In my post yesterday, I touched on growing up in a small town. It started me thinking about other ways in which it affected me. Two things immediately came to mind: music and dating.
Because I grew up in a town with essentially one radio station, my exposure to good music was limited. (A radio station that switched to FM and changed it’s name and call numbers a decade ago and still calls itself “The NEW Hawk.”)
We gained access to Much Music (like a Canadian version of MTV, except with music videos and junk) at some point. But, it was mostly top 40 stuff. Anything else was on at strange times, when young people were out “dating.” More on that later…
I didn’t hear a single song by The Cure until my first year at university. Crazy, but true. My goth-ish roomie had a bunch of CDs by bands with names I had heard, but whose music I was not familar with.
My roomie also had to have his stomach pumped three times frosh week. (I actually think it may have been more, but I remember three for sure.) He later tried to OD on pills before Xmas. Did I mention that roommates were assigned and not chosen?
We got along fairly well – except for the time that I told him, “I will dwarf toss your ass out the fucking window if you wake me up again at 4:00 am to tell me you are taking my orange juice” – so he was cool with me listening to his CDs. And, uhm, we were only on the third floor.
Even now I’ll find these cool-assed songs that I’d never heard in my life. I only recently discovered The Replacements.
There is a silver lining though, to this not being exposed to music thing. It is now very exciting to stumble upon something awesome for the first time. It’s like Marco Polo discovering… a McDonald’s.
That made sense in my head.
So, when I got to university, I had a lot of musical catching up to do. I also didn’t fully comprehend this ritual called “da-ting.”
At this time, people in my town didn’t really “date.” Sure, a few people asked someone to go out to dinner, but they were very much the exception rather than the rule.
For the most part, people hooked up because of set-ups, drinking, drunken set-ups, revenge because of other people’s drunken hook-ups, and a lack of good radio stations.
During our teen years, it mostly broke down like this:
1) You like someone. (Possibly a cheerleader who is a year older than you.)
2) You mention it to your friends.
3) You, or your friends, mention it to their friends.
4) You wait for some kind of feedback from their friends.
5) If negative, you remind your friends that he/she isn’t that hot anyway.
If positive, you ask them to dance at some kind of event and start kissing during the first slow song. (Most likely “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” from DIRTY DANCING. You know, hypothetically speaking.)
Done and done.
It was a decent system. It worked well. But, it kind of left you ill-equipped for real world dating.
And, to be honest, that system seemed to be a lot of work for me at that time. I liked no effort plans. I fine-tuned it to:
1) Find someone you like and hang around them.
2) Be adorable.
Less effort, but also didn’t teach a dude about asking women out and whatnot.
My system was a little hit and miss throughout university. I had a long-term girlfriend at one point. Hooked up with friends of friends at other points. Kissed strangers here and there.
Speaking of kissing strangers, one of my favourite moments in university happened one night when a roomie kissed a girl in the line-up to get into a bar. When they got inside, one of them went to use the bathroom and they never met up again. When my buddy reported the story later that night, a female friend of ours was horrified. She didn’t know what to make of it at all. Then she uttered the much repeated, “But… if you kiss her, she’s yours” line. I realize that it is only funny to those of us that were there, but it completely slayed me. She was so serious. Like the kissing girl had broken some kind of code. This female friend of ours eventually became a doctor. Oddly not a sex therapist though, despite her sage-like hook-up wisdom.
Eventually in my final year at university I started figuring things out. I met a girl that I had an insane crush on. (Sweet, blonde, aerobics instructor in her spare time.) But, our timing was crap. She was involved with someone. Then I was involved with someone. Finally after Xmas, we were both single and chatting one night after leaving a bar. Then I did it…
I asked her to go to a movie the next week.
She smiled and said, “Yes, of course.”
I walked home that night very excited, and thinking, “Dude, that was pretty easy.”
Three days later I became deathly ill and had to leave school.
On my miserable ride back home, “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” started playing on the radio.
Fucking DIRTY DANCING.