Yesterday's blog broke some major rules for me. (1) Excessive pity-partying, which was completely obnoxious considering I know many people who have struggled with infertility for far more than six months; (2) Writing about TTC; (3) Whining.
Oh, who am I kidding. I break rule number 3 ALL THE TIME.
Today, we're going in another direction: Another stroll down memory lane, back to the days of cruising in The Buick, and then going outside of town to find an old barn and get footloose. (Or something like that, haha). Back to the worst date of my life.
In fact, I'd like to suggest that it just might be The Very Worst Date of All Time Anywhere Ever. But you can be the judge.
Note: Names have been changed to protect the innocent, the guilty, and the stupid high school kids that we all were.
I was a senior in high school. It was Homecoming.
I had a steady boyfriend for most of high school. For this story, we'll call him Mike. Mike and I had a couple of dramatic break ups (including the time he dumped me for a red haired girl the summer before my senior year) so we were on a break at the time of Homecoming.
And, yes, I was pissed about the red haired girl. So when a friend of Mike's--we'll call him TJ--asked me out at the very beginning of the school year, I thought it was kind of a jerk thing to do, to date your friend's ex-girlfriend. And I accepted. Because I was mad and I wanted to get back at Mike.
Dating TJ seemed like a great plan for other reasons, too. I was feeling a lot of (mostly self-inflicted) pressure about college decisions and good grades and TJ was... not worried about that kind of thing. Totally unconcerned, in fact. TJ was, well, kind of stoner. He smoked cigarettes and listened to alternative music and talked really slow. One day, a few weeks into our relationship, we were walking down the hall together at school and he grabbed my hand. Whoa! PDA! I didn't mind. But I think it surprised people who noticed. As he escorted me to class, holding my hand, I actually saw a teacher's jaw drop and she started whispering about us to another teacher.
We were an unexpected couple, to say the least. To be honest, this was my favorite thing about TJ. I mean, I thought he was cute and sort of interesting, but mostly I thought that dating him would make ME seem edgy and cool. (Obviously, I was kind of a self-absorbed jerk. Still trying to grow out of that phase.)
I have no idea what TJ thought he was getting out of it, except that he'd just come out of a serious long term relationship also, so we were both on the rebound, wanting to get back at our exes, not wanting to get serious, but definitely wanting to date someone else. Possibly, anyone else. I just happened to be willing and available.
Anyway, TJ was too cool for school (while I was, in the immortal words of Pink, "too school for cool"), so I was pleasantly surprised when he asked me if I wanted to go to Homecoming together. Although we'd gone on a couple of dates. I think we saw a movie and once we went to Dairy Queen (Although I realize it sounds like we dated in the 1950s, really we just lived in a small town and it wasn't quite like Footloose.). We hadn't really spent that much time together. But I liked him--or at least the idea of him--enough to overlook the fact that the couple of times we'd kissed, his lips were super chapped and he tasted like ashtray.
I'd also heard that Mike had recently split with the red haired girl. So going to homecoming with TJ seemed like a perfect way to go on a date with someone I thought was cool AND to appear as though I couldn't care less about Mike.
So I bought a new shirt to wear to the game and to the dance that followed (all our school dances were informal except for prom and the Halloween dance--otherwise, everyone wore jeans). It was a short-sleeved turtleneck sweater in kind of an oatmeal color (it seemed really cool at the time, I promise) and I wore it with Calvin Klein jeans and Doc Martins. I put on mascara and I hot rolled my hair into what I imagined would be perfect, bouncy waves.
TJ picked me up and we went to the game. It was unusually hot, so I felt a little sweaty in my TURTLENECK (but it was short-sleeved!). By the time the band performed at halftime, my carefully hot-rolled hair had frizzed out and then wilted completely. Still, I having a pretty good time.
The game was almost over and I was standing around talking with TJ and some of his friends (or, more accurately, I was standing there trying to look cool in my short-sleeved turtleneck with my limp, sweaty hair, while they talked about some band I'd never heard of), when, out of no where, I got STUNG on the thumb by a wasp.
And it freaking hurt.
It hurt so much I couldn't say anything. I gasped and grabbed my thumb (smushing the wasp, who was still perched on it) and I stood there, trying to breathe, my eyes filling with tears. Then the tears spilled over and ran down my face until one of TJ's friends said, "Uh, dude, what's wrong with her?"
I managed to indicate that I'd been stung by a wasp and I made myself stop crying. TJ was, understandably, somewhat confused and not sure what to do. I had this vague idea that you were supposed to put baking soda on a wasp sting. So we decided to leave the game, go to my house to doctor my wasp wound (and reapply mascara), and then go to the dance. On the way there, I imagined a really cute scenario in my kitchen where he would tenderly bandage my thumb and then we would kiss. And, somehow, he wouldn't taste like ash tray.
None of that happened. I bandaged my own thumb in the kitchen while he watched TV in the living room. I think I also put my hair in a ponytail (because I know when to admit defeat). Then we headed to the dance. The baking soda concoction didn't work as I had expected, and my thumb throbbed painfully most of the night (until I self-medicated at a party later).
