This story is like Tim's and my lives - entirely too complicated, and too many things going on at once. You just have to live with it, and accept the bouncing around in time that seems to be required. We left Prexy during the summer of 1974 ready to approve limited coed dorms at the University of North Dakota. Those of you from coastal universities, or from some of the bigger schools in the Midwest won't think that was a very big deal. Nor does it seem like a big deal from the perspective of the 21st Century.
But Grand Forks is the Midwest, and while the sixties didn't pass it by completely, Midwesterners were more resistant to the changes wrought by the sixties than other places were. So UND was behind the times, and still had sex segregated dormitories. But the students weren't so isolated that they didn't know what was going on elsewhere. And the social and sexual drives of the students in North Dakota weren't much different from those elsewhere. So there was pressure to try coed dorms.
Well, the pressure was to try them, but everybody knew that trying them and having them were going to be the same thing; it was just a matter of one or two years going by.
As you know, the great experiment at UND began in the "quiet dorm." This was an entire dormitory in which quiet hours were enforced 18 hours per day, and during the remaining 6 hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) it was expected that the noise would be soft. Except when exams approached, on Friday nights (even floors) and Saturday nights (odd floors) there was a floor party between 8 and midnight. Since this was, essentially, a collection of what we would today call nerds, the parties were quite reasonable, and good clean fun - unless your idea of fun is getting drunk and throwing furniture out of the windows. Enforcement was simple: if you got three complaints in a month that were judged to be reasonable, you moved out of the quiet dorm.
It seemed to the Student Government which proposed it, and Prexy who approved it, to be a good place to test coed dorms - though everyone realized that it wasn't really going to be a fair test. There wasn't a quiet girls' dorm for the simple reason that all of the girls' dorms stayed relatively quiet nearly all the time, and being able to study was seldom a problem. However, there were always a few girls that wanted a specifically quiet dorm, but never enough to fill one. So the idea of creating coed floors in the boys' quiet dorm seemed reasonable.
Of course, the university could've met the demand by having a girls' floor in the quiet dorm, and sealing it off from the boys' floors as much or as little as it determined was appropriate. But that didn't seem like the way to bring the University into the 1970's, and Prexy, with Tim's agreement (and mine if he had asked), determined to move forward.
The one place where UND differed from other universities and colleges was the requirement that you complete a special sex education course before you could live in the coed dorm. That first year, students were given until the end of October to complete the course. In future years they would be required to take the course before signing up for a coed dorm the next year. When, eventually, freshman coed dorms became available, the end of October rule applied.
But what would such a sex education course look like, what would it accomplish, and who on earth would teach it? Prexy dumped that problem on Tim when we got back from our vacation in Michigan. Tim didn't bat an eyelash, "I know exactly what the course should look like, I know its goals, and I know who should teach it."
Prexy was a little startled that Tim seemed so well prepared in this rather complicated and controversial arena. "Would you care to share your ideas?"
"Sure. I propose three classes on three evenings. Each will consist of a one hour lecture presentation with discussion to continue as long as people want to stay. You meet the requirement if you stay for the first hour on each of the three nights.
"The first night will be straight biology: what everyone was taught in high school, by their parents, in their church, or - most likely - by their peers. And even for college students the misinformation is as rampant as information. We'll cover anatomy, reproduction, sexual relations, masturbation, the works. The second session will cover just two things: sexually transmitted diseases and contraception. And while we can't use live penises, we'll use pretty good rubber models to teach people how to put on a condom. We'll talk about diaphragms, the pill, IUDs, rhythm, abstinence, all the options.
"Students will react to these two sessions by asserting that they didn't learn anything; that it was a complete waste of time. But if we ask them privately and anonymously, and we eventually will, they'll admit that they learned a lot. I think that the discussions and question/answer sessions that follow will show that we really are providing new information to a lot of these kids, and correcting a lot of misinformation."
Prexy asked, "Are you going to separate the men and women?"
"Certainly not. If they can't handle this in a coed situation, I don't want them around beds in a coed situation. Some of the conversation is going to be tough, especially when we talk about that old bugaboo masturbation. But we aren't going to let these kids off the hook. And that's where I'm heading for the third session."
