As a single woman who likes to ski and travel, I often signed up for group trips with a ski and outing club. Double-occupancy rooms are the norm with these organizations; if you are not going with a friend or partner, you can either be assigned a room-mate by the trip leader or pay an extra charge. When I was younger and my sense of adventure was greater than my discretionary income, I would gamble and take a “pot-luck” room-mate. Sometimes I made a new friend. Other times, the only positive outcome was a crazy story to tell. Here are two memorable events.
My first experience was on a trip to Austria sharing a hotel room with Dani. I didn’t have much of a choice because we were the only two unattached women on the trip. Our club president, who had roomed with Dani the prior year, said she was “the most fun ever”. I found out too late that the “fun” revolved around the shared bar they set up in their room and the large cocktails they drank before dinner. Unfortunately, I cannot drink more than one small adult beverage and function, so I didn’t participate in this nightly activity. Smoking was another issue. I don’t smoke and asked her not to smoke in the room. She said she needed a cigarette in the morning to get her digestion working and, after a few days complaining of constipation, she began opening the window and smoking with her head hanging out in the cold morning air. It was lose-lose. The smoke blew back in the room and she got a head cold.
Then, during the week, we met a group of men from England, one of which looked uncannily like Tom Cruise. I should have known she was on a mission when she dressed for the evening in a short leather skirt, fishnet hose, and high-heeled leather boots. (Who even brings these clothes on a ski trip?) We met the group of Brits after dinner at a disco bar. I had a great time dancing, left around midnight, and went back to our hotel room where we had a Euro-style bed called a matrimonial — two mattresses in one frame. She and Mr. Cruise came staggering in at 3 AM and they got in bed with naked me. I really wasn’t interested in a threesome and arguing with drunks is never productive. I got up, put on sweats, and went down the hall to find my good friend Gary, who was sharing a room with Mario. The guys let me in and I curled up on a stuffed chair with an extra blanket and pillow. Aftermath: Dani turned out to be the least fun ever. But, the look on Mario’s sister’s face, when she knocked on their door the next morning and I opened it, was priceless.
The other episode involved even crazier bed-swapping on a beach weekend. It began when I joined the trip very late and two trusted guy friends, Phil and Ken, agreed to let me share their room, which, like all the others, had one large bed and an extra fold-out cot. I expected to sleep on the cot. I checked into their room, which I’ll call Room 1, and went down to the waterfront. Phil’s ex-girlfriend soon approached me, said she really wanted to get back with him, and asked to trade places with me. She was rooming with Carol and she claimed all parties had agreed to this. I knew Carol, liked her, so we traded keys and I moved my luggage to Room 2.
After a day of swimming, dinner, and dancing, I returned to my new room to find Carol in the one large bed with John, a guy she had just started dating. He was on the trip, actually rooming with George but “visiting” Carol. I stepped into the hall while awkward fumbling ensued. John came out and offered me his key so I could take the cot in the room with George. No way! I knew George and he was the last person I wanted to see in his skivvies the next morning. Even if John left, I didn’t want to get in the same bed where they had been “visiting” together. I thought I’d send John out and sleep on the cot. Unfortunately, I found it full of sand and dog hair.
Fortunately, I had met two other women at the beach who were on the trip and rooming together. When I saw them again at dinner, I told them about my unsettled rooming arrangements and they said I could bunk with them. I thought I’d be fine with Carol (ha!) so I declined, not wanting to move again. Luckily, I knew their room number. I said “ciao” to the lovebirds, grabbed my luggage, and headed down the hallway. When I knocked on their door, one of them opened it and let me in. Welcome to Room 3. She was already set up on the fold-out cot, so I got in bed with the other gal, who was fast asleep and didn’t budge. The next morning my bed-mate rose, went down the hall to the bathroom, came back, and actually screamed when she found me in her bed!
Aftermath: Phil did not reunite with his old girlfriend; Carol and John dated for a short while; and these kind women became my friends.
Note: Names and room numbers have been changed to protect the guilty.