So I am forced once again to reach way back into a past that I really don't remember that well and tell you some pretty much true stories, a skeleton of facts embellished with what may or may not be true details to make things more interesting.
1. In which I stalk a boy
I was on the swim team in high school. Ha. Don't get the wrong idea. All you had to do to be on the team was to show up to practice. We didn't have a lot of competition, as we were the only American high school within 50 miles. We swam against the American high school on the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal, against the American junior high school, and against Canal Zone Junior College. Or maybe just the other high school. I can't remember. It's been a long time. But we had more than one swim meet a year, so we must have gone against the junior high and the junior college.
None of these details matter. What matters is that there was this guy, Ray, who was also on the swim team and who lived a few blocks from me.
I thought he was a hot hot hottie.
This was before the Swim Team Boyfriend Who Turned Out to Be Gay showed up.
But until STBWTOTBG made his entrance, Ray was it for me.
I lusted after him on the school bus. I lusted after him in the halls. I lusted after him at swim practice.
He had no interest - zip, zero, nada - in me.
That didn't stop me.
I was liberated. I was cool. I called him and asked him to the movies.
He was so surprised he didn't know how to say no.
I was so excited that I probably put on makeup, although looking back on my high school photos, tenth grade was a decent year and I was looking pretty good as long as I wasn't wearing my glasses, which had that brown so cool tint on the top that actually didn't look cool at all but made me look very very tired.
My skin was so nice when I was in high school (yeah, those days are gone) that a few teachers actually stopped me in the hall to tell me how gorgeous my complexion was. They did the same for my hair, which was artificially blonde and shiny from all the chlorine and sun.
Yet I did not appreciate having lovely skin and hair at the time, just as I did not appreciate having a smooth neck and eyes that did not get puffy after just two pickles. I did not appreciate being able to walk in high heels without pain.
OK, the high heels came later because in high school, I could not walk in high heels at all. My mom got heels for me for my high school graduation, which I attended under duress and still wish I hadn't attended because we moved before my senior year of high school and I was one of two new seniors in a class of 648. Can you say crummy crummy senior year?
I had to practice walking in those shoes, which had heels of perhaps 1.5", to do it right. I later moved to 3" heels when I was working and never had a problem. But now? I had to surrender my almost new BCBG black slingbacks that I found at the Junior League consignment shop for just $20 after Primo and I went to a play downtown and I was hobbling after two blocks. After the play, Primo went to get the car so I wouldn't have to walk. Primo is an angel.
I did not appreciate any of the aspects of my body's youth. How I wish I had those aspects back.
I had my cool green jumpsuit that I had made myself from the crinkle cloth I found at the BX for $2.95 a yard and with a D-ring fastener on the green crinkle cloth fabric belt.
Or maybe I wore my Sears overalls that I ordered from the catalogue and paid for with my babysitting money as my mother refused to subsidize a clothing item that she used to have to wear to work in the barn when she was a kid.
Or maybe it was the white painter pants with the cool hammer holder running from the pocket to the seam because you never knew as a 10th grader when you might meet an errant nail.
Oh yes. Looking good.
Ray came to my house because my house was on the way to the movie theater. It didn't make sense for me to go to his house and then double back. Plus in retrospect he probably didn't want his parents to know what was going on.
We walked to the movies but I noticed he didn't seem very excited. My big clue was that I was walking on the sidewalk and he was walking on the grass. Almost on the curb. Almost in the street. As in, he wanted to be as far from me as possible.
He used the same seating strategy: leaning far far away from me. At least he didn't leave an empty seat between the two of us, as so many of the young GIs were wont to go lest their sexuality be questioned. Plus the seats were kind of small and young GIs like to sprawl, so alternating seats gave them more leg room.
I got the hint. I did not ask him out again and he did not ask me out. He later went to Oral Roberts U, which made me realize that we had no future together anyhow as the beliefs of the kids who go to ORU don't really mesh with the beliefs of the kids who go to CCD.
2. In which I reject a boy and I am mean about it and I am still sorry
Drew N. was in my chemistry class. He was a little bit obnoxious, although I realize now that most high school boys are a little bit obnoxious. My friend Sue (name changed to protect the guilty, the guilty now having three boys of her own and the guilty probably thinking she would punch any girl who treated her boys meanly) and I were chemistry lab partners.
We were also partners in mocking the classmates we didn't like. This category of course included Drew because he was obnoxious. Our favorite thing to do was to sing our lyrics to the song, "Close to You," under our breath whenever Drew bugged us. Our lyrics went something like,
Why do worms suddenly appear?
Every time you are near?
Could it be
They want to be
Close to you?
There were undoubtedly more outrageously clever and cutting lyrics but I can't remember them now.
Point is, I never did anything to Drew to indicate that I might be interested in him. I didn't talk to him unless I had to. I sure didn't flirt with him. I didn't know how to flirt. I went straight for the jugular: "Hey Swim Team Hottie who has shown no interest in me. Do you want to go to the movies on Saturday?" Finesse was not my style. Blunt force. That's where it's at with me.
Yet one day as we were walking from the lab back to the classroom, Drew cornered me alone in the hall.
"Do you want to go to the ROTC ball with me?" he asked.
What? Where was this coming from? NO I DID NOT WANT TO GO TO THAT DANCE WITH HIM!*
I stammered and hemmed and hawed and said something dumb like I really didn't get into all that military stuff which was a BIG FAT LIE because HELLO! My father was IN THE AIR FORCE! And I lived on an AIR FORCE BASE!
Sue walked up. She had overheard. She started to laugh, which is a reaction I can completely understand because we thought Drew was the most obnoxious loser in the world, but still. We weren't ever mean to his face. Just behind his back, which is the right way to be mean.
"You think she would go to a dance with YOU?" Sue asked.
Drew, humiliated, scurried away.
He never asked me out again. Sue and I continued to sing about him. And 32 years later, I still think about that and think we could have been a little nicer to him.
* This one event gives lie to my frequent assertion that I was not asked to a single high school dance. Technically, I was asked to one. One dance. By someone I did not want to dance with.