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Writing Switch: Virgin Territory

Benjamin Welch and Sean Beckwith

Some firsts are very memorable, like your first kiss — whatever that’s like — or are a little more fleeting and forgettable, like your child’s first birthday. This week we recapture the feeling of having a first, whether it’s seasonal, annual or, um, otherwise. Hey, we haven’t missed a column in almost two years, and you know how hard it is to fill this page every other week with new ideas before we just devolve into “f— it, let’s do this one in pupper voice”?

First golf outing

SB: There are two options when trying to play golf in Aspen’s limited warm weather seasons: 1. Fully commit and get in a game or two per week but forgo the litany of other activities that come with living in the mountains, or 2. Accept that you’re going to be a middling golfer because ball golf requires practice to not want to throw clubs.

That’s why the first round of the year for myself, an admittedly middling golfer, is the best. You’re supposed to hit shots OB in the inaugural round of the season. Smashing a drive so far right that you’ll have to leave the course to find it is a lot more palatable the first round of the season compared to the 14th.

This isn’t disc golf where you can pick up a handful of Frisbees and a six-pack and dominate beer in hand. Someday I’ll be retired, too, and will give my son updates on how my third round of the week and 20th round of the month went. Also, rarely playing outside of your home course is like playing checkers and NEVER MOVING YOUR BACK ROW!

First tourist sighting

SB: Technically this only happens in early June because in the winter it’s not a subtle shift into the busy season as much as it is a sharp slap in the face from a leather glove by someone who really knows how to slap people in the face with leather gloves.

So in the instance of the former, you’ll be out and about on maybe June 3, perhaps on the way to play your first round of golf for the season, and passing the roundabout where most people will eventually merge. However, some car with Texas license plates will pass you and continue to pass others in the bus lane until it turns to two lanes near Buttermilk or they get pulled over.

Not a big deal, we’ve all almost hit pedestrians on Main Street because you don’t know you’re supposed to yield to pedestrians until you almost hit a Latino family following your boss to a photo shoot with a car full of heavy-ass clothes on your first of like 15 days as an unpaid intern at a local magazine that shall remain nameless.

First dating app match

BW: You know on-season is back when you get your first Tinder match of the winter after two months of awkwardly swiping left on your coworkers (sorry) and expanding your search radius to other mountain towns where you also don’t get any matches. So much for free vacation lodging.

We won’t be out of toilet paper in the Second Wave, which is why I’m hoarding condoms to sell on the prophylactic … umm, trying not to use the word “aftermarket,” but you know what I mean.

Yeah, I realize there will be no taking random ski bunnies on snowboard dates this season. Sorry if these jokes seem kind of dated; it’s not like I have a lot of life experiences going on right now other than getting leg cramps from pacing around my living room all day.

The Apps must be quite the smorgasbord for women. I say “The Apps” because I’ve never used Hinge, Tinder is almost 10 years old and I’m way, way below the threshold of being attractive enough to get by on just my looks, as is requisite for Bumble. Hot dude on mountain bike, hot dude holding dead animal, hot dude in Maserati, blob fish Ben Welch, hot dude skydiving. Yeah, I’m going to win that showdown *looks at statistics* less than half of 1% every time.

My advice to my fellow average yeomen is of course to carpet bomb and abandon whatever strategy you think you’re employing. Just because it’s called a Hail Mary doesn’t necessary mean it WON’T get caught. I know you’re supposed to actually read the profile and whatnot, but then you have all these qualifiers like “If you support Trump, swipe right” and “If you’re perverted and gross, swipe left” and you have no way of knowing which category you accidentally lumped yourself in with, so pull your thumbs out of your ass and get into mindless swiping. Maybe while watching a little TV.

Which takes me to…

First infomercial purchase

BW: I forgot I even had a Slap Chop until Sean noticed it and called my apartment a “museum.” That was my first time purchasing garbage from television, since my parents wouldn’t buy me Time/Life’s “Malt Shop Memories” when I was 11, even after I showed them the copious notes I had taken from the informercial. They got rid of cable right after that.

A little country music in an infomercial at night is comforting because it reminds you of road trips with Grandma and Grandpa but you don’t have to listen to the same damn three casettes over and over.

The late-night sales market is obviously reeling ever the advent of the internet. How come the internet is the only time it’s the “advent” of something? Anyway.

“HAVE YOU EVER HAD PAIN?” they scream. “Try introflammatory bionutrition, combined for the first time ever, using two molecules nobody had ever split before! It’s a miracle!”

“It feels like someone took a big eraser,” a really fit 53-year-old woman sobs, “and they just erased it.”

And surely millenials (or anyone else) aren’t purchasing adult toys in this fashion. I certainly wouldn’t call myself an expert in erogenous zones (though some may disagree), but satisfaction guaranteed? How does that work? Is someone going to come and interrogate me? How do the guys in the mail room deal with it if I return it? “Hey, Brady! It’s a comeback! Hold still while I wipe it off!”

We don’t even like it when our friends call us, yet we’re supposed to dial an operator like “Yes, that’s item number R-TO69 … correct … yes, that’s … OK well I was hoping we wouldn’t have to address it by name, thanks. Now what’s my free gift?”

First powder day

SB: You can never get enough white stuff, and while that’s usually the case the first powder day of the year, there’s nothing like that first splash of snow to the dome. It doesn’t matter how prepared you are for the season, your legs are still going to feel the more rewarding type of burn during that even more fulfilling first apres thaw and requisite beer.

While they will be far from the best turns of the season, they are the some of the most significant because I imagine it’s like the first drink at after sober September or getting the internet back after an outage for porn addicts or finally getting her shoes off for someone with a foot fetish.

There’s that rush you almost forget about and once you experience it again — bouncing and pumping through swaths of Aspen’s finest, purest uncut and untouched snow — it’s all you want to do. Ride the snake, baby, ride the snake!

First time mailing it in

BW: See intro.

sbeckwith@aspentimes.com
bwelch@aspentimes.com


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