It’s been a while since I have regaled you with my childhood idiocy, hasn’t it? Let’s remedy that.
When I was in 9th grade, there was this kid. Let’s call him Dolph. Dolph was, if not the most popular boy in school overall, he was up there. Particularly with the ladies. He had a sort of David Duchovny thing going on, which is apparently what the girls wanted a piece of back then. He had scads of girls after his bony behind. I don’t really know why.
I don’t remember being particularly into Dolph, like, for real. This was still back in the day when I sort of liked boys just for the idea of liking them, rather than liking them because they were making me feel a flip in my stomach. Real true likage didn’t happen until 10th grade when I went kooky for Taco. Taco made my panties melt off whenever I looked at him. Dolph? Not so much.
Still, I was friends with Dolph. He lived in my neighborhood, and rode my bus, and we had lots of classes together. Particularly, we had German class together. I took German that year because my sister was living in Germany at the time and I basically wanted to do and be everything that my sister did so achtung, fraulein. Let’s learn some German. Our German teacher was a weasley little guy with perpetual pit stains who made us sing beer-drinking German songs, many of which I can still bust out to this very day.
Ich bin der doktor Eisenbart!
Zwilli willi wick boom boom!
The class was taught in a lecture hall style room, where the seats were really close together. Dolph and I sat next to each other every day, and because we were literally hip to hip, this was conducive to non-stop note-writing back and forth and whispered conversations all hour each day. Dolph and I got pretty dang cozy. And then the flirting began.
The nature of the flirting was strangely aggressive. It was like we were still young enough to almost be in the stage where if a boy liked you, he would pull on your ponytail and run away. Almost in that stage still, but not really. The flirting would take place via these challenging statements to each other, given back and forth with lots of immature attitude.
Him: You didn’t do your homework?
Me: No. So what do you care?
Him: You just think you can get away with stuff because you’re PRETTY.
Me: Shut up! You just think that you can say stuff like that because you’re CUTE.
Him: You shut up!
What the hell is that all about? He’s telling me I’m pretty, but in a tone dripping with disdain. And I am telling him to shut up about it. Just you shut up about me being pretty! GOD.
It’s like Lauren Bacall and Bogey. Or Hayes and Addison. Except, you know, stupider than that.
Each day the challenges got a tad more heightened. And somewhere along the line, not only was the kid-style attitude enough, but dare-like language got thrown into the mix.
Me: All these girls like you, but you are just too chicken to do anything about it!Him: Nuh-uh!
Me: Yeah-huh! You are. You wouldn’t even know what to do alone with a girl. You’ve never even kissed a girl, I bet!
Him: Yes I have!
Him: If we were alone right now, I would SHOW YOU.
Me: BIG TALK.
And on it went like this. Day after day, week after week. Things would get thrown into the conversation slowly, incrementally. It was like the momentum of our conversations had a mind of its own. I certainly didn’t know what the hell I was talking about, and I doubt he did either.
Pretty soon, it started to morph even more.
Me: Funny how you only say that you know what’s up when we’re in school.
Him: So what?
Me: So you can’t prove anything while we’re in the middle of class, can you?
Him: So fine, come over after school! I DARE YOU.
Me: Don’t you dare me!
Him: I DOUBLE DOG DARE YOU!
First of all, we all know, as a society, that there are no stronger words in the English language than Double Dog Dare. Am I right? If only we could translate the import of that phrase into other languages, we could Double Dog Dare world peace into existence I am sure. Second of all, Dolph whipped out the Double Dog Dare before he could think it through. I am 100% positive about that, because the look of fear that crossed his face as soon as it came out of his mouth is a moment I will never forget. And I am also sure that I had a similar look on my face as well. But what could I do? My honor was at stake! I was raised to not refuse a Double Dog Dare. That was absolute kid code. So what did I say?
Me: FINE. I WILL. WHAT DAY?
At this point, Dolph tripped all over himself coming up with an excuse as to why it couldn’t be that very day. And I was so relieved that he was putting it off. Not because he was repulsive. I wanted to kiss him, in that young, inexperienced way. Just out of curiosity more than anything else.
Him: Um, well not today. Next week. Next Monday. Yeah. Next Monday.
Me; Fine. Next Monday. Sucker.
Him: Shut up.
So we had a…date? Sort of? It felt kind of like a date. It also felt kind of like I imagine it feels when someone says that they want to meet you after school in the parking lot so you can beat the crap out of each other. Scary anticipation. Dread.
The days went by, and each day, the trash talk continued. We would pass each other in the hallway between classes.
Me: Three more days, fool!
Him: Bring it!
Me: As if you know what to do!
Him: You wait and see!
Me: I’m so SURE!
The witty repartee, right? I know.
There was a fad that year, where the vandalism of choice was to break hood ornaments off of fancy cars and run away with them. Classy. The day before the appointed make-out challenge day, Dolph came by my locker and gave me a Mercedes Benz hood ornament. It was only then that I realized OMG I HAVE TO GO THROUGH WITH A MAKEOUT SESSION WITH THIS BOY. Not just one kiss, most likely, which is what I had done in the past. But a SESSION. At his house. Where his parents would not be. We would be alone. For extended smooching. He had double dog dared me and now the hood ornament! This was 9th grade courtship, for serious!
This whole story is just so romantic, I know. Like there should be Sade playing in the background the whole time or something.
Monday morning rolled around, and I got up early. I put my curling iron into overdrive and wore my best outfit. I still remember to this day what that was: a light pink sweater, a brown pencil skirt made out of a sort of canvas-like material, and low pink heels. (Yes, I was the type of girl who already wore semi-heels to school when I was that age. SO WHAT). I felt dumb dressing up. Were we really going to go through with the Double Dog Date? I didn’t think so, but damned if I was going to be the one to blink first.
I showed up for school a few minutes early. My friend Donna had journalism class for first hour, and I knew that Dolph did too. I made a pretense of going to visit Donna before the bell rang. I walked in that classroom and SHIT, people. He was dressed up too! A nice shirt and sweater, with nice non-jean pants.
Me: (said like Seinfeld to Newman) Hello, Dolph.
Him: (said like Newman to Seinfeld) Hello.
And then we went about our day. I was freaking out.
Because A: he was dressed up too and was not blinking! The session was imminent! Abort! Abort! But maybe not! I think I want to go through with it! Shit, I don’t know!
And also because B: I was dressed up, yes, but I was a dressed up-ish kind of girl, so that wasn’t suspicious. But HE WAS ALSO. Would everyone wonder why the two of us were dressed up? Would everyone know that some lip action was forthcoming between us?
I trembled my way through the first half of my day. And then, at lunch, Dolph came over to my table, sporting Seriousface.
Him: Can I talk to you?
He pulled me aside, and informed me that um, it turns out that, um, my mom will be home after school today after all, and um, so it doesn’t look, like, um, it will work out today.
Me: I KNEW IT!
Me: BAWK BAWK BAWK! HA HA HA!!!!
Him: SHUT UP!
It was off, people, and I HAD WON! IN YOUR FACE! In the Double Dog Staredown, I had emerged victorious as the one with the most balls.
Except, did that mean that he didn’t want to kiss me? Aw crap.
It turns out that it didn’t mean that. The following week we met up at a football game and made out like banshees (do banshees make out? whatever) during half time. And that was kind of the end of that (until a relapse years later when we were seniors at a party).
So me. CLEARLY THE VICTOR.
However, I swore off taking Double Dog Dares after that. It’s just too much power in one phrase.
Zwilli willi wick boom boom.