Monday, December 17, 2007


To most observers, Billy Jean would have appeared to be the base slut. She hung out at the Airmen’s and NCO Clubs on the weekends, and sometimes would show up during the week. She was fresh out of high school and learning to be a beautician. She loved life and walked with purpose wherever she went – always in a hurry. She dressed in loud colors and patterns. Her dresses were very short, for the purpose of showing off her long legs. She liked most to show them off on the dance floor, and that is where I first saw her. She looked great, with a dazzling smile full of white teeth, platinum hair, and porcelain skin. She also liked to drink, and she always seemed to have a drink or cigarette in her hand.

I have never been much of a dancer, but I have been a smooth talker, and with my new found confidence, I somehow took her away from the dance floor guys.

However, in the later part of our relationship, when some guy would come to the table and ask her if she wanted to dance, she would look in my direction and I would motion for her to go – go dance!

I could tell it hurt her for me to seem not to care that much about her, and not to show any jealousy, but it was part of my play of indifference. I discovered that the more I pushed her away the more she seemed to care for me. She reminded me of the little dog I used to toss off the couch when I was about three. No matter how many times I threw the dog off into the floor, it jumped right back up waiting for me to give it just a little more attention.

Yes, I am ashamed of how I treated this girl, but I was playing a roll – I was a true Gemini for those last few months. I was an indifferent “cocky” fellow at the Airbase, and a meek and mild follower at home. Two completely different guys in attitude, personality, and purpose, and I knew from the start that Billy Jean would be hurt.

We began by simply talking and soon she looked for me when she came into the club. Guys still looked for her and still asked her to dance, and I showed no emotion one way or the other. I did not know she was seeing someone as a “steady,” but Airman Bruce soon let me know all about it.

Bruce came up to me one night in the Airmen’s Club, with his coal black duck-tailed hair, and two of his friends standing behind him. He just laid it out there on the table; he and Billy Jean were together. I do not know if he really wanted a physical confrontation or not, but I did not move or change expressions. I simply said, “…and you’re telling me this why?”

“I’m just telling you that she belongs to me,” he said shifting his weight to another foot.

“I don’t think Billy Jean belongs to anyone,” I told him. I then turned my back to him and watched the dance floor. I half way expected him to club me from behind, but when I next looked around he was gone.

I found out from Billy Jean that she and Bruce had met at the beauty shop. Bruce was a part-time beautician at a local shop. I hate to stereotype people, but this raised the first flag in my mind. They had begun their relationship by meeting after work to go dancing at the Airmen’s Club.

Billy Jean soon decided she wanted to be with me more than Bruce, and Bruce, being the tough man he was, backed off, but would occasionally give me dirty looks as we passed.

I continued to see Connie on the weekends and Billy Jean during the week. Sometimes I had some Color Guard or marching duties at the base, so I saw Billy Jean on those weekends.

Unfortunately for Billy Jean she fell in love. Me, well, I liked her and wanted her, but I had little respect for her.

She would ask me over to her parents where she fixed me supper on occasion, and sometimes I would leave work and go hit the rack for a nap. Someone would wake me up and tell me she was on the phone downstairs. It would dawn on me that I had missed her supper, but I pretended it did not matter. She would sound broken hearted and tell me she still had it in the oven, keeping it warm.

“Okay, I’ll be over in a little while,” talking while I yawned in a monotone voice.

“Oh…great…I’ll be here,” she would say, all bouncy like that little dog I had.

Later that evening we would sit in the living room and watch TV with her parents. When they went to bed, we made love on the couch. Afterwards, I practically had to pull her off me, first one arm then the other, and then I got up and left.

This went on until about December of ’67. That was about the time Connie asked me to marry her! We made plans to marry in March of ’68, so I knew I had to do something about Billy Jean. I racked my brain for a way to break if off, but being mean to her only made her love me more. It had to be something that did not give me much choice and still leave my dignity in tack.

Like I said, I’m ashamed.


Lin said...

Mushy, I'm impressed. Not many people can tell a story and say that it wasn't one of their more admirable moments in life. Hell, most people never even figure that out so you probably just racked up some fine juju points there.

J said...

Oh Mr. Mush. It's ok. The fact that you aren't proud of it shows a lot. Most every single of us women have been treated like that, but the men never feel bad. It's refreshing to hear that you do.

You really can tell a tale, can't you? I love your stories.

Divalicious said...

Mushy, I dig it. You can tell stories from your life (one's you're proud of or not) and it's almost like I'm watching it unfold like a TV episode.
Hooked, I am.

Buck Pennington said...

Like I said, I’m ashamed.

You should be. ;-)

(and just so's I'm entirely clear...that was a joke.) (I wish blogger comments allowed more html, to include different font sizes, strike-outs, emoticons, and all that. Which would make snark SO much easier.)

Scott from Oregon said...

Ashamed of being a cad?

Or having your wife hold a knife to your nutsack and make you tell this tale?

You DO know that Michael Jackson song, right?

"Billy Jean's not my lover... she's just a girl, like any other..."

Anonymous said...

well said Mushy ...all of us have done something similar but few admit to a tip of the hat to you..hell I have two ex's so there is a skeleton or two in my closet as well...

*Goddess* said...

I KNEW somebody was going to make that Michael Jackson/Billy Jean comment!

OldGuy said...

Well, at least you broke it off before you got married.

That's quite the story Mushy and as always, you tell it so well.

~Fathairybastard~ said...

You're lettin' us in to see a part of your life you're not so proud of, but it all went into the mix to make you the guy we all appreciate so much here on the blog. I guess that's how life works. Good and bad, brave and strong, were all a mix of all that. It's just the way life works. Eventually you grow up and start thinking about other peoples feelings a bit. I still wish I'd had some of that nerve, but I'm too old and soft to be a cad. It's hard not to see that as a character flaw at this stage of things. I think you're supposed to be selfish, till the right one comes along, or until you get wise enough to see who that is. I love reading about that smooth guy, and understand the need at that stage of your life to be selfish and get what you want. Seen it over and over in other folks. My sister left guys broke and stutterin' all over Texas back in the '80s. I don't see what the difference is between that and what you did. At least you didn't wreck her car and take her money before you dumped her.

Suldog said...

Takes guts to tell a story where you're not only not the hero, but maybe a bastard, as well. It also takes a good man, someone who isn't that bastard any longer. Hurray for you, Mushy. Your heart is right.

BRUNO said...

This ain't my area of expertise---I'll keep MY nose reeled-in where it belongs...!

pat houseworth said... tell those stories almost all of us GIs lived...keep up the good work.

~Fathairybastard~ said...

Meant to say brave and afraid. Oh well.