Well, I was criticized for having blog entries that were too big, so I cut the first part into two seperate entities. It probably doesn't even matter, especially since I'm writing this one seconds after publishing the first part. I'm a schmuck sometimes.
After learning about dating through Canteen Night, and dispelling my notions of being gay because I didn't fight over the honor of having Ali Gletow correct my spelling tests, I dove head first into the pool. About 3 years later in 6th grade.
I had a crush for a while on a girl named Jenna. I took an instant liking to her in second grade when she would laugh at my little comments that I would make. For example, my teacher asked "what do cows make?" One of my astute classmates answered with "milk!" My teacher congratulated that student on his or her immense intelligence. She then said, "cows make milk and...." Before she could finish the thought, I yelled out "cookies!" and brought the fucking house down. My teacher and all of the kids were in hysterics. Sadly, that was the catalyst for what you're reading right now - the realization that I really enjoy getting laughter out of people.
Anyway, tangent over. Back to my misery.
I made it a point of coming in every day and trying to make her laugh. It's really a lot harder than you think, especially when it went on for 4 years. I pined away never revealing my affinity for her, just hanging around like a creep dropping stupid hints that no one picked up on. That all changed come 6th grade, when I realized it was time to bite the bullet and ask her out.
Here is where the first major problem came in - I had absolutely no idea what a date was, where it should be held, how intimate it should be, nor whose parents would be driving. The second problem was that I was rather sure she didn't like me. When asked which Friends character I was most akin to, Jenna answered with the dorky, hatable Ross, and not the funny, witty Chandler. (note: this was when the show first started and when ross was a nerd and a half. now, i don't have a problem with ross, and would be ok being called ross-like...but i still think i'm more like chandler, god dammit!!) Not getting the desired reaction, I realized that over the course of the year she had been rather mean to me for no real reason, and not in the "I'll-hit-you-cause-I-like-you" way, but the "queen bitch" way. By this point, I didn't care; I just needed to ask to prove to myself that I could.
It was a rather chilly day in late Fall, and there was rain early in the morning, forcing recess to be on the blacktop. That morning, I made a small decree to my closest friends that I was going to ask out Jenna today, probably during recess. 18 seconds later, every child in Bergen County was fully aware of my plans. Let me take the time now to tell anyone reading to not do this, because all this maneuver accomplishes is having more people around during an already stressful situation. The tension built up all day long with kids from my entire grade asking me if the rumor was true. I looked down at my brand new yellow and black reversable Nike shorts, got my confidence from my cool new wardrobe, and shook my head yes.
The last class before recess was music class, which amounted to chorus with a lot of movie musicals thrown in. On this day, a nice Asian man came in to talk about the growing popularity of bongo drums. He spoke for a good half hour about all sorts of drums, but only referenced No Doubt for actually using them, leaving us a bit unimpressed with his meager evidence of the bongo boom. Thankfully the bell sounded and we were unleashed on the blacktop. Luckily, a certain Jenna had forgotten her purple winter coat on the table. Some genius boy suggested this was my in - hand her the coat and ask her out. I looked him in the eye, shook his hand, and said, "you are my greatest ally." Ok, so I really said "thanks dude!" in a non-gender specific high-pitch shrill.
I nervously clutched the coat as I walked outside directly from the music room onto the black top. Some of the more athletic guys were playing football, but stopped throwing the ball around upon seeing me, and fell into a group behind me to witness the momentous occasion. Even the less-athletic guys on the swings and monkey bars came to see what the fuss was about. We all walked over, me leading in the front, towards Jenna, who had a gaggle of girls behind her, also eagerly awaiting the festivities. I stopped in front of Jenna, with her coat in an outstretched arm, I asked "Jenna, would-"
She had a preemptive answer of "I would never go out with you! You're too skinny, too ______ and too ugly for me to ever go out with you!" Taking her jacket, she turned around and walked across the rickety basketball court, through the large group of stunned girls. I stood there with a tinge of red-faced embarassment while the auidence was stunned in silence. Not the "ohmygodBruceWillishasbeendead!?!" sort of roaring shock, but the "I can hear the pin drop/Sprint commercial" silence. Everyone sort of turned and looked away, I would guess a sign of respect, and tried to carry on with their 30 minutes of supervised freedom. Immediately I turned to play football, knowing that I would be denied. Thankfully, my extreme lack of self-esteem saved me a good 3 years with a shrink. Ironic? Certainly.
There was another dating experience in 6th grade, when I went on my first date. My friend Stephen had the hots for a girl named Samantha, one of the first in our grade to get breasts. Instantly she rose on the charts, and she liked Stephen, and he really liked breasts. Needing moral support, as this was the first date in the history of our class, friends were needed to come along and smooth out any awkward silences. Suzy and I were selected, and the date was set for dinner at the Diner, followed by a viewing of Austin Powers at my house, and possibly some playtime on my sweet Nintendo 64.
The whole process was rather uneventful, except for the fact that Samantha spilled her drink three fucking times. The first spill was when we were all looking at our menus. Samantha, sitting across from me, knocked her Sprite over, flowing right towards the crotch of my khaki pants. Direct hit. If 5 minutes in to your first "date" you get ice cold liquid thrown on your crotch isn't a sign, I don't know what is. I was shocked as I held the menu with both hands in my lap and even more shocked when Samantha nervously blamed me. She knocked her newly-filled glass of Sprite over about 10 minutes later, now soaking my shirt and thighs. This time she bravely took the blame.
Back at the house, as I watched Austin Powers for the 20th time, Samantha was having another Sprite in my living room. This time, the carpet absorbed all of it. I looked at Stephen, and we both wondered what adding breasts to the equation did to a girl's overall sense of balance. Obviously, it didn't help. The awkward point of the night was when gifts were exchanged. Because it was in early December, someone decided to get gifts for everyone on the date...without telling me. After receiving some great stuff from the two girls and Stephen (including an awesom Reese's Peanut Butter Cups tin which I still have) I felt a bit put out. Luckily, I gave Stephen a wallet I got from my Mom earlier in the week that my Dad refused to employ and doled out some blank audio cassette tapes to the girls. I really was an ass.
Stephen and Suzy played Cruisin' USA on N64 while Samantha and I talked about...christ only knows. After my dad dropped the two girls off, Stephen slept over and we discussed our first experience with dating. We learned that some girls can't stop spilling drinks, Austin Powers is a fantastic movie, and that the N64 was so much better than Genesis. Stephen also learned, after a soul-searching 15 minutes, that he didn't really like Samantha and decided to dump her clumsy ass and go out with Suzy. Obviously, we never figured that Cruisin' USA would be so essential to the dating process.
The next morning, Stephen was getting ready to leave when he tipped over the Sam Goody's gift certificate (remember when that shit was on paper?) envelope revealing a note. There, written in meticulous and pain-staking detial, was a note in calligraphy. In it, it stated how happy Samantha was on simply going on a date with Stephen, and wished him and his family a merry Christmas. He read it, passed me the note, and paused I looked him in the eye. "What are you going to do?" I asked. He pondered for a second and replied, "oh well, sucks for her." Dating rules.