I was talking to some new acquaintances recently. Since I write romance, they were curious about my dating history. They wanted to know if having a series of good dates makes one a good romance author or if having bad dates does. Well, I have to say that you need to experience both in order to tap into the whole gamut of human emotions.
I’d say the date that did the most damage happened in high school. To this day, I still feel the pain of this date. The pain of rejection never goes away. It hovers just below the surface and resurrects itself at the slightest hint of dismissal. Years of therapy later, I’m better now.
I had a major crush on this guy and I’m pretty sure my friends forced him to ask me out. I had to be 16 because Daddy wouldn’t have let me go otherwise, but I was very inexperienced in the whole dating department. It was a triple date, yet another reason Daddy let me go. We went to an ‘R’ rated movie. My friend and I got into the movie, but my date, who was a year older, got carded and we all got kicked out. That pissed the guy off. He pouted while the others figured out what to do instead. They suggested bowling.
Good God, I don’t bowl. For an introverted, geek, sashaying down the lane in front of everybody and flinging a ball wasn’t in my comfort zone. The worst blush I’ve ever had resulted from the disastrous combination of me, ugly, rented shoes and a 8# bowling ball. I awkwardly walked down the lane and drew my hand back to roll the ball down the lane and the ball dropped off my fingers and landed with a giant THUD behind me. Everyone in the bowling alley laughed. Okay, probably not everyone, but it sure felt like it. In my mind, there was a giant TV screen over the lanes showing my flub in slow-motion. Of course, that wasn’t the case, but I was still horrified. I tried to shake it off, but I was still embarrassed. I think I bowled a 32 or something equally impressive. I tried to be a good sport about it. Smiled, laughed at myself. Made some stupid jokes at my expense.
Somehow one of the couples learned of a bonfire at the lake. As if I’d be more comfortable at a kegger than a bowling alley. Remember, this was during my I-want-to-be-a-missionary stage of life. By the time we left the bowling alley, the other 2 couples were amorous. So was I, but I had no idea what to do about it. As my date and I sat on the tailgate of a truck and I pondered reaching for his hand, this girl walked over, stepped between my date’s legs and started kissing him. She pulled away and said, “Hi, I’m….” I have no idea what her name was, but to this day I remember her saying “Jezebel.” Then, she looked at me and asked, “Are you two together?”
Feigning indifference, I slid off the tailgate and joined a couple of potheads at the bonfire. Fortunately, several of us had curfews and mean daddies, so I didn’t have to wait long before it was time for us to leave. My friends were furious with my date. I acted like it didn’t bother me and told them to leave him alone. The worst part about it was at church the next day. The guy was all chatty and wanted to hold my hand. I wanted to say, “Yo, dude, you do realize you weren’t making out with me last night, right?” Instead I prayed.
Looking back on it, I realize that was the first time I used my now tried-and-true defense mechanism of rejecting a person before they rejected me. The method is so effective that I’ve missed out on a lot of opportunities for friendship.
Having a date so not into me was very damaging to my young ego. Now, I’d just politely take my leave, but at age 16, I was devastated.
How about you? Any horrible dates you want to share?