Being such a nerd, I was always the girl in the corner guarding the purses. My worst date ever wasn’t even my date, but I played a memorable part in it and thus shall appropriate the story. Keep in mind, whether it was junior high dances or high school proms, I was reliable and had acquired the mask of indifference. “Nah, I don’t want to dance. I’ll sit here and watch. Sure, I’ll take care of your purse.” The pile would grow – purses, coats, and overtops shed in the heat of the moment. I never riffled through them looking for money. I had my pride.
By the time I was out of college and on my own, I’d like to say I blossomed into a popular beauty who was the first on the dance floor every time. However, that was not the case. At least I could purchase a glass of wine while I watched others dance their disco frenzy.
There was a whole crew of us who ran around and enjoyed the local city nightlife. We would be dedicated worker bees Monday through Wednesday. Working our way up the career ladder, the women wore the power suits and solid heels, while the young men constantly ran to the dry cleaners to keep their one or two suits looking fresh. The group lived in nearby apartment complexes, back when adult only living was permitted. No kid’s bikes to scratch our new company cars. Summer Sundays were spent poolside playing water volleyball and enjoying the keg of beer provided by apartment management. Life was good and no one was settling down or contemplating marriage.
As a group, we hung out, drank, danced, partied, and enjoyed each other’s company. It was an unspoken rule that any nights of pairing up and ending in bed would not ruin the general make-up of the group. Hurt feelings or misunderstandings were shrugged off. The goal was to have fun and revel in our youth. I was always on the periphery, good for a funny comment. I’d dance and enjoy the camaraderie, but would be cast in a movie as the “loyal friend”. In male terminology, I would have been the “wingman”.
Thursday night was the BIG night at McGees. Happy hour specials including a buffet were a draw as well as having a DJ to spin the records. The mirror ball spun and as the night got later, the noise and crowd increased. Well, my friend Terri and I were at our usual spots amongst the group. I was observing from the side, and Terri was in the middle chatting up a new man in our midst. Tall, tan, and oozing money, John was Ann’s brother who had deigned to join us this evening. He was a new partner in a law firm, and he had the fancy watch to prove it. Ann had arranged this “blind date” for Terri and it was going well. They proceeded to dance the night away and the alcohol was flowing.
It was not a horrible evening. I had stayed busy mingling socially. The whole gang was there and it was a party atmosphere. I did reach my maximum level of entertainment, weariness hit the high heels and I was finished. Only as I got ready to leave (alone) did I realize how much Terri had had to drink. Both she and John were pretty toasted and I questioned her sharply as to whether she needed me to drive her home. This story takes place back before the era of responsibility and MADD. “Oh, I’m fine.” Terri slurred clinging to John. “I’ll get home.” I blithely went home to fall into bed and a deep sleep.
Ring! Ring! Ring! Pulling me to consciousness, the phone rang insistently. I opened my eyes to total darkness and pulled the covers over my head. Ring! Ring! Ring! The phone would stop and then start again. Someone wanted to talk to me at three in the morning. Groaning I answered the phone.
“You have to come get him out of here.” Terri pleaded. She was coherent and begged me to come to her apartment.
“Are you OK? Is he hurting you or something?”
“No, I just want him out of here and I can’t wake him up.”
I was pulling on some clothes and cursing her, but I agreed.
It was a warm February night in Texas as I walked across the complex to her apartment.
Three in the morning is a quiet, peaceful time of night. I was awake enough to admire the moon. In front of her apartment was a DeLorean parked at a rough angle. I knocked on her door and she let me in. She was looking pretty beat. Apparently, she’d arrived home from McGees with her date and promptly proceeded to be ill. She’d locked herself in her room hoping he would go away. Sleeping briefly, she came out at three and found him snoring, half dressed on her couch. That’s when she called me. I shook him and he groggily opened an eye.
“You need to leave.”
“But I want to sleep.”
“That’s fine, but you need to sleep in your car. You can’t sleep here, she wants you gone.”
“I’ll freeze to death.”
“No, you won’t.” I helped him to his feet and handed him his remaining clothes. I found his keys and pushed him out the door. He swayed and managed to clunk his head as the gull wing doors opened. I pushed him into the driver’s seat and told him to sleep. I stepped back as he proceeded to heave on himself and his car. Ugh.
Yawning, I had done my good deed for Terri and I headed home to resume sleeping. That Friday alarm was going to buzz far too soon. Sure enough, I sleepwalked through the day and planned on a low-key evening. As I stepped through my door after work, the phone was ringing. Terri called to thank me for my help, but also to say that John had rallied enough to start his car and leave. Turns out he did get arrested for DUI and was sitting in jail. So much for his glorious law career. This episode marked a change in our partying ways and group dynamics. McGees stopped being a highlight of the week and Ann did not talk with us again. This was memorably the worst date I did not actually go on.