"Where's that" asked Prexy.
"My goal is to start talking about ethics and morality, but not try to provide any answers. It's an individual thing, and all the university can do is make sure that students consider it as a moral issue. But while we're going to call the last session the 'Morality' discussion we really have a hidden agenda of two things: First, the importance of thinking about your limits - your morality - in advance. We have to convince students that the bed isn't the place to decide whether or not you're willing to 'go all the way.' If you have your limits firmly in mind, because you have thought them through carefully, it's a lot easier to stick to reasonable limits in the heat of passion.
"Second, I want to preach my standard line: Talk first, act second. If you can't talk about dicks, cunts, fucking, and condoms, then you shouldn't be messing around with them. And that means talking in advance with your potential sexual partners. Talking is tough, but if you talk first and act second, you're much more likely to be happy the morning after."
"You're going to say exactly that to UND students?"
"I'm not. My good psychologist friend Franklin is."
"Franklin? Do I know him?" asked Prexy.
"Not yet, but you will. He's perfect for the role. He's as big as I am little, and will have a commanding presence in a lecture hall and discussion session. He's as gentle as a lamb, and will come across to the students as someone they can trust."
Prexy said, "I think I'm going to steer clear of this one. You take it and run with it Tim. If you and Franklin can pull this off without the fundies and the prudes having fits, and without the students rebelling at having to take what they consider to be a high school course in order to live in a dorm, you're a miracle worker. But be warned, you need to survive this, so don't push too hard if you start hitting resistance."
"I understand the dangers. At least I hope I do. But I think you may be surprised as how well received Franklin's course will be."
"Have you talked to Franklin?"
"Only briefly. But he's eager to do it."
A letter had gone out to all male students scheduled for the quiet dorm and to all the female students who had expressed an interest in being in a quiet dorm, explaining that a coed quiet dorm would be established; that is, there would be coed floors in the quiet dorm. It asked the women if they were interested, and it asked the men whether they wanted to be placed on a coed floor or on an all male floor.
The enthusiasm of the replies surprised even Tim. Virtually every girl wanted space in the dorm, and most of the boys wanted to be on coed floors. It turned out that there'd only be one all-male floor. That did mean that girls would be in the minority on the other floors. We realized that in the future we needed to arrange registration for coed dorms in a way that gave us close to a 50-50 balance. The only fly in the ointment was the response to the note in the original letter regarding the sex education course, entitled "Responsible Sexuality," which would be required. As Prexy had predicted, there were screams of protest.
Tim would hear none of it. Each student that wrote protesting the course to be required in the fall got a standard letter saying that residence in a coed dorm after October 31, 1974, required the completion of the course, and that there'd be no exceptions. Those that didn't want to take the course should change their dorm registration immediately, while there was still single-sex dorm space available.
Franklin was duly warned that he was headed into a hornet's nest. He didn't seem phased. The first iteration of the course was in mid-September. The initial lecture, with excellent, and quite graphic slides, was straight biology, presented tastefully, but quite frankly. It was also presented very quickly, as there was a lot to cram into an hour. The speed kept it from being boring, and the frankness surprised the students enough that their initial hostility was at least lessened. About half the audience got up and left after the lecture ended, but the other half stayed for the question and answer session and discussion.
The questioners were hesitant at first. The students seemed to be testing Franklin as well. Gradually questions started coming that reflected some of the real worries and concerns of these late teenagers, or kids that had just past their teens. "Why do men have tits?" "How can a penis expand so much when it becomes erect?" "Can a girl get pregnant from playing around if there's no penetration?" ("Yes.") "Why are men so much more eager for sex than women?" (Asked by a woman, but affirmed by a number of men as a question they'd like answered. You try! It led to considerable discussion.)
Franklin was very patient and answered all the questions that were answerable, and got the students talking about the others. He got a couple he couldn't answer, and promised to have answers at the beginning of the next question and answer session. The question about men being more eager for sex prompted a discussion that lasted almost an hour, and achieved no agreement. It was 11:30 before the last student left. By noon the next day it was all over campus that Franklin was "really cool" and talked about things that everybody else seemed unwilling to mention.
