LIFE CAN SUCK SOMETIMES
My first date was well... one of those things I'd rather forget, but darn it, it hangs on like a tick.
I grew up part of the boys. I played hard ball, football (tackle, much to my mother's dismay and my father's mirth), Combat, and a rather violent form of kick the can that involved shoving and tackling. My neighborhood was predominately Catholic at a time when the rhythm method was the birth control of choice, so there was never a shortage of children. Unfortunately for me, most of them were boys or older and younger than me if female. As per the custom in our house, the older sibling was responsible for the younger. My poor brother, only a year and a half older than me was elected to be my caretaker. His friends were pretty good sports about it because I was not a cry baby. I was able to play rough and give as well as get.
This did little to prepare me for dating. You'd think that I would know how to talk to boys and have nothing at all to fear from them. But a funny thing happened when my brother went to junior high school and he and his friends discovered girls. I was dropped from their activities like a hot potato. I spent a year in limbo, having only girls to hang out with from school. But they did girly stuff... took dance lessons, went to charm school and talked about boys as boyfriends endlessly. Yech. If a boy had dared to kiss me at that point, I'd have slugged him hard enough to rattle his back teeth.
A new girl moved in within a block of me the year we began junior high. Let's call her Euglena. She was the only child of much older parents that I was used to seeing. We happened to have the same exact birthday... born in the same hospital and within an hour of each other. Her parents were nice and treated me very well. Bithdays were spent every year at the Ice Capades and a fancy diner after. I got to go on trips and out to do fun things. It was a way to keep Euglena happy with company. Worked well for me too.
They worked for an organization that takes in troubled boys, saves them from time in juvy and returns them to their parents as changed fellows. (Yeah... right!) Euglena was crawling in bad boys turned Christians. Hey, you do what you have to do to escape incarseration and you are thankful. They were everywhere that we were. Euglena had charm and selfesteem to beat the band. I was the awkward second. The bad boys would flirt with me and I went instantly stupid... no clue what to say or how to act. I giggled.
Euglena and parents were intent on getting me hooked up with one of the boys so that Euglena and I could double date. Safety in numbers you know. One day Euglena informs me that we are double dating and I have a blind date with B. Oh my god... B! Yikes... only the most drooled over guy in church. He was a good three years older than me... a high school guy. Handsome and somewhat stuck on himself. Looking back now I wonder what huge favor the guy owed them or what bribery it took for him to consent to this date.
Saturday afternoon we were supposed to go ice skating with Euglena and her current love interest. Now my folks had a rule, no boys over a year older than us could date us. So I kept my trap shut and only admitted to ice skating. They picked me up. Euglena's fellow was driving and I was placed in the back seat with an uncomfortable looking B, both of us hugging our respective doors and gazing out the windows to avoid looking at each other.
This was just past Christmas and I was wearing the new pant suit my mother had given me as a present. I'd never worn it or one before or let me tell you... since. It was very girly... gag a maggot. I'd have been much more comfortable in my levi's and one of my brother's jerseys. I'd allowed Euglena and her mother to put make up on my face... another huge no-no in my family for girls my age. I could not have been less at ease.
We got to our destination... the ice skating rink out in a par of town that I was not allowed to see or be in. Once inside, the others put on their skates quickly and hit the ice while I was still trying to figure out how you laced the damned things. I could roller skate backwards as easily as forwards and was trying to convince myself that ice skates must be similar. Finally I wobbled onto the ice and took some careful strides into the traffic. Dorthy Hammel had nothing to fear from my lack of talent.
B passed me twice, doing turns and twirls, showing off I suppose, though unlikely for me. For anyone who wanted to admire him. On the third pass, he grabbed my hand and drug me along. I tried to smile and keep up, one arm milling around to keep me upright. A more graceless being was not in the rink that day. Somewhere soon after, we took a sharp turn to avoid some slower skaters with common sense and I lost contact with B's hand... the only thing between me and the bane of my dating years.
Arms flailing and no control what so ever... I crashed into the side of the rink and did the splits on my trip to the ice. A nice older couple stopped to help me to my shaky feet. I felt a draft of cold air and unwilling to check it out there and then, I wobbled to the side of the rink and into the girls restroom.
As a young child just starting school, my mother lined up her brood every morning as we were about to leave the house for inspection. Now my mother was a bit of a fanatic about her children and how they presented themselves. I do not know which child it was that had decided one day to skip underwear, but someone had who was older than me. So inspection included a check for underwear... and to be sure it was clean underwear. It was an odd and unsettling event each school day, but we always did as she asked and showed her our panties. I assure you she was not a pervert, just unwilling to take a chance that we would be found without them. At least she took our word on weather they were clean or not, but she did ask.
Let me tell you, I silently thanked my mother for that odd ritual that day in the rink. My pants were split from one inner knee to the other inner knee... leaving me with a very weird "chaps" sort of effect, with my clean and lovely pink panties with the eyelet lace trim wide open for viewing. Heaven only knows how many people had viewed them on the way into the restroom.
Well, I was mortified beyond my ability to deal with that situation. I sat in a stall until Euglena arrived to see if I was okay. NO. But at least she had some sort of solution. We dug into our purses and pockets and bought a bazillion kotex pads from the vending machine for the safety pins that came with them. It was certain that I would not be skating more that day. Safetly pins are not all that safe, as I found out a few times in the miserable hour or two that we remained at the rink. Nor could I even look B in the face. I must have looked very charming that lovely shade of scarlet.
At long last the date ended and we got in the car to leave. Originally we were going to go out for diner after, but that was scuttled. I was dropped off and B acted the gentleman and walked me to my door. We mumbled good bye. I'm sure he was just as glad as I was to be done with the whole awful mess.
(In later years when my folks knew that I was on a date, my dad would watch out the window for my arrival and would flick the porch light on and off rapidly until I was inside the house and my poor date fled.)
I still find dating to be a horrible nerve wracking event. Here I am a grandma with clear understanding of the interactions of men and women... and it does not help an iota on a first date. In my head I keep thinking about everything that can go wrong. I also carry a small roll of duct tape in my purse... no safety pins required! But you will not get me on ice skates. I can promise you that.
Okay, I think the weird creep issue is taken care of now. No worries. The frogs were less frisky tonight. Good, because I needed a break. I have a date on Saturday with one I have dated before who lives within an hour of travel. A first date with a new one on Sunday. I had fun on the phone with my favorite frog for a bit. Meanwhile the frog trains keep on rolling...
Gosh I love Johnny Cash.