Friday, October 23, 2009

How to behave when a pretty lady asks for help with her hockey garter

Puck Boy has been busy with gainful employment the past week, which I am told is a good thing. Still, the time-consuming task of earning money unfortunately got in the way of me posting this story that gentleman readers may enjoy: An attractive woman asked me last Saturday at the hour of 6:55 a.m. to help her put on her hockey garter!

My tale goes something like this--and, mind you, fact and fiction may have gotten a little mixed up in my noggin in the six days since the Great Garter Incident occurred.

As I arrived at Pickwick ice rink in Burbank last Saturday morning for my weekly Hockey 101 class, a woman  pulled up in an SUV and unloaded a hockey bag. I assumed she was a hockey mom.

But we all know what happens when you assume things -- you just make an ass out of you and me. The Burbank rink has no locker room, so it turns out we quickly met one another as we donned our gear on the benches outside the rink. She was a former figure skater and current roller hockey player who wanted to learn the awesome, sacred (my words, not hers) sport of ice hockey.

She hadn't really played ice hockey before. We were both running late, and she had the tough task of learning how to put on a pile of hockey gear in a very short amount of time. If you have never played the game, think Knights of the Round Table -- yes, it's that much gear.

And like a lot of beginning hockey gears, she had to take a long pause when it came to the issue of the garter belt that holds up the thick socks that go over hockey shin guards. While my garter is attached to my shorts (here's my earlier post/tome to my own garter) she had the more traditional garter that looks like the kind of garter belt a lady would wear. Under a dress.

Faced with the prospect of droopy socks and missing Coach Tian's excellent Hockey 101 clinic, the woman must have made the internal calculation that there was only one sad thing she must do: ask the bespectacled idiot chatting her up for help with the garter.

And so she did, walking over to me in her hockey undershorts (think biking shorts) and asking me to show her how to clip to the garter to the socks.

"Sorry to stick my ass in your face so early," she said as I mumbled some clever retort that may have sounded like "I was hoping you would ask."

I won't bother mentioning here that, of course, the woman was not unattractive.

Before the word "P-I-G" begins flashing in front of your eyes, I should also mention here that I have a fair number of friends who are women, owing to the fact that somewhat mysteriously all of my City Hall sources when I was a reporter just happened to be women.

So I like to think that I can behave most of the time as a Mature Adult and I tried to handle the situation with a certain clinical detachment, showing the woman how the little plastic thingamajigs on the garter sometimes become loose and how to pop them back in place. I'm quite sure she must have been very impressed with how mechanically inclined I was.

As all of this was taking place, the woman was also telling me how she had borrowed her ice skates from a friend and wasn't even sure she could skate. This heartened me -- well it heartened the one percent of my brain that was listening to her -- because I thought I may not be the worst skater on the ice that morning. We also had a brief discussion whether she should wear an athletic cup or not, concluding she could probably get by without one.

If you, dear reader, have a brain then you must know what comes next. We proceed to the ice -- me already sweating like I had just walked across the Sahara and back -- and it turns out Ms. Garter Belt can skate. Her puck handling was a little rough, but so is mine.

And then Coach Tian ordered up a corner drill.

In this super-fun drill, Coach Tian knocks a puck from the blue line down into the corner. Then two skaters chase the puck, with the goal being to grab it and get out of the corner and score. I was paired with Ms. Garter Belt because the other two guys in the class both weighed well over 200 pounds and I'm only carrying about 168 pounds these days.

The whistle blew and stride for stride, Garter Belt and I raced to the corner. I don't really remember what happened next except when we emerged from the corner, I don't recall the puck being on my stick. Later, Garter Belt mentioned that I might have checked her while in the corner. I have no memory of that. I do remember being surprised when she got her stick under mine and jerked it up, causing the puck to go scooting away.

Humiliating and thrilling all at the same time!

And so the morning went. During another drill -- a full lap race around the rink -- I took a spill and she kept going. During two-on-twos, Garter Belt proved to be a scrappy, intuitive player, even more so during our four-on-four scrimmage. The girl could skate. And she wanted to score. Badly.

After an hour and 45 minutes of this, we finally quit and had a nice chat while changing and basically sitting in our hockey underwear outside the rink as a pee wee team took over the ice. Me being me, I drove home and immediately told The Girlfriend that I had heroically helped a woman put on her hockey garter, thinking this would be Fun Breakfast Conversation.

The Girlfriend registered this news and gave me that particular look of hers in which she appears to be surprised (once again) that I have the maturity of a 12-year-old boy. I have been trying for years to lower expectations of myself and still I manage to disappoint.

In any event, I decided at that point that it would be best if I shared my little story with no one to show that I'm a Mature 43-Year-Old Male.

And then I said screw it. It took 43 years for an attractive woman to ask me to help her put on a hockey garter and I suspect it will be another 43 before it happens again.

I am but a simple Puck Boy and these are my stories...

--Steve Hymon

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