My second “girlfriend” attempt was toward the beginning of 8th grade. Things were looking up – I’d dropped the glasses for contacts, thinned out a bit from soccer, and my hair had blond streaks. Ahem, yes that’s correct, I high-lighted my hair. Everyone agreed highlighting your hair was super gay. Yet, it was a gamble that paid off with the ladiez. I think I briefly made up lies, “Oh, those are natural… bright blond highlights, that appeared over night, ahemahahem!”
There was a very attractive coffee shop girl in my home room, who mixed her bohemian attitude with an occasional plaid skirt and knee high socks. She was kind of like Jenny from Forrest Gump, except dark hair instead of light. I always sat next to her in homeroom, because our names were both late in the alphabet. Homeroom is a period that centers around doing nothing, which leaves two options for passing time:
If you’re not staring, you’re dreaming of what you were just staring at. Homeroom crushes are inevitable.
She’s out of my league, but I don’t know that because I’m fourteen, and I have a new swagger thanks to highlighting dye for women, that my dad reluctantly purchased for me at a CVS. My friend Zach knew everything about women, so I went to him for advice. Zach looks like Leonardo DiCaprio. He said, “Oh, well you should write her a note, she’ll probably date you.” So I did, and he revised it, and delivered the note. When he returned he said, “She said yes.”
“Yes to what?”
“Yes to going. She said to call her tonight. She wrote down her number.”
Zach knew everything.
I called her that night from a pay phone at the high school football game.
“What are you doing?”
“Oh, just at the football game.”
“What? I can’t really hear you.”
“Oh, they just scored…hold on, I’m out of quarters…”
When I hung up, I thought, that didn’t go well. Is that how dating works? It’s not easy being Cassinova from a pay phone, I knew that much.
The next day, I was playing dodgeball in gym class. I just got hit with a ball, when a squirly girl with glasses approached me on the side lines with a new note, folded into a square:
“I’m so sorry,” she said, as though my dog had just died.
“So, soooo, sorry for you,” she said again, as though my parents had just died.
They say don’t kill the messenger, but it would help if the messenger didn’t talk.
I didn’t need to read it:
Joe, you’re great. This isn’t working. It’s not you, it’s me. Blah, blah, scar.
First I get side-lined in dodgeball, then I get dumped; it was not my best PE class.