Session two on STDs and contraception blew their minds. Since Roe v. Wade in 1973, abortion had been much discussed on campus, with no general agreement. Franklin avoided discussion of the morality of abortion, simply noting that it was now a legal right in America and couldn't be ignored when talking about sexuality. He did not include it among the birth control options that were discussed in the course.
You would've thought that by1974, and this age of students, the old joke about the rhythm method ("What do you call people who use the rhythm method for birth control?" "Parents.") would've been passé, but it wasn't. What was more surprising was the number of students that thought it was an effective means of birth control! (The rhythm method, not hearing the joke, although one is about as effective as the other.)
Actually handling condoms and rubber penises blew their minds. It was also clear that there was considerable unfamiliarity with condoms, a fact that was a little unsettling to Franklin. As far as STDs were concerned, these students really had little fear of syphilis and gonorrhea; herpes was a more realistic fear for them. Viewed from the vantage point of three decades later that seems almost quaint, but it was real for them at the time.
At the end of the hour session, which actually took about 75 minutes, only about a fifth of the students left. Questions and discussion didn't end until Franklin shut it down at midnight. The questions and arguments about alternative birth control methods had gone on and on. Then came abortion. Franklin was glad to see the two students arguing for using abortion as first line birth control almost shouted down. The stage was set for session three.
It was billed as a discussion of sexual morality, but it was really aimed at making students comfortable talking about sex, especially with potential dates, and realizing the importance of thinking about limits in advance, preferably with your potential partner. Tim's "Talk first, act second." was high on the agenda.
It was in the discussion session afterward where Franklin hoped to be able to actually affect student behavior. He started it off by talking about the different names used for the penis. He got the usual dick, cock, prick, and the like. He also got some unusual ones, often names left over from childhood. Have you ever heard of a noey-noey? Neither had Franklin, but it seemed to reflect some parent's prudishness. It was interesting to track words over different sessions. Some were clearly idiosyncratic, and only turned up once. Others which he assumed were idiosyncratic would reappear from time to time. Have you ever heard of a johnson? Neither had Franklin, but it appeared several times over the years.
There were many fewer names for the female equipment, and there seemed to be considerably less willingness to use words like cunt and pussy than their male counterparts.
Over time Franklin was interested in two words that would sometimes show up for intercourse: rape and know. It bothered Franklin that students might equate rape with intercourse, and when it appeared he steered the conversation to discuss the differences. He didn't see any problem with the Biblical know, but found it interesting that it would turn up in about half the sessions.
The synonyms for masturbation, and that word itself, were consistently the most embarrassing for the students to talk about. It seemed that girls rarely use the slang terms (jack off, jerk off, beat off, etc.) that boys do, they simply masturbate. In fact, there seemed to be a tendency for girls to talk about it a lot less than boys.
The terminology discussion was used as a lead in to asking the students if they were comfortable talking about sex with the opposite sex, especially one on one. Franklin would sometimes ask, "Did you ever tell your girlfriend that you masturbated when you got home from a date?"
The response was generally, "I'd never tell her that." or "My boyfriend's never talked about masturbating."
"Franklin's, "Why not?" often got the discussion going.
The results were amazing. News of Franklin's course spread around the campus like wildfire. It raised some controversy, but nothing that couldn't be handled. By October the demand for the course was so great that enrollment before October 31 had to be limited to the residents of the coed dorm so they could meet their deadline. Franklin taught the course to groups of thirty-five students weekly for most of the year. It was amazing the extent of the enthusiasm for the course. Its combination of good information, especially about STDs and contraception, and its willingness to talk about anything made it quite the exception to the standard sex education course of the era. Again and again Franklin would hear something like, "Why couldn't we have had this kind of discussion in high school?" The heart-wrenching comment was, "I got a girl pregnant in high school, and it wouldn't have happened if I'd had this course."
