The events i am about to describe are true. Names have been changed to protect the not-exactly-innocent (Tho we do actually call ourselves the Justice League, and we are all actual Superheroes in our own right, having overcome tremendous obstacles to become the Badass Paragons of Womanhood that we are now.)
I got a tan this weekend, and as a telltale sign of the fun we were having, i have little white lines where my happy eye-crinkles were. I smiled so much that the flesh inside those deep crevices never saw the sun. (Ladies and gentlemen, the one wrinkle i will not complain about having!) I think friends and family were worried about how much we would drink, but honestly, we ended up giving away half the alcohol we brought to a couple we met on the beach, both to avoid having to buy a cooler to bring it home, and also as an apology (More on that later.) And i am certain they were worried about what would happen when the OBX contingent of the Justice League decided to throw caution to the wind for a weekend. For the most part, tho, we were good girls. Well, more accurately, we would have been good girls had the ocean not intervened. Or the neighbors. Or the fear of heights.
I turned 50 this past weekend. To celebrate, my besties and i had an adventure. Off we went to a condo at the Outer Banks. We had only planned two things: Hang gliding, and a trip to a famous donut shop. The rest of the time would be fun, relaxation, and a little bit of sight-seeing. A perfect adult weekend.
We got in very late on Thursday due to a long drive and a fight with the GPS. For some reason, the AC was set on 60* when we got there, so it felt like an igloo. Catwoman was sent to turn up the temperature while the rest of us put up the groceries we had brought. We checked things out around the weekend digs, marveled at the view from the porch, and then started getting ready for bed.
“It’s still freezing in here!” says Jamie Sommers. SuperGirl and i, the Mighty Isis, agree – it doesn’t seem to have warmed up much. We take a peek at the climate controls… They are set to 65*
When confronted, Catwoman confesses that she really needs it cooler, but she does agree to a compromise and taps at the AC control.
A good night’s sleep. A pot of coffee, some junk food, and we hit the beach with too much giddy anticipation to notice the chill in the apartment.
First observation: All our eye glasses, camera lenses and phone faces are completely fogged from the change in temperature. Second: The surf is bigger and choppier than we expected. Third, we have found the place of our dreams.
SuperGirl and i are 50, Catwoman and Jamie are 40-somethings. But in spite of this, we are showing off our best assets in pretty swimsuits, laying our scantily clad bodies on towels to tan for a bit before hitting the water. We were happy and confident when we finally strolled our way to the tide line. Now, SuperGirl and i are strong swimmers, having grown up on the beach. We were used to the Atlantic and its sassy saltiness. But this beach, these waves… We had never been in anything like this. The four of us weren’t in as far as our ribs when a big wave hit and knocked us all on our asses. Trying to stand up as gracefully as possible turned out to be pointless, as the suction of the undertow for the next pulled us back down within seconds, and the following wave bitch-slapped us like we were Nicholas Cage in MoonStruck.
A few more beatings from Poseidon and the surf settled enough for us to stand up. Coughing, dizzy, and a bit out of sorts, the four of us unsteadily got to our feet. As i look to make sure my sisters are all ok, SuperGirl’s glasses are on cockeyed and she’s blowing sand out of her nose. Jamie has a pile of rocks in her bikini bottom that looks like she had a massive bathroom accident. Catwoman’s bottoms are rolled tightly at her ankles. And both my boobs are squashed in the area where only my cleavage should be. Immediately we squat back into the water to fix the malfunctions, laughing heartily at each other and our own embarrassment when we realize the full complement of beachgoers has seen the whole thing.
Gluttons for punishment, we keep playing in the water, body-surfing and jumping over the waves. We lost count of the number of times one or more of us lost all or part of a swimsuit. Or had the undertow pull five pounds of sand into our bottoms. Or swallowed a growler of seawater. We had a blast and laughed like lunatics at each uncounted incident.
As it turned out, other people were counting.
Back to the condo to wash and dress for dinner. Catwoman’s idea of compromise on the temperature of the condo didn’t exactly match ours. But when we complained that all the winter palace lacked was Christmas lights or a nice view of the Aurora Borealis, the only response we received was, “Bite me, Bitches.” Catwoman was the organizer, so by custom, we had to relent, but, damn, i’m pretty sure Nanook of the North would have been right at home!
Our condo shared a water heater with the one next door, so showering became an exercise in yelping, but we emerged an hour later, pink and painted and dressed like the, ahem, ladies we are. We had a wonderful time over dinner, enjoying the meal, salivating over the server, and raising eyebrows over a Rico Suave wannabe who spent the entire evening getting up from his table to walk around the dining room for no apparent reason except to show off his absurdly tight, bright yellow short shorts.
As had become her habit, SuperGirl told everyone she encountered that it was my 50th birthday. And when i say she told everyone, i mean everyone. She literally stopped random strangers on the sidewalk to point at me and share the fact. Most people looked a bit awkward at the news flash, but a few joined in on the joke. The restaurateurs were of the latter group and politely offered me a wheelchair to help me out of the establishment after dinner. Thank God i have a good sense of humor.
Thus ended day one.
Day two was a slightly early rise as we had an appointment at a grassy airfield/ winery with two young men and their very large kites. Man number one was a small, blonde surfer dude with a degree in psychology who was younger than my oldest child. Man number two was a Tom Brady lookalike, older than his coworker, and – can i say – visually and charismatically speaking, everything a woman my age would want in a man. I mean, DAMN! Even after the officially spoken rule that i could grab anything except the hand glider’s steering wires, i was afraid to grope for fear that i might be unable to let go. Or worse, might sink my teeth in.
