Dating a lumberjack: I like to collect men like young boys collect baseball cards
I like to collect men like young boys collect baseball cards. I want to go out with a dude from every profession, the crazier the better. Doctors beat lawyers, I’ll trade a writer for a chef, and for the love of god, somebody get this investment banker off my hands. But one summer, fate dealt me the ultimate trump card. I was handed the holy grail of hot boys with insane jobs. That was the summer I dated a lumberjack.
I should have known The Lumberjack was going to be trouble after he dated a friend of mine. They had sex in the woods near his mountaintop cabin and she had promptly gotten a urinary tract infection. They had stopped seeing each other months earlier, but he would sometimes hang out in the city with us and we had gotten to be a bit friendly. He asked me out, but I declined. He obviously had never heard of the chick code. You don’t date people your friends have gone out with. Used goods and all that.
The Lumberjack tried any number of ways to convince me to date him. He called me up to chat, or invited me to drinks, or showed up to my house uninvited because he was in the neighborhood, even though he lived a good 2 hours away. He once came over to make me dinner, and brought along deer meat, from some poor Bambi he had killed and subsequently butchered earlier in the day. He thought it would be bad-ass to eat deer sashimi. I elected to try the grilled version. But, I had never gone out with a straight up Neanderthal. I figured what the hell, if he could eat raw deer meat, I could at least hook up with him.
The Lumberjack certainly acted the part. He enjoyed hunting the wild boar that ran free in the mountains. He drove a pick-up truck. He wore beat up jeans and a flannel shirt every day. This was a good 6 years before hipster chic had become a thing, but we were also only 6 years removed from the grunge trend too, so in hindsight I'm not sure if, sartorially, he was a throwback or ahead of his time.
The Lumberjack wasn’t all that bright. Before becoming a lumberjack, he skipped college to become a professional triathlete. But after a few years of little to no success in international competition he lost his sponsorships, retired at the ripe old age of 25, and found work in the tree-killing business. The only books in his house had to do with trees – how to grow trees, how to cut down trees, the grim future of forestry in general. But I was fine with that. I wasn’t dating a lumberjack for the conversation. I was dating him for the sex. The one fabulous thing about lumberjacks is that they are ripped like you would not believe. We are talking about a man who spends 8 hours a day on a mountain, sweating under the sun, wielding a very heavy piece of dangerous machinery to cut down 20 foot tall trees. Not only was he in great shape, if you could bottle his libido, you would have yourself an organic Viagra. So, no complaints.
The Lumberjack lived in a small mountain-top town, population 500, average age 62 years. The Lumberjack’s very presence probably skewed the average age younger by at least a few years. He had built his house himself. Not contracted it out to professional builders, but literally, spent a summer building a wooden shack by hand. His employer owned the land, and told him that if he paid for the building materials and built the house himself, he could live rent free. So The Lumberjack lived in a one room wooden cabin he had slapped together with surprising skill. The electricity was dodgy – and we didn’t dare turn it on during a typhoon. The lack of insulation meant it was freezing during the snowy winters. We used a kerosene space heater to keep warm, which in hindsight might not have been the best idea when you live in a wooden shack perched on the side of a mountain. There was no hot water, but we could heat water in a tub using gas, and we had rigged a hand held nozzle to the tub for showering. The bathroom was an outhouse located across the deck. If you needed to use the facilities after dark, you had to be sure to bring a flashlight to avoid the spiders, lizards or any other creepy crawly creatures that might be out at night. I started out squeamish about bugs and snakes, but you got used to them. The wood slats of the shack weren’t up to the task of keeping out the four or six or eight legged critters that shared the mountain with us, and there was always some uninvited ‘guest’ running around the house. One day we killed a snake that had made its way into the cabin. Being a mountain-man, The Lumberjack decided to grill it and try it for dinner. We doused it in barbecue sauce, but I can’t say I recommend this dish even a little.
We weren’t just inundated with insects - during typhoon season the entire structure leaked. During one particularly ferocious storm, the roof failed completely just over the bed, and we woke up groggy and soaked to the bone. We moved the soggy mattress to the middle of the cabin where we could stay dry and warm and wait out the storm. It sounds a bit extreme, but it was all incredibly exciting, especially for a city girl like myself. If you can’t date a lumberjack when you’re young, when can you?
My dalliance with The Lumberjack ended messily about 6 months after we had started dating. Something – nothing in particular really – started to make me feel suspicious. He guarded his cell phone a little too carefully. He went abroad for a week, but had nothing to say about the trip at all. He had a postcard stuck to his fridge, but when I went to look at it, he ripped it out of my hands and hid it. I had an idea that whoever had sent this postcard was probably not an old buddy from his running days. There’s one good thing about dating very stupid people – it’s easy to catch them when they are trying to be sneaky.
One day The Lumberjack went to work and forgot his phone. I hate being one of those girls who doesn’t trust her man – who goes through his email, or his Facebook or his text messages. It’s not who I am. But if the man was going to be so damn obvious about whatever sketchy bullshit he was pulling, he earned the full extent of my sleuthing.
As I’d suspected, he was seeing someone else. Some girl who lived in England. Going through his history, it appeared that he had been having a long-distance relationship with her way before he had even met me. I was upset that he had lied, of course. I was even more angry that I had been put in the awful position of being ‘the other woman.’ But mostly, I was pissed that this guy had tried and tried and tried to go out with me knowing full well that he was already in a relationship with someone else. And when I’m pissed, I usually have one thing on my mind: revenge.
I took the English Girl’s information, and when I got home I sent her an email, explaining the situation. She was upset, understandably. She was mad at me, even though she acknowledged I had nothing to do with The Lumberjack’s choice to cheat on her. She thanked me for letting her know that The Lumberjack was an unfaithful jerk. She still hated me though.
We both broke up with The Lumberjack that week. I realized it might not be the best idea to piss off a man who kills wild boar for fun and can use a chainsaw as easily as I use a vacuum. The Lumberjack was furious that I had invaded his “privacy.” I, apparently, was to blame for the fact he now had no girlfriends instead of two. He demanded I pay him back for all of the money he spent on me while we dated. I laughed in his face, and asked if he really needed $50 that badly. A lot of fuck-you’s were exchanged, and we went our separate ways. I heard later that he had gotten fat and married an unattractive girl from the village. He was still a lumberjack.
No matter how our relationship ended, it was one hell of a crazy experience, and one of my favorite dating stories. I’ve also developed a taste for wild boar. And now, I’m looking to trade my lumberjack card for something even more bad-ass. Fireman? Professional skydiver? One of the Rolling Stones? Hey Barack Obama, if you ever get tired of Michelle, call me up. I don’t have a President trading card yet, and am in the market for the ultimate trump card of all time.
- From the desk of Liz B.