When I was fifteen years old I went on a date. It wasn’t my first date or even the first boy, but it was by far the most awkward date I’ve ever had. Obviously, the fact that we were fifteen years old and going on a date to see City of Angels with Nicholas Cage should have been a red flag that awkward times were coming, but I was fifteen and clearly not making the wisest of choices. I’d just broken up, for the first time, with my infamous on-again-off-again high school paramour. He wanted me to hold his hand in the hallways at school. I said I wasn’t ready. He dumped me. Going on this date was my revenge.
Revenge dating, by it’s very nature, is a terrible idea. The boy was almost a stranger. He was a football player and I was science nerd. We had only one class together: french. Conveniently, we also shared this class period with my ex-boyfriend. It was fate. So when he asked me on a date, completely out of the blue, I put on an Oscar-worthy performance of excitement and acceptance. I think they may have been the first words I’d ever spoken to this boy. It wasn’t exactly the makings of a great romance.
Our respective parents dropped us off at the movie theater. There’s really no way to make that cool, but at least we were both in the same boat. Suddenly, the prospect of the revenge date seemed less appealing since my ex was nowhere to be seen. Until that day, I don’t think I’d ever seen my date wearing anything other than a t-shirt and jeans. I was deeply unsettled to see him in slacks and a button-up shirt. He looked like a used car salesman. He shifted uncomfortably back and forth while we waited in line to purchase tickets. I can’t remember speaking a single word to each other the entire date. I’m sure we must have made small talk, but clearly no deep connections were being formed that day.
We bought our popcorn and soda and headed into the dark theater. I’m embarrassed to admit that I chose the movie, and somehow he agreed. In then end, it didn’t really matter. We entered the dark room and then stood uncomfortably at the end of the hallway. Where were we going to sit? For anyone who hasn’t experienced dating as a fifteen year old, choosing a seat was a pivotal moment in the date. If you chose to sit in the front or the center of the theater then you were planning to watch the movies, maybe hold hands, and have the kind of sweet first-date experience that your mother envisioned for you. On the other hand, if you chose to sit in the shadowy back row of the theater then you weren’t planning on watching the movie at all.
We stood in silence for what felt like several minutes. It was the moment of truth. Finally, painfully, he took my hand in his sweaty palm and led me triumphantly toward the rear of the cinema. Maybe my ex wouldn’t be there to witness my date, but he was certainly going to hear about it now. I was committed. Unfortunately, I’d never done anything like this before. I’d never kissed a boy. I’d certainly never made out in the back of a movie theater. I was completely out of my element.
Approximately thirty seconds after the lights went down he made his move. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I was shocked by the immediate and aggressive invasion of tongue. It was everywhere and it felt like it was the size of a boa constrictor. I think I might have gagged. Maybe that was my mistake. Well, clearly I was making several mistakes, but maybe that was the moment it all went wrong.
There we were, his tongue in my mouth and his hand down the front of my shirt, when suddenly I saw the light. I wish I meant that I suddenly realized that I was making a rather disgusting mistake, but unfortunately the light I saw was the enormous spotlight that the usher had turned on us. My eyes, which had been clamped shut the entire time, snapped open. We both froze, his hand still groping at my bra. The usher began lecturing us, loudly, about how inappropriate that sort of behavior was. I can’t actually remember a single word he said. All I could focus on was the sea of faces that turned and glared at us while we interrupted their enjoyment of the film. I kept thinking Get your hand off my boob, you asshole!, but I couldn’t move. I was living a nightmare.
Eventually, the usher decided we’d learned our lesson and turned off his torture beam. The rest of the room went back to watching the movie. My date and I sat through the rest of the film without touching. He had a sort of guilty smirk on his face the entire time. I felt nauseous. When the movie ended I practically dove into my mother’s car. I can’t remember how we parted ways, but needless to say, we didn’t go on another date. Honestly, given that was my first experience with making out, I’m surprised I didn’t head straight for the nunnery.
My ex-boyfriend did hear about my awkward first date and the story of how we had the cinema lights turned up on us became a local legend. We grew up in a small town. Interesting gossip was hard to come by. My plan to make my ex jealous had worked like a charm. Within weeks we were back together and actually dated for the rest of our time in high school. He was my first for most things to do with love, but that first kiss would always belong to the awkward, sweaty, giant-tongued football player in my french class. He was also the last boy I ever made out with in a movie theater. I definitely learned my lesson that day.
Photo Source: TJ Parker Photography