Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The EHHS Social Order – 11.0 – Dating May be a Contact Sport - Part 1

Ending our Sophomore social isolation about the end of that year, presented us with not only our first opportunities to ask some real girls out on dates but, with our first encounters with rejection.  Pimples aside, ol’ Gus, being a devilishly handsome and charmingly witty lad didn’t experience much rejection but, neither did he date many girls before settling on one special one. 

Probably similar to many others, I was nervous about how to best go about this dating stuff.  Perhaps I should have kept going to those sock-hops, even without a date…surely something would have come of that effort; if nothing else, I might have learned to dance and be more comfortable in close proximity to our lovely ’63 – ’64 girls.  Well, that slow dancing was pretty easy and to my way of thinking, much more pleasant, too.

My first solo date was to have been a date to the year-end picnic out at Burger’s Lake.  Got all spiffed up in brand-new matching Jantzen shorts and shirt…very dashing.  She broke the date at the last minute so, that one really didn't count.  However, right out of the gate it introduced the notion that this game was going to have two players, not always having similar motivations nor, perhaps even in possession of equal social schooling. 

Girl #1, my second date, the very first solo date as driver-in-command was a little too young but, a lovely ’64 nonetheless.  As she matured, she would later come into her own and be elected to one of the several Queen honors…one of those getting a full-page picture in the CLAN.  Hmm, I might have moved on too soon...well, that would be a lesson to be learned later.

After Carole Stallcup once again gushed in the hallway about her upcoming Pink Cotillion, to which I was not invited, I gave up on our Meadowbrook clique girls (the "Meadowbrook Ladies" to some) and looked to one of our lovely new ’63 Handley classmates for the next date.  Everything was great about Girl #2 and she, too would become one of our sports Queens a year or so later with her own big picture in the CLAN.  In retrospect, Gus had developed a good beginners' eye, was gaining confidence, and hadn’t yet bent-up the car…things were looking up!

It always appeared that our girls had everything locked down, which must have certainly included fielding a steady stream of date invitations.  It was easy to infer that all girls were highly experienced telephone conversationalists but, several ladies have informed me that most of their phone traffic was with their girlfriends.  And, the waiting for one of those special boy calls was nerve-wracking and sometimes heart-breaking.   

Anyway, for me and for any boy with adolescent confidence challenges, that damned telephone was a menace.  Before gathering courage to make the call, he went through maybe several hours of mental preparation…when to call, don’t want to interrupt anything at her house, don’t call too early, don’t call too late, don’t call in the middle of the TV shows, do call at the commercials, and what in the heck am I going to say? 

O.K., prerequisites met, make the call…the line’s busy, she washing her hair, or worse, she’s not home.  Well, that was actually a relief because it provided more time to ponder and anguish.  Of course in nature’s way, those uncertainties melted away instantly when she answered, a pleasant conversation ensued, and most importantly, she replied, “I would love to.”

For me, that special EH girl was Girl #3…the one that drove Steve Means into a deep funk when he learned we were dating.  He had stolen a kiss from her back in grade school and had been a key member of that notorious Meadowbrook lunch table that spent its time evaluating MJH girls around the lunchroom.  From my very first few days as a new 8th grade transfer to MJH, I had never forgotten that they had unanimously picked Girl #3 as a budding stunner.  She was not a member of the MJH-EHHS in-crowd (the clique)…she was a GDI.  And,by that time, partly due to Carole Stallcup's hallway gushes, Sharron Ballem's indifference, and that neither Gay Burton nor Celia Beall were yet showing me any love, so was I. 

The latter months of that Sophomore year and the first few weeks of the Junior year were the seminal ones that for some, determined the rest of their domestic lives.  Quite a number of EH romances that started then are now approaching their 50th Anniversaries.  Yes, some of them managed to land in my “knocked up” folder but, at ease folks…that folder is locked!  I know that some have been dreading this point in the story.

I'll dog this off as Part 1 of the "Contact Sport" story and take it up in Part 2.  For now, keep in mind that not all of our social challenges were visually obvious.

Continued in Part 2...


James said...

Great title. Wish I'd thought of that one. Enjoyed the piece as usual. Gus, your entire covering of the scene back then is an important piece of sociological study IMHO. I recommend it to all.

Gus said...

Thanks, James....I'm flattered. Boot Kendall in the butt here...I'm sure he could make an amusing and/or thoughtful contribution since he would have had the same aspirations with the same gals.

Sherri said...

Just now seeing this, Gus, and enjoyed it immensely, as usual!! I'm so upset with solo date #1 who cancelled on you and your matching Jantzen Swim Set! I remember those, and you would have been a handsome specimen--she missed out! You definitely won the prize with #3! Great article!

Gus said...

Thanks, Sherri. These are fun to write. Give #1 some slack, though....she made it into that locked folder, I didn't. Not sure if I ever wore that Jantzen set tell the truth, it felt kind of creepy....probably made of that miserable polyester they liked to use back then. NM must have taught you the virtues of Merino and Pima quite early; for me, it took a while.