So, TJ and I show up a little late to the dance. My friends are already there. People are dancing. TJ asks me to slow dance. As we're swaying to "November Rain," this kid comes up to us. We'll call him Bobby. Bobby was in special education classes at our high school. He was a friendly, enthusiastic guy, and he loved football so the team treated him kind of like their mascot. It also happens that TJ's ex-girlfriend (we'll call her Melanie) was a super nice girl who went out of her way to be SUPER nice to Bobby. I was much less outgoing, and while I'd always been polite and friendly to Bobby if I'd been around him, we hadn't interacted much. I'm not sure he even knew my name.
At the dance, during "November Rain," Bobby walks up to TJ and me, and from the back, he must have thought I was TJ's ex-girlfriend (perhaps with a new, terrible hair style), because he started to say hi to us and then did a double take. He looked at me, looked at TJ, looked back at me, then turned to TJ and said, "Where's Melanie?"
"Uh, we broke up," TJ said, also feeling awkward, I'm sure. I was casually glancing around the gym as though I couldn't hear every word the conversation they were having LESS THAN AN ARM'S REACH away from me, as TJ and I were still swaying away in our school-slow-dance pose. There was an awkward pause. I offered Bobby a big, friendly smile. I'm sure he knew it was fake.
Bobby blinked at TJ in disbelief. He turned and looked at me, my fake smile plastered on my face. He squinted. Then he looked back at TJ and said, "Asshole."
And then he spun on his heel and stomped away.
In retrospect, that's pretty funny. At the time, I mostly wanted to cry. Mercifully, "November Rain" finally wrapped up and I excused myself to go to the bathroom and tell my girlfriends what Bobby had just said and get a little sympathy from them. They might have laughed at me, too. Because it actually was really funny.
Meanwhile, TJ and his friends made some plans to have a party at TJ's house. His mom was working nights so we would be without adult supervision. A party at TJ's was always fun because TJ had an older brother, Bryce, and between the two of them they had lots of friends, some of whom were able to buy beer. So TJ invited me to come to the party after the dance, and told me to invite my friends, and I felt pretty cool. (Normally Mike would have been included in TJ and Bryce's friends, but Mike was pretty pissed that TJ and I were dating--as I'd hoped!--so I knew he wouldn't be there.)
After the dance, we all headed to TJ's house. There was music and beer and it was a pretty big party, so I spent most of the evening talking to my friends, not hanging out with TJ, but seeing him off and on as we all moved between the backyard and the kitchen and the living room. He'd give me a hug or kiss my cheek. I thought that was cute. I might have even had a can of cold beer, you know, just to hold against my wasp sting. After all, it was a party. Before we knew it, it was getting close to my midnight curfew, and my friends were all getting ready to leave.
So I decided to find TJ and tell him I need to get home. And I found him TOTALLY SCHWASTED. I didn't think it had been more than fifteen or twenty minutes since I'd talked to him, but at this point, he was totally obliterated. Not only could he not drive me home, he couldn't even WALK. His brother was trying to get him into bed but he was being really belligerent and yelling my name.
So I go over there to see what the hell is going on, and TJ tries to apologize to me for being drunk. He really wants to tell me he's sorry, but he's so messed up, he can't really form words. I tell him that I accept his apology and Bryce tries to drag him down the hall to his bedroom, but he won't go without me, so he was fighting and kicking Bryce. I was horrified. Bryce was pretty drunk himself, but I think he was embarrassed by TJ, too. So I helped him drag TJ's drunk ass down the hall, dump him in his bed, and pull off his shoes.
By this point, I'm pissed, and totally over TJ, and just wanting to go home. But now he was lying in bed, almost to the point of crying, and begging me not to go. So I told Bryce it was fine, I'd stay, and I sat on the edge of his bed waited for him to pass out. It took about three minutes. Also, I'm pretty sure he was mumbling Melanie's name. Great.
I stood up, took a deep breath, I told myself this whole date was a stupid idea, I'd never go out with TJ again, and I'd put one of my friends on a mission to find out if the rumor about Mike breaking up with the red haired girl was true. No! I wouldn't. I'd forget all about boys and just wait until I got to college and could date someone more mature. I gathered up what was left of my dignity and walked back down the hallway, planning to catch a ride from one of my girlfriends and unload on her about how horrible my night had been.
Except my girlfriends had somehow totally missed the ruckus that was TJ's drunk ass getting dragged to bed, and in the time it took him to pass out and dream of Melanie, all my friends had already left the party, assuming that my date would be driving me home. When I stepped into the dining room, the girls were gone and it was just Bryce and his buddies, playing cards, drinking, and smoking.
I stood in the doorway for a second, silently freaking out, and then said, "Uh, can someone give me a ride home?"
The guys all looked up in surprise that I was still there and the whole place got super quiet. You could hear the TV in the next room. I realized everyone there was probably drunk. And then one of the older guys, the dude who had bought the beer, started laughing.
And that just did me in. I started to cry and I bolted for the front door. I threw it open and flung myself outside.
Except my so-cute-at-the-time-really-it-was-I-swear shortsleeved turtleneck sweater got caught on the handle of the door. Along with the lace on my bra. And since I'd used all my force to swing the door open, it RIPPED right through both of them.
