The last post about my junior high school romantic misadventures went over pretty well, so why not try another one? I know I started with Part 2 last time and I’m following that with Part 1… Call me Quentin Blogentino.
All right, time to fire up the Wayback Machine!
“Sherman, set the Wayback Machine to 7th grade, Woodward Park Junior High School, 1974.”
I’m just back from lunch and sitting in the teacher’s chair in the front of the classroom, waiting for Ohio History class to start. Other students are just kind of milling about. Brenda walks up and sits on the arm of the chair and begins fiddling with my hair. She’s never done anything like that before, so my heart is beating a mile a minute.
See, I’m totally sweet on Brenda. She’s a very cute girl with glossy shoulder length black hair and big blue eyes. We’re kind of friends, in that she’s a girl and she talks to me. She leans close and seductively says, “Hiiiiiii.” (The inflection kind of goes up in the middle.) (OK, that’s what passes for seductive when one is in 7th grade and it’s 1974.) Anyway, I’m like a deer in headlights…afraid of other people seeing what’s happening, afraid of saying the wrong thing, afraid of being made fun of.
I respond by kind of mimicking her…”Hiiiiiii”.
She recoils looking hurt, and says, “You don’t even know how to flirt!” She stands up and stomps away.
She’s playing with my hair, and says, “Hiiiiiii”. I look up and say, “Y’know, I think you’ve got the most incredible blue eyes I’ve ever seen.” Then I smile up at her. If she’s buying it, I reach up and brush her bangs to the side of her face and cup my hand along the side of her cheek and jaw line. If I’ve been reading her right, she should be swooning right about this time. (Remember, 7th grade.) I have no idea what comes next. 7th graders don’t just ask each other out on dates. (OK, maybe they do now.) Maybe I suggest we meet sometime at the mall, or roller rink. But either way, I walk away with my dignity intact and a possible girlfriend. In 1974, that entailed walking in the hallway holding hands, or going on the moonlight skate at the roller rink. All I really had to do was to show a bit of interest along with some kind of composure and we would have been Jr. High sweethearts.
If I’d made the right move, I believe she would have been my first girlfriend. Unfortunately, I was a moron about such things. She lost so much respect for me; I don’t think we hardly ever talked again until we were in 9th grade. I do know she always thought I was cute. She wrote as much in my 9th grade yearbook. To wit:
“Bluz, You’ve really changed since 7th grade, but it’s been for the better. You were cute to start with, and that’s one thing that hasn’t changed. Good luck in all you do. You’ll accomplish a lot. It’s clear to see that you’ll acquire everything you want. Love, Brenda ‘79”
I thought she was really worldly for using our graduation year, 5 years in advance.
Also, 9th grade was the year that in music class, near the end of the year, she asked if she could sign my pants. (I have no idea where that came from.) So on the knee of my pants, she writes in ballpoint pen, “Brenda was here” and draws an arrow all the way up my thigh. (You try to explain to your mom that you suddenly had the urge to take your green slacks, and cut them into shorts.) Yes, this was the girl that I was too incompetent to land. Like I said, I was a moron. Anyway, if I could have managed my way through that first prospective romantic encounter, who knows how my young life could have been affected.
It could have given me the confidence to successfully maneuver my way through my relationships soon to come. In my first couple of “relationships”, I was so insecure and always so afraid that the girl suddenly wouldn’t like me anymore, I was practically inert. This could have emboldened me to actually act like a normal guy!
As I mentioned in the previous post, my family moved 200 miles away after immediately after 9th grade, so I don’t see any Back to the Future-type paradoxes. It wouldn’t have changed any of my life’s basic circumstances. But such a scenario would have left me a much more confident person, and better able to conduct a healthy young relationship.
You know, that’s one often-overlooked benefit of moving around a lot as a kid. If I ever go back in time, I know that whatever trouble I cause by changing the past will be wiped clean once we move.
Now where’s a DeLorean when you need one?
Wait, maybe not… there’s the “Biff” variable… becoming fabulously rich through knowledge of the future. Do they let 7th graders into the OTB parlor? Still, it’s an avenue to which I remain open.
If only I could go back and teach Young Me how to flirt.
Eh, who am I kidding… I still can’t flirt.