Forgive the double-post, but reading other people’s dating tales shook loose a few more memories of my own dating experiences. This particular recollection was prompted by Betsy Pfau’s story of her date with Gordon. Both of my stories on this prompt deal with fear. I don’t think that most men realize that a date can be a dangerous thing in a society where men are certainly not discouraged from taking what they desire, by force if necessary.
Boticelli could not have painted an angel more lovely than Angela.
A hot afternoon in late summer of 1972, just before the start of my sophomore year in Bayonne High. I was playing tennis with Elvira, in pursuit of Elvira. It wasn’t going well. I sucked at sports in general, and Elvira was a pretty good tennis player. She also turned out to be one of those people who is most palatable in small doses. Not a bad person at all, smart, funny and pretty, but not right for an introvert like me. Preparing another rocket-like serve, she paused and said “Hi, Angie!” to someone who had come up to the fence behind me. I turned around…and time stopped. It sounds hokey, but testosterone is a hell of a drug, and my blood had just been shot full of it.
Elvira’s cousin Angela remains, to this day, one of the most naturally beautiful women I have ever seen in person. She is one of only two* women I have known who never wore any makeup at all, and she didn’t need it. Any addition would be a subtraction. Max Factor would have taken one look at Angela and sought another line of work. Smooth olive Italian skin over high cheekbones, flushed and deliciously moist in the humid New Jersey air. A single dimple that appeared at the corner of her mouth when she smiled. A face to die for, framed by long, almost black and slightly wavy hair. Was she buxom? Was she thin? Was she shapely? I truly did not notice, and do not remember. You may have heard of “ass men” or “[breast] men”; I found out that day that I am a face man. Botticelli could not have painted an angel more lovely than Angela.
I must have squeaked out some sort of greeting, but I clearly made no great impression. Angela said farewell and glided away through the shimmering August heat, taking my still-beating heart with her. Thus is an obsession born.
Angela was a year younger than I, so she’d be entering BHS that Fall. My Elvira Quest had gone nowhere – I am unsure whether Elvira even knew of it – so I had no qualms about pumping her for information about her unfathomably breathtaking cousin. Armed with a locker number and courage born of burning hunger, I found her and did the improbable. I secured a date with Angela. We’d go see a movie that weekend at the old DeWitt theater.
A new movie had come out, a horror movie. I envisioned ectoplasmic spirits or suave vampires, maybe a werewolf, or a shambling mummy or two. A good old fashioned spook-fest. If I was lucky, Angela would get just frightened enough to need to snuggle close, maybe clutch my arm during the jump scares, or hide her eyes (large, brown pools of delight) against my neck.
Unfortunately, the movie I chose, all unawares, was Mark of the Devil. Look it up. It’s considered to be the first of the “torture porn” genre. Controversial then, it’d probably be considered quaint now.
I can’t recall which of us decided to leave, but we lasted about half an hour. Thirty minutes staring in shock at women being raped, mutilated, dismembered and immolated. I was mortified. Angela kept looking at me with sidelong glances, while keeping as far away as the seat would allow. This was not the plan; I’d hoped she might be scared, but not of me.
I tried to apologize, but the damage was done. A curt “goodbye” and she was gone. We never spoke again.
Elvira and I stayed friends, so I guess Angela never told her what a sick and depraved person I was.
*The other one is my wife Gina:
A hyper-annuated wannabee scientist with a lovely wife and a mountain biking problem.
Wow, the Devil is in the details and you’ve given us all the details Dave.
Glad you ended up with your Angel Gina!
Oh dear, how unfortunate! You were clearly NOT planning on bringing Angela to such an awful film. Your descriptions are wonderful and I could picture the events perfectly—if only the outcome had been as wonderful as the writing. And it seems that you and Gina both found a good match, so happy ending.
I loved this story, Dave. It reminded me of my late mother-in-law going with a lady friend to see Silence of the Lambs. Clearly, they were expecting something else and walked out in a huff, demanding a refund. Looks like you picked a winner in the end. Gina is lovely.
What is really amusing, Laurie, is that it sort of happened to me again! My Dad was EXTREMELY straightlaced and easily embarrassed about anything related to sex in any way. Strange for an ex-dockworker…. Anyway, late in the summer before my junior year in high school, I broke my arm in a bike crash. To cheer me up, he and my Mom took me to New York City to see a new outdoor action and adventure movie that had recently been released. The movie was called “Deliverance.”
To his credit, Dad lasted until the “squeal like a pig” scene before he claimed he needed to use the rest room. Mom and I met him in the lobby after the movie.
I can envision that date, Dave, and what a scene. Although you lost Angie, you eventually married Gina.
Thanks for the shout out, Dave. I’m glad I inspired you to write a second story. You describe Angela with such exquisite detail, I can just picture her (love the concept that Max Factor would choose another line of work!). Truly horrific (pun intended) that you wound up at such a horrible movie and scared the poor woman away forever.
But you were rewarded with Gina. Say no more.
No reason to apologize for a double post, both were terrific dating stories! Nice that you were inspired by Betsy to write this one. You can click on the “Write a story in response” box at the bottom of the other person’s story the next time you are so inspired.
Horrifying movie, I read the synopsis on Wiki. Sorry it killed any chance with Angela, but as others have observed, your life turned out okay.
I’d completely forgotten about the “write a story in response” feature!
Dave, what a great story! And an example of the truth: men should not be afraid of asking out the girl of their dreams; she may actually be home on Saturday night because of her beauty!
I was aware of similar dating disasters suffered by my brothers. So glad you finally found the real girl of your dreams.
You can find our(decidedly non-disasterous)first date story at https://www.myretrospect.com/stories/pizza-and-a-bad-movie/!