Tim had his first high visibility success to his credit, as did Franklin. Faculty and staff that had been convinced that both the coed dorms and the sex education course were going to be complete disasters very quickly had to admit that they were successful. Of course, UND wasn't unique in its success with coed dorms. They were, in fact, late to the party. But during that first year there were no incidents of any kind in the quiet dorm, and coed dorms were firmly established on campus. Physical arrangements, especially for bathrooms, slowed the pace at which dorms could be converted to coed, but in less than a decade a substantial majority of the housing on campus was coed in one form or another. The pregnancy rate, at least of the pregnancies that we knew about, was slightly lower overall after the establishment of coed dorms compared with the ten years before, and the rate in the coed dorms was slightly lower than in the same-sex dorms. We concluded that this had more to do with the self-selection of students to be in the coed dorms than it did the effect of those dorms on student behavior.
Franklin became the teacher trainer for the sex-ed course which continues to this day to be required of all students who wish to live in coed housing (other than married housing!). He slowly developed a solid cadre of instructors for the course, but found that only 1 in about 3 of those that sought the position were actually able to handle the job. Most of those that weren't hired simply couldn't handle the discussions without obvious embarrassment, something that simply wasn't acceptable.
One instructor had to be fired when it was reported that in one of his discussion groups he'd suggested groping as well as talking. Apparently there was only a little, and he wasn't personally involved, but he had to go, and go quickly. Franklin had a special session with the students that had been in that discussion group about the matter. We think no harm was done.
Some time in that first winter back in Grand Forks Tim had some reasons to look for a student in his dormitory. He found the student with no trouble, and got the information he needed. He was, however, appalled by the state of the dormitory. That night at dinner I heard all about it. "Charlie, the place is awful. Not a bed made. Clothes and junk all of the floors. Every room I glanced into was a mess. No, that's not fair. I noticed a couple of neat rooms, but almost all of the ones with open doors were a terrible mess. Stuff stuck all over the walls. I'm not worried about damage to the walls, but they can't even hang nudie pictures straight. The public areas are the same. The lounges were a mess, the walls dirty, upholstery damaged. How can people live that way? Can't the university at least clean up the public areas?"
"Were they dirty, or just messy?"
"It's hard to say. I guess messy. Cushions on the floor. Stained rugs. Awful."
"Welcome to post-teenage living. Most of their parents gave up on their rooms somewhere in junior high school, or earlier. They lived in pigsties through high school. Changing them now is almost impossible. Hopefully their wives will have something to say."
"That would suggest that the girls dorms are neat, and that that neatness will be brought into their marriages. I asked some of the women staff, and they say the women's dorms are at least as bad or worse."
"Tim, I see something in your eyes I don't like. This isn't a campaign you want to be associated with. Some causes are lost before they start, and this is one of them."
"You can read me like a book, can't you, Charlie?"
"I'm right, aren't I?"
"OK. Yeah, I was thinking that if the University put some effort into cleaning the common spaces, that some of it might rub off."
Tim continued, "I wonder about the alcohol consumption in the dorms."
"That, honestly, is a more significant issue, and maybe even a tougher nut to crack."
"You know, Charlie, we lived a rather secluded life during my undergraduate years. We lived in our house, spent all of our time studying and practicing...."
"I could add something else that we spent a lot of time doing."
"Cool it, Charlie."
"I know what you're getting at. We avoided the drinking culture and the dormitory culture. Our contacts were good students and serious athletes. Certainly a lot of the campus didn't fit that description."
"I think that if I'm going to be a good administrator here, I'll have to have some real understanding of campus life."
"Maybe you should've thought of that when you were an undergraduate and would be welcome in that culture. Somehow, I don't think that university vice-presidents are going to be welcome drinking buddies for the students here."
"If I have my facts straight, students can drink in North Dakota at age 18, but not across the river in Minnesota. There they have to be 21."
"Right you are."
"Then we don't have legal enforcement issues here on campus."
"Right. But supposedly drinking in our dorms is forbidden."
"What makes me think that that's an unenforced and unenforcable rule?"
"Your agile little brain. And you'd be right."
"So I guess the real issue is drinking and driving."
"And being drunk and disorderly on campus, bothering other students, getting sick, establishing life-long unhealthy patterns."
"How much can the University be a substitute parent?"
"It can't. I think that we need to teach and model the responsible use of alcohol."
