Friday, March 27, 2009


When the Matron was but a Young Miss, she met her beloved John.   They were immediately simpatico.  Love had been proclaimed, cohabitation established and friends shocked –within two weeks.  That was nearly 18 years ago – so there, mother (and everyone else).

Young Miss and her future husband shared common views on nearly everything—love, art, politics, spirit and soul.  With one staggering exception:  sleeping naked.

John slept naked.  She did not.  

He always slept naked.  That man dropped his pants for a 15 minute midday nap.  Camping trip, complete with sleet and soggy sleeping bags?  Buck naked.  He simply could not catch a wink without complete exposure.  Young Miss?  After the lovemaking (and back then, in the Heyday, there was plenty), she wiggled away from his warm skin and put on his t-shirt.  Every night.

Now, with three children under their roof, not only does the Matron not sleep naked, the t-shirt has been replaced by real pajamas, should Fire or Threat of any sort require her to flee the house, herding children.  She goes to bed with an emergency mentality, slippers, phone, and eye-glasses at her side.

John still sleeps naked.   And that sexual Heyday?  Gone to seed.  But that’s another story.

This story is not actually, only about sleeping naked -- it is also about the time the then Young Miss and John decided, on a whim, to drive from Minneapolis to Chicago and spend the night with some friends of friends of friends, sort of.  Being young, they spent about one minute thinking through logistics like this   “Oooo – what CDs should we bring?” and “plain or peanut?”  before heading off without securing said lodgings.

Their attention to detail also meant that they brought no map.  This is pre-cell phone era (remember, she’s now The Matron).

Such careful planning found them driving through Chicago’s poorest, scariest, neighborhood (she’s certain none could be worse) around 2 am—with no friend of friend of friend successfully contacted or directions, secured.  They were exhausted.  Still, they drove.  They witnessed drug deals. Ignored waves for them to pull on over to the curb.  Circled around dilapidated building after dilapidated building.   They risked robbery twice to get directions at gas stations and still couldn’t understand the lay of the land.

Finally, at 3 am, the body triumphed.  They needed sleep. 

With some trepidation, they decided to secure a room at the only hotel they’d seen all night:  The Hotel Irving.  This building looked as if it had recently been fire-bombed.  The neon sign out front had lost half its letters.  The door didn’t even shut.

John carried the suitcase.
  Young Miss clutched her purse.  They parked the car and ran in. 

The lobby had more in common with a prison block than hotel, right down to the cement floor and industrial yellow walls with no decoration.  A huge, bald, toothless man sat behind a bullet-proof window.   Let’s call him Squid, sort of an endearing version of Sid.

John:  “We’d like to get a room please?”

Squid:  “How many hours?”


  “Half an hour is $20.  A full hour is $30.”

John:  “Oh, the whole night.”

Squid lifted what appeared to be an eyebrow.
  “That’s fifty bucks.”

Young Miss:  “Do you take Visa?”

  “Are you messing with me?”

Cash, only. 

The couple behind John and the Young Miss required only one hour.  The quite probably illegally young woman wore a skin tight leopard print body suit and black leather boots skirting her thigh.  The man?  He wore Eddie Bauer, a gold wedding band and guilt.  

It wasn’t until this moment that Young Miss fully understood precisely what type of ‘sleeping’ establishment she had entered.

Still, a bed waited.  They gingerly tiptoed their way through halls so filthy that Young Miss was offered a whole new appreciation of the word ‘organic.’

They took tentative steps into their room only to be felled by the wretched, rancid air coming from the heaping dumpster that sat immediately below a wide open, unscreened window.  

Young Miss:  “John?  Do you feel that?”

  “You mean the floor?”

The molding carpet was so filthy it was wet and went
slurp, slurp under their feet.  Needless to say, the toilet had been a DNA depository for about 50 years.  The window shut but didn’t lock.  There was dried vomit on the phone, feces piled by the nightstand, and a load of rotting clothes in the corner. 

But the Young Miss was stumbling by this point, as the clock neared 4 am.
  So she went to the suitcase to find:  a) clothes she didn’t care about to put on top of the bed as barrier between her body and the filth that was the bedspread and b) her heaviest coat to use as a blanket.  Her strategy for emerging intact?  No actual contact between her skin and anything in this bedroom.   She figured she could hermetically seal herself away from any physical interaction with her environment, and sleep.  She planned to throw away her shoes in the morning.

She turned from the suitcase to find John naked between the rotting sheets with his formerly desirable head on the pillow—and a look she knew well on his face.

