Finally! The forever-ago promised Dating Dirt is here! This is the first part of the many parts it will take me to tell the whole sordid dating story. I have decided to make the Dating Dirt on Mondays to really start the week off right. Enjoy...
Before middle school, I had never had a real boyfriend. I almost had a boyfriend in first grade, when a kid named Alex Newton asked me to be his girlfriend. I told him I would, but only if he could correctly spell my last name. On the first try. Even as a six year-old, I had high standards. Alex couldn't spell his way out of a paper bag, and coming from me, that's pretty pathetic. Our romance never took off.
Then, in third grade, I considered dating my best friend at the time, Ryan Youngblood. He was seeing a girl named Paige, but one day confessed to me that he loved me more than anyone in the whole world, even Paige. I told him it would never work out; the inevitable break-up would destroy our friendship. He reluctantly agreed, and settled to continue on with Paige, whom he loved second-best in the whole world. Ryan and I stayed close friends until the 5th grade, when we no longer had any classes together.
So imagine me at 13 years old, in 8th grade, with no boyfriend experience. I was in my first professional production at The Opery House in Nashville, TN, playing a near-illiterate mountain girl, whose father was killed in an unfortunate ax accident just a few scenes earlier. Across the stage, my eyes met those of Jason, another local mountain boy. In real life, Jason was 15, tall, and beautiful, with blue eyes and light brown hair. I knew that over the next 3 months (the run of the show), I simply had to make him mine.
Jason had girlfriend experience. He was a sophomore in high school, after all, and the year before had dated a girl whom he claimed had irreparably broken his heart. He was distant on the subject of love, and whenever dating came up among we mountain children in the green room, he would look off into the distance instead of joining in the debate. Even more difficult to break through than his broken heart, however, was his gameboy. Jason would spend almost every moment off-stage on that thing, and it made it hard for me to make noticed appearances here and there. In short, his game was totally ruining mine.
I didn't give up, and eventually Jason returned my flirtations. We took our meals together in the green room, and he would playfully tug at my long and polished braids that I wore for the Second Act. Finally, I decided that the time was right for me to push for a bigger commitment. I casually told him before one show that I would like him to be my boyfriend, and for him to think things over, and if he wanted to, to meet me at the side stage curtains between certain scenes later in the show and tell me so. If he didn't want to, he was not to show up at all, and I would know his answer that way. I promised him it wouldn't hurt our friendship if he didn't show. But we all know that I would never has spoken to him again, not with my crushed 13 year-old pride.
All show I waited near those side-stage curtains, even though "our" scene was not until much later. I didn't want to take the chance of running into him backstage elsewhere and seeing that his answer was no before the appointed time. Then, three scenes before the appointed scene, Jason appeared behind me at the meeting spot. "Hey," he whispered, and I turned from watching the show back to him. "My answer is yes," he said, and then smiled at me. Then he turned and quickly walked away.
And so I had my first-ever boyfriend.
Tune in next week to find out how such a promising beginning turned bad, and fast.