Sunday, February 19, 2006

My Blind Date Story

If you know me In Real Life, then you probably have already heard the story of my first and only blind date. But it's a good one, so here goes.

When I was 17, I was a senior in high school. It was a bad year for me. I'd been dumped unceremoniously on my ass by my first real boyfriend at the beginning of the school year, and then watched as ex-boyfriend started dating a succession of girls, including a good friend of mine, C. (who later dumped him, and I wasn't too mature to secretly enjoy his sadness over that). And then this same good friend went on to not only beat me out in a school Shakespeare competition - girlfriend went on to win the national competition and win a free trip to England.

But I digress. C. - who did, believe it or not, remain a good friend, which is kind of a success story for female friendships - and I made it to the spring of our graduation year, and we looked around and were fairly unimpressed with the datable boys. We had known many of them for years, which was weird because it meant that everyone had a past and that we all knew exactly what it was. We never really had the opportunity to meet new guys - there was school, and we knew most of the people in school (or thought we did - I suspect now that there were a lot of people who flew under our radar whom we would have liked to know). Then there was the occasional show (i.e., concert - OMD, Thompson Twins, Psychedelic Furs, etc.), but it was difficult to just strike up a conversation with people we didn't know. As an adult, it's sort of expected that you would do that, but as a teenager, at least as a teenager in a small city in the late '80s, that wasn't done very easily. And in the unlikely event that we should meet an unattached strange guy, either he was literally strange and therefore not dating material, or he was already dating someone.

But C. and I had decided to branch out anyway - we decided we needed to start meeting, not boys, but men. And somehow, perhaps through her older sister, C. had met a real grown-up 24-year-old man.


Bob, the mailman.

C. and Bob decided to arrange a double date, so they agreed to each invite a friend. C. invited me. Bob invited his friend, Don, who was also 24.

Don, the prison guard.

Now, the first thing you have to realize is that we were utterly clueless about what horrible things could possibly happen to a couple of high school girls on dates with grown-ups. We never thought about why two men would be interested in dating us high school girls. So we prepared for the date pretty much the same way we would have prepared for any date, which is to say that our major concern was looking hot.

On the evening of date night, I told my mom I was going over to C.'s, C. told her mom she was going over to my house, and the two of us went off to meet our dates. Neither C. nor I had our driver's licenses, so, as the plan was to drive to a larger city about 20 minutes away, we were depending on Bob and Don to drive us wherever we were going and to get us home again. C. and I had a brief discussion about what we should do if either of the guys tried to drive after drinking. We agreed that in such an event, we would refuse to ride with them. C. was particularly adamant about this.

When Bob and Don arrived, we all got into the car. C. noticed a MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) air freshener hanging from the rearview mirror and pointed at it with a smirk. Bob made a great show of snatching it down, tossing it over his shoulder, and pulling out a bottle of wine from under the driver's seat as he turned the key in the ignition and shifted gears. Wordlessly, I turned to C., waiting for her to be my hero and make Bob stop the car. But C. simply giggled and took a swig from the bottle. (I've never asked her why. I suppose it's for the same reason that I, too, did not speak up - I was more afraid of looking like a foolish kid than of getting into an accident.)

Well, I reasoned to myself, if I can't do anything about driver drinking, at least I can consume the alcohol myself so that he can't get drunk. So I proceeded to drink as much of the bottle as I could, and got drunk in about ten minutes. Unfortunately for me, Bob had a second bottle stashed under his seat. I knew when I was beat, so I gave up trying to be heroic at that point and concentrated on not getting sick.

(Just to give you a visual of the mid-'80s, when we got to the first bar on what was to be a pretty thorough pub crawl, Bob grabbed a shirt out of the trunk of his car and changed in the parking lot. The shirt was blue and black, probably with wide vertical stripes. If you've ever seen the movie, The Wedding Singer, it was exactly the sort of shirt Adam Sandler's character's best friend would wear. 'Nuff said. I'm just mentioning it as a bit of set dressing.)

We went into the bar and ordered drinks. C. and I ordered White Russians, which we thought of as classy drinks, and perhaps, in 1986, they were. What I remember from this stop was that Don was beginning to get amorous, and his unique and charming way of showing his affection was to ask if he could look at my watch, take my wrist, and then lick my hand - and not in a good way, if there is such a thing, but in a way that made me want to say, "at least consider the feelings of the other people here, who really don't want to see this."

After that, the evening is kind of a blur (the only surprise there is that the blur didn't begin earlier). I remember "crashing" the prom of our rival high school and visiting with some friends there, and I remember that Bob and Don began begging us to go to a hotel with them (which was just not going to happen). We went to a few more bars and clubs, and dealing with Don became more and more difficult. I will spare you the gory details, but let's just say that every time I think of this date, I feel lucky that C. and I got home without being raped. The guys never got violent, but they were insistent to the point of being pretty overwhelming.

When it became clear to Don that I wasn't going to sleep with him, he tried one last time to get me to give in. His line? "I told my girlfriend I had to work late so I could go out with you." (In case you were wondering, no, I had no idea he had a girlfriend.)

But the kicker: the next week at school, I saw Don again. He was riding on his motorcycle, and riding behind him was his girlfriend.

She was 14.

And pregnant.

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