So there I was, standing in TJ's front yard at midnight, in tears, with my shirt ripped open across the chest and my front-clasp bra busted wide open. I must have looked like a victim of a violent sex crime. There was no way I could go back inside and get one of those older guys to give me a ride home. So, I did the only thing I could think to do. I held my bra together with my hands and start running down the street, heading home.
TJ didn't live that far from my parents, really, so I knew it was a walkable distance. However, I'd never had to walk it in the middle of the night with a torn shirt and no bra. I was feeling VERY sorry for myself and very much like an ill-used and unfortunate heroine in a gothic novel as I stomped indignantly down the street.
At the end of the block, I arrived at a well-lit park. I turned right to head for home. Then I saw that strolling toward me on the sidewalk were three totally creepy guys who had recently gotten expelled from school and were not allowed to be at the Homecoming dance. They were Trouble. Way worse than a can of Natty Light at a party trouble. Like real, scary trouble. I sort of froze in place. I had no idea if they would harass me or if they'd just let me pass by. Also keep in mind: MY SHIRT WAS RIPPED OPEN and I was pulling the material back together and holding my boobs with my hands.
I think I stood there, frozen in the yellow circle of a street light, wondering how the hell my homecoming date had come to this, and whether I should just say hi like I stroll through the park at midnight all the time, or just make a break for it and hope that these guys wouldn't chase me for sport if I ran, when a car pulled in to the parking lot and a familiar voice yelled my name.
It was another friend of Mike's (and TJ's) who had been at the party and was one of the guys playing cards--we'll call him Dusty. Evidently he felt bad when I ran out of TJ's house, and he was sober, so he'd gotten in his Jeep and followed me. I'd never been so glad to see him in my life. So I quickly climbed in his car, he asked me if I was okay and what the hell happened to me. I explained that my shirt had torn on the front door, and he drove me home while I complained about how shitty the night was and how Mike had dumped me for a red haired girl and TJ was an drunken idiot, and Bobby had said mean stuff to us at the dance, and my friends had LEFT me all alone. Yes, there were some tears. Dusty, bless his heart, was a good listener for the three-minute drive it took to get to my house. Then he pulled in my driveway and I thanked him and wiped my nose on the back of my hand and got out of the car.
That's when I realized that Mike was parked in front of my house. In some kind of bizarre, misguided, "romantic" gesture, he'd been waiting for me to get home from my date with TJ so he could tell me he HAD broken up with the red haired girl and he was sorry. (And probably so he could tell TJ to go to hell.)
Instead of seeing TJ drop me off, Mike saw me get out of Dusty's Jeep, holding my shirt together and sniffling. So he got out of his truck and started yelling at Dusty. And Dusty and I were trying to explain what had happened, but the whole story was so ridiculous and Mike was furious and I started wondering if someone might punch someone else, and I remember thinking that in a movie, this kind of situation would be really exciting and romantic, but in real life it was just horrible and embarrassing. Also keep in mind: I was covering my own chest with my hands throughout the entire conversation / shouting match. I was so mad at TJ, and now even more mad at Mike, and I really thought the night could not possibly get any worse.
But then my DAD came out on the front porch and said it was time for everyone to go home. And then I died of embarrassment.
This part's a little vague, what with me having to come back from death of embarrassment, so I don't quite know how I managed to get inside without having to answer my dad's questions. I think he stood there until Dusty and Mike drove away, probably glaring at them, so I crossed my arms over my chest and managed to scurry past him and get upstairs without getting interrogated, or him noticing that my shirt was ripped. I threw that STUPID short-sleeved turtleneck sweater AND the broken bra into my trash can I washed my face. I put an ice cube on my wasp sting. And I went to bed, confident that I'd just had the worst date of my life.
At least I was totally right about that.
TJ and I never went out again, and I avoided him at school on Monday. Later that week, though, I bumped into him in the produce section of the grocery store where he worked. He apologized, I said it was okay, and we never really talked much after that. No hard feelings, though.
I called my friends on Saturday and gave them a huge guilt trip about leaving me at the party. They genuinely felt bad about it; they hadn't realized that TJ was so hammered, or that I'd end up stuck there by myself. I forgave them.
Mike and I did get back together eventually. He apologized to Dusty (as did I) and he even kind of became friends with TJ again. Our final break up (in college) was sad, but we just wanted different things from life. We're no longer in touch these days, but I think of him fondly and I still adore his family.
I'm not sure what happened to the trio of delinquents at the park, but I don't think any of them graduated from high school so I'm not real optimistic for them.
As for me, I never had another date quite as bad as that one. My second-to-worst date was in college, and it involved vomit (mine). Still not as bad as Homecoming my senior year.
So... Can you top a the humiliation of a wasp sting, a blatant insult, an impossibly drunk date, a ripped shirt, a broken bra, an encounter with hoodlums in a park a night, and a driveway confrontation involving your ex-boyfriend, a guy just trying to be nice, and YOUR DAD? If you can, I'll gladly give YOU the Very Worst Date of All Time Anywhere Ever Award. Otherwise, I maintain that the title belongs to me.