I was flipping through my sister’s yearbook last night, so I could do a little compare and contrast action of how some people from high school have aged. Every once in a while I get a “friend” request on Facebook and although I recognize the name as being from my hometown, they’ve just changed so much in their appearance that it’s nearly impossible to understand how it’s even physically possible. If we were all older, I’d point my finger in the direction of plastic surgery as a reason for the transformation, but not only do I not think we’re not old enough to indulge in such things just yet, but I also think botched face-lifts aren’t big in New Hampshire.
When I reached the back of my graduating class, I came across the guy who took me on my very first date. I laughed out loud when I looked at his photo, because although by the time we went out on that date, the 80’s were long gone, but his hair had not received the memo.
J and I went on two dates total. I was fifteen and he was sixteen. I was excited about the fact that he not only drove, but had his own car. Of course the car was a piece of shit and you could smell the exhaust or something when he was miles away, but I still thought it was so fantastic: an older man! From the beginning, I was not really interested in J at all, but a friend convinced me I should go out with him because it would be my first date, and since she and he were friends, she thought it would be great if we hit it off and eventually got married — because that was obviously going to happen. Oh to be 15 and naive again!
I had carefully chosen my outfit for this event by opting for a brown and white polka dot skirt that was the exact pattern of the dress Julia Roberts wore in Pretty Woman during the polo match scene. I complemented my then-favorite skirt with a matching shirt and, of course, my navy blue Chucks (it was the 90’s, OK?) I was so impressed with my outfit! I must have practiced about 100 different poses in front of the mirror the night before our date. I knew my skirt was going to be the hit of the afternoon.
He picked me up in his heap of junk car, and we went out for mini golf then Chinese food. As I sat in his car, I admired my skirt. Even against the ripped up front seat, it looked amazing. I pulled at the hem, a habit I still do to this day when I’m nervous, and waited for him to notice how it was practically just like the dress in Pretty Woman, but he never said a thing about it. Even during the mini golf and over crab rangoon afterward, he said nothing. My very first date and the hand-picked outfit that I had put more effort into than any first days of school I’d ever had, went completely unnoticed. This was not how it had been portrayed in the movies; the fella usually complimented the girl when he picked her up, did he not?
When he dropped me off at home, he leaned in for a kiss — a kiss that would have been my first real kiss ever had I not had gum isn my mouth and made the whole thing awkward. I wasn’t sure how to kiss with watermelon bubble gum floating over and under my tongue. I got out of the car, sweeping my skirt up in the process and walked to the door. My first date was officially over and it was so unremarkable that I knew then that John Hughes films had killed real life for me.
Our second date was even less remarkable, and when he did kiss me in that dark movie theater, after putting his arm around me (a scene from a bad movie), I also decided kissing was disgusting. Thank god for Shaun, a few months later, who fixed that. I think J works at a gas station in Manchester, New Hampshire now. Although I can’t be sure, because he never graduated despite getting his photo in the yearbook that took me on this trip down memory lane.
Photo: Touchstone Pictures