Sep 10, 2013

Fall 1976: Winning a Boy by Dating His Girlfriend

In the fall of 1976, shortly after Todd and I spent the night together at music camp, I tried to win him by dating his girlfriend, Faith.

She was establishing her autonomy joining every club she could find that Todd didn’t belong to -- Writers’, Swedish, Circle K, Archery, Golf – and in October she got around to the fundamentalist Christian club, Campus Life. I didn't have my driver's license yet, so I asked her for a ride home, thinking vaguely that she might be meeting Todd, and ask me to tag along.

On the first Monday night, we chatted for a few minutes as she dropped me off.

On the second Monday night, we parked for a long time, while she complained about Todd.  Seven years of engagement, and he treated her like a buddy! No parking on the levee to watch the Mississippi flow past! No “getting some” on her doorstep!

“You kiss!” I exclaimed. “I’ve seen you kiss, in the cafeteria.”

“That’s only for show, so Todd can brag to all his friends,” Faith said, witch eyes flashing. “When we’re alone, he’s a drip, all cold and stiff like a dead fish.”

“Maybe he’s waiting for your wedding night?"
"He doesn't even like to hold hands!  Even his sister says he’s a Swish!”

I winced at the forbidden word. “You’re from East Moline! Why would a Swish want to marry you? They can’t stand being around women.”

“For a screen. They marry women so no one gets wise.” She paused. “Maybe I should just dump Todd.”

I was starting to get nervous.  Girls usually dumped their boyfriends only when they found someone they liked better, and that would be. . .me!   I quickly said goodnight and left.

But then I thought, this might be useful.  If I dated Faith -- briefly -- Todd would be jealous, and fall into my arms.

Ok, I was fifteen years old, and not thinking clearly.

On the third Monday, we sat in the darkened car for almost an hour, talking about Faith’s frustration,  Todd’s lack of interest in her, or apparently in any girl, on and on, with no jokes, no wit, nothing to relieve the boredom. Finally I leaned forward, pushed briefly against her cold, hard lips and then jumped from the car and crushed across the dead leaves to my door.

On Tuesday I expected Faith to make a "just friends" speech, but she chatted as if nothing had happened.  So I asked her to a concert on Saturday.  She agreed.

My parents spent the rest of the week variously jumping for joy and weeping that I was "growing up."  My friends congratulated me as if I had won a major competition.  No one cared that she was Todd's girlfriend -- it was expected, even obligatory, to wrest the Girl of Your Dreams from the place-holder she was dating.

But the date never happened.  On Thursday night she called. "I didn't plan on it, but I can't go to the concert.  I met a guy, and. . .I didn't plan on it. . .but I Fell in Love With Him."

“Huh?” I said, as articulately as possible, given the situation. This was an unexpected development, and quite unwelcome. For one thing,  I was looking forward to the concert.

“I met the One! Isn’t it wonderful?”
“Um. . .when did all this happen?”
“Yesterday.” It seems that on Wednesday evening, Faith went a Photography Club Halloween party, where she danced with, drank blood punch with, kissed, and Fell in Love with a jock named Kent. I knew him from my athletic trainer job: tall and firm-muscled, with a pleasantly open face. . .and the biggest penis I had ever seen.  We had to order a special extra-extra large cup for him.

Faith apologized for not calling to break the date last night, but after Falling in Love she had to call to dump Todd, and he cried so hard that she felt guilty and needed comforting in Kent’s muscular arms. (Right, comforting! I thought savagely.) Then  – two or three hours later -- it was too late to call.

One more thing: could you surrender the tickets, for use with her True Love?

I couldn’t think of a response sufficiently acidic, so I yelled “Waste your time doing some-thing else!” and slammed down the telephone. I stayed home moping on Saturday night, staring at my unused tickets, feeling jealous and outraged and sad.

Why was I so miserable?  I didn't really want to date Faith.  But now we wouldn't be talking about Todd every Monday night, so in a weird way he was no longer part of my life.

The uncensored story is on Tales of West Hollywood