The High School Party

My night starts out on one of those first dates you hope you never have. I’m out with a girl from work. She’s pretty, she’s nice; she’s always been kind of shy and quiet though. She’s never really said more than two word words to me the entire time I’ve known her. Frankly, I was surprised when she asked me out. And a little put off.

Originally, I made up some excuse for why I couldn’t go out. Really, I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to go out with her. I’ve never really had a meaningful conversation with her before, and she really doesn’t seem like my type.

But she told me that she really liked me, and asked if another day would work better. When I said I wasn’t sure, she continued to press the issue, asking me what day would work, and asking if she should ask me again in a day or two. Even though desperation is never a good sign, rather than continue to come up with excuses, I relented and agreed to a date.

We meet at a pub downtown for dinner and drinks, although she warns me that she can’t stay out too late. When I ask her why, she ignores the question and starts talking about something else. Her aloofness might seem suspicious but one thing that originally made me hesitant to agree to a date with her was her tendency to ignore questions or comments and to just change the subject. So this is not too unusual actually.

As the night begins, I realize that I am on one of the most awkward first dates ever. We don’t really have anything to talk about at all. She doesn’t seem to be that interested in what I have to say, and to be honest, I am not that interested in what she has to say. The conversation, if you could call it that, is full of long awkward pauses where we both smile insincerely.

Every question I ask her gets no more than two or three word responses. And she never asks the obligatory and conversationally necessary statement: “And you?” So every time I ask her something, she gives me a glib, shallow response, and then we’re back to our old friend: awkward silence.

The whole thing feels like a terrible, horrible setup.

I’m ready to write the whole night off as a loss. I’m ready to make up some excuse, to bail, to end this disaster of date. I’m ready to end it, when I suddenly get sidelined.

“So like… we need to talk…” she says uneasily.

“Um… aren’t we talking already?” I ask confused.

She sighs. I feel like I do when I’m about to get pulled into a relationship talk. “I kind of really liked you. But when I told my friend that we were going out tonight, she told me not to see you because well… you talk to a lot of girls.”

I am being pulled into a relationship talk. And we’re not even in a relationship!

I stare at her confused. “Well… I… don’t know what to say to that,” I stutter, having been caught completely off guard.

She sighs again and shakes her head. “I don’t know if I can be with someone with your reputation.”

“My reputation?” I ask confused.

She stares at the table unhappily.

I feel completely perplexed. What is going on?! This is just a first date. A horrible first date! A horrible, terrible, disaster of a first date and she’s talking like she’s ending a serious relationship!

“Well… first off, who is your friend? Because she’s clearly not a friend of mine so how would she know anything about me? Second, so what if I talk to girls? I have never even so much as been on a date with a girl from work before—present company excluded.” I want to throw in a: And third, we’re not even in a relationship here; but I hold it back.

She looks disappointed and fakes a smile.

“OK and so what if I do talk to girls a lot? I’m a flirty guy then,” I add. “Talking is nothing. Plus what counts as a lot? Maybe I have a lot of friends?” It’s never a good sign when you start debating with yourself.

I can see in her eyes that by being defensive I am just making my situation worse. I should’ve just laughed this all off when she brought it. That realization comes starkly too late however.

“You need to re-evaluate your life,” she tells me.

“What?! You asked me out!” I remind her angrily. “I don’t even like you. I didn’t even want to come. A few minutes ago, I was trying to come up an excuse to get out of here!”

She looks unconvinced and shakes her head at me. “You need to re-evaluate your life,” she repeats. She then gets up and leaves.

I sit there, stunned. I realize that I’ve just been blown off by a girl don’t even like, have been indirectly called a slut by someone who doesn’t even know me, that I might have a reputation of questionable moral character around work, and that her leaving means that I have inadvertently been stuck with the bill.

“Well what a fucking great start to the god damned evening,” I grumble to myself.

With the reputation-concerned first-date girl gone, I text my two pals Matt and Dave. They wanted to hang out tonight but I blew them off for this first date. Looks like I’ll be seeing them after all.

Matt and Dave swing by the pub and we have a few drinks as I fill them in on the details of the failed matchmaking encounter. Dave laughs and Matt tells me good riddance.

“You don’t need that”, “Clearly she was nuts”, and “She obviously cares way too much about what other people think” are spoken over and over again in various paraphrased forms from my friends over a few games of pool.

Despite the fact that I wasn’t really that into reputation-concerned girl, the fact that she rejected me is hard to take. What’s worse, is that I think I’m more bothered by the fact that I may have a reputation among the people I work with. I mean, I do have a lot of female friends. And sure, I am a pretty flirty guy. Does that make me a bad person? An undatable person?

