Saturday, March 3, 2012
To Tell or Not to Tell? (Whether the Girl Has Herpes)
Note: The following is a one-hundred-percent true story, but the names of both people and bars have been changed for legal reasons.
Although the title of this blog sounds a bit fresh and, perhaps, base, I will tell you right now that said Hamlet-esque question has rather profound and philosophical connotations attached to it. Yes, you may be thinking that this is just another installment of the drunken Natty Ice Diaries, but this is actually a blog about serendipity, karma, God and Fate. Now, I'm not really sure where to start here, but I suppose the beginning is always the best place, so - without further adieu - here is the beginning.
It was a Saturday night. My friends and I were at an Irish bar called Sully's in a suburb of Boston. Prior to going out to the bar, I had consumed a Blue Moon and a 'Natty Daddy' tall-boy. A "Natty Daddy", if you don't know, is the newest member of the Natty Ice family; where Natty Ice has a measly 5.6% alcohol volume, Natty Daddys have a whopping 8.0% alcohol volume. In other words, I was already feeling pretty dang good by the time I even got to the bar that night. But then I proceeded to drink a Bud Light and also a Rum 'n Coke that a 46-year-old woman gave to me after I made out with her briefly (that's a story for another day). By the time last call came around at the bar, I was feeling extremely swell, bursting at the seams with liquid confidence. At around 12:35, I noticed a couple of decent-looking girls sitting at the end of the bar and I decided - what the hell - "I'm going to go talk to them".
So I headed over to the girls and recited my usual pick-up lines - things like "Hey, there she is!" and "Hey! I remember you from last time!" or "I know you! Don't I know you?!" The ironic thing about the whole matter was that I HAD actually met one of the girls before at another bar. It took me a minute to realize it was the same girl and then, when I refreshed her memory a bit, she remembered me as well. After a very brief period of small-talk, ha-ha's and petty flirtations, the girl - let's call her Brenda - asked what I was doing after the bar closed. She was heading to an "after party" at her friend's apartment just down the street and a couple other girls would be there as well.
"You should come," she told me.
Needless to say, I was excited to receive the invitation. And I was also surprised it had come so easily. In fact, I was convinced that God was smiling down on me that night. The big guy in the sky had finally come through and got me invited to an after-party. Of course, it wasn't sex that was on my mind...not at all. It was my soul-mate I was after. "Maybe tonight's the night I'll finally find her," I thought to myself. "Yes, this party was meant to be."
I told "Brenda" that I would love to attend the after-party. "But is it all right if my friends come?"
"Sure, that's fine."
My friends were a bit reluctant about going to the party at first, but they were assured that there would be free beer there, so they eventually acquiesced and agreed to attend.
Twenty minutes later, we found ourselves at a cozy, two-bedroom apartment with three girls. To be honest with you, I had browned out by this point in the night and the details of our time at the "party" are a little hazy. I remember that there was a 12-pack of Miller Lights, most of which my friends and I polished off within the first ten minutes of being there. There were also a good amount of Jello-shots in the refrigerator and we polished those off as well. And then there was a game of beer pong set up in the kitchen, but we never actually played a round of it. I think there was some talk of spin-the-bottle as well but I think that was mostly my suggestion and nobody paid any attention to it.
For the first ten or twenty minutes of the party, I was mostly hanging out with Brenda in the living room, which was adjacent to the kitchen. My friends and the other two girls were in the kitchen chatting each other up, ha-ha-ing and flirting with each other. Every once in a while I would pop my head into the kitchen and see Brenda's friend (the one who lived in the apartment) - let's call her Tricia - standing atop a chair trying to change the bulb of a fluorescent lighting fixture. It didn't seem like the best time to be performing such a task, but I accepted the situation and didn't ask any questions. I should also mention that - while she was changing the bulb - she was also shouting "I need penis tonight! I need penis tonight! I need penis!!!" All this shouting led me to believe that the girl was either batshit crazy or incredibly inebriated. I ultimately determined the latter to be true after she dropped the fluorescent bulb and it shattered to pieces all over the kitchen floor.
