I didn’t date much in high school, and one of my first dates should have been enough to convince me never to try it again. In fact, it was was so awful that I take the fact that I ever dated again after the experience as proof that I am an optimist. Most of my high school life life was one unrequited crush after another. I had a few dates and boyfriends before I met Carl, my husband and the love of my life, but until then, romance was far more Comedy of Errors than a Midsummer Night’s Dream. The most memorable of these third rate romances was a blind date that one of my best friends, Denise, set me up on.
Every time I look back on it, I think, “Denise, what were you thinking?” I don’t remember his name, and I’m sure he doesn’t remember mine, but I do remember how ill-suited we were for each other, even for a single evening together.
Our date started out with Denise and me meeting our dates at the miniature golf course in Gatlinburg. My date was a friend of Denise’s boyfriend, and while Denise and I had enough in common for a sound friendship, I never could see the attraction her boyfriend held for her.
I know what you’re thinking: If I didn’t think highly of her boyfriend, what made me think I’d like a friend of his? Answer: I have no idea; I was a stupid teenager. Denise somehow convinced me it would be fun to double-date. It was not.
To fully appreciate the disaster that is about to strike there on that golf course, you must understand that I have always been a very academic sort: I read the entire works of Edgar Allan Poe; I enjoyed debating the true nature of Lady Macbeth’s crime with a fellow Shakespeare nerd; I diagrammed sentences just for fun; I played classical piano; I took Latin as an elective. I hate sports, all sports. Well, not figure skating.
To this person, my friend Denise–who should have known better–introduced a football player. Now, I am well aware that some football players can speak in words of more than one syllable. In fact, a few years later, I dated a football player who was working in Gatlinburg for his summer break from college. Let me assure you that Denise’s boyfriend’s friend–let’s just go ahead and call him Bubba (I’m sure someone did)–was not destined for any college anywhere. Ever. I’m not sure he was destined to read.
He tried to to nice. I guess. He might have been. It was hard to tell. We had difficulty communicating: me with my big words like evening and enjoyable, and him with his heavy hillbilly accent. Making matters even worse–oh, yes, they could be worse–he dipped tobacco. What could possibly be more disgusting? And on a first date? Seriously? And he hunted. Of course, he hunted. Why would I think he didn’t? So between spitting and garbled tales of meaningless bloodshed, the evening limped on as I vowed to shed Denise’s blood the next day. Finally, I could take the vile spitting no longer, and I stopped being politely quiet. (I couldn’t participate in any conversations about hunting or football–Bubba and Denise’s boyfriend’s complete repertoire.)
To ensure that Bubba–and Denise– would recognize this for the disaster it was, I began to introduce my own topics into the conversation. If they could talk dead animals, I could talk dead kings. Didn’t they think Macbeth had been equally culpable in Duncan’s murder?… Dirty look at Denise…Weren’t weakness and lack of moral fortitude their own crimes? …Fear in Denise’s eyes… And was Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” too overdone?…Overly sweet smile at Denise… I thought Grieg was overlooked, anyone else? Anybody? Denise? No? Oh, well.
I don’t remember who won our game of mini golf. I do remember that Bubba and I mercifully never saw each other again. I guess Bubba had a bad date, too. If he had the mental capacity to understand that the only interest I had in him was as possible evidence of the missing link. Just in case you’re wondering: No, I did not murder Denise. I wanted to, but I didn’t. Yay, self control! She never did explain how she thought setting me up with Bubba would have worked out any way other than it did.
Fortunately, that was the only truly disastrous date I ever had. So, not a bad track record, just a truly horrible blind date– and a lesson well-learned.