"Does that mean changing our rules so that alcohol isn't forbidden on campus and in the dorms, but disorderly and drunken conduct is, and won't be tolerated?"
"That seems to me to be a reasonable approach. It could be very controversial."
"It's time for a Prexy chat."
Tim did have the little Prexy chat. Prexy had two immediate thoughts. "First, Tim, the 18 drinking age isn't going to last. And then we're again going to be faced with what the high schools are faced with now: two groups of students, one legal drinkers and the other not. Those 18-year old seniors in high school are a real problem: they can legally drink at their parties, and worse, they can easily buy beer, and stronger stuff, for their younger classmates - even though it's illegal to do that. But I'm serious when I predict that the current situation of some states allowing drinking at age 18 or 19 isn't going to last. The pressure to move it back to 21 will be irresistible. So any university programs that you develop that assume 18-year olds to be legal drinkers aren't going to be around long."
"And the second thing?" asked Tim.
"Prohibition doesn't work, whether for 17-year olds, 20-year olds, or any other group, but America has a love affair with the idea that you can pass a law and make a problem go away. Your ideas fly in the face of that conventional wisdom. Mess in this arena, and you're setting yourself up for failure. I'd love to figure out how to use the campus environment to teach and model responsible drinking, but it isn't going to happen."
"You're really being pessimistic," Tim argued.
"Yes, and in time you'll find that I'm right, on both points. Drug prohibition is already an equal failure. Just ask your friend Franklin. But you let some poor slob of a Dean of Students fret about alcohol on campus. Keep away. And that isn't just good advice, it's an order."
Tim groused to me that night, but he obeyed. Over the years he, and I, came to realize how right Prexy had been on both points. We watched drugs become a greater and greater social problem in America, almost in direct proportion to the level of the "war" which the government waged against them. Luckily, North Dakota was pretty far out of that mainstream, and we escaped the worst. But no campus was untouched. Tim was many times tempted to try various alternate approaches, but they always meant flying in the face of the prohibition mentality. Thank goodness he remembered Prexy's advice and left that tar baby lying in the briar patch.
Our lives got busier and busier that fall, and it continued for out entire lives in Grand Forks. Because of that we found it more and more important to honor our commitment to eat dinners together as often as possible. Dinners often involved entertaining for both business and pleasure, as well as our having to accept invitations, go to dinner meetings, and other such involvements. But at least once a week, and three times if possible we ate dinner at home, together, by ourselves. Except for bedtime, this was the happiest hour of the day - or week. We'd talk, tell each other of our day or week, comment, discuss, or sit quietly just being in love with each other. It still amazes me how happy we were (and still are) in each other's company.
Even with many of them living in the same town, it was difficult keeping up with all of the Gang. Our worries that we might be too close, too much in each others lives were groundless. If anything, I think we all wished that we had more time to be together. We did quite a bit of entertaining back and forth, eating together, and from time to time playing together. Our worries that Gang sex might become excessive or become more important than sex with our partners proved equally groundless. We did trade back and forth some, and explored various combinations. But it always seemed to be secondary to our times with our partners. For this we all seemed glad.
As that first winter in Grand Forks approached - well, the first since we'd left to become graduate students - I thought about the coming cold weather, a thought which led me to thinking about the various winter experiences Tim and I had had. I couldn't help but remember a weekend snowshoeing trip at International Falls. I think that Tim knew when he planned the trip that it would be a mind-boggling and life-changing experience. Before that I'd never really understood Tim's power of concentration. I didn't really understand that a two-hour practice session for him meant two hours in which nothing but diving (or gymnastics), or even just a particular dive, entered his mind. That was how he, and then we, walked shirtless in the snow, played naked in the snow, enjoyed the snow.
I got to thinking of whether that could be recreated. For what purpose?
Realizing that the old saying, "You can't go back again," was true, I still felt that some of that experience might be recreated. It could be sort of a renewal for both of us.
So I set to planning. Plans complete, I waited until one evening when we were eating a leisurely dinner. "Tim, in three weeks we're taking a camping trip."
I expected surprise, a "What?" or a least an "At this time of year?" What I got was a casual, "Where?"
