It’s been over half a century, but I still can remember my worst date. I had met her at a dance at her high school. I saw her, liked what I saw and asked her to dance. She smiled and put out her hand. We danced, we talked (well I did), and she wrote down her phone number and gave it to me. I called her the next day, and we had a date for the next Saturday. It was another dance, with a band playing that I particularly liked. That wasn’t the bad date, but set things up for the horror show that was to follow the week afterwards.
First Date: The Calm Before the Storm
Before I went to pick her up on date night, on my mother’s advice, I made myself look as respectable as I could. I had long hair and a scruffy moustache. I was a long-haired freaky person, like in the song. I wore my best shirt and a clean pair of pants, not even jeans. I mention this because of what I would encounter when I got to her place. I think that either her brother or her mother answered when I knocked at her door. Then I was led into the living room where I met her father. He was sitting in what was obviously ‘his chair.’ He was dressed up in an underwear shirt, what the British call a vest. I had never seen my father or any of the fathers in my middle class neighbourhood wear such an outfit without having a shirt over it. He gave me a look like I was the one under(wear)-dressed, and that he was the one who had worked on looking good for the encounter It was hate at first sight on his part. As a teenage suburban hippy I was familiar with the look
The girl (I wish I could remember her name) and I went out. I talked, we danced, and then we made out in a church parking lot not far from my house. We arrived at her place later than I am sure now her parents liked. I was used to late hours. I was a musician, and was very much trusted by my single mother, whose car I was driving. The girl no doubt had stricter hours imposed on her. I was 17, and looked old enough to buy alcohol when the legal age was 21. She was probably 15 or so. She kissed me by my car, probably not wanting to put on a show for her parents, and walked briskly to her front door. I drove away happy with our first date, the first I had had since I had broken up with my former girl friend.
The Bad Date
Going to Pick Her Up
I called her the next day to set up another date at another dance. She said little, but then I was getting used to her being like that. I thought nothing of it at the time.
That Saturday again I made a special effort to ‘look nice’ perhaps more for her parents, particularly her father, than for her. When I turned the corner to her street, I saw her standing by the road, at the end of her driveway. She started to run to my car, obviously in a hurry to leave.
But for us it was too late. Her father pulled into the driveway, got out of his car, slamming the door. He yelled at her. She walked towards him, and he grabbed her by the arm, pulling her towards the house. But he stopped to give me a few choice words. This included saying to me, and I quote, “If I ever see you again, I am going to get my shotgun out.” She looked at me, with a look of sadness and apology. For once, there was nothing that I could say. I stood stunned for a few seconds outside the driver’s side of the car, got back in, and left with a slight squeal of the tires.
Going to the Dance On My Own
I had my mother’s car for the evening. It was Saturday night. I wanted to dance. So I went to the dance. There were several bands there playing in turn. I knew a few people there, so I would not be alone. I saw my former girlfriend, and I asked her to dance. We were together for a few songs, but she didn’t want to be with me any longer, I could tell.
It was about 9:30. I was thinking about leaving early. I wasn’t having any fun. And I felt bad that I hadn’t come to her place a little earlier, so we would not have encountered her father. Then I heard someone call out my name, a female voice vaguely familiar. I turned around and saw my intended date for the night. Somehow she had escaped captivity, and had made it to here to be with me. Her house was about a twenty minute to half-an-hour drive from here. It would obviously have been a longer walk.
She did not give me an answer when I asked about what happened after I drove away. She just muttered indistinctly under her breath. I knew that she did not want to talk about it, so I did not pursue the matter. We danced. I talked. She didn’t. We danced some more. Then it was closing time. I knew that it was up to me to drive her home.
We did not speak as I drove her. I mean, I talked, but she did not. As we neared her neighbourhood, I realized that I had a difficult decision to make. Should I drive her straight home, and risk ‘the shotgun’ and undershirt man? Or should I chicken out. I did the latter, letting her off a street away from the one on which she lived. I cannot remember whether we kissed goodbye. Somehow I doubt that we did.
Driving away I felt like a coward, but there was not much I could have done about it then. I never asked her out again, and she never called me. I hope that she is happily married now, and that she feels that she can talk to her husband.
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