While I spent my life in chlorine growing up, as an adult I find quality time in the pool a bigger and bigger pain in the ass. You have to get dressed and re-dressed, keep a locker* at the gym stocked with all the lotions and potions necessary so that when you go out in public the villagers don’t riot. And let’s not overlook that fabulous chlorine aroma that lingers well into your re-showered day and even with you into bed that night, where Hubby asks, “Seriously? Did you walk around all day smelling like that?”
So I swim less and golf more. (My ass and my alcohol tolerance both support this as the Gospel.)
Golf is fabulous. For starters, like so many things, if you do it right, it takes about four hours. Ahem. It’s also a commitment. Unless you are rich, retired, and/or or a Trust Fund Baby, you can’t just play a round on the spur. Playing with others makes it not only a social event but also keeps you accountable for showing up with your fair share of tools (re: sticks, liquor, cash), and I find it best to play with people who don’t care too much about your actual scores. Unless golf is a sport for you, this shouldn’t matter all that much. Golf also more or less encourages you to IMBIBE while you play, which is very important to a TBD like me.
I’m not a competitive person, so if you are, stay the hell off the course with me. I’m there to enjoy the fresh air and vitamin D, the vodka tonics, some mild exercise, and 4 hours of everyone-else-can-shut-the-fuck-up. I love hanging with the folks who are my entourage (this would be news to them) and my besties. I’ve played with friends, lovers, strangers, and Drag Queens. And once? All those at once. Golf takes all comers. So how did it sink its dimpled teeth into me?
Like so many of my favorite things in life, I started golfing to piss off someone else.
DB (my grandfather) was both a Class A golfer and a Class A Jackass, though he was known much more in the public eye for the former and GOLF was Holy to him. Golf had a certain elitist appeal to him as well. He began playing before Civil Rights, and while I’m not sure how he felt about that, I never saw a non-white in any of his clubs, and I never heard him praise a non-white golfer when he watched the pros on TV. Women’s golf did not exist. Women in ANY sport were Unacceptable, according to DB. I am sure a little piece of his soul died the day the WNBA was formed.
Neither Dad nor Golden Boy played golf, and I didn’t want to spend time with DB any more than he wanted to spend time with me, so I had no desire to play until I went away to college. Prior to that, DB and I had enough of each other during obligatory family time, like Easter and Christmas. So it NEVER occurred to me that golf was anything more than an old white man’s game.
Then I married a man who loved golf. I mean actually loved to PLAY golf, not sneak off to get in trouble on the course for playing golf cart polo games with brooms in the wee hours or for some dewy high school sex on the 12th fairway. He played a lot, and during our lengthy engagement (2+ years) and then marriage (2+ years) he invited me to come play too. I didn’t say he was very smart, did I?
Meet Husband #1. Hypno-Hustler. In the age of disco, Hypno-Hustler emerged as the dumbest super villain ever in the Spiderman comic book series. I know this because Kris, a dorky friend of mine who has a Sheldon-like catalog of comic book villains between his ears told me about Hypno-Hustler one drunken night in Dallas, Texas. I thought he made that shit up, but nope. Google it bitches. Hypno-Hustler’s real name is Antoine**. He had a killer afro hairdo, played in a disco band, wore what look like Otter’s Doggles, and somehow played special music in discos to hypnotize club-goers into handing over all their money to him. No shit, people. There was some good coke going around in the 70s at Marvel.
I call husband #1 Hypno-Hustler because he spun some smooth shit. He was charismatic in that strange way that’s hard to describe, like Bill Clinton. Just enough swag to Sell It. HUSTLER skills, people, are not to be under-estimated. I like to think I was his greatest life’s hustle, even if it only lasted for a couple of years. Hubby #1 was a ton of fun, as I imagine Hypno-Hustler would have been too. Go ahead admit. Wouldn’t you have a drink with this guy?
Hubby #1 was FIT too, like this dude. He played soccer, golf, and skied religiously. He had endurance, ladies. That’s all I’m sayin’. And while I never saw him sling a Purple Rain guitar, he did develop quite the drug habit that I suspect naturally goes with it. And much like Spiderman, I became immune to his shit when I simply covered my ears one day and stopped listening.
But before all that went down, we had GOLF.