After a few games of pool we leave. I am feeling drunk and melancholy.

As we start to wander back to Matt’s place to hang out, Dave is busy chatting with some people who are walking in our direction. Somehow I get pulled into the conversation too and end up having a five minute discussion with some random guy about how chicks are bullshit. It’s funny how easy it is to make friends when you’re drunk.

“You gotta f’rget about girls like that man! They’re just fucking with you!” he slurs. “She ne’er had any ‘ntention of dating you!”

“She didn’t?” I mumble.

“Girls man. She prob’ly saw you in th’office and thought, ‘I’m gonna FUCK w’th him.’”

“Now why would she fuck with him for no reason?” Mark chimes in.

The heavily inebriated bro shrugs, “Why’s it il’legal to park in a handicapped spot but legal to use a handicapped toilet? I do’t know.”

Mark rolls his eyes but the bro turns to me. “Forget ‘bout her man. Tonight, we party! To Crater!!!” As he cheers, suddenly the crowd around us all seconds his shout. The crowd then turns and starts running in to a nearby house. The house is crowded, with music blaring. The bro motions for us to follow.

“Who the hell is Crater?” Matt asks.

Dave shrugs, then shouts, “To Crater!” as he follows the crowd inside.

Mark and I linger in the backyard for a while, chatting with random people about random stuff and drinking free beer. From what we are able to surmise, the party is being hosted by some dude named Crater, a senior. Everyone here seems to love the guy, but we never meet him.

There are Christmas lights strewn about the backyard to provide makeshift party lights. There are coolers with random alcohol that we keep helping ourselves to. To be honest, we don’t really know if it’s a help-your-self type party, but seeing as how we’re not even supposed to be here in the first place, we don’t really give it a second thought.

It’s nice to be out and about surrounded by guys and girls and to get my mind off my unexpected rejection tonight. However, despite the fact that for all intents and purposes it seems like a typical, average college party… something is off.

At one point, some guy approaches me to ask me how long it took me to grow my beard. He seems astonished when I tell him a week or two.

“Fuck man… you must be like the coolest guy in your school,” he says with a hint of hero worship.

“Uh… yeah,” I say before turning away abruptly.

“Doesn’t that girl look a little young?” Matt motions towards a rather tipsy girl giggling and struggling to stay vertical.

“Yeah…” I say slowly.

Mark stares at her with a blank look.

Suddenly a kid younger than my brother comes storming past me and heads for the beers. He’s wearing old beat up glasses and terribly unfashionable clothes, his face is riddled with acne, and he is literally wearing a lamp shade as a hat. He pushes past me, grabs a beer and slams it open on the patio table as he groans.

“You okay man?!” his friend utters as he rushes in the kitchen behind him.

“Yeah man! I’ve just had so many. This is my fourth!”

“Fuck!” his friend exclaims, impressed.


I look over at these two young kids and then back at a giggly teenage girl in the hallway. “Uh oh…”

I look into the living room. Half the people here aren’t drinking. There are bowls of chips and a bunch of kids sitting in front of the TV playing Xbox. Two kids in front of me are discussing the merits of a show called Sonic X. I interrupt them to ask where they got their booze for the evening. One says his older brother, the other says he stole it from his parents.

I turn back over to Matt. “Yeah,” I say slowly to Matt. “We’re at a high school party…”

One of the girls laughs that she hasn’t been this drunk since her twelfth birthday.

“Fuck…” Matt says, “I hope this is high school…”

After realizing that we are at a party with kids ten years our junior, I pull out my cell and call Dave. When he answers, he asks me why I’m calling him. I ask him where he is. He says he’s in the kitchen with a crowd of people. He’s showing them how to play drinking games. I tell him to stop. When he asks why, I tell him that he’s at a high school party. He replies nonchalantly, “Yeah I know. So?”

“So? Dave, we are officially now those creepy older guys at the party. We should take off.”

Dave laughs, “So what man. Free alcohol, drinking games, random people to talk to-“

“And extremely illegal girls!” I remind him. “This is quite possibly the creepiest thing I’ve ever done.”

He laughs, “OK and that. But so what? Just, you know, keep it in your pants tonight. Besides, what else were we going to do? Go home and play Xbox?”

He’s got a point.

Matt is looking at me, having overheard everything we’re saying.

I look at Matt, hoping he’ll make a decision. But he just shrugs.

