The summer I turned 22 I met my husband. He was a fresh 19 year old and I was a woman on a mission to lock down that sweet two-stepping boy who sang Brooks & Dunn and wore cut off Wranglers.
Eleven years later we still talk about that summer. Monday to Friday we worked hard all day for student wages/free and ended every night with a river swim under hot pink skies. Every weekend we spent alongside what would become lifelong friends, drinking cheap booze and dancing holes through our shoes.
That summer was the most carefree, fun and hot summer, by every definition of the word, of our lives. I’m sure our friends all hated us for a good three months solid as we spent a large portion of our social time making out. We were unapologetically ‘that couple’. Clueless on love but positive we were in its steamy center.
That summer we went on our first group camping trip. We drove two hours, towed a cooler of booze to the lake, put our lawn chairs in the water and treated the shoreline like our own mexican swim up bar.
By the afternoon everyone was heading back to the campsite for a siesta and we decided to do what ‘that couple’ would do when covered in coppertone and filled with liquid confidence. We went skinny dipping.
We waded into the water, stripped down and put our bathing suits on lake bottom. After frolicking in the waves for about eight minutes we decided the cold Canadian water was cramping our total Drunk in Love vibe. We swam back to shore, put our suits on while still in the water and flirted all the way back to the campsite.
Back in the privacy of our tent we continued on our way. My husband smirked at me as he reached to pull off my bathing suit bottoms and then he froze. His mouth flapped open and his eyes, trapped in a trance with my crotch, grew wide with a mix of disgust and concern. I sprang forward to see what he saw.
My bathing suit bottoms were filled with tiny, transparent freshwater shrimp. That I likely scooped up from the lake bottom when I grabbed my swim suit from the lake. They were everywhere, pouring out of my bottoms onto the sleeping bag.
I can’t say for how long we sat immobile. Silent. Stunned. But it progressed to me jumping out of the tent shrieking, and him throwing the sleeping bag as far from himself as he could launch it. I grabbed a towel and sprinted to the lake. I jumped in without any plan but shrimp removal, as much as lake water can decontaminate a vulva teeming with aquatic life. It was the most thrusting and groping and awkward earthly cleansing that a Canadian woman could experience.
I wondered how long I could stay in the lake for. I mean, this took sexfail multiplied it by epic skinnydippingfail to the power of pseudocrustaceaninfestation add in a social setting = totally.mortified. I briefly considered finding a volleyball to form an intimate bond with and become a bush woman. I mean, at least I knew I could catch my own shrimp for sustenance.
Eventually I came out of the water and tried to sneak back into the campsite. But my friends are awesome a-holes who greeted me with cheers and jeers and continued to heckle me and my husband the entire trip. Rightfully so. After all, I am (hopefully) the only woman you’ll ever meet to have had a freshwater shrimp infestation up in her business because she doesn’t know how to skinny dip.
Let this be a cautionary tale to all you naive young women who are about to mix recreational sports and foreplay. While skinny dipping, always shake out your drawers before putting them back on.