Relationships in The Innocent Age

I love this subway commercial. The boy’s “this is too good to be true,” reaction when the beautiful girl asks him if he wants her to be his girlfriend and then the disappointment when he realized it’s just a rouse to steal his lunch is priceless. Ain’t life grand. Reflecting some of that innocent realization, I had a wonderful conversation recently with a high-school girlfriend. The conversation with Peggy drifted back to the first time I asked her out and for all of the years that we’ve known each other I was surprised at how differently she remembered this particular event.

I think I even began by saying that I usually pride myself at having very vivid memories. Well, that was until another conversation we had years ago when she surprised me with a few stories about us that I had absolutely no memory of. That said, you’d still think that I’d remember something like asking her out the first time with a bit more clarity. Ha. So, the story goes that my wonderful girlfriend at the time, not Peggy, decided toward the end of our senior year that “we should see other people.” Perfect. Senior prom, grad night and I’m left to hustle to find a date after being with said girlfriend since our sophomore year. Ack. I did end up going with the old not-girlfriend to prom but was determined to not repeat that underwhelming experience for grad night. Okay, to be fair it was an okay but more than a bit awkward to share with someone who has decided to “see other people.” [fail trombone].

Anyway, I knew Peggy because she was a good friend of a girlfriend of one of my football buddies. I do vividly remember walking up behind her in a crowd as we were all shuffling to get to our afternoon classes, touching her on her shoulder and when she turned around asking her if she’s like to go with me to grad night. There was a bit of an expected blank stare on her part and then she said that she’d have to ask her parents first. She is still embarrassed that she had to ask her parents because she was only 15 and her mom had said that she couldn’t date until she was 16. I remember being happy because she didn’t say “No” outright or laugh. But what I didn’t remember, and what Peggy told me in the recent conversation, was that me asking her out was the very first time that we’d actually ever spoken to each other. I was flabbergasted. I assumed that we’d talked at least a few times because, if this were true, than this had to be the one and only time that I can ever remember (which clearly isn’t as reliable as it used to be) ever walking up to someone that I wasn’t first friends with and asking them out. Wow. After all these years, I was stunned.

Grad Nite 1976 - Two Very Young Kids
Grad Nite 1976 – Two Very Young Kids

What was it that enabled me to break out of what would become a life-long pattern just this once? In that that version of myself is over 30-years in the past, I was kind’a impressed with that version and wondered what happened to that guy. Oh yeah, life and experience intervened. In all fairness, life is different in ones hometown in that I may not have talked to Peggy before that fateful day but I knew who she was, so she was not a completely random stranger. So, to continue the tale, we went to grad night and dated a little that summer and then in the Fall I moved to Los Angeles to attend Loyola Marymount University and we stopped dating. Well, not quite, but that’s a tale for another time (and probably another phone call so that I don’t get the detail too screwed up). Ah, memories of youth. I love the boy’s last line, that no one hears, “ah, I don’t think this is working out…”

P.S., Peggy recently had a monumental birthday and her lovely daughter wanted to get a lot of her friends together. I wasn’t able to make it to the party but I sent the link to the following video to her. It’s good to have friends.