Jungle Snake In the Powder Room YesAllWomen

Jungle Snake

“He travels the fastest who travels alone.” – Rudyard Kipling.


Picture it. Costa Rica, 2005.

To reward myself for finally finishing college, I hauled my happy ass to a little village where the jungle meets the coastline. I went alone. I was single and not even thinking about men. Well, maybe thinking about, but not bothering with. I took up residence in a hut, swung in a hammock and read Robinson Crusoe at the ocean’s edge. The beach was all mine. The locals didn’t hang there and there was a popular surfing spot a couple miles up, where the tourists flocked. For two months, I lounged in a private paradise.

Just before sunset, the day before I left, I emerged from the jungle and walked, a quarter mile toward the peen-insula (the penis of land forms), to say goodbye.

I slid into a tide-pool the size of a large hot-tub to soak it all in. Just the ocean, the palm trees and me. Ahhhhhhh. Crap. Someone was coming my way from around the corner. A dude in bright orange swim-trunks.

Move it along, Buddy, I thought, unable to enjoy myself until he’d wandered out of sight.

But he didn’t. Instead, he sat down under MY perfect cluster of palm trees, twenty feet directly behind me.

Dammit, man! You’ve got a whole, empty beach here. There’s nothing special about the view here. Why you got to sit there and mess with my moment? my mind fumed.

Oh . . . wait. Maybe there IS something special about the view, I considered. I’m in it.

I went into alert mode, uneasiness invaded my gut.

I’ve got police-like instincts. I tend to be hyper aware of my surroundings and suspicious, especially when traveling alone. I had become used to constantly spinning in circles, because there was no one to watch my back.

I played it cool. The only offense he had committed was ruining my Zen. I continued to float in my pool, bidding farewell to the fishes and glancing at him, periodically, in my peripheral.

He seemed to be looking past me, out to sea, but I couldn’t shake the feeling.

Unable to relax, my feminism boiled. I wasn’t about to run away because “I’m just a girl.”

Ten minutes passed before I registered movement in the area covered by his caution-flag colored swimwear.

El-Sleazo the Paradise Invader confirmed his identity. He was tugging at his jungle snake under his shorts.

And then it wasn’t under his shorts.

I reached down and picked up a baseball-sized rock. It took all my restraint not to charge and brain him with it. Instead, I gave no indication of what I saw, packed up and walked away with purpose. Angry, violated, I-can’t-believe-that-creep-just-wanked-all-over-my-memory purpose. He did not follow. I could have killed him for trying to put his penis all over my paradise.

I’m not entirely up on Costa Rican culture, but I’m almost certain that spanking it at a stranger on the beach, is NOT a custom.


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Carisa Miller is a sarcasm wielding, cherub lugging, cheese devouring, nut-job. Writing what she describes as Human Interest Humor, her essays are meaningfully filled with one-liners and, on occasion, intentionally filled with meaning. She has been featured on such marvelous sites as In the Powder Room, Scary Mommy, Honest Mom and Blogher, is a contributing author to The Herstories Project anthology and is the director of Listen To Your Mother: Portland. A collection of her jokes, links to published work and blog are all gathered at CarisaMiller.com and can be found scattered across so many other social media forums, if she listed them all, your head might explode.

Keep the conversation going...



  1. says

    You had me at “peen-insula,” Carisa. I love how you can make me laugh and get all pissed off in the same article. I’m so impressed about you traveling alone in Costa Rica for 2 months and simultaneously horrified that you were assaulted like this. I love that you grabbed a rock and were poised to protect yourself. And I’m so glad you didn’t have to use it or that nothing worse happened. But mostly I’m just marveling at your ability to make such an awkward and potentially scary situation so funny and ridiculous. May “El-Sleazo,” and all the El-Sleazos of the world know that exposing themselves isn’t perceived as a power play…it’s comedy material.

  2. says

    WTF is it with these guys? I’ve encountered them all over the world, and they’re all the same. You just want to sit in your space and BE, and they have to go put their John Thomases all over your tranquility. Have you been following the #YesAllWomen hashtag on The Twitter?

