When I was 14 a girl named Liz asked me to the Turnabout Dance (aka Sadie Hawkins Dances, where the girl invites the boy to be her date). I jumped at Liz’s offer. I was new to my high school and completely incompetent with girls. I missed Homecoming and the Winter Ball, relegated to staying home alone, searching for nipples in the scrambled images of the Spice Network.
Fate and genetics conspired to have Liz pull me out of my dungeon of isolation. Like me, she was a gangly 14-year old. She was 6-foot and I was a couple inches taller. This specious bond constituted sufficient cause for partnership.
I bought a corsage and was dumped off by my brother at Liz’s place before the dance. Her father, a 6’7”, barrel-chested, grey-buzzed-haired monster with a voice as deep as the Marianas Trench, greeted me upon arrival. Despite his appearance, he didn’t intimidate me. I had no devious plans with his daughter. I wasn’t attracted to her. Ours was a relationship of mutual beneficence: I would serve as a date she didn’t tower over and she would get me on the first rung of our high school’s social ladder. Liz, being a field-hockey player, was far more popular than I was. Though she wasn’t terribly cute, she was well-liked. A glaze of associative affection couldn’t help but improve my nonexistent social sheen.
Her dad drove us in his Lincoln Town Car to the Tivoli restaurant in Chicago Heights, the south suburbs go-to joint for octogenarians and pre-formal dancing teenagers. We had an innocuous dinner before being driven to the dance. I had never danced before, so all I could muster were a few awkward turns during the slow dances. The night went as well as could have been expected, until the end. Continue reading “Does A 14-Year Old Run Your Life?”