"St. Pete or Bust! 2000" story # 5

St. Petersburg, Florida           September 24, 2000

The idea for "Date of the Week II: the Photo Contest" comes from my Icelandic friend, Harpa. She was bragging to me one day of all her national achievements (and she had many - most Icelanders do, it's a small country), when she told me she'd won a nation-wide photo-taking competition. I tweaked the rules a bit, but basically you're given a list of 12 abstract subjects to take pictures of, in proper order.
     My date was Nathalie, a Thai-Swiss with dreadlocks. She's a nomadic world-traveller who's more enthusiastic about surfing and volleyball as anybody could possibly be considering she's done them only a few times each. For a student at an english-taught university, she speaks the language surprisingly not very well.
     Our dating opponents were Charity and Ewan "Johnny" Smith. Johnny's a funny, good-natured lad and my best friend here. It figured to be a romance-less date, because Johnny has a girlfriend and Nathalie a boyfriend. Hey, what fun is that!?
     The two couples went their separate ways in downtown St. Petersburg, on a Wednesday evening. We looked at our list: 1. VENGEANCE. After a policeman refused to pose for us, Nathalie and I convinced a fisherman to shake his fist angrily at the fish he wasn't catching. For 2. INFIDELITY, Nathalie (who unlike me understood the word...hmm, me wonder that I not should laugh to her english) had me perform a groping motion on a feminine statue.
     3. THINKING WITH YOUR DICK. We searched the area for ideas. We were only allotted seventy-five minutes to take the pictures, so we had to think quick. This game ain't easy. We finally photographed some bathroom signs reading, "Men." For the next subject, our group photoed an American flag in a profound political statement to represent 4. CONFUSION.
     Nathalie convinced a young guy in glasses to pose for us by saying we were in a college photo class. The poor guy just wasn't happy he had to be 5. IGNORANT. On the St. Petersburg pier, he made a diving motion right in front of a sign that said, "No jumping or diving from the pier." For 6. GRATIFICATION, I went in a public bathroom to photograph someone relieving himself. But the bathroom was empty, which is kind of gratifying for me because I might easily have got punched in the nose by an angry man with his pants down. Instead, a guy at the drinking fountain portrayed GRATIFICATION. 7. SUSPENSE came in the pier's toy shop, where Nathalie and I set up Minnie Mouse with a zombie behind her and a shark in front.
     Next, came the highlight of my and Nathalie's picture-taking career. It was nearly as good as the Icelandic Best All-Around Photo winner, taken by Harpa to represent SPEED. Harpa had courageously stuck her body out of a moving vehicle to collect the blurry image of the car's tire in motion. Icelandic photography at its best, folks!
     Our best was 8. DISTATE, and Nathalie asked a grey-haired lady with yellow-tinted glasses to pose. The lady stuck an empty spoon in her mouth, but she made such a face that you'd think all the lemons in the world had been on it. She looked like she was trying to pull her entire face into her ears. I bet when she was a little girl she only had to do that face and her parents wouldn't have made her eat anything. I wish I would've had such a face for when my parents' served pork chops and brussel sprouts. Yuk!
     For 9. COMPLICATION, we had a bunch of those persistent-motion machines going around like mad. A romantic couple portrayed 10. PURITY. And, I photographed Nathalie flexing her muscles and roaring to represent 11. GOD.
     Under unfortunate circumstances, we then saw Charity and Johnny walking towards us. Nathalie got excited, hid behind a car, and jumped out to take their picture, momentarily forgetting about the contest and leaving us with a very strange version of 12. UNOBTAINABLE.

Abby, Meg, and Lisa had created the lists for the photo contest. The next day, they judged our pictures. The winning team would receive free drinks from the losers.
     Johnny and Charity had some good photos. They won for GRATIFICATION with a man drinking a beer, for SUSPENSE by showing a fisherman in action, for COMPLICATION with a row of eleven newspaper machines on the side of the street, for PURITY with a statue of a naked women covering her private parts, and for UNOBTAINABLE, ofcourse, by showing a sign that read, "St. Petersburg Yacht Club."
     They also won the award for Best All-Around Photo with their version of INFIDELITY. I would even go out on a limb and say it gives Harpa's SPEED a run for its money. The picture is both shocking and obscene, but above all it made me a bit jealous of Johnny. The photo is of Charity and Johnny rolling in the grass in downtown and making out. (Keep in mind that Johnny has a girlfriend, who isn't Charity) Geez, the things some people will do to win free alcohol!
     Their DISTATE was also very good. It showed a guy covering his eyes in disgust, standing next to where Charity and Johnny were kissing, with Charity's butt and Johnny's feet at the bottom of the photo. It couldn't compare to my and Nathalie's DISGUST, though.
     The score was tied 6-6, and it came down to the final WILD CARD picture that each couple had taken. Charity and Johnny's was of some pretty sailboats, but it just couldn't compare to my and Nathalie's picture of us making out! (I'm just kidding, our photo was of a fisherman looking sadly at a tiny fish he'd caught)
     The judges gave my group the win, 7-6! Woohoo! Johnny laid on the ground, writhing from the agony of his defeat. I celebrated by stepping on him. But, just as Nathalie and I were about to head out the door to collect our free milkshakes, the final judge arrived. She overuled the first judges' decision, and the contest was declared a tie to my horror. Just when I thought I'd won big...
     So, what did we learn from this? Well, something very important. With the help of Johnny, we learned MODERN ODDYSEUS' DATING ADVICE # 2 - Whenever you're in a contest with a cute girl (whether it's a photo contest, a board game, or even a sporting event), it can't hurt to throw out the simple suggestion that your chances of winning might be improved if the two of you made out.
     It works for Johnny.

- Modern Oddyseus

...Say, Nathalie, you wanna play some volleyball? We can't lose!

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