Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 22 October 2014

I was visualising a week of chilling out not facing arrest for public nakedness

Catherine Townsend - Sleeping Around

When I boarded the plane to my hometown in Georgia this week, I was visualising a week of chilling out and working on my second book-not facing arrest for public nakedness.

I knew that I needed an escape hatch after my new man, Ross, started pressuring me about meeting his parents, at the same time that I was obsessing over my ex-boyfriend Paul. I told Ross I needed time and space. Then I got the hell out of town.

But after only a couple of days at home, cabin fever and horniness started to creep in. So I logged on to Facebook to see if any of my friends were still around (not likely, since the ones I've stayed in touch with vacated my tiny town a long time ago). But Todd, a guy I'd dated in college, lived only two streets away and was having a house party.

I have never really understood the allure of reigniting old flames online. I guess I've always figured that if I lost touch with someone, there's probably a good reason why I left them behind.

Ten years ago, Todd was the super-fit bad boy, and it was obvious that not much had changed. He still looked amazing, and I'm pretty sure he was wearing the same Led Zeppelin T-shirt, kind of like Matthew McConaughey's character in Dazed and Confused. "You should totally move back home," Todd said, putting his arm around me. At that moment, drunk on nostalgia and watery beer, I could see the positives of going back to a simpler time.

Within an hour, a group of us were playing spin-the-bottle, which graduated to naked strip poker. Before I knew it, Todd and I were climbing over his neighbour's wall for a midnight skinny-dipping session. After playing around under the water, Todd pulled me to the side of the pool and kissed me. We were so caught up in the moment that we didn't hear the house owner come outside, we just heard the sirens.

We leapt out of the pool and were running through the woods when I stopped. " I have to go back," I told him. "My bag is there, with my Blackberry. And my Christian Louboutin shoes."

He laughed. "No way! You can live without some shoes and a phone for a couple of weeks, can't you? Just chill out, babe." "Chilling out is not going to work when I'm on deadline," I told him, and as I walked back to face the police and an angry homeowner, wearing Todd's boxers and a T-shirt, I thought about the downside of dating a small-town boy. I remembered our senior year, when I talked about moving to New York and Europe and he told me, without irony, "Not me. I can see all of the world I want to see from my TV set!"

Fortunately, the homeowner had a sense of humour - more than my mum, who was not amused to see me rock up at 2am after getting into trouble with boys. No matter how far I stray from home, I guess some things never change.

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