Slow Times at Ridgemont High

December 7, 2020

Here’s an example of one of my earliest icebreaker/pickup lines. See if you can see what it might have foretold of my future as a “player.”

I was working at my first job in a snowball shop. I had my back turned to the window. And when I turned I was startled to see two girls standing there. “Did we scare you?” one of them asked teasingly. “Not till I turned around,” I retorted, engaging the prettier one in what I considered flirtatious banter.

“You’re no prize, yourself,” returned the other, not prettier one, in a return of lethal fire.

Skinny, glasses, a tendency toward bookishness and enough acne to be the actual face of a pizza, I should have gone through my junior high school years never knowing what my lunch money would have actually bought me had it made it to lunchtime still in my possession.

Two things. First, the less than pretty one confirmed that neither would I be getting by on just looks alone. Secondly, my version of swaggering nonchalance proved to be a non-starter in the romantic wars.

Also, I was built to be bullied. Skinny, glasses, a tendency toward bookishness and enough acne to be the actual face of a pizza, I should have gone through my junior high school years never knowing what my lunch money would have actually bought me had it made it to lunchtime still in my possession. Yet, no one ever bothered me. I believe, in retrospect, my self-deprecation was so decimating, I was never viewed as a worthwhile target.

But back to the fantasy football league that was my experience with girls. I should have learned from that snowball stand incident that I should eschew the A List, and make the best deal I could among the still very serviceable B Listers. Several of them carried me around on their own C List, which they kept close for last minute emergencies, such as pop-up sock hops or Legion of Mary spelling bees.

Yet, in spite of all the self-inflicted obstacles I put in my own path, I did manage to score a couple of A List dates. Two to be precise. One was with a true Uptown Girl (from Metairie) who then spent the entire evening of my Junior Prom regaling me with the full lyrics to her regular boyfriend’s school’s fight song. She demurred me walking her to her door by saying her father kept a wolverine chained to the front porch. I never got the chance to be spurned by the second, a cherubic blonde with the surname of one of the most prominent medical reputations in the city. She informed me after a Freshman Mixer that I could not call her for a date, since her father demanded the house line remain open 24/7 for medical emergencies. I looked him up. He was a chiropodist. I gave up on the A List when I concluded that when I did score, it was only because of a dare, or they were pledging a high school sorority.    

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