So, Casey wanted to set me up again…
I was skeptical. This time I asked questions before agreeing.
Did she actually know the guy? Yes, she did. He was very nice, but incredibly shy. She was sure we’d be perfect for each other. He didn’t draw comics, he had a steady job in construction, he loved his family and was super sweet.
I agreed to meet him.
George was everything Casey said. We went on a few double dates with Casey and her boyfriend before striking out on our own.
George was a gentleman. He was polite and handsome, but he was terribly shy. The conversations were a touch stagnant. I found myself talking most of the time. He’d smile bashfully and add a word or two. With a lot of effort, I was able to find out more about him. He liked his work, and was glad to be done with school. He had no plans on going to college, but he seemed interested to hear of my plans to make an attempt at a degree.
One major issue was that he lived some 90 miles away, so, as my car was on its last legs, he drove up to see me every weekend. I felt horrible that he traveled so much to see me. It felt unfair, but he never complained.
Three months in, I started to feel a little frustrated. On a few nights, after quite a few drinks, I’d get a little cuddle in, but George wouldn’t really reciprocate. He’d get tense and giggle, but that was all.
Six months in and we still hadn’t even kissed. My inner ugly duckling started whispering cruel thoughts. Was he repulsed by me? Did my breath smell? Was he just not interested?
Truthfully, at that point, the only boy I’d ever kissed was Chad Tiddleman at a boy girl party I was pity invited to in fifth grade.
Even though I knew I was only there because my best friend had demanded it, I was so happy. We were going to play spin-the-bottle!
When that bottle finally came out at the party, I was beyond nervous and excited. On my turn, it landed on my crush, Chad.
We went into the closet, closed the door and let the darkness encase us. I recall sweating profusely. My pits were like swamps. The closet smelled of must and muddy boots. I held my breath, just waiting for Chad to tell me what to do.
He shoved one meaty hand in my direction and said I could kiss the back of it.
I did. Then we stumbled out of the closest to the hoots and hollers of the other party-goers. No one else landed on me, and the game dissolved right as my turn came around again. I pushed my heartbreak aside and ate cake.
So, as an adult, I struggled with George’s lack of physical intimacy. It hurt so badly.
I decided to make a move.
On a lazy, warm, summer afternoon, after eating our fill of Italian food, George and I were strolling across the parking lot to my apartment. Always a gentleman, he was walking me to my door. My neighborhood wasn’t the best, so it was a nice little comfort to have him do that.
I was riffling through my purse, looking for my keys, when I gave a playful laugh and said ‘Walking me to my door, huh? Maybe someone is thinking of getting a goodnight kiss?”
I looked up, ready to lean over and, hopefully, receive my first real kiss, but George was running away.
It was the kind of mad dash one might do to get away from a rabid animal. This sprint had actual terror laced in it.
He hollered something about calling me later, jumped in his car and drove away. I just stood there, watching his every move, heart slowly freezing over.
I stumbled inside, went to the bathroom and checked my teeth for food. Nope, they were clean, so that wasn’t it. So, like any rational person, I decided that I was just a gross monster that he didn’t want to kiss. Perfectly healthy, right?
We dated for a few more weeks, but George always seemed embarrassed, and I was just confused and hurt. We didn’t talk about that evening. I wanted to, but I didn’t know how to bring it up, and he seemed desperate not to bring it up.
Eventually, he stopped coming up to see me. Our phone conversations stalled and then grew non-existent.
I saw him a few years later with another girl. They seemed happy, and I wondered, miserably, if he ever kissed her.