Sophia meet, there’s instant chemistry, which is immediately put on hold when their everyday lives are shattered by misogyny, media manipulation, and tragedy. Cam, Sophia, and the other players discover that football games are not the only contests they need to win. Now they’re fighting for the entire league, their professional status, and even their lives. Sophia and Cam attempt to expose the sinister activities, come to terms with their mutual attraction, and eventually discover that kicking back at those who seek to destroy can open the door to love.
MEET THE AUTHOR
KJ lives in Melbourne, Australia with her wife, their son, three cats and a dog.
She started writing interesting observations of life, literary articles, poetry, creative non-fiction, and personal essays, and eventually they were all sort of smooshed together in a giant author-y blender and out popped a book. Then another. The blender is currently in use for KJ’s next novel.
CONNECT WITH KJ
Thanks so much for stopping by today.