The greatest comfort of my old age, and that which gives me the highest satisfaction, is the pleasing remembrance of the many benefits and friendly offices I have done to others. – Marcus Cato
As a girlfriend, I can be a bit of a nightmare. I am dramatic, self-righteous, moody, distant and uncommunicative. I keep long hours at work, and I bring it home with me. I’m self-absorbed yet have trouble saying no to my friends, am frequently broke, always restless, physically demanding and tend to obsess over any sign of discord, whether it’s an argument about the electricity bill or a dirty sock left on the floor.
According to an ex, I’m a rigid “defender of my groove.” I have an inexplicable desire to be honest at all costs and often write about the most personal aspects of my life in this column. Though I don’t act on it, I develop crushes on nearly everyone I meet.
Without a partner, these flaws are inconsequential. Or, that is to say, in the previous four years of my lone-rambling, nobody was pointing these things out to me. And more importantly, nobody was offended by any of it.
But I guess the beauty of a relationship is that it can show you the ugly parts of yourself, too. After about six months or so, that mirrored soft focus lens gets replaced by a 32x magnifier on every bruise, pimple, scar and ingrown hair that lies just beneath the surface of the Mona Lisa smirk of my enormous, eggshelled ego.
This is the lesson I learned a couple weekends ago when I celebrated my birthday.
Since I chickened out of a weekend in Vegas with my girl Sonja, BJ decided to take me out for a drink after work. I convinced The Boyfriend I’d be home in an hour or two, and trotted off to the Dog and Duck—that new Irish pub in Kihei.
A couple friends joined us there, over Guinness and shots of Bailey’s, including yet another Palm Springs buddy I hadn’t seen in 15 years. He was sweet, and while he harked back to his band’s many parties at the abandoned nudist colony in the desert, I too reminisced.
Did we have sex? I wondered. I could not recall if it was he or his brother. But then I couldn’t remember if he even had a brother…
A few “Duck Farts” later, BJ and I thought it time to run across the street and down some sushi at Hirohachi before we ventured over to Bada Bing’s, where Gus, Daniel J and our old Hapa’s bartender Jorge treated me to a birthday shot or two and then we darted to another bar where we met another friend and his pal who was maybe not as inebriated as I was and who, for some reason, started playing some game of wits or something with me and I was pissed because I was losing but I just couldn’t quit and I really started to believe I was 21 again.
Meanwhile, The Boyfriend, waiting patiently back at home, blew out the candles on the birthday cake he’d made for me and went to bed.
The next day, after a very sincere apology for my no-call, no-show at home, I trotted off to Lahaina to continue the birthday celebration with my girls on the Westside. Simply replace the previous night’s components with “Mind Erasers,” Sly Mongoose, Paradice Bluz, Bamboo, Blue Lagoon, an after-hours party and another amazing display of relationship ineptitude—and this time my birthday cake was replaced with a text message somewhat resembling a really twisted fortune cookie saying:
“Work and parties are your life, not commitment, love and passion.”
Happy birthday to me.
Samantha Campos is as naked as she can be in this life. MTW