Before proceeding, please read My First Date – Slice 1!
It was an accident, OK?
Needless to say, my first forays into the incredibly complex and utterly maddening world of inter-gender dynamics were, shall we say,… much less than perfect.
Twelve is a miraculous age. We take our first tentative steps out of the garden of childhood into the larger, much more confusing world of adulthood. I was twelve when I went to my first dance. This was a birthday party for a boy my exact age, Kurt. We were born within mere days of each other. This brave young man decided that for his twelfth birthday, he wanted to host a dance. Looking back in retrospect, I’m really having a tough time fathoming this. Twelve! Twelve-year-old boys and girls are just kids to me. They are so very young: too young to be thinking in matters of “dating.”
Kurt announced toward the end of gift-opening and cake, that he would appreciate it if we would all stay for the dance. I had not yet discovered that I have two left feet. All I knew was that the words “dance” and “boys” were somehow connected with the slightly squeamish feeling in the pit of my stomach.
As dusk settled over the balmy summer night, fireflies began to wink at us as if they knew something we absolutely did not. Kurt’s mom had strewn the yard with white Christmas lights as well, giving the whole experience a surreal milieu, as if I’d entered a fairyland. The music started to play. Oh,… This is one of my favorite songs!
I was so caught up in the exquisiteness of this moment that I failed to immediately see the outstretched hand in front of me. His eyes met mine and I could already hear the wedding bells ringing. It was Kurt! The main man! The man of the hour! And he had chosen me — who me? — for his first dance! Gulp.
Never mind the fact that his hand felt like a cold wet fish, or that I forgot my own name… and his as well; or that neither of us knew what to do with these long gangly appendages that seem to be everywhere except where they were actually supposed to be: bein’ all boss and brilliant with our dance style. No, never mind that the adults were silently convulsed, laughing their heads off as each awkward pair joined the dance floor. (Oh look, there goes a head now.)
For all I knew Kurt and I had taken a magic carpet to the land of music, fireflies and zero gravity. When the music changed to a slow song he pulled me in close and put his hand in the middle of my back. Oh my,… This is definitely new. I lost all ability for comprehensive thought and speech. However I tried, I could not form a complete sentence if my life depended on it. I finally snapped out of it only when he was thanking me for the dance. What? It’s over? I nodded my head and couldn’t help but smile a little. I guess the floods of dopamine were still receding.
I really have no recollection of the rest of the night. I know there were other dances, and we didn’t stay all that late. It was not until the next morning that I realized I had been smitten — SMITTEN — by a boy! No,… no,… no,… no,… no! No! I will not become an air-headed, boy-crazed, Charlie taco! Close your heart, crabby! Do it now! I could not afford to lose my sanity over a boy.
Junior High and High School passed… kind of like a kidney stone.
Still no dates. Nope, not one. Oh, did you think I was counting those youthful flittings into the realm of opposite-sex courtship as dates? Nay, not so. I did not go on a single date all through high school. I had this special super-power of transparency. People could see right through me! By my Senior year, I had honed this amazing ability to absolute perfection.
And then, college happened. Somehow, when I arrived there, my superpower kind of vanished. A lot of people saw me. How about that? I guess my Jedi-mind-trick only works on the weak-minded.
It was the day before classes started. All the freshmen had been around for a couple of days going to orientation meetings, socializing, etc. I’d been here already for two weeks completing the marching band boot camp — Did you know they had such a thing? – and had met several people already. Not least of which were my fellow French-horns-men. It is about one of these upon which this next segment is based.
Back on campus,…
P.S. — French Horn players have terrific lips.