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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Cranky's First Date


If first impressions are important, it is a wonder I have ever had a second date with a woman.  Mrs. Cranky will confirm that the first impression I give off is one of a clumsy, tongue tied, oblivious clod.  In actuality my real persona is only a little clod like.

I have always been a bit awkward with the ladies, right from my very first “date.”  My first date was at age thirteen with Sue R.  Sue R. was a petite extremely cute blonde with a budding personality.  Budding was the operative word for a hormone laden new teen.

Arranging this first date was an operation fraught with anxiety.  The family phone was in my parent’s bedroom.  To call a young lady you had to sneak into the room and dial quickly before a prying older brother caught you calling a girl.  If caught, the teasing would have been merciless. 

I called the very cute Miss Sue at least five times.  The first four I hung up because her brother, my brother’s best friend, answered the phone.  On the fifth try Mr. R. answered.

“Who is this and why do you keep calling and hanging up?”

“Um notme isSuethere?”

“Hmmm…whose calling?”

“Joe?  I mean Joe.”


M U S T   C A T C H   M Y   B R E A T H!




Deep breath. 

“Hi Sue, it’s Joe.  Would you like to go to a movie or something sometime?”

“Sure, when?”

“Oh I was thinking maybe Saturday?”



The big date was that Saturday, at a theater the next town over so we would not run into any school friends.  It was a double feature, “Godzilla” and “Mothra.”  With these Japanese horror classics, surely love would be in the air.

Mom drove us to the theater and dropped us off.  Sue and I had already stolen a kiss behind the candy store after school so I was expecting some real action.  I entered the theater with high expectations.  I was quickly brought down to Earth.

My first suave move was purchasing the ticket.

“Two, under twelve please.” (Come on, it was 25 cents for under twelve, 35 cents for adult.)

“You’re not under twelve.”

“Yes we are.”

The cashier surveyed my “budding” young date and responded even more insistently, “No…no you are not.”

Reluctantly I handed over the full price of 70 cents.  The cashier informed me, “Be glad, under twelve has to sit in the kid’s section, I’m guessing you would rather be alone.”

We headed in, bought a 15 cent box of buttered popcorn and went to the adult section.  I was anticipating hand holding followed by a yawn and an over-the-shoulder arm move and maybe some discreet kissing.

Instead the usher demanded we move to the kid’s section.

“But I paid for an adult ticket.”

“This section is for 16 years old and above.  You guys are not 16.”

“But I paid full price…”

We were forced to sit in a crowded section of 10 year old kids. 

The indignity of it all; I still get riled up thinking about it.  I paid as an adult and got treated like a kid.  There was no hand holding, no arm move, no discreet kissing.  Surrounded by 10 year olds, it was just too embarrassing for words.

The date was not a total loss, “Godzilla” and “Mothra” were classics, and believe it or not the cute Sue R. and I dated for almost a year.  We progressed past the arm-over move but beyond that I will not kiss and tell (there wasn’t that much to tell.)  Then her family moved to Florida.

They say you always remember your first date, and as much as I try to forget, what they say is unfortunately too true.

Anyhow, the popcorn was good.   


  1. Yours sounds like every male's first date.* Mine for sure. Could we have been any more awkward?

    *Except maybe George Clooney. He was probably suave even at age 12.


  2. Got your book, been reading it and enjoying it, but had to tell you that the last piece I just read, The Great George Garbageboatwalk, is as fine a piece of nostalgic writing as I've come across this year. That SI did not publish it is no doubt solely attributable to the fact that the person who read it (Nancy) was never one to massage the rules in a made-up game; a person who can't for the life of her imagine diluting her skills for the sake of continuing fun. For someone like me, who did such things himself, it was a perfect bit of childhood memory.

    I'd suggest submitting it again, if not to SI then to some other baseball/sports/nostalgia publication. Just one thing - I'd closely look at it for spelling errors, particularly names. I spotted a few. That might turn people off before they could get to the meat. Anyway, great tale.

  3. I assume things got a little better, Mr. Cool!

  4. And the cashier certainly would not give you a refund of your two dimes on the way out. But you did have Ms. Sue's sympathy.

  5. It couldn't have gone that badly -- at least from her point of view as she went out with you again.

  6. Well, if the popcorn was good it wasn't a total loss. But you should have been able to sit where you wanted. Were there even adults there to watch those movies?

  7. Your first was a rousing success by my standards My first, not so good.

    We were supposed to go to a roller skating rink open noon to 5. He was late because he had to go to his violin lesson first and by the time we took the street car and the subway to the rink it was almost 3:30. Then we were turned away at the door because he was not wearing a jacket and tie. (this was in the real old days) We were both so demoralized we never tried it again. Sob

  8. You guys were just 13? Dang, that's so young! Cute story, though. I wonder if Sue R. reads your blog? Hey, you never know!

  9. I was nearly 18 before I had my first date. It was pretty awful...we went to a dance where my date left me sitting against the wall while he danced with every girl in sight. His loss...what he didn't know was that I was a really, really good dancer and could have made him look great. Dopey boy!

  10. Well, that's just wrong! You paid for the adult ticket and then got to be humiliated by the usher. It's a really cute story, though. I'm glad you guys dated for a while. It makes a happy ending. :)

  11. You should have demanded a refund for being shipped over to the kids section.

  12. They made you pay full price and THEN made you sit in the kids section? The injustice!