I sigh, “Fine…”

Dave laughs and tells me to just have fun with it. He says to challenge some young punk to a drinking contest and laugh when he inevitably pukes. Clearly he’s underestimating how much I have drunk myself tonight.

As I hang up I hear Dave begin to explain the rules for Never Have I Ever.

“I’m thinking of bailing,” I tell Matt.

He nods. “I’ve got beer at home.”

“Screw Dave?” I ask.

Without any hesitation, he nods. “Fuck him.”

Matt and I have ditched our booze and make our way through the house. We’re nearly at the front hall and home free when suddenly, a cute bubbly blond girl charges in out of nowhere and introduces herself. “Hi!” she exclaims enthusiastically. “I’m Jenny!” She is clearly drunk.

I introduce myself and Matt does the same. We’re about to tell her that we’re just leaving when she tells us how glad she is that we’re here. She smiles mischievously and tells us that we’re being anti-social. She says that she was working up the courage to talk to us for a while and then asks if she can touch my beard.

I almost brush her off but before I can she steps in closer and touches my arm.


I know we should leave. I know we should go. I know that it’s weird to stay. Not just weird, but creepy.

Jenny slowly rubs her hand down my arm. “When do you guys have to leave?” she asks.

But I’m a sucker for attention.

I shrug, “’til whenever. Parents don’t even know I’m out tonight.”

Technically it isn’t a lie.

Now, I know what you’re thinking at this point. But really it’s not that kind of story. In fact, you may think that I was only hanging the party because of the female attention I was getting but really, when Jenny asked to touch my beard, I realized something. I realize that ditching Dave would just be a real dick move. Friends don’t ditch friends. There’s a code you know. And really, if I ditched Dave, it would be worse than staying. I’d be that inconsiderate asshole. I mean what if something happened and Dave needed me? No, I had to say. Really, regardless of my high moral fiber and character, the only noble thing to do is to remain at the high school party.

At least, that’s what I tell myself.

Dave is laughing and joking with big group of newfound friends. He’s teaching drinking games and cheering people on. He’s winning and losing and laughing with everyone. He’s showing them bar tricks and bets. He’s telling them tales of his drunkest days and the dirtiest jokes he knows, and they’re hanging off every word.

Dave is legitimately the life of the party.

Meanwhile, Matt and myself are just chilling with Jenny. Our “crowd” may be smaller than Dave’s, but we’re having an easy time impressing her. Jokes, stories, little games, she eats it all up. She tells us that we’re the coolest guys she’s ever met. She laughs at every joke and begs us for more stories. She smiles as we talk and gets us drinks. And she hangs off me the entire time.

I know I shouldn’t let her. I know that she’s probably ten years my junior… at best. I know that I shouldn’t bathe in the attention she’s giving me, but I can’t help it. I’d like to say that it’s just because I got blown off that night that I was letting her placate my ego, but her attention makes me happy, and she eggs me on for more.

Unfortunately, once you have something, you have something to lose.

Somewhere between leaving to get another drink and stopping by to see how Dave is doing with his crowd of acne-faced fan boys and flat-chested floozies, I look back to the kitchen to see Jenny all over Matt.

It’s dumb, it’s stupid, it’s incredibly immature… but I get jealous.

I rejoin Matt and Jenny and suddenly I can’t get her attention for the life of me. She keeps asking Matt things and laughing at his jokes. When she laughs, she puts her hand on his chest and says it’s the funniest thing she’s ever heard.

I gave him those fucking jokes.

I tell her a joke but she barely giggles.

I tell her that my beard is itchy, but she doesn’t offer to scratch it.

I tell her my drink is getting low but she doesn’t offer to get me a new one.

I keep making desperate, obvious ploys for attention, hoping against hope that she’ll return to me, and be my fan girl once again, but somehow, inexplicably, she’s over me!

Somewhere between chugging twelve beers, getting blown off by a weirdo from work, and being tossed away by a high school heartbreaker I feel about ready to end this night.

She seriously doesn’t even know what she gave up. She’ll never know how great I was… how great we could’ve been…

I glare at her and Matt.

Look at them. She used to have eyes for me. What the hell did he say to her? It doesn’t matter. You don’t want a girl like that. Better you find out she’s a slut now than… down the line.

A guy beside me pats me on the shoulder and I suddenly realize I’ve been thinking aloud.

“Don’t worry brah,” he says, “You’ll bounce back.”

I look up at him. He has braces and forehead acne.

He smiles, “It took me a while but I finally found my perfect girl. And believe me, it’s worth the wait.”

I ask him who his girl is. He motions at some hottie in the living room. Literally, the girl looks like she’s in her twenties and has enormous boobs.

