1994 was the year I turned eighteen. It was also the year most of my friends got married. Not that they were all the same age, it varied by a year or two, but it seemed like that summer more last names changed than in any single summer before or since. The most important of these weddings was, of course, Jame's.
Jame had been dating Charles, a guy she met on the riverfront and initially talked up only because she thought he looked like Tom Cruise (remember, he wasn't crazy back then), for almost a whole year. He was the perfect catch for an eighteen year old small town girl. He was attractive, relatively nice to her, and her parents hated him. Naturally, she had to marry him. I got the call as I walked in the back door of my father's house. When Dad handed me the phone and said, "Jamie's torturing some guy," I knew instantly what he meant.
"Get into town. I'm getting married tomorrow and the bachelorette party's tonight out at the twins'." Of course, I had to go.
An hour later I sat in the living room of Nicole and Noralene Able's mother's farmhouse, a wine cooler planted firmly in my fist, wondering what constituted a bachelorette party where no one was old enough to buy alcohol or enter a strip club. It turned out that I wasn't the only one pondering that particular subject. After an hour or so of watching Eddie Murphy Raw, we got bored and decided we needed a stripper.
Now, at the advanced state of genius reached only by newly adult drunken females, we knew this to be a very easy task. If you want to see a penis all you have to do is ask, right? So I ran to the phone, looked up a number, and called the single most attractive guy in town; Jamie Drolema. And since, befitting his status as such, he wasn't home at ten p.m. on a Friday night, I left a message on his answering machine.
"Hi Jamie. This is Charlie. Jame's getting married tomorrow so we kind of need a stripper out at Ables' place tonight. Call us when you get this message. We're pooling our money right now as I speak." How could he possibly turn down the chance to stand naked in a room full of women and make some money to boot? Yep, a fool-proof plan.
Except, he never called. And we ran out of wine coolers. And since we weren't old enough to go buy any wine coolers, we had to find someone who was. And in town, at Jame and Charles' apartment, there were men having their own pre-wedding party. Men who could purchase booze. So we all hopped into Jame's car and headed into town.
Now, Jame and Charles were living in an apartment over a bar on Main Street at that time, and they had no phone. So there was no way for us to let the guys know that we were there, and for some reason the idea of knocking on the door was too taboo to consider. A woman couldn't just barge in on a bachelor party. But the window was open, so we decided to try to get their attention that way. So we sang. Loudly. And very very poorly. You've Lost That Loving Feeling, sang by four drunken teenage girls on a deserted street in the middle of the night. It must have sounded pretty distinctive, because soon ALL of the windows of all of the apartments over the bar were full of people watching us. By the time we got to "Now it's gone gone gone, whoaaaaaa" and started in on the shaboom shaboom sounds, Charles came running out into the street to try to convince his future wife to stop embarrassing him.
As I mentioned, this was a very deserted street, but being Main Street in an "Official Illinois Main Street Town" there were plenty of newly renovated antique-looking streetlights, so when one lone truck came rumbling down the road, I noticed it pretty quickly. And in the unashamed manner found only in towns so small that everyone knows one another, I looked to see who was driving it. It was Jamie Drolema, our preferred amateur stripper. So I flagged him down. He pulled over and I explained how the occasion required male public nudity and since he was the best-looking guy in town, could he volunteer his services for an hour or so? Chuckling, he promised to think about it and then drove off to wherever it was that he had been headed to before I flagged him down.
Charles agreed to buy us more alcohol, Jame drove him to the store and back, and all of us girls returned to the farmhouse north of town to resume drinking and watching vulgar stand-up on VHS. We were doing a pretty good job of pretending we weren't bored an hour later when a figure emerged from the shadows behind Jame's chair and stood in front of her.
With his long dark hair down over his shoulders and his arms crossed against his naked chest, wearing only a pair of brilliantly white shorts against his very tan skin, Jamie Drolema was sex incarnate. And between his height and the height of Jame's chair, eye level was a very good place for her to be right then. Jame's mouth began to move, but no sound came out. "Take it off. Take it all off," she mouthed.
"What? Speak up," Adonis said as another figure emerged from the shadows. This one wore a look of amusement on his face, a face that looked more than a little bit like Tom Cruise.
"Jame!" I said a little too loudly, trying to distract her. I didn't want to piss off Charles, but I also didn't want Jamie to get in trouble with her fiance the night before their wedding. "Jame! This is funnier than you know. Trust me, this is funnier than you know."
Thankfully, Jame realized that if I was doing anything to keep Jamie Drolema in his clothes, something must be going on. She turned around and saw Charles, the tension was diffused, and the guys left. The twins gave me some grief about ruining Charles' joke, but I didn't care. I was just sad that I hadn't gotten to see those very white shorts sitting crumpled on the floor.