My friends, of course, were intrigued upon hearing that Tricia "Needed penis tonight". In fact, all of our ears had pricked up a bit upon hearing those words. I mean, why wouldn't they? We were men after all. It was in our nature to be intrigued by demands like this. But it was also around this time that Brenda pulled me into a secluded corner of the living room and shared an essential nugget of information with me.
"She has herpes," she whispered into my ear.
"She has herpes."
"The one changing the light-bulb. The one who needs penis."
"Are you serious?"
Needless to say, I knew I needed to somehow spread this invaluable piece of information to my comrades as soon as possible. I poked my head back into the kitchen and made eye contact with one of my friends who was sitting in a chair. Widening my eyes at him and giving him the hairiest of hairy eyeballs, I motioned with my head for him to come into the living room. He kind of rolled his eyes at me but then reluctantly got up from his chair to see what was up.
"She's got herpes, pass it on," I said.
"She's got herpes, pass it on."
"Really? Which one."
"The one who's screaming 'I need penis'."
Like a game of telephone, news of the herpes eventually spread its way to the rest of my friends, all of whom were thoroughly thankful for the information and incredibly turned off from the girl. One friend in particular was especially thankful; he was talking to Tricia the most and would have been most likely to have gone upstairs with her.
I think we were maybe at the apartment for maybe another half hour after the story about the herpes broke. After that, Tricia started trying to kick us out. She had apparently sensed a change in the vibe of the party, mostly in the form of us trying to stay as far away from her as possible. She knew the chances of her 'getting penis' from any of us were slim to none. So she was done with the party. She wanted us out.
My friends and I left the apartment without protest, very relieved that we were still STD-free and also thankful that Brenda had the heart to share with us the dirty news regarding her friend. She could have just said nothing and who knows what would have happened? Of course, my friends and I weren't interested in casual sexual encounters. We were more interested in finding a soul-mate than a piece of ass. But who knows? Maybe the Jello shots would have led one of us to make a horrible mistake, one that would haunt us for the rest of our lives...
So, yes, we retired to our respective residences that evening thankful that a guardian angel was watching out for us and protecting us from the evil herpes virus. But we hadn't seen the last of Tricia...or her herpes...
Flash-forward exactly one week later. My friends and I were back at the Irish bar Sully's. It was around 11:30 at night and the bar was much quieter than the weekend before. I got bored with the place pretty fast and we all decided that we were going to try another bar down the street called The Shamrock, which I had scoped out beforehand and knew was much more lively. But just as we were about to leave Sully's, we noticed a familiar face at the bar. Indeed, it was Tricia (whom we had since nicknamed 'Herpes'). She was with a nice-looking blonde girl who we had never seen before, though - based on the way she dressed - we assumed that she likely had some STDs as well. Tricia (aka 'Herpes') made some eye contact with us from across the room and we figured that this was our final cue to head out to the other bar.
We got to The Shamrock at around midnight, which was still very busy and pretty loud from the Karaoke that was taking place. There was a mixed crowd - lots of young people, some cougars, and some ladies who were probably beyond cougar-age. We were probably in the middle of sipping our first round of beers when we saw the familiar face...again. That's right: it was Herpes and her blonde friend. They had just walked into the bar and were kind of eyeballing us from a distance. We weren't completely sure if they intentionally followed us to the bar or just happened to go to the same place, but they were undoubtedly throwing us eyeballs and it unsettled us to say the least.
We figured the best thing to do was to avoid eye contact and pretend that we didn't remember Herpes, even though it had only been a week since we'd been in her apartment. This approach seemed to work. Herpes and Blondie walked by us a couple of times - pretending to be going back and forth to the bathroom - but we didn't acknowledge them in any way and they seemed to take the hint.
'Last call' at the bar crept up on us and, before we knew it, it was about 12:50 and we were finishing up our last beer of the evening. We noticed that Herpes and Blondie had taken up a stool at the opposite end of the bar and they were talking to a different group of guys. We couldn't help but be a little concerned about the well-being of these gentlemen. The boys seemed to be flirting and working their mojo on both Herpes and Blondie. Little did these guys know that they were were standing only inches away from a scorching case of herpes.