To note: SuperGirl had no such fear.
Tho i am terrified of heights, i was determined to go thru with this adventure. I’ve taken small plane flying lessons and flown many times in helicopters with pilots who were certain they could make me sick (None of them were ever able to – they apparently had no concept of my overflowing pride and stubbornness.) I figured, if i could do that, i can do this. So we listen to the safety lecture, given by an awesomely badass woman close to our own age, and a champion hand glider in her own right, and then each take our turn as a human kite ornament.
Of course, i magically ended up on Tom Brady’s kite. Cocooned above him in tandem, i was surprised at how safe it felt, even as we detached from the plane at 2000 feet. The view was too breathtaking to allow for the breathlessness of fear. I have never felt so exhilarated as i did gliding above the trees and beaches, wind and skill swooping and swaying us -once i said i could handle it- with a lovely, pearly gray haze over the ocean in the distance, and my body gently hammocked over a fantasy man.
If i’d have died up there, it would have been with a smile on my face.
Since no number of words will accurately describe every bit of feeling that experience gave me, i will refrain from any more and let you experience it for yourself someday. Nor will i bore you with the details of the yummy shrimp and pork belly tacos for lunch, or the ravenous mosquitoes of the Elizabethan Gardens, since they pale in comparison to the thrill of flight. Suffice it to say, it all rocked!
We get back to the condo, and as we are trudging up the stairs, SuperGirl stops dead and turns, “Oh my God! I saw his dongle!”
In broad daylight, in a communal, four foot deep wading pool, in a family complex, an eerily thin and rangy 30-ish couple decided to make a filmless porn flick.
The only good thing about this is that the warnings took precedence over alerting the entire known universe to my birthday. Now we were alerting complete strangers, “JUST SAY NO TO FOUR FEET!!!”
We change into our suits and head back to the beach. The waves are even choppier today, and the undertow stronger. When i say that i spent a good portion of the afternoon in a washing machine, that is exactly what it felt like. But we were having a blast so neither the expensive beachwear that spent more time off the parts they were charged with covering than on, nor the ingestion of Mother Nature’s healing saline solution, nor SuperGirl’s GoPro-mounted-on-something-that-looked-humorously-like-a-cheap-vibrator-but-was-supposed-to-be-a-float could keep us from jumping into the turbulent water again and again. And in our oblivious glee, the beach was treated to a full view of Catwoman’s porcelain backside, bits and pieces of Jamie’s various pink parts, SuperGirl’s everything as she went arse-over-tea-kettle with her not-really-a-sex-toy-with-a-camera, and pretty much the entire territory from my mighty ducks to my Christmas goose. Tho it would normally, the laughing and pointing from the other beachgoers didn’t really bother us much. Even when Catwoman got caught up in a powerful wave and was thrust between the legs of a man quietly sitting in the water, keeping a parental watch on his teenage daughters. (Incidentally, his wife thought that incident was the funniest thing she’d ever seen. We were grateful for her good sportsmanship and forgiveness!)
The above mentioned man, his adorable wife, and their teenage girls came and talked with us as we were packing up (After SuperGirl wandered over to inform them both of my birthday and to SAY NO TO FOUR FEET!). Wife checked on Catwoman, while not really containing her belly laughter at the memorable vision of a complete stranger being torpedoed into her hubby’s junk. The teenage girls talked to Jamie and the rest of us about their college plans and their delight that four “older women” would still be enjoying weekends together with our girlfriends. And Dad wanted to know if i had had both parts of my suit on at the same time at any point while at the beach. We talked and laughed til after the sun went down, then went our separate ways as we headed back.
“I have enough sand and rocks in my butt-crack to poop cobblestones.”
“I feel like i’ve had sex with an asteroid.”
“I have seaweed in my cleavage. I’m a human planter.”
“I feel like i’ve been in a bar fight.”
… All of these said with hoarse voices brought about by brutal saline therapy, and Guy Smiley grins of true happiness.
Supper that night was Portuguese brinner (Linguica and eggs with toasted sweet rolls) in the condo. Followed by world famous donuts in the morning (And yes, they were absolutely the best donuts ever!), a donation of all our leftover alcohol to the sweet family that we visually violated, and a trip to a lighthouse before the long journey home. The entire weekend contingent of the Justice League is exhausted, sunburnt and sea-battered. We’ll be digging sand and rocks out of our ears, nose, and pink parts for weeks. And we will remember this weekend as the first in hopefully dozens of Badass Women gatherings with as many members of the Justice League as we can manage.
There are more stories from the weekend, of course; but even i have a bawdiness limit on public media. In the end, this is what i hope you take away from my story:
If you have to turn 50, do it with your besties, doing something you’ve never done before, in a place where you’ve never been and no one knows you.
“Showing your ass” literally is way funnier than doing it figuratively. A one-piece may not fall down, but it’s also harder to dig rocks out of!
If you have never had a Duck Donut, put it on your bucket list.
Looking to see who is in the pool can be dangerous. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.
Be careful who you vote to control the AC, or you may find you have a need for a dogsled.
And if you have the chance to grab a Tom Brady look-alike’s bum while flying 2000 feet above a beautiful vista, take it!