Somewhat disappointed in the response, I replied, "The Northwest Angle," expecting something like, "Where's that?"
I got, "Great. When?"
"How are we getting there?"
"International Fall all over again, huh?"
"I hope so."
"So do I. Charlie, that's a wonderful idea. Have you got it all planned out?"
"Super. You know, you don't really need a lesson in concentration again, but I think that the experience will be good for both of us, kind of tune us up. And it should be wonderful fun. Up on Lake of the Woods it's likely to be colder than the Falls area."
"Maybe we'll have to wear tee shirts."
We took three days off, which we added to a February weekend, to give us five days. It was easy to work around my teaching schedule, and as administrators we had pretty flexible time. We left early Thursday morning in a little single engine charter plan heading for Northwest Angle Airport. Its address is Warroad, Minnesota, but it's actually twenty plus miles northeast at Angle Inlet, in the Northwest Angle.
The Northwest Angle is the little piece of Minnesota which is actually north of the 49th parallel. It's ownership was disputed with Canada until 1842 when the border was settled. It's cut off from the United States by the Lake of the Woods. You can get there from the US by water (in summer), road through Manitoba, or air. Once there, you're as far north in the United States as you can get, except for Alaska. Until Alaska was a state, Minnesota was the northernmost state, a fact that defeated many a trivia game player.
OK, I can't resist. What's the northernmost state? Obviously Alaska. What's the westernmost state? No, not Hawaii, Alaska. What's the easternmost state? Again, Alaska. Get a map and figure it out.
By ten in the morning we'd flown the approximately 150 miles to Angle Inlet. We were met by Jud, the Jud of Jud's Outfitting, which had come highly recommended by another faculty member that often fished in Lake of the Woods in the summer. We'd brought clothes and sleeping bags, but depended on Jud for everything else. I'd discussed the trip in detail with Jud, arranged menus, and agreed with his suggestion that we'd enjoy cross country skiing more than snowshoeing. Nevertheless, our packs included little bear paw snowshoes to enable us to move around the camp in the deep snow. He'd assured me that it lay five feet deep on the ground in the state forest where we'd be skiing and camping.
Jud had a couple of small chalets which he rented to clients, and we spent Thursday night in his larger chalet. It only had a fireplace, which warmed it maybe to 45 degrees, but we slept secure in the knowledge that the tent would be far colder the next two nights! Tim announced a, "No Sex," rule for that night to assure that we'd be fired up for the next night - an unnecessary precaution. The next morning Jud took us to the trailhead, went over route and maps with us, as well as emergency radio procedures, and wished us well. Our just above the knees shorts and tee shirts were a little more than Jud was prepared for, and when we stripped off the tee shirts prior to setting off on our skiis I think he was ready to haul us back to town bodily. We assured him that we knew what we were doing, even if it was 3 degrees below zero. Hats, scarves and mittens in place, we set off before our nipples froze or Jud lost his cool.
We did find that zero is about the limit for no shirts, and slipped on our tee shirts within an hour. With that concession to the weather we continued our adventure into the frozen north country around Lake of the Woods. The woods were beautiful, quiet, and totally isolated. We didn't see another sign of a human being until we met Jud on Sunday afternoon. The woods were a conifer and hardwood mix that was particularly lovely in the snow. The snow piled on the spruce branches was spectacular. The white birch and aspen with their light barks stood out from the darker maples, oaks and other hardwood and made it look like a fairyland. By noon we'd adjusted to the cold and were able to enjoy the beauty of the scene before us.
Coats went on as we stopped for lunch, and we took the time to inspect each other for any signs of frostbite. Our calves didn't have much feeling in them, but they were nice and pink rather than dangerously white, so we didn't feel the need for long pants.
The big difference between this trip and the previous one was me. I was ready for this, physically and psychologically. Tim didn't have to coax me along. If anything, I was pushing Tim. In this extreme adventure - many would term the whole thing insanity - Tim and I were equals. Tim felt this as well as me. Charlie was no longer playing catch up to this extraordinary human being that had fallen in love with him. We were enjoying the adventure together as equals. We'd long since concluded that we were intellectual equals, but my being able to hold my own physically was something new. Something wonderful.
