Dateland: The Elephant In The Room

By Jennifer Parello September 19, 2013

Categories: Dating & Relationships, Our Lives

I just read this fun fact about elephants: homosexual elephants have sex year ‘round, but heterosexual elephants have sex only a couple times during the year, usually during rainy season. From my recent experience, the same applies to straight humans.

I’m writing this from Seward, Alaska. For the past week, I’ve been sequestered in a lodge on the Bay of Alaska with a group of straight women. It’s been rainy and cold every day. And the ladies are getting restless.

Tonight, someone suggested that instead of pouring ourselves into our rain gear for the umpteenth time and climbing yet another glacier, we stoke the fireplace and “get cozy.”

And, then, one of the ladies introduced a bottle of tequila to the scene. Much like Chekov’s famous gun–which states that if a gun is introduced in the first act, it will be fired in the second or third act—once tequila is opened, someone will certainly do something stupid before the night is through.

I decided to go to Alaska about a year ago. I made the decision when my mom was dying from a vicious and aggressive cancer. She only lived two months after the diagnosis, but we had a lot of time to talk before she died. I deliberately ignored most of her advice during my life, but after she was issued her death sentence I suddenly found her to be very wise.

When I look back now, I realize that she totally used her dying wishes to finally get me to do her bidding. Her list of last requests was epic and fairly ridiculous. “Make sure your nieces don’t go into the arts. Get your hair cut and colored at least once a month. Promise me that you will never get a goat or a pig.”

And then she said something rather profound. “You’re a workaholic and you use work to escape life. Use some of your inheritance to go someplace you’ve never been before. Go to Alaska.”

At least I think she said Alaska. She was on heavy meds and often would fall asleep midsentence. Upon reflection, I’m certain I misunderstood her. She was the least outdoorsy person on the planet. She probably said, “Go to Nordstroms,” or some other high-end shopping frontier. But, in my grief, I booked an adventure trip to Alaska designed for “professional women.”

And that’s how I found myself in a rustic outpost with a gaggle of peri-menopausal, career-minded, straight women whose libidos were stirred by the relentless grey and wet weather that is the Alaskan summer.

One of the women, a librarian with a delightfully raucous sensibility, slammed down the tequila bottle on the table like a threat. “We’re doing shots and talking about sex,” she said.

Normally, I don’t do shots. Rather, I sip my tequila from a highball glass, like a lady. But I’m not one to reject a direct challenge from a librarian.

We all got wasted and confessed our most humiliating sexual escapades and fantasies. Of course, I tried to leverage the naughty vibe to suggest that the straight ladies use their drunken courage to sample some foreign kissing with me. But, apparently, even the rainy season doesn’t have the power to transform straights into gays.

We all felt a bit sheepish the next morning, but any lingering foolishness drifted away as another damp fog moved over the bay. Somehow, this rag tag group of highly independent women allowed themselves to be vulnerable for one evening.

And, maybe that’s what my mom really wanted for me. Not to climb a glacier, but to drop my work shield and connect emotionally with other carbon-based life forms. Thanks to the wet Alaskan summer, we were all in the mood to mate.

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