How Not to Snag a Man in Sobriety
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How Not to Snag a Man in Sobriety


A short time ago, I developed an attraction to an aging biker, Billy Joe Bob. He had 20 years of sobriety, a hint of a Midwestern accent and said he loved pit bulls. What more could a canine-loving chick like me want?

And here’s the clincher that attracted me to Billy Joe Bob: According to AA urban legend, Billy Joe Bob had been a member of the Hells Angels.

This was when he was still drinking and using, of course. A bad boy turned good, Billy Joe Bob now belonged to the Flippers, a sober motorcycle club based in the Antelope Valley area of northern L.A. County.

I saw Flippers driving up to meetings in their Harleys. Sometimes they had a woman on the back of a motorcycle, or, as they say in biker lingo, “back warmers.” I never saw Billy Joe Bob with a back warmer, so that gave me hope.

I had this crazy idea that I could become his old lady, sit on the back of his Harley and attend fun events with him like the annual Flippers Christmas Toy Run in Rosamond and the Great Outdoor Beaver Meeting, an annual AA happening that takes place every Labor Day weekend in Utah and attracts quite a few Flippers. What could be more romantic than Billy Joe Bob and I snuggling by a campfire, reading our Big Books?

I had a commitment at the Saturday night meeting in Palmdale. I lit all the anniversary candles for AAs who were celebrating their sobriety birthdays. And then I cut all the cakes and served the slices on paper plates, complete with napkins and plastic forks.

Well, one Saturday night, I happened to be in a daring mood. After the meeting was over, I approached Billy Joe Bob and said, “Can I ride with you Thursday night to the Acton meeting?”

“Sure. I’ll pick you up,” he said.


Thursday evening came and I waited in breathless anticipation for Billy Joe Bob to pick me up. I wore tight jeans and a tank top, and I put the right shades of makeup on. I even blow-dried my hair. I wore my black leather biker boots, just in case Billy Joe Bob rode up on his Harley to whisk me off to Camelot.

A half hour after the meeting started, Billy Joe Bob arrived. Alas, no Harley. He was in a Chevy Monte Carlo with a guy named Tim sitting in the passenger seat. I sat in the back of the car (to and from the meeting). As country music played on the car radio, I listened to the guys talk about Harleys, guns, car mufflers and Billy Joe Bob’s ex-wives. I deduced that he had been married five times, had 10 kids and just as many guns.

By the time I got home, I was really depressed.

Now in response to this situation, a woman with confidence and a healthy self-image would think, Later for this dude. Who the hell wants to be a bike warmer? Besides, I believe in gun control!

Instead, I had this thought: Maybe he really likes me and he’s just scared? I have to try harder. My God, being a bike warmer is a sexy thing! It’s worth the challenge!

I came up with another plan to entice Billy Joe Bob into my lair.

I was inspired by the character of Gemma Teller Morrow, played by Katey Sagal, on the TV biker drama Sons of Anarchy. God, Gemma was such a bitch! But she was hot, so I got this notion of making myself over Gemma-style.

This is the scene that I imagined, like something out of a bad movie:

Decked up like Gemma in black leather and lace, wearing over-the-knee leather boots, I saunter like a lioness into the Acton meeting. All heads turn in the crowded room. Billy Joe Bob is reading the Twelve and Twelve, so at first he doesn’t notice me. After he finishes, he looks up. Our eyes meet across the room.

During coffee break, I’m outside, smoking a cigarette. Billy Joe Bob zeroes in on me and gives me a hug. His motorcycle jacket smells of leather and garlic..

“You doing okay?” he asks.

I quote Gemma verbatim from Season Seven, Episode Six: “Had a gun in my face and I just walked 12 miles in spiked boots so, no, I’m not really okay.”

Here is what happened in real life. Except for the tight jeans, I had to acquire the entire Gemma wardrobe including a skull pendant. So I went shopping. I picked up a few sexy shirts from Ross and then I found the coolest leather boots with stiletto heels at Goodwill. I squinted to read the size.


I googled “size 240 in women’s shoes” on my iPhone. Size 240 converts to size seven in women’s shoes. I usually wear a size seven and a half or eight in boots but, my God, these boots were totally Gemma!

I sat down on a chair to pull them on. It was a bit of an effort, but I managed. They were snug. Well, leather stretches, so I had nothing to worry about.

The following Saturday night, I decked myself out. I wore tight jeans, a sexy shirt and the boots. I had heavy makeup on, including eyeliner. I forgot to pick up a skull amulet, so I rummaged through my costume jewelry and found a brass pewter pendant of a stony-eyed Medusa, complete with a coiffure of snakes.

I hobbled into the meeting.

Instead of Billy Joe Bob, I saw cakes. Cakes galore. The co-secretary saw me, waved and said, “Hey, girl! We have about 10 birthdays tonight. Last cake is for Joe Schmo, he’s celebrating 38 years!”

“Thirty-eight years? Jesus. I’m supposed to light 38 candles? Why don’t we just get those numerical candles?”

“Old timers earn those candles, girl.”

Really? On my time?

Then the secretary took another look at me and said, “You look really pretty.”

So there I was, waving my butane lighter, pretending I was Gemma with a Glock. And then Billy Joe Bob walked in, a half hour late. He stood nearby, as he watched me light the candles and cut the cakes.

Then he said, “You look different.” Pause. “You look nice.”

“Thanks,” I said.

You look nice.

And that was it.

The least he could have done was offer to help cut the damn cakes!

During the coffee break, I saw him flirting with a few young women. He didn’t glance in my direction.

During the meeting, I finally sat down, grateful to rest my weary feet. I barely listened to the speaker sharing about how great her life was due to AA, the steps and her wonderful husband—whom she had met in AA, of course.

My mind raced.

Even if I walk in dressed like Lady Gaga in the Bad Romance video, I don’t think Billy Joe Bob is into me. I don’t think we have anything in common. Just cause he has 20 years of sobriety doesn’t mean that he’s all there. And for that matter, I’m not all there either. I have to stop worrying about having a man in my life and about what other people think of me! Acceptance is the key! Goddamn it, are these boots real leather?

And then I had a realization, straight from Gemma Teller Morrow’s mouth, Season Four, Episode Seven: “You don’t have a normal life, baby. You have this one.”

I can live with that.

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About Author

Sevasti Iyama is a recovering alcoholic, writer and photographer from the Bronx and LA. She has written a novel, From Bel Air to Welfare, and is currently penning her second one, The Holy Face Medal and Other Stories.