Liz was terrified of skiing when we first started dating, but I was relentless and, eventually, she caved. For a while, she would only do the beginner hills, those sad, A-cup trails that were riddled with fallen children and stopped, watchful parents. But I wasn't happy going down the beginner slopes over and over again. So it wasn't long before I was urging my wife to try the more challenging trails. I'd gently try to convince by saying things like, "Come on, you're ready. The other hills aren't much steeper. You'll be fine."
This was met with more resistance than I'd expected, but that didn't stop me. Every time we went skiing, I kept pushing and pushing. Then, on one of our annual ski trips, we launched into a legitimate fight right as we boarded the ski lift together.
It could've just happened organically. But, I think on some level, I picked that moment to move the discussion from a playful negotiation to a full-blown argument because I was used to fighting with Liz in transportation vehicles. For us, the car is the equivalent of the UFC octagon. We tend to save up the bulk of our complaints and frustrations until we're seething with anger and ready to burst. Then we go for a 300-hundred-mile-long road trip to have it out.
The majority of our really good fights have taken place over the course of really long road trips. When we got our first dog, Luna, we were literally screaming at each other like a white-trash couple on COPS when I pulled the car into a rest stop to avoid driving the car into a tree.
I remember rushing to get out of the car while Liz continued her onslaught of strategic verbal jabs until I just lost it. "ALRIGHT!" I screamed as I slammed the driver's side door, hard enough to shake the entire car. A few minutes later, I was standing in line at McDonald's, when I got a text from Liz. "Get me some goddamn chicken nuggets," was all the text said, and just like that, my anger was gone. It's really hard to stay pissed at someone and take their fast-food order.
The breaking point
So I guess it makes sense that the fight really got going while we were riding the ski-lift together. After all, a ski lift is just like a car, an unenclosed car suspended 40-feet above the ground by old, bouncy cables, but a car nonetheless. Plus, because I didn't have to operate the ski lift, I could really focus on how right I was, too. And she had to listen to me.
By the time we got to the top of the mountain and exited the ski lift, Liz was so sick of my pushing and prodding that she started screaming at me, right in front of the dozen or so skiers and snowboarders who had also just gotten off the lift.
"I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU WANT! I'M NOT DOING THE BLACKS!" Liz yelled.
Unfazed, I came right back at her, "STOP BEING A BABY ABOUT IT! YOU'RE GOING TO LOVE IT."
Let me explain something. There were three types of slopes on this mountain: Green circles or beginner level; blue square or intermediate; and black diamond or expert level. Since you, the reader, have been given some critical background on the events leading up to our meltdown, you know Liz was simply letting me know that she wasn't ready to tackle the expert-level slopes -- and not spurning some cuckold fetish I was trying to force upon her.
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But to all the people on top of the mountain that day, it must've sounded like, for whatever reason, I'd had been relentlessly badgering some poor girl to have sex with one or more black gentlemen, even though she didn't want to, until she just lost it and started screaming about "not doing the blacks." And because we were having this argument in full ski gear on top of a mountain in front of a group of strangers, it had to seem like I needed to convince this girl to have sex with one or more black gentlemen right then and there. The urgency of the argument made it sound like I had the Old Spice guy waiting for her in the lodge. As if Liz would finish her run and he'd be waiting there in the lodge with a cup of hot cocoa and a bottle of wine, "You must be Liz. Let's go somewhere we can have some privacy."
By the end of the day we stopped fighting, and I actually convinced Liz to give one of the blacks [expert-level ski slope] a shot. She took a nasty fall on the way, landed right on her ass, and said she was sore for several days afterward. But despite all that, she loved the experience, and skiing hasn't been the same for her since.