Alison Berkley: The Princess’ Palate |

Alison Berkley: The Princess’ Palate

Alison Berkley
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

“Why do they put their arms through each other’s crotches like that?” I ask Jim.

We’re at Ruggerfest watching the Gents plow the Denver Barbarians in the finals.

They’re in the scrum, which is my very favorite part of the game.

“It’s just what they do. It’s the best grip,” he says.

“Doesn’t that hurt? Or feel weird? Or is it K because they’re wearing a cup?” I ask.

“No, I don’t think many of them wear cups because the shorts are too loose fitting,” he replies.

I couldn’t help but notice the word “scrum” is basically the word “scrotum” minus the “o” and the “t.”

I love rugby. I love how gnarly it is and how burly the players are and how big they are, with legs like tree trunks and real big, meaty butts. Unlike white man butts, which offer little more than a crack at the base of the spine, these are two or three fistfuls in size, the female equivalent of succulent melons. I love their cute little outfits, the striped jerseys and the short shorts that look enough like boxers that you can imagine what one of those blokes might look like first thing in the morning, stumbling out of your bed toward the bathroom.

I love the way they run around the field, the brows furrowed with focus and intent, hair all messy and ragged with sweat and grass from the last tackle. I love the guttural sounds they make, the grunts and the growls that escape from their bodies as they try to kill each other, or maybe what they’re doing is trying to get the ball. Whatever it is, it’s sexy as hell and the best live entertainment us women have going.

I’d just come down from a night in the woods with a bunch of women for a bachelorette party I’m not allowed to talk about. So suffice it to say that a breath of fresh testosterone was just what I needed.

Plus, I’ll admit I’m on the prowl. Like Sharon said, “the best way to get over someone is to get under someone.”

The only problem is all the guys I’m attracted to are either criminals, players, drunks, or a combination of all three.

“I have an idea,” my old friend Jeremy said to me once. “Let’s go drive down the highway near Rifle, close to the state prison. Maybe we can find a guy for you there, hitchhiking from the exit ramp!”

Seriously, though, it’s fall that does this to me. Forget about the connotations of copulating in spring. I’m all about autumn, about that wonderful tension between seasons when it’s still warm but there’s that tiny bit of chill in the air that’s like a gentle touch at the base of your spine or a tiny whisper in your ear. Forget about birds and bees and blooming flowers, I’m talking about the turning leaves, the way they scream “change!” a lot louder than Obama does. The way they look their very best right before they go down, like a stage performer during the finale of a big show, all loud voices and arms wide under bright lights right before the curtain drops.

Sometimes it’s enough just to be in the right place at the right time, when the light is low and the ridgelines are still just a shadow so when the sun shines on the trees they’re illuminated against the dark backdrop like Christmas lights. Or when the yellow leaves pop against the bright blue sky and the colors are so vivid it’s hard to believe they’re real because before that moment, the only place you’d ever seen shades that bright were in a Crayola box or during your last acid trip.

I think what I love the most about fall is knowing it won’t last long. In New England where I grew up, the foliage stuck around for a while like an old friend. But out here it’s so fast, it’s like a passionate affair that’s only good because you know it’s going to end.

If it sounds like I’m reaching, maybe I am. It’s just that my friend Katie told me I should write something positive this week. She is a very sweet girl so I think what she really meant to say was “quit your bitching!”

I do think she’s right. I need to pull my head out and be more positive.

Like the other day I was talking to Sarah who is delirious from taking care of newborn twins. It’s fun talking to her at night after dinner when she’s giddy from it and there’s no telling where the conversation will go. I let her talk for once, spinning out all kinds of ideas and feelings and stories.

“I’m just so devastated that I can’t be part of this amazing, pivotal point in history,” she began. She was so emotionally invested in the Kerry campaign that when he lost she cried for two weeks straight, so I tread lightly.

“Wow, you sound really optimistic,” I said. I didn’t tell her that I’d just been forwarded a PBS poll that showed more than 50 percent of the people who participated think Palin is qualified to serve as vice president.

“Why wouldn’t I be?” she said, the sound of the breast pump audible in the background.

“I don’t want to spoil your mood with my negativity,” I said.

What she said next surprised me. “OK, I’ll talk to you tomorrow, then. Bye!” Click.

Maybe Obama will get elected. Maybe I will end up living happily ever after. Maybe I will dig myself out from under the financial and psychological ruin that my

self-destructive lifestyle brings. Maybe we’re not headed for another Great Depression.

But if some hot rugby players and some pretty yellow leaves are all I got, well, at least it’s a start.

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