John:  “Aren’t you even  just a little bit lovey?”

It’s okay to gasp in horror here.

Young Miss:  “We are the only people in this hotel not having sex.”  She took another look at the sheets.  “I may never have sex with you again.”

The next day, she would not kiss him good-morning or hold his hand pre-fumigation.    She left behind the clothes that she had slept on.  Turning in the key, she gave Squid a good, outraged piece of her mind and described in sharp detail the police report and health complaints she would be filing!

Squid:  “Do you have a hidden camera guy somewhere?  You can’t be for real.”

Later, they finally found friends – real friends.   Fumigation ensued. 

See her bed now?  To this day, John need only whisper “Hotel Irving” and the Matron must strip these sheets.  Sorta like a gag reaction.

 And now in the midst of a tested but true long marriage, when she watches this man shed his clothes, gleefully climb into bed and pitch that ever-hopeful question:  “Aren’t you just a little bit lovey”? she’s not infrequently returned to the Hotel Irving, one of the earliest stops on their shared, sometimes disgusting, life adventure. 


The Matron wrote this long ago when she was less busy; some day, it will appear in the Women's Colony, she anticipates!


Michele R said...

I can relate. Not to the Hotel Irving but to the buck naked co-sleeper. Mine started doing that in high school to his mother's horror. I have to have something on. We did have a middle of the night emergency once and it does take time to hop around and pull on clothes.

Former Minnesota Maiden said...

I can relate to Hotel Irving, except it was in Dallas in 1968. Except when we actually walked into the room, we were so grossed out we couldn't stay. We drove all through the night to get home. The room was a lot cheaper than Hotel Irving, though, so we didn't lose much money.

Beth Cotell said...

I feel like I need a shower after reading this! The descriptions are great...I can practically see this filthy room in my mind and I can almost smell the feces piled up in the corner. Excellent story telling!

Mayberry Magpie said...

I couldn't do it. Not at 4 am, no matter how tired.

Mr. Mom and I ended up in a bad hotel once in Kingman, Arizona after we went to the Grand Canyon, didn't make hotel reservations, and didn't realize how far away lodging could be. It was only midnight but we were exhausted. It wasn't filthy as much as it was so, so shabby and in a bad neighborhood. We stayed about six hours, slept dressed on top of the bed, then got the hell out of Kingman.

JCK said...

Great story! And perfect for the Women's Colony!

I'm still cringing and gritting my teeth though...

Oh, and I have a buck naked man as well.

Jennifer S said...

I'm with Magpie...couldn't have done it.

What is it with men and sleeping naked? I mean, there was a time I could get on board with it, but not since having kids. Guess that tells you who's responsible for getting up with them in the middle of the night.

I need a shower after reading about the room. Maybe two of them. {{{{{shudders}}}}}

Ree said...

Two buck-naked sleepers begat a buck-naked sleeper. ;-) At least in this house.

Now, I must go scrub every inch of myself because I'm squirming after reading your description of Hotel Irving.

Daisy said...

Oh, lost in the pre-cell phone days without a map! I remember those days. I never got caught in a place quite like the Hotel Irving, though. Thank goodness!

Anonymous said...

My Hotel Iriving was in the heart of Mississippi; complete with red and black decor. The thought alone makes me shudder.

I also have a buck naked co-sleeper. Does anyone have a husband that sleeps in pajamas??? Lets take a pole...

Merrily Down the Stream said...

What's up with that?!? How could he sleep?
It's like men are a completely diofferent sex or something. :-p

Kristen said...

Perfect for the Women's Colony!

Nora said...

That's one of those bonding stories...

MJ said...

Eeeeew. Excellent description and story-telling. Still: eeeeew.

I have never been so grateful that my dh wears pjs. Every night. I might even stop nagging him about getting rid of his old pjs that have ratty threads at the bottom of his pants.

Nah... I may be grossed out but that feeling passed. I'll persist with the nagging.

Jason, as himself said...

GROSSSSSSSSSSS! I have hotel issues even in the clean ones. This place sounds NASTY!

But I get why your man was horny.

And? I love to sleep naked, too. But it doesn't work out so well with little ones coming into the bed during the night.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom!® said...

"with his formerly desirable head on the pillow"


Anonymous said...

I love it ! Very creative ! That's actually really cool Thanks.

misswhits said...

omg- that is hilarious!!
I am really enjoying getting to know you through your posts. I so appreciate your generosity in putting yourself out there. You are awesome!!