Friday, September 5, 2014

Friday Flashback: This should have been in the manual.

When I turned 16, I thought I would date.  I lay under the misconception that there existed a healthy handful of boys who desperately wanted to date me, but who knew that I couldn't until I had reached the approved age.  These boys were hiding their attraction from me until they could nobly act on it, I knew it.  Once I was sixteen, the floodgates would be released and a flurry of phone calls would greet me; my social calendar would fill up at an alarming rate.

I guess I have always been rather fanciful.

When it became apparent that the boys were not queuing in line to ask me out, my friends and I decided to take matters into our own hands.  I am not entirely convinced this was a good idea.  I don't think one should initiate play when one has no clue the rules of the game.  I guess one could expect a certain amount of "self-evidence" due to general observation, reading of books, exposure to media, etc.  However, it appears that I was missing even that.  

I had a very cliche', secret crush on one of my good friend's older brother.   I was a sophomore, and he was a senior.  Looking back, I think my attraction was based entirely on his rather nice smile and the fact that he could dance.  That, it seemed, was all it took to make my 16-year old heart swoon.  My friend, Diana, also despaired of our dateless existence.  She proposed that we plan a double date.  I could date her brother ("That would be o.k. right?") and she would date her brother's best friend, Matt, who she rather fancied.  I tried to play it cool that she had basically just set me up with my secret crush.  "Yeah," I said, "I could do that."

We decided to keep our date rather casual, pretending that we were just a group of friends hanging out rather than two silly girls desperately gaga over a pair of seniors.  We planned a movie followed by a trip to the local donut joint.  Sounds pretty normal, right?  Change the donut joint to a local diner and you basically have the plot for a Sarah Dessen novel right there.  

This is the point that I tell you that the movie we picked to watch was Dead Poet's Society.

I honestly can not tell you why we thought this was a good choice.  Perhaps because it was universally acknowledged as a brilliant movie?  Because it would appeal to both guys and girls?  Because there was no romantic tension whatsoever?  Who knows.  What I can tell you is this: I can not watch this movie without completely sobbing.  I remember watching this movie in the theater with my family when it first came out. I let out this loud, gut wrenching sob at a key dramatic point that cut the tension for everyone but me and made them chuckle.  Meanwhile, I continued to grab at kleenex and attempted to control my hyperventilating while tears poured down my face.  I have seen this movie dozens of times, and one would think that familiarity and time would lesson it's effects.  Not a chance.  It is one of two movies (the other being Shadowlands) that I watch if I feel in need of complete emotional purging.  (I should also mention that I haven't even watched these movies with Mr. F.  My husband.  A person I should feel pretty safe sobbing my eyes out next to.)  The thing about Dead Poet's Society?  You never get a break.  From the second half of the movie to the moving, chill-inducing end, you have one emotional punch after another.  There is never a chance to recover, to get a hold of yourself, so to speak.  

Right.  Where were we.  

Oh yes.  Two sophomore girls were sitting next to two senior boys that they held mad crushes for watching perhaps one of the saddest movies of all times on their very first date.  Do I even need to tell you what happened?  Diana and I tried discretely to manage and hide our sobs but completely failed.  At the end of the movie when the lights were flicked back on, the two of us had red, swollen, blotchy faces while the guys' were completely dried and held contained amusement.  I don't even remember the rest of the night.  We went to eat donuts.  I guess we talked.  But honestly, all that I remember from that night is the burning embarrassment of being so emotionally exposed in front of two senior boys!   

This memory is brought to you by the recent passing of Robin Williams.  After his death, many people were sharing their favorite movies and quotes.  My favorite movie of his will always be Dead Poet's Society.  However, I can never think of that movie without also feeling again the embarrassment of my first double date.

1 comment:

RFamily said...

I vividly remember crying while watching this in a hs English class!


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