Lest you think I earned all this romantic wisdom by being full of plain ‘ol awesomeness, let me assure you I dole out the dating advice only after spending many years thinking long and hard about love and on occasion crying those ugly cries than come from deep in your chest and result in a snotty nose and blotchy face.
May I take you back to 1990 and my first real boyfriend?
His name was Jim. He was tall and good-looking. We dated for two weeks before we kissed, which was an eternity in high school years. Then, one Saturday we went woodcutting with my family.
Yes, woodcutting. Don’t act like that’s a strange thing to do. I grew up using a wood-burning stove in our home. Anyway, you wood-cutting mockers… we had almost a cord of wood and my parents let us ride – without seatbelts! – in the bed of the truck on the way home. (It had a camper shell on it.)
On the ride home, we kissed. That was ok. So we discussed our next steps a bit and then… we french kissed.
THAT was a horrible mistake! I felt like there was a slug in my mouth. I’d never experienced anything so revolting in my life!
We got to my house, I told my mom he needed to go to home immediately, and I broke up with him the next day with no explanation.
Put me off french kissing for half a decade.
In retrospect, I think we were both too innocent and unpracticed for that kissing to go well. I’d hate for Jim to know I broke up with him for his kiss… although he’s not the only guy I broke up with for being a bad kisser. A wet washrag is a wet washrag, no matter how lovely it’s packaged.
Fast forward three years to my junior year of high school. Prom was coming up and I had a crush on a handsome lad named Mike.
I invited him to the Prom, as “friends” because he was, *gasp*, just a sophomore.
We planned a picnic by the creek, then back to our houses to dress for the Prom. The after Prom activity was at his house, marshmallows and a campfire.
Sounds romantic, huh? I had high hopes that this one time he would realize I could be more than a friend and maybe, just maybe I would have a boyfriend!
It didn’t work out as planned.
The picnic was fun, we laughed, we picnicked, we caroused. Everything was purely platonic, but I felt it was moving in the right direction.
We split for our own homes to dress for Prom. I drove, because he wasn’t old enough to have his permit yet.
From the time I picked him up for the rest of the evening, our fun was missing. We went through the motions of the date but there was no spark, no chemistry.
I blamed my chicken legs and gawky body posture. (I was all elbows and knees in high school. It was like watching a praying mantis walk down the hallway. Put a mop of frizzy hair on top of that insect body and you have a fairly accurate idea of the shadow I cast.)
My blaming made no difference. We were not a couple after the Prom. We didn’t even see each other in the hallways for a while.
The time came for the Prom photos to be distributed (yes, this was when you waited a few weeks after the dance to get proofs and then you waited longer to get your order back. My, oh, my, how photography has changed.)
I tracked Mike down and gave him his copy of the Prom photos.
“Thanks,” he said as he looked at the photo.
“I wonder if there’s Iggy blood on my pants leg?”
Huh? Who was Iggy and what blood and… what?!
“My pet iguana, Iggy, had been acting sick,” Mike explained when he saw my expression. “When we got back from the picnic my mom told me I couldn’t go to the Prom unless I put him out of his misery first.”
“So I got dressed in my suit, then took him outside and bashed his head with a rock. I was kind of sad after that.”
I tell you what, friends, I could not make a story like that up. It is 100%, bona-fide truth. My Junior Prom and my self-image of attractiveness… ruined because of a sickly iguana and a mother out for vengeance!
These were the starting stories of my romantic life. They get worse, though many of my dating stories are not nearly as funny, as they border on the absurd and just plain wrong.
I made so many mistakes dating I was jaded when I met my Lizard. I couldn’t believe he was being real with me, I kept waiting for him to revert into a version of all the nasty guys I’d dated in the past.
He never did. My husband’s love redeemed my past awful experiences with dating and showed me there are paths you can take that navigate you through romance that don’t leave you banged and bruised.
That’s the perspective I’ve been writing from these last few days. All the good rules about dating come from my husband.
I do hope you’ve had a chance to laugh – tomorrow I plan to talk about where to find a date once you’ve moved away from college into the real world.
In the meantime…
I want to know about your absurd dating experiences! Tell me in the comments about the strangest/funniest romantic interlude you’ve had!