Hooking Up: A True Tale about Ed and Emily

Surrogates for Ed and Emily; a young couple at Niagara Falls in Jan. 2010.

Surrogates for Ed and Emily; a young couple at Niagara Falls in Jan. 2010.

About a week ago I went to breakfast at a local restaurant and was seated near a group of six young women. They were enjoying themselves: laughing and trading racy stories. 

They worked together and talked about that—and about “hooking up.” The hook up culture is new to me, so I decided to listen. Never too old to learn, I thought. I settled into my booth, ordered pancakes and tuned my left ear to the women.

One young woman about thirty, let’s call her Emily, started telling about a man she met, let’s call him Ed. She was out with friends at a local club and Ed approached her table with a hopeful smile. Ed was over six feet and lanky. He had tattoos on each arm and wore a baseball cap from a local tire store. He asked Emily to dance and she accepted. 

Ed worked at the tire store, but told Emily he was applying to local colleges. He wanted to get better work. 

“College, yeah, right,” said one woman. “He just wanted to use his tire iron on you Emily,” said another. “Loosen his lug nuts,” said a third. They were laughing wildly. 

On that first night, Emily and Ed went home separately.

Two days later Ed called Emily and asked her out. She accepted, and they went back to the same club the next weekend. They drank, especially Ed, and Emily noticed he smoked. Besides his cigarettes, he carried a butane lighter that had a huge flame, maybe six inches, and he loved to flick it and watch the flame.

Emily’s coworkers loved it. Hooting and howling, they egged Emily on: “Baby, he was HOT,” said one. “Come-on baby light my fire,” crooned a second. 

Ed drank too much and couldn’t drive, so Emily drove them to her apartment. Ed came up for coffee to sober up. Instead they had a little wine and decided they would “party.” That was Emily’s word. Ed flicked his lighter to celebrate.

Ed was pretty good in the sack even though drunk, and afterward, and after a cigarette lit by that torch, he was still too drunk to drive. 

Emily drew an imaginary line down the center of her bed and told Ed to sleep on his side.

About three in the morning Emily woke suddenly and sensed something amiss. She looked over and saw Ed near her feet lifting the covers high to his head and looking around, with his lighter flaming. She threw the blankets back and jumped out of bed, screaming, “What the hell are you doing? Trying to burn me up?

“No, no, no,” said Ed, “I’m looking for my, my … teeth.”

“Your teeth?” shouted Emily.

“Look, here they are, here they are.” Ed grabbed them and popped them back into his mouth.

The other women were howling. I took a few notes to aid my memory. Wouldn’t want to forget this one.

“You have false teeth? What in hell are your teeth doing by my feet?” she said.

“Hell,” Emily told the women, “if I were dating my grandfather I might expect false teeth, but this guy is in his thirties.”

Ed said he got false teeth a year ago—he didn’t say why—and that he had no idea how they ended up down there. 

Emily was unnerved, leery, and she sent Ed home. He called again but she said, “No.”

“Whew,” said one woman, “I thought you were going to tell us you’re engaged.” “Or pregnant,” said another. “Never date a firebug,” said a third.

They started getting ready to leave. I got up, went over to their table and looked sternly at them. “Ladies, may I talk with you a minute?” The good cheer drained from their faces and they grew serious, as if I were going to complain about the noise.

“I really loved your story about the teeth,” I offered.

That set them off again. The woman who told the story turned bright red and we were all laughing. “Don’t worry,” I said, “Ill only tell the people who read my blog, who follow me on Twitter or see my Facebook page.”

Emily sank into her chair. “I don’t care,” she said. “It’s a true story. Just keep us anonymous.”