    • says

      Yes I have, Kathleen. I read a wonderful piece by Sasha Weiss at the New Yorker last night on the power of #YesAllWomen. I wrote this before the movement, but as I went to bed last night, knowing my penis pervert piece was going to run sometime this week, I saw it’s place in the discussion. I am grateful to Leslie, for recognizing it and making the connection on ITPR today.

  3. says

    There are very few writers who could make this story as funny as you did. I love it. This sums it up beautifully: “Angry, violated, I-can’t-believe-that-creep-just-wanked-all-over-my-memory purpose.” Good for you for protecting yourself, maintaining your composure (I would have been tempted to rip his head off en Español.), getting yourself out of there, and then reframing the violation into comedy.

    • says

      Thank you, Foxy! This was a tricky one. The situation could have been so much worse and in that respect it isn’t appropriate to make fun of it. But there is also something valuable and empowering in being able to stand up for myself and point and laugh at the sleazeball who would pull something like that.

  4. says

    Hear hear! Thank you, Leslie. Writing about it raised (<-ha) many emotions, for me. I know that being able to laugh about it is a coping mechanism and a luxury, considering far worse potential outcomes. Making jokes doesn't mean I don't take it seriously. Ten years after the fact, I am quickly re-filled with rage and a sense of being violated and straight-up ew. Stupid jerk. (Not you, you're lovely.)

  5. says

    I had no idea where this was going – a wardrobe malfunction? A miscommunication? But ewwwww! I would probably have run screaming. What is up with dudes?? Not that he represents all dudes, but I am guessing there are far more guys who would pull a stunt like this than females. What is this guy doing now I wonder?? How does a perv like that go about his daily life? ick! But your story did entertain me :o)

  6. says

    I too was not expecting the ending and was so glad you listened to your instincts and then were prepared to defend yourself if need be. Glad it didn’t come to that but very ticked off that he ruined your zen. I totally agree, very few writers could make me laugh at one minute, get scared the next and then get really pissed off. You are a rock star!

  7. says

    Wow, and ewww and WTF? That pretty much sums me up on this one! Super-impressed with the 2 month vacay! I don’t think I could have ever done that alone. So glad you were “safe” in the end.

  8. says

    Carisa, I was laughing one moment and enraged the next. Again and again. I had to read it twice because I read it so quickly the first time. I wanted to know what was going to happen. I had to get to the end to take a breath. Well done, you…on all counts. Well done.

    • says

      Fantastic writing and story! I had a similar experience at my apartment complex when I was in college. Took my dog out to lee just before a storm and we were the only ones outside. I looked up and saw what I thought was a man standing it his window wearing black underwear. Then I realized he was wanking ….. That was hair/fur, not underwear. Yep. When I looked at him, he started wanking faster. I grabbed the dog and ran in my house. I was very disgusted and creeped out.

  9. says

    when you picked up the rock I thought you were going to hurl it at his junk-box and this was all going to end in a Three Stooges/John Hughes /Judd Apatow mashup of hilarity and then I remembered, no this ISN’T a movie where it all works out in the end when the sassy gal takes charge and sets the world right. And I’m sooo glad you didn’t b/c really what are the odds that it would hit the sweet spot, disable him and you’d jog away fist-pumping into the sunset? Approx zero. Though I totally would go see that movie.

    • says

      I never considered throwing it at him, I wanted to run up to him and repeatedly smash the rock into his skull. Also, I have crap aim. Any attempt to launch would have fallen short, a sad trombone would sound and the camera would pan in for my close-up as I threw my hands up shrugged my shoulders. Awww, shucks. I missed that wacky wacker.

  10. says

    Yikes! As soon as you said you had that feeling in your gut, I knew this was going to turn bad. Good lesson I hope to instill in my girls: ALWAYS listen to your gut, and NEVER don’t listen to it for fear of offending someone.