In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, gather round so I can tell you about one of the pinnacle moments in a girl’s life. The first date.
The year was 1993 and I was in Grade 8 at Emily Carr Middle School. I had a funny group of friends who had grand ideas of love and boyfriends, just like teen girls should. We were known to play Girl Talk at our sleepovers, call radio stations and dedicate songs to boys that we liked, draw hearts with our dream-boy’s initials in our notebooks and on our Note Tote binders. Some of the braver girls in my posse would anonymously call the boys they liked and have full on conversations with them without revealing their identities… yikes! It was a time of awkward school dances, unfortunate haircuts, weird body changes and wicked clothing combinations. My girlfriends at the time were a special breed of teen girl who thought making up new lyrics to popular songs and performing them in front of the class (or even during school talent shows) was the best thing ever and not at all embarrassing.
Upon reflection, my very first date involved so much peer pressure that it was doomed from the start. The trend at the time when I was in Grade 8 was to date a younger man, ideally in Grade 7**. My gaggle of friends and I met an eligible young Grade 7 boy at recess whose name (I’m so sorry if this is wrong whoever you were) was Matt. I remember that he was about my height, had short dark hair, boyish looks, and wore sweatshirts and jeans.
Under the pressure of several of my friends, I’m sure, he asked me out to a movie. Dreamy. I said yes and we exchanged phone numbers, planning to go out to a movie that weekend. He took me to what is possibly the worst first date movie ever. We went to see Alive… you know, the movie about the Uruguayan rugby team that crashes their airplane in the Andes mountains and has to eat the dead to stay alive. Romantic. He probably bought me popcorn and we were probably too nervous to even hold buttery hands, but we both made it through to the end of the date when our parents picked us up in their respective minivans and drove us home. There may have been a kiss on the cheek, but I highly doubt it. There is no way that I would have allowed that in front of my parents as I likely would have literally died of embarrassment.
Memories are fuzzy, but I’m pretty sure I never talked to First-Date Matt again. We certainly never went on a second date. Perhaps the fad of dating younger men passed by and it was no longer trendy to slum it with a Grade 7. What a heartbreaker I must have been, crushing poor Grade 7 Matt’s heart and then parading around in my oh-so-fashionable neon tie-dye shirt with the sleeves rolled up and the jean cut off shorts with equally rolled up legs (and a bun wrapped in a scrunchie with wicked hairspray bangs).
Did I learn anything from my short-lived first boyfriend? Of course!
If you’re going to see a movie with a boy, pick it yourself or else you will see a movie about people eating dead people.
**It should be noted that I skipped a grade in elementary school, so I was actually the same age as Grade 7 Matt, however if I had been so bold as to actually date a younger boy, I would have been dating a Grade 6 boy… and for a Grade 8 girl, that was pushing it too far.