a little bit of backstory
So WAY back in a day, before
electricity and wheels the internet and cell phones, I was a teenager. It was 1988, an era of neon, hair bands, Walkmans, and Swatches. I was a senior in high school and in the DEP (Delayed Entry Program) for the US Army Reserves. It’s kind of like a pre-basic intro to the Army, a headstart. It’s a bit different now than it was back then, but it was usually for high school kids to get the down-low on their chosen branch of service and learn some stuff before they graduated and headed to basic. It’s designed to give kids a chance to experience a little and help them be better informed, since they have the option to back out of their military service. Generally, we spent a lot of time with our recruiter and other same-branch DEPS from that recruiting station. We met at least one Saturday a month and learned drill and ceremony, had mock PT tests, learned how to wear the uniform, did obstacle courses, stuff like that. Unlike most of the other DEPs, I also went to Reserve drills every month. And also unlike most of the other DEPS, I was a girl and the only one from my high school.
the tale of the date
Anyway, there was this guy from a neighboring high school that I had a mega crush on. His name was Rick, and he was GORGEOUS. He had the three B’s that set my teenybopper heart fluttering… big, buff, blonde. Swoon City, 1 ticket, please. He was also sweet, smart, and had great taste in music. We got to be friends, but since I had zero game, that’s where it stalled.
Until he called me.
I might have died a little. It’s possible.
Anyway, he asked me out for the following Friday night. I just so happened to have a dance at school that night, so he offered to take me. Dinner and then the dance. I said “Hell, yeah.” Okay, no, I didn’t, but I did say yes. Probably way too emphatically. What can I say? The boy was fine as hell. Moving on… Come Friday, immediately after school I headed straight to the salon to get a half hour on the tanning bed. (Okay, I know. Bad life choice. But it was the 80s and I was 17. I was dumb.) I went home, got gussied up, and waited with nerves jangling for my lover boy to show up. When the doorbell rang, Dad beat me to it. (I found out later he’d laid in wait just to accomplish this feat, since his speed level was that of the infamous tortoise.) I was halfway downstairs when he opened the door to Rick. Rick came in and looked up at me, grinning in a flattering level of appreciation. I smiled back.
Internally, I said to myself, “Well, shit.”
Rick was indeed in my house, waiting to take me out. I’d waited for this moment for weeks. But there was a problem.
It was the wrong Rick.
Yep. There were two Ricks in my DEP group, both seniors, both from the same high school. I’d been so excited to hear “Hey, this is Rick” that I’d forgotten that in the moment. My silly teenage brain was so fixated on Rick #1 that I couldn’t think beyond it, especially Rick #2 and I had never been friends outside of DEP, unlike Rick #1 and I.
So what could I do? I went to the dance with him. And it was awkward, and not because it was the wrong Rick. He was, but it was more about the fact that he set my spidey senses jangling. He got too familiar, too fast. He got really possessive really fast, going so far as to snap at the waiter even before we got to the dance because he thought the guy looked at me too long. Point of fact, he was my friend’s brother, and I was like his other little sister. At the dance, he met my friends, and then while we were dancing, he told me he didn’t like them and that I couldn’t be friends with them anymore. WHAT?!
Yeah, no. Not a love match. It got worse, too. Within a few days, he started low-level stalking harrassing me. Within a WEEK, it got so bad that he started calling the recruiter to tell him to get me out of the Army because he “didn’t want his woman in boots.” I was NOT his woman. It went downhill from there, and he was removed from DEP and his Army contract was negated. A few weeks later, I found out he was expelled from his high school because he started messing with another girl there.
Did I ever go out with the other Rick? Nope. By the time the dust settled, he had a girlfriend.
A better title to the story…
that FIRST time I went on the wrong date
Who does that? Me, apparently. How is that even possible? Damned if I know.