I suppose there's really nothing to be done about the ubiquity of goddam Christmas songs every Christmas, but lord, one does grow weary. It's either Andy Williams, or someone like him, half-heartedly crooning some song he hates, and we all hate, in palpable boredom, or some damn choir dragging their heels through "Little Drummer Boy," or some diva singing "Silent Night" in a belting voice that wakes the dead. Cripes. It's a Christmas miracle that I got any shopping done.
Here's a piece I wrote a while back that never got published. So here it is for free. Merry effing Xmas.
(Oh. The wee bride gave me the Budd Boetticher western collection for Christmas. I am a happy guy. Randolph Scott! Richard Boone! What more do you want from life?)
Bed & Breakfast & Testosterone
I had the occasion a while back, at the suggestion of my girlfriend at the time, to indulge in a wild, sensual weekend at a Bed & Breakfast in a place very much like Carmel. Setting foot inside a B&B, or a place like Carmel, is not something I would normally do, but hey, she was paying. If she wanted to whisk me away, I was willing to be whisked.
We did eventually have a wild, sensual weekend-- but only after I learned to keep my mouth shut. “Why does this joint have dried flowers everywhere,” I wondered. “It’s called decor,” my girlfriend snapped. “Look it up sometime.”
I also noticed that the B&B had teddy bears everywhere. On an antique chair in a corner: a teddy bear. On the frilly little bench at the foot of the bed: a teddy bear. Sitting on the pillows: a teddy bear.
Teddy bears lined the upper walls of the hallways. Teddy bears perched atop walnut cabinets. And they weren’t just normal teddy bears-- you know, plain brown functional teddy bears-- but teddy bears in frocks, plaid teddy bears, brightly colored teddy bears.
“I don’t think this place has enough teddy bears,” I remarked, perhaps too dryly. “What do you mean,” my girlfriend asked, her eyes narrowing. “They’re cute.”
Well, we broke up soon after. I was too classless and broke for her, and my heart fell when I discovered she could utter the word “lifestyle” without irony. We were doomed.
But I was talking the other day with my current girlfriend about where we would get away-- if we had the disposable income to go anywhere-- and she happened to blurt, “I hate B&B’s.”
My heart swelled! What a gal. If only she had the money to whisk me away to a cheap motel in an iffy part of town....
Then I got to thinking. I’d always liked the IDEA of a Bed & Breakfast, but the actual Bed & Breakfast experience is geared towards the girly girl demographic, if you know what I mean. Potpourri. Crystal. Doilies. Little tiny bottles of conditioner in a wicker basket. A complimentary bottle of red wine. All things twee come with the hefty fee.
Where are the MANLY B&B’s? Isn’t the time ripe for such a thing? Rough hewn timber? A buffalo head and rifle rack in the lobby?
It wouldn’t have a name like Wind Whistler, or Old Chandler House, or Whale Cove Inn, no sir. It would be called The Lair, or Grizzly Den.
Breakfast is served twenty four seven: coffee, eggs, bacon, white toast, no jam. If you want juice, pal, bring your own. There are no waffles, no biscuits, no sausages made from apples and chicken, no fruit, and no decaf. Ask for Egg Beaters, and you will be evicted. No milk. No sugar. We got Lipton’s. You want chamomile and peppermint, go out into the woods and get it yourself. As a matter of fact, if you want any meal other than breakfast, go into the woods and get it yourself. (Rifles provided at the front desk.)
We do not have a host; we have a desk clerk. His name is Sarge. He communicates with grunts. He will not answer any question. He is not friendly. Give him your money, and he will give you a key. (No checks, no credit cards.) Take a right at the “No Wine Allowed” sign, and you’re there.
Rooms do not have names like Riverrun, Dunswold, Caprice, or Mar Vista. They have numbers, big brass numbers pounded into the center of the door with a nail gun.
By that door, you won’t find a pair of slippers, but a pair of hob nail boots. Put ‘em on, buddy!
Yeah, we got amenities. You’ll find a pint of Jack in your bedside drawer, and nothing on cable but the Playboy Channel and westerns. Lifetime, Oxygen, and E! have been blocked. The sheets? Flannel. The blankets? Army issue. The bed is a simple iron frame. Oh, you want a four poster? Queen-sized? Take a hike!
We provide big rough brown towels, and lots of ‘em! No maid will call during your stay with us. Feel like cleaning your carburetor in the bathtub? We sure as hell won’t stop you! It is NOT a clawfoot tub.
There are no carpets. The only visible color is brown. There are six ashtrays in every room, big thick glass ones (unfiltered cigarettes available at the front desk), and a spittoon. There’s a black velvet painting of a big-breasted nude over the bed. To further enhance the experience, outside each window is a neon sign that says “Bar.” The “A” is broken.
There are no seats on the toilets. Old Sears catalogs have been provided for toilet paper. You want heat? There’s a wood stove in the corner. You have to chop the wood yourself. The wood pile’s out back. If you want to grab a .22 from Sarge and plink some rats while you’re out there, be our guest. Ditto raccoons and possum.
Don’t forget, there’s a nudie bar just over the hill, and a twenty four poker game in Room Thirteen. Just tell ‘em Doc sent you.
You like music? There’s an eight track player in every room. No Beyonce. No Dave Matthews. We got Hank Williams, ZZ Top, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. If you don’t like it, there’s the door.
No, we don’t provide a blow drier. No, we don’t provide white fluffy robes with our logo on the pocket. We do not have a logo. Out here, we use wicker and dried flowers for kindling. Got that? We use teddy bears for target practice. There is no spa. There is no golf course. There are no vaulted ceilings. Learn to stoop, pilgrim. Finally, the furniture is not antique, hand crafted, or specially selected. If it doesn’t fall apart when you sit on it, we consider it a good chair. We hope that you will too.
Enjoy your stay. Or don’t. If you want to come back some time, well, that’s up to you. We could care less. Just make a lot of noise when you’re coming up the drive. Sarge can get a little jumpy.