I loved the game, regardless of my lack of skill, and he loved how I looked in those little skirts that show your ass every time you bend over to tee up a ball. It was 18 holes of FOREPLAY. (I’ll not make that jke you’re thinking now, thanks.) Hypno-Hustler was the state’s poorest snob (and consequently a frequent passenger on the Boo-Fucking-Hoo train) but still we managed to golf some very nice courses from Virginia to Florida, which means we got to PLAY all over the southeast. We drank, smoked cigars, and Played. I cussed at bad shots (most of them) and usually played only every other hole, preferring to sip Bloodies from a thermos rather than actually tee up. I would flirt with the pro shop staff, make dirty jokes with the cart girls, and get Golf Drunk. (Golf Drunk is where you are so flushed and sweaty from the game -supposedly- that so long as you are walking and semi-coherent, no one really suspects that you are really DRUNK. Only once the game is over and you sit in the club, having a cocktail while cooling off, do the folks around you get to judge just how shit-housed you might really be. And this was the prime moment I ALWAYS managed to toss out my maiden name in order for my behavior to get back to DB as quickly as possible.
Which of course it did. And Hypno-Hustler (who DB loved, BTW, because he came from a Good Family) eventually got a little “sit down” in which he was told that he needed to reel me in and actually TEACH me how to play golf. HA!
So Hypno-Hustler, after 2+ years of fucking around, tried to get serious. We played golf in Aruba, on our honeymoon, and this was the last truly fun game we played. After that, we started playing with other couples (read: his friend and that friend’s wife, Mitsy or Bitsy or some other fucking size 2 sorority girl who thought we’d “hit it off for sure” since my diamond was bigger than hers) and it SUCKED. I was not to drink so much, or cuss, and No Cigars. And he tried to actually show/tell me how to play. OK, some golf instruction would be fine, but not DURING a game, ON the 3rd tee box, WITH a reluctant audience. When we go to the clubhouse at the turn, I went to the bar and refused to come out. I drank with some old salty dog name Reef? Beef? Steve maybe? and they played on without me.
Hypno-Hustler was furious. But I was unyielding. To the best of my memory, the argument proceeded thusly: You’ve got to improve eventually. No I don’t. You can’t play like this forever. Watch me. No I won’t; you can’t play with me like that. I’ll take lessons, but not from you. You can’t swing the club like a baseball bat. You suckered me. You embarrassed me. You embarrassed you. You’re crazy. You’re short.
Hyno-Hustler’s dad (my Father-Out-Law) even gave me his set of clubs and bought himself new ones as an excuse, just to support me. My father out-law was one of the most abrasive men in the Free World but I adored him. And he liked me. Or disliked DB. Still not sure which.
Because the greatest part? The way DB was so pissed off about me playing golf that he stopped talking to me for greater lengths than usual. BONUS! Rather than embracing it in any loving, normal way with grandpa golf jokes and kitschy golf Christmas presents, he chose to pretend it wasn’t really happening. Awesome. It wasn’t happening, and therefore didn’t need to be acknowledged. (If you don’t stick your nose up on the air a little while reading that last sentence, go back, adjust your head so you are reading down your nose, then read it again, and you will have done it correctly.)
And in return, I silently agreed never to play his home clubs courses while he was still breathing. 48 hours after he died, I enjoyed a Monte Cristo on one of his favorite back nine, but I had waited until he was in the ground.
I also never got lessons, from Hypno-Hustler or anyone else, until I was almost 40 and had developed such bad habits on the golf I was lucky not to get thrown off a course. By then I had also married contender #3 whose laisse faire attitude with my golf game (and tennis, and swimming, and… ) has lasted more than a decade, thusfar. Although he may very well snap any day now.
And even Hubby has to give some props to Hypno-Hustler for allowing me to continue to play years ago.
Hubby has a philosophy. Golf survived the Jacobite Risings of Scotland 100 years before Vickie and Albert (HRHs) built Balmoral Castle and it survived the horrible form of Elin Wood’s 5 iron. Surely, it can survive his Tomboy Debutante.
*As well as a damn cheat sheet with the combo somewhere in your wallet, because even though you’ve had the same lock and locker for two years now, the combo to open it consistently eludes you…
** Seriously, bitches. Google this. Incidentally, Kris also introduced me to the world of graphic novels, for which I adore him. Shout out!
*** He loved to spend time spouting his woes in life, like an off-key Brown Thrasher with a snoot full of Peruvian Lady. My favorite rants were his cocaine-induced warblings about how his Trust Fund Baby friends were all so much happier than he was. Really? It is a gem in my tiara that I divorced him instead of just killing him.