Flipping through the radio stations in my car, I came across a morning-show DJ taking calls about people’s worst dates. I chuckled at some of the ridiculous scenarios and reminisced about my own wacky worst date, which in my case, had a silver lining.
When I was a freshman in college (10,000 years ago), I was friendly with a senior in my music class. He was 22, in the throes of medical school applications and deep contemplation of his future. As we chatted before class one day, he shared that he never dated freshmen because they were so immature. “That’s a relief,” I told him and he smirked. The next thing I knew, we were planning our first date.
He wasn’t my usual type, if you can have a “type” at 18. He was very tall, maybe 6’4″ (although admittedly everyone looks tall to me from my 5’3″ vantage point). He had blue eyes, thick blond hair and a dry sense of humor. Admittedly, I was mostly attracted to his older man status. I assumed he was more mature than my freshmen guy friends, who seemed bent on emulating Animal House every night of the week. I realize there are several gradations between freshmen and seniors, but gray areas barely existed for me at 18.
We drove to a local dive bar with a restaurant upstairs. Most of my friends were scheduled to attend a party there later that night. Early in the evening, the place was relatively quiet. We sat down and ordered the usual pub grub, along with beer. On paper we had a ton in common, but in reality, the conversation felt like pulling teeth. Mr. Maturity turned monosyllabic and boring, ordering one beer after the next. While drinking could have rescued me from torturous boredom, I remembered that my friends were due to arrive downstairs and this parody, in which I seemed to be playing major supporting actress, would be over soon.
I must have been caught up in my plan of escape, when I felt a tiny thump on my chest. I looked up to see Mr. Maturity peeling the wrapping off his fourth bottle, rolling it into a spitball and launching it at me.
“What are you doing?” I asked, although it seemed obvious.
“I’m seeing if I can land these in your bra,” he clarified. I didn’t know if to laugh or cry.
“Do you see that table of guys behind us?” he said, in what felt like a drunken roar. I nodded, stupefied. “Those are my fraternity brothers, and that one at the head of the table has a crush on you.” This was getting better by the minute. He turned around in his seat to wave. They all waved back as another spitball hit me in the face. I was mortified.
“It’s been fabulous,” I said, standing up. “I can see why you don’t date freshmen. You’re not mature enough.” I threw my shoulders back and walked past the rowdy table of guys, busy laughing and taking jabs at Mr. Maturity’s expense. I did my best to look calm and tough, but my knees were shaking so badly, I nearly fell down the stairs.
My girlfriends were already in full party mode on the dance-floor, and I joined, trying to forget the absurd previous hour. When the raucous boys made their way downstairs, I noticed the cute one who purportedly had a crush on me. We didn’t speak at all that night, and I thought that Mr. Maturity had fabricated that portion of the show in a pathetic attempt to entertain me. As it turns out, Mr. Maturity was not lying. That cute boy did have a crush on me.
And years later – I married him.