"Maybe we should say something to them," one of my friends suggested.
"I don't know...should we???" I asked rhetorically.
My question subsequently triggered a deep philosophical discussion amongst the four of us that went a little something like this:
"I'm a big believer in karma," I explained to my friends. "The way I see it...whoever ends up having sex with those girls without a condom, must have had some bad karma coming their way. God or Nature or Fate or whatever will intervene if they don't deserve to get the herpes."
"But what if that's why WE'RE here?" my friend pondered. "What if God put us in the bar tonight to protect those guys from getting the herpes?"
"Good point," I admitted. "After all, we wouldn't have known about the herpes had we not been informed (by Brenda) about their existence. Maybe it's our turn to 'pay the favor forward', so to speak. Maybe we need to spread the news."
In other words, my friends and I found ourselves in an interesting position. The fate of those gentlemen was basically in our hands. A simple warning on our end could prevent them from a long and horrible life dealing with a raging case of herpes outbreaks. We were basically God at that moment. Yes, it was all up to us. Say something...or don't say something. Their future was ours to decide.
So what did we do? Well, we unanimously decided NOT to say something...unless, of course, there was a good opportunity to do so. I figured that maybe I could speak to the boys if Herpes and Blondie went to the bathroom at some point, but this never happened, so there was never really an appropriate time to approach the men.
Closing time came and I needed to visit the bathroom before I left the bar. I figured this was a good excuse to walk by Herpes, Blondie and the gentlemen they were flirting with. Maybe I'd catch a snippet of their conversation and see whether the men were actually planning on going home with the girls. Maybe they were all just old friends and had no intention of having sex with each other. Yes, maybe I had nothing to worry about.
On my way to the bathroom, I didn't hear anything other than some ha-ha's and other unintelligible conversation; however, on my way back, I did hear something that raised some concern.
"We're going back to my place," Herpes said to the boys. "It's right down the street."
The insinuation was clear from the tone of her voice: she definitely wanted the boys to accompany her and Blondie back to the apartment. Apparently she was as desperate for penis as she was the Saturday before.
It was at this point in the evening that I started to get very anxious and paranoid. I felt like I was on that ABC show "What Would You Do?" and John Quinones was waiting somewhere with a cameraman to see how I would deal with the situation. Or maybe it was God that was putting me to the test. Maybe I needed to apply the golden rule - "do unto others" - or else be cursed with bad karma for the rest of my existence. Yes, maybe if I failed to do anything about this situation there would be a reversed situation down the road where I would contract herpes from a girl nobody had warned me about.
With all these thoughts racing through my mind, I made my way back to where my friends were and the bartenders started yelling at everybody to leave.
"All right, drink 'em up! Time to go!!!"
For a moment, I contemplated shouting "Herpes!!!" as loud as I could and then run out of the bar, hoping that the boys talking to Herpes and Blondie would get the hint. But I didn't do this. Instead, I placed my empty bottle of beer on the bar and...I left...with my friends...without doing a damn thing about the situation. That's right: I chickened out. We walked right out of that bar and headed to the parking lot where my car was.
"Well, another poor bastard's getting herpes tonight," I said to myself with my head hanging down to the pavement in shame. And maybe this would have been true...if it wasn't for another stroke of fate. Yes, the story wasn't over.
BOOM!!! There was an extremely loud crash that stopped us dead in our tracks. A random girl was driving down the street that was parallel with the parking lot and she rammed into an SUV that was parked on the side of the road. At the time, we found it rather strange that the girl had driven right into the back of a parked car. We figured that this girl was either severely inebriated or extremely retarded. Looking back on it, however, I feel like there may have been stronger forces at play. Perhaps it was a form of divine intervention.