What the fuck?! I could never get a girl like that in high school and here’s this pimple-faced dweeb and that’s his girl.

I grimace angrily, “Go away…”

I chug my final beer and slam it down on the table. I’m about done here. I find Dave in the kitchen, surrounded by his crowd of pubescent followers. I walk straight up to him and tell him I want to leave.

He laughs and tells me that he’s been helping some of these kids with their game.

“Their game?” I ask.

He laughs again and tells me that literally none of these kids know how to hit on a girl. He says it’s pathetic. But apparently he’s been giving them pointers. He grabs me and turns me towards the living room.

“Look! Look!” he says eagerly.

“What am I looking at?” I ask.

At the far end of the room, some kid is playing tonsil hockey with a small brunette.

“He’s literally liked her for 2 years and done nothing about it,” he tells me. “Until the ol’ Dave-meister gave him some pointers.”

“This is what you’re doing with your time?” I ask unimpressed. “Playing Mr. Teen Matchmaker?”

Dave doesn’t even hear me. He sighs, “They grow up so fast…”

I sigh.

“I guess I can’t take all the credit though. High school girls are easy…” Dave muses.

I sigh again and drop my head. But then suddenly, it hits me. High school girls are easy… Really easy! I mean, not only am I an older guy, with money, independence, and a way sweeter body than I ever had in high school, but I have years of experience hitting on girls. I mean real girls too! Girls who have their own game and counter-measures. Girls with working bullshit detectors and experience. Girls who are way harder to pick up.

These high school girls… they’re practically defenseless! So what if Jenny blew me off?! I could totally hit on another girl!

Well like… not hit on. And certainly I wouldn’t try to do anything with any of these girls. But I could totally get another girl interested! I could get that sweet, sweet attention back. And I could rub it in Jenny’s face!

At the time, I don’t realize the irony of getting a girl interested in me for the sole sake of boosting my ego which was wounded after being rejected by a girl who implied that I use girls. But it’s kind of funny in retrospect.

Finding a Jenny replacement wasn’t hard. I found a group of girls and just walked right up to them. I used some cheesy opener that never would’ve worked in the clubs. They all laughed. I made guesses about what they were talking about, asked them who the real best friends were, rated their attractiveness, and pretty much just did everything I could think of to get them hooked on me.

Before I knew it, I literally could’ve had my pick of the lot. I take the prettiest girl and ask her if she wants to talk outside. She immediately agrees.

In the corner of my eye, I’ve been looking at Jenny the whole time. As soon as I got the crowd of girls going, she started looking over at me. And as soon as I lead the cutest one from the pack, she began to stare.

Oh, what’s that Jenny? Regretting your choice? Well boo-fucking-hoo!

We sit down on the patio. We talk for a bit more. I show her some constellations, tell her some jokes. She’s eating it all up. She’s touching my arm when she laughs. She touches my beard. She’s wide eyed and smiley the entire time we’re together.

My ego feels very relieved.

After a while though, things take a turn for the worse. At some point I notice her staring at me and smiling. She’s holding my arm. Her grip tightens. She says that she’s never had a guy as cool as me like her. She glows a bit as she talks. And then, she leans in.

My mind suddenly fires into a tornado of conflicting thoughts. Kiss her! No you can’t! Don’t! It’s just a kiss! It’s not right! Don’t be that guy! Don’t be that guy that you already are! Ahhhhhh!

I shut my eyes, purse my lips, and at the last second, turn my cheek towards her. I can’t! She kisses me firmly on my stubbly-beardy cheek.

I’m not that guy. I don’t want to be that guy. This is a mistake! This is going to be an awkward apology. It’s time to leave the party.

Of course, before I even get a chance to open my eyes I hear a shocked voice say my name: “JD…”

I open my eyes slowly to reveal the sight of reputation concerned girl standing in the dim porch light. She is standing there, staring at me, completely speechless, completely disgusted.

“Do… you… know… Crater… too…?” I manage to mumble out.

“No,” she says. “I’m here to pick up my sister.” She adds, “My 16-year-old sister.”

I gaze back at the girl who kissed me and realize suddenly that she does look awfully familiar.

“Oooohhhh… shhhhiiiitttt…” I gasp slowly.

Maybe it was the shameless seduction of a teenager, the fact that my friends dubbed me the Pedobear for the next few weeks, or the fact that I was now certain that I had a horrifying reputation at work, but I did go home and re-evaluate my life that night.

I hope you’re fucking happy reputation-concerned girl.

No comments:

Post a Comment