You Light Up My Life by
(22 Stories)

Prompted By Hair

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When we first think of hair, we assume the reference is to that which is on our head but in reality that’s not always the case.

It was about 1971 and I had just asked a beautiful Stanford student out on a date. To tell the truth, I never thought in a million years she would say yes. I almost fell off my chair when she said, “Far out, that would be great!” The date was set for a Saturday so that gave me a few days to do all the important things that any young 70’s bachelor would do. That would be, wash and wax the car, take a shower, and buy a new shirt but it is also important to plan the order of these events as well. Any intelligent bachelor understands the importance of this type of planning. If I wash the car first, then I could use my old shirt to wash the car and since I was going to buy a new one, washing the car with the old one would kill two birds at once. That would mean that all I would have to do would be shower and stop to buy a new shirt on the way to pick her up. Perfect!

So there I was, after waiting all week with great anticipation with a clean car, some Hai Karate after-shave (the good stuff) and my new paisley print shirt with the long collars which was half unbuttoned and on my way to pick her up. Now keep in mind, in the 70’s, it was mandatory that you leave the shirt half unbuttoned so as to show off a distinguished chest of hair. the only problem was, I had all of three blond hairs on my chest which required squinting or a magnifying glass to see.

As I pulled up in front of her house I saw her waving from the front porch to come on inside. As I got to her front door she was looking even better than I had remembered! She asked if I liked candles and when I told her that I did she invited me to come inside so she could show me her collection of candles. Once inside I was impressed with how many candles she had and they were everywhere. “Take off your shoes and lay back in that big beanbag” she says “and I’ll show you some of my favorites.

Before long she has 30 candles lit all of which she really was so proud of, as she brought each one over for me to see. I was beginning to think we won’t even have to go to San Francisco tonight with the way things are going here. It was about then that she said, “Now this one isn’t very spectacular or anything but let me lite it so you can smell the cranberry-cinnamon fragrance. This one has got to be my favorite!” After she lit it, she leaned over to hold it for me and said, “Now take a BIG whiff” As she held it I took a big whiff but you cant imagine my surprise as the candle’s flame shot up the inside of my nose all the way to my brain! In doing so it took out every single nose hair along the way! Now if you know anything at all about burnt nose hair, and God help you if you do, it smells like burnt chicken feathers and there is nothing less romantic or arousing than burnt chicken feathers. As I let out a shriek and tried to force the flame out of my nose (that wasn’t pretty either) I scared the B-Jesus out of her which caused her to jerk away and hot wax spilled all over my chest with the half-unbuttoned shit. Well, I can kiss those three blond hairs on my chest good bye!

As any Bachelor will appreciate, even though it seemed as if my life has just flashed before my eyes, the only thing on my mind was… remain calm in light of the burnt nostrils, scalded chest, ruined shirt (Brand new I might add) and the smell of burnt chicken feathers embedded on my brain and just be cool!

To make a long story short, other than a large red burn on the middle of my chest, that night’s date to San Francisco that night was fun even though I declined visiting any candle shops. That day I learned several valuable lessons… I never take a whiff of anything on a first date, I have learned to keep my shirt buttoned up, and I never go into a date’s home to smell their candles without protection. So as things turned out, some us did learn from the 70s but I’m still waiting for those three hairs on my chest to grow back.

Profile photo of Gary Faules Gary Faules
Gary Faules is a former Oregonian who still holds records as a former Olympic skeet shooter, racecar driver and team owner and competed in the world famous 2007 La Carrera Panamericana. He has traveled the world as both a big-game hunter and angler and has been a freelance writer for both racing and automotive as well as sport shooting publications not to mention his latest book I Slept In Africa made The Forbes Book List. Seeking adventure is only second nature as he continues his dream of living life to the max since almost being left blind as a child due to a freak accident. Gary has been the recipient of numerous awards, several being congressional recognition awards for helping others. A once retired CEO of his own corporation, Gary continues to work and lives near San Francisco, California, where he spends much of his time enjoying the love of his life and waiting for the next adventure so that he can continue the journey.

Characterizations: funny


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    Very funny story, and powerful lessons learned! Who knew that taking a whiff of a candle could do so much damage? You were very resourceful in planning that first date too, right down to using your cast-off shirt to wash that car! Love it! As a hairy woman, I can attest to the feel of hot wax on hair, as I’ve waxed hair off my legs (or rather, I’ve had professionals do it for me). It can be very painful. Can’t imagine having hot wax dripping on your chest…definitely sounds like an S&M thing.

  2. John Zussman says:

    I always appreciate the way you confess your mishaps which, despite your best intentions, seem often to stymie your plans. I love the ’70s details like Hai Karate after-shave, paisley print shirt, and of course the candles. Unfortunately I may never look at a candle the same way again!

    • Gary Faules says:

      John, you made me smile with respect to your comment regarding candles because that’s exactly how I felt. In sharing this story with Karol I realized I neglected to mention the bell bottoms and platform shoes I wore that evening.

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