Even though it’s still quite hot, believe it or not fall is just around the corner. I remember when I was a teenager and the lazy days of summer and the “not a care in the world” kind of vibe was a part of my everyday life.
If I had to pick a few cares in the world it would be how tan my friends and I could get with olive oil slathered on our skin and how many blonde highlights could be attained with lemon juice, and how many games of Marco Polo we could play in the pool.
Many of us had summer jobs, so our weekends were our fun times. We’d go from backyard pool to backyard pool, we’d hang out and have sleepovers, stayed up until the wee hours of the morning watching “Creature Feature” and playing board games.
And as soon as Labor Day was over, we were back to school. Friday night football games were the highlight of our week. In my freshman year I remember sitting on the bleachers with my besties. There were four of us. I met them back in fifth grade when my parents bought a house in the San Fernando Valley. We went to junior high school together and now we found ourselves in 10th grade.
I remember during one of the first games of the season, this guy was trying to get my attention. He had crazy hair and his eyes looked like Gene Wilder’s in Willy Wonka. I tried to ignore his obvious staring, but by halftime he had succeeded in scooting over to sit next to me and my friends.
By the third quarter I knew his entire life story, and by the fourth quarter he was mouthing Cheap Trick’s song, “I Want You to Want Me” complete with his air-guitar rendition. And I thought to myself it’s going to be a lonnnng year!
I wasn’t even allowed to date until I was in my junior year. And my dad insisted on meeting everyone who asked me out, so that pretty much made me a “one date wonder.”
So, I decided to spice up my fake love life. I got a notebook and titled it my French Kiss List. It was paltry because I had only French-kissed two boys at that time. So, I decided to add more and included the ones I wanted to kiss.
One day my stepmom saw my list and asked me what the little hearts meant. Acting cool, I said they were for the boys I had kissed.
That didn’t go over well, and 98% of the list was just wishful thinking. My delving into wanting to be a baaad girl got so blown out of proportion by my dad and stepmom, I think they nearly sent me to a convent.
I told Papa, it was about kissing, not “you-know-what.” It didn’t make a difference. In his mind, first base let to second, third and fourth. That darn baseball analogy!
As I’ve mentioned in other articles, my dad is an OBGYN. Ponder being the first born and oldest daughter. Some of my high school acquaintances were patients of his. Imagine my innocent high school photo sitting on his desk, along with my siblings’ pictures, too.
And one girl says, “Hey I know Jennifer, is she your daughter?”
Now imagine said patient is there and is on birth control. By the transitive property and only because she knows me, I am suddenly doing what she is doing.
Remember, I was only trying to get someone to French-kiss me. So, anyone who knew me and had my dad as their doctor, I would say to them, “OK, so when you see him, and if you see my picture on his desk, you are to tell him, I’m a geek, a nerd, a bookworm, that I go to the library and get a head start on my homework.”
And they would nod and say, “Got it Jen!”
Sometimes it would work and sometimes after my one-date wonder, my dad would ask me how it went. I would say, “OK, but I don’t think I’ll see him again. I didn’t want to do things with him, and I think that’s what he wanted.”
Instead of my dad hearing that I was a “good girl” and knew that this date wasn’t quite what I expected, he would hear this:
“Dad, hey I was thinking of losing my virginity with this guy and I wanted to let you know.”
Or he’d hear, “Dad, can I borrow your eight-track tape of Bad Company’s ‘Feel Like Making Love’ so I can surprise my date this Friday night?”
The absurdity of it all. I look back and laugh and in many ways I’m grateful that I never ended up in a situation that I didn’t want to be in. Call it being cautious, call it being intuitive; nonetheless, at least I had self-esteem and self-respect.
The following Monday after my date with the guy, he came up to me on our mid-morning nutrition break at school and told me we weren’t going to be dating anymore, that he liked someone else.
And he walked away.
Afterward I went over to my friends. They looked at me and asked me what had happened. I told them and shrugged my shoulders. I was over it and I went back to looking for my next person that I could add to my French- kiss list.
And then the bell rang, and it was back to class, and I was one less date. Ah, but that was the simplicity of high school. All things solved in 20 minutes.
Jennifer Danny is a Santa Clarita resident.