We're going to move on now to what was actually a success in terms of dating - my first girlfriend. Not some other girl like I might have mentioned down below, or a 6th grade partner which just amounted to you circling "yes" on a sheet of paper. No, this girlfriend and I went on a DATE.
Notice the non-plural.
Sixth grade really brought about a lot of change in my life. First off, I was moving from elementary school to middle school, otherwise known as "the worst years of your short life." Secondly, my left knee decided to be an asshole and stop properly functioning. This was known about for a few years, as my knee would ocassionally lock up, forcing me to stop playing basketball and writhe in pain on the black top. I told my mom about this, and she said it was growing pains. We saw a doctor who said I had...uh...how to spell german words...Osgodschlauters, an affliction that is German for "growing pains." That, along with water on the knee and loose cartlidge, meant that I had to be on crutches for 6 weeks, and ruined sports for the next year or so afterwards. When I looked across the doctor's office at my mom after he gave me the diagnosis, she confidently turned her head to me and said, "I told you it was growing pains."
Couple those two events with a sudden weight gain, and I was set for my formitive hell years. I was always a thin child, weighing only 70 lbs at 11 years old. That summer, without the ability to really work out with my knee and my fascination with this new thing called "food," I gained some poundage. 46 in a year, to be exact. It was so bad that at the beginning of 7th grade, a lot of the kids couldn't recgonize me. Yeah. Yeah it was that bad. To say I didn't have confidence was to say I didn't like eating - it was an obvious lie.
This crippling lack of confidence, self-hatred, and overall malaise with middle school really didn't make me feel like a big winner in the female department. For a while, I just sort of didn't care, with the occasional liking and pining away for some young lass who was classes above me. Fate would have it, however, that I would find someone on Ellis Island, symbolic of immigrants finding freedom in America. Except I didn't have to truncate my name or be subject to embarassing medical examinations, nor face a horrible travel over from another country. So almost exactly like it.
There was a new girl in the middle of 7th grade, if memory serves, and because we didn't get a new girl for some time afterwards, she was new girl for a while. Her name was Kyle, a rather small and thin girl with a cute face and rather quiet demeanor. It was surprising that she had only a few friends, but I guess that's what happens when no one bothers to learn your name since, well, you're already named the new girl. In eighth grade, our history class was learning about Greece and Rome, so we took a trip to Ellis island.
On the way, she was in my group or what have you, and I said a joke, and she laughed. I kept trying to make her laugh, and I kept succeeding. During the walking audio tour narrated by Peter Jennings, we turned off the bootleg Walkman and talked about a wide variety of trivial shit that I can't remember. By the time we were watching the IMAX movie and she was telling me she was scared of either darkness or boring IMAX videos from the seat next to me, we were as good as engaged. Afterwards, at another exhibit, Ali Gletow talks to me for the first time in about 6 months (she asked me every day if she was fat, and I'd say no, so finally I just said she was fat and I got blackballed) and asks if Kyle and I are going out. Well, if everyone thinks we're going out, I guess we're going out.
Kyle and I then decided we were dating and exchanged phone numbers. This was before the time of cell phones, but still in the time of personal ground phone lines, so we exchanged numbers. Every night we would talk after school for exactly 45 minutes. It did not matter the circumstances, we had to talk for 45 minutes. Right off the bat, we should have realized that we weren't meant to be - we couldn't carry a conversation for 5 minutes. She brought up a Rob Zombie remix album that her sister got her called "American Made Music to Strip By" and I swear to you I came back to "do you, uh, strip to it?" or a similar joke every 3 or so minutes. I was awful.
This was not my first experience with girls on the phone. Carly Patterson used to call me in the summer of 6th grade, that dark transitioning time, and we would discuss bullshit like this. Usually this would occur with my more attractive friend Stephen (this is because almost every girl wanted him...and he never went after any of them...and it really bugged me) but still, it did occur without him every now and then. The coup with Carly was that one time, in the middle of the night, during an outdoor movie, she pulled up her shirt and showed Stephen and I her bra. It was the highlight of my sexual adventures for 2 years, until I went to Rachel's house one night and two people put my hands on Maggie's breast. It was the first breast I had touched, and touching was better than seeing, but I still feel like such a dirtbag.
Wait, so what are we talking about? Oh yeah, Kyle.
Well, Kyle was insistant on talking for 45 minutes, as if this were the designated time for a couple to be talking. Once 45 minutes were up, as if there was a timer, she would say she had to go - the Old Faithful of conversations. Poor Kyle desperately wanted a real boyfriend, and I certainly wasn't that guy. We didn't talk in school really, and there wasn't any hand touching. Meanwhile, kids were getting head a few lockers down in the Boys bathroom; the tortoise vs. the jet. She decided we should go on a date to really solidify the relationship, the precursor for later in life when you have a child to save a marriage.
Luckily for her, I was well versed in the dating game. I told her to stave off awkwardness, we needed friends. She was going to take her friend, and mine, Ali B, and I was going to take Jassim. When it came to picking a movie, we decided on Mission Impossible 2 because it was incredibly romantic. When the big date comes, after my mom picks up Jassim and we drive to Kyle's house, Ali B calls in sick. Ruh Roh. What do we do now? Well, we go to the movie and I ignore Kyle (who looked extroadinarily cute that night) who wanted to hold hands and cuddle. I don't think I touched her. Obviously, I didn't know shit about dating.
After that, the relationship started to fall apart, which is sort of a lie since it wasn't a relationship in the first place. One night, when I was playing my friend Pod in NFL 2K1, she called me to tell me it just wasn't working out any more. I agreed, laughing, calling Pod an idiot, and yelling TOUCHDOWN! as she made a very somber and serious evaluation of our time together. I wish I could tell you what she said, since I was too busy celebrating my 80 yard TD pass. Needless to say, she hated me until she left Park Ridge, saying nary a word to me for almost a year or so after we broke up. She was a great girl, and I'm sorry that I hurt her, but realistically, we had nothing in common and it would never have worked out. So boo hoo Kyle - you should've seen it coming.
Next, I actually get a girlfriend. For about a year. Yeah, a bit of a drastic change.