Nightfall comes early in the northern winter. By four o'clock we'd stopped, pitched the tent, started a fire, and were beginning to cook a stew with snow supplying the liquid for our dried meat and vegetables. It takes longer to melt snow than you'd expect, but we had both the time and patience. Besides, it was comfy to sit around in heavy coats - needed now that we were no longer moving and the sun had set. We ate our stew - a one-pot meal - with hot cocoa bubbling out of a second pot. Warm cocoa was followed by a colossal snowball fight, followed by nude wrestling. The snow won and, teeth chattering, we headed for our double sleeping bag and the warmth of another naked human body snuggled up close. As we slowly warmed Tim wiggled down and took me in his mouth. Oh, God, what a moment. His followed on very closely. Then back to hugging and sharing our bodily warmth. It went to 22 below that night, but we were as warm as in our bed at home. Ah, the wonders of down feathers and nylon sleeping bag shells.
The next day would be our only full day of camping. We liked to schedule a trip to include at least one day in which we would wake up in the wilderness, spend the day, and go back to sleep without returning to civilization. That day it never got above minus ten, and we wore light sweatshirts all day. (See, we aren't totally insane. We know the limits.) To our surprise, the shorts were OK all day, but we watched our legs carefully.
In the middle of the afternoon a couple of white spots on Tim's cheeks indicated the need for warmth, and we bundled him into a coat with hood and heavy scarf. He tolerated that all of about twenty minutes, but kept the scarf around his head just below his eyes for the rest of the afternoon. No sign of the problem when we stopped for the night. We tried to figure out what we might do to top naked wrestling, and quickly realized that naked discussing was as chilling, or more so, than naked wrestling. We ended up trying to see if either one of us could successfully masturbate while naked in the snow. We couldn't, and ended up shivering in our sleeping bag. Warming hugs took care of the problem. Sleep got to us before sex, and a wonderful day of camping came to an end.
We stayed in our bags until the sun was up, and did manage to jack off in the sun the next morning, but laying on the spread out sleeping bag, not directly on the snow. We still needed to crawl inside to warm up before we faced the day.
We'd been moving generally uphill the two previous days, and now we looked forward to a long, gentle downhill run back to the trailhead. We were due to meet Jud at 2 p.m. and we made it just on time. With the sun out that day it was warm enough to go shirtless, and that's how were dressed as we approached Jud at the trailhead. He was shaking his head, and looked like he might have been in that mode since he left us on Friday morning. "I was really worried about you two out in the cold without enough sense to wear clothes, but I just figured if you wanted to freeze to death that was your privilege. It wouldn't have been too good for my outfitting reputation, though."
Jud continued his monologue, "By the way, since I saw you guys off on Friday, I figured out who you were. Well that's not exactly true. I was at Pat's Place, the local beer bar, telling about these two dumb campers who'd set off skiing without shirts. Pat asked your names and I said, they just seem to be Tim and Charlie. Pat went in the back room and rummaged around till he found an old Sports Illustrated with Tim's picture. 'That Tim?' he asked. Yeah, it was you. God, here I was escorting celebrities, maybe to their frozen deaths, and I didn't even know it. The whole town of Angle Inlet is going to be waiting for you at Pat's Place. Pizza's on Pat."
It had almost become a way of life for Tim and me. Until that moment we'd hoped that we just might make it into and out of Northwest Angle as plain old folks, instead of Tim and Charlie of the SI cover. However, I'll have to admit that it was a wonderful crowd at Pat's Place. They kept us filled with Coke as they filled up with beer. But they could handle it, and so could we. Somebody finally challenged us to a shirtless snowball fight, and we all tumbled outside. The women present didn't seem in the least shy about going shirtless, and soon snowballs were flying everywhere. Slowly people got cold and drifted back inside. Tim and I knew that we were going to have to be the last in, and we were, after briefly ending the snowball fight with a tussle on the ground in the snow. We headed back inside and got a loud cheer as we hugged each other tightly to warm up. People were either totally unaware of the homosexual implications of that, or simply didn't care.
Neither did we.
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