We stopped in the parking lot awhile to observe the accident and make sure the girl who hit the parked SUV was OK. Within that time, Herpes, Blondie and their two guys exited the bar, exchanged some words that I couldn't hear and then started walking in opposite directions. The guys were apparently parked in the same parking lot as myself while the girls were parked elsewhere. I was relieved to see they weren't leaving together and forgave myself for not saying anything to them. I then turned to check out the car accident some more and was surprised to see more damage than I thought there would be. The owner of the SUV that was hit happened to be outside the bar when the accident occurred. He was a young man in maybe his late twenties. To my surprise, he didn't seem to be very pissed about the whole ordeal (probably because he was also intoxicated).
After a few moments of studying the accident scene, I started to hear a conversation taking place pretty much right beside me.
"Dude, I think we should go! Let's go!"
It was the two guys that had been talking with Herpes and Blondie. They were debating something and I knew exactly what they were debating: whether to go back to Herpes' apartment. It was at this point that I knew something needed to be done. Herpes and her blonde friend were up the road a bit and nowhere close by. It was as though God placed these guys smack-dab in front of me for a reason. There were no excuses now.
"Are you guys going home with those girls tonight?"
There was a confused look on their faces. They were unsure of who I was and what my intentions were. Was I an ex-boyfriend? Was I looking for a fight?
"If you are, I just wanted to let you know...I'm pretty sure one of those girls has herpes."
There was a blank look on their faces.
"What? Which one?"
I suddenly caught some movement in the corner of my eye. I turned to my left to see who was coming and saw Herpes with her blonde friend. They had apparently returned to seal the deal with their boys. They were only thirty yards away and I knew I needed to get the hell out of there as soon as possible.
"The dark-haired one," I said and then quickly started to leave. "You didn't hear it here."
"Uhhh...OK," said one of the boys, still looking caught off guard.
"Just wanted to warn you," I whispered over my shoulder and, before they could say anything else, I was already several yards away.
My friends were still in the middle of checking out the car accident and were unaware of what I had just done.
"Hey!" I yelled to them, speed-walking towards my car. "We gotta go!"
They could tell by the look on my face that something was up.
"Oh no. Did you say something???"
I hopped in my car, twisted the key into the ignition and backed the hell out of my parking space. Eeeeeeerch...the car halted to a stop, I rolled down my window and waved for my friends to hurry the hell up! Get in! Then I shifted into drive, put the pedal to the metal and we got the hell out of there.
"Phew," I thought to myself. It was all behind me now.
I drove home that night wondering whether I had, indeed, done the right thing. Should I have just left well-enough alone and minded my own business? Maybe 'Herpes' didn't even have herpes and it was just a rumor. Maybe Brenda had only told us her friend had herpes because she wanted all the attention to herself that night at the after-party. I didn't want to be responsible for the perpetuation of any kind of malicious rumor. And I didn't want to stand in the way of an innocent (clean) girl getting some penis that she seemed to be desperate for.
But, then again, I figured that when there's any doubt about a woman's cleanliness, you gotta call it out. Yes, when in doubt, call it out - it should be an unwritten part of the gentleman's code. Besides, there were too many serendipitous events at work during the night for me to have done nothing about the situation. I mean, without that car accident stalling us, I'm pretty sure I would have left the parking lot before I even saw the boys contemplating whether to go to Herpes' apartment. As for the guy whose car got smashed, I'm not sure how to explain that one. Maybe he had some bad karma coming his way. Maybe the entire organization of events was part of some super-intelligent, super-efficient plan where bad karma gave birth to good karma, or somebody's good karma became somebody's bad karma and so on and so forth. Yes, after that night, I was convinced that there was, indeed, a God carrying out a complex plan called life; in fact, I was so convinced of this that I would now like to take this opportunity and announce that I've since decided to become a born-again Christian (just kidding).
Of course, I don't know whether I made any kind of a difference in the outcome of anybody's night. For all I know, those boys didn't believe me or didn't heed my warning and they still went back to Herpes' apartment, had loads of unprotected sex and are now living with a latent herpes virus that will break out on them when they least expect it. But I guess I can't be too concerned about that. I did what I could. If they didn't heed my warning, then that's their problem.
So...to tell or not to tell? That is the question. And I think I have come to the conclusion that the answer to this age-old question is pretty clear: TELL!!! Well, that's what I think, anyway, though I could be wrong. What do YOU think? What would YOU do???