The Phantom Menace

The guy I met my Junior year when I transferred to Broughton HS from Cardinal Gibbons was my first boyfriend there. He had no idea how to be a boyfriend at all. I should have remembered this fact when he got back in touch with me a few years ago, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

We met in Mr. McBroom’s Show Choir. I had transferred schools because of the immaculate reputation of the revered “Carolina Spirit National Champion Show Choir”. It was a big move from private to public school and I had no idea what I was in for. All I knew was that because Katherine Kennedy’s parents were basically funding the whole operation, she got the last spot and I remained in the spillover “Capital Touch” show choir. “Capital Touch” was a much larger choir filled with people who had more talent than money. I think this was around the time when I started figuring out how the world works.

Dennis was an attractive guy with a moderate build and eyes way too big for his head. He had the swagger of a used-car salesman, which was pretty impressive… or perhaps scary for someone who was only a senior in high school. I thought he was important because he had a “real job” driving a school bus. Little did I know that he came from a less-than-modest home where he lived with his Dad and sometimes sister. His Dad looked like Johnny Fever on the TV show WKRP Cincinnati. At least I remember hearing him speak of his Dad and Sister, but never a Mom.

We were partnered up on “Rockin’ Pneumonia and Boogie Woogie Flu.” Neither one of us could dance well, but we muddled through. Honestly, I think he just enjoyed throwing me around. Then one day, he asked me out on a date.

He took me to the movie, About Last Night. The entire film features a naked Rob Lowe and Demi Moore performing various and sundry sex acts… and that’s pretty much all I remember… except the fact that we were both so embarrassed that we must have butt-scrunched nearly all the way to the floor we were so low in our seats. We couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

Afterwards we went to a park and talked about how awkward the experience had been. We were both virgins, so the entire experience was like watching our first porno together with a room full of weird strangers. To this day, we still laugh about it. I mean, I’m sure we would IF we were on speaking terms.

A few years ago, out of the clear blue and completely unprovoked, he sent me a Facebook message asking me what I was doing that Friday. We made plans for dinner that magically morphed into a 4-month (or so) relationship. He lived in Charleston. The distance wasn’t logical but the familiarity was. Weirdly, despite my best efforts, I let him into my life again.

Oh yes, I forgot to mention the terrible boyfriend part…

Dennis, despite his best efforts, inherited the cheating gene. On one occasion he took me to Broughton Homecoming, then, when I wanted to drop by and see my private school friends at a slumber party, he dropped me by… BUT THEN RETURNED TO THE SLUMBER PARTY WITHOUT ME. (Yes, you read that right. Yes, it was an all-girl slumber party. Of course it was.) Imagine how shocked I was to hear that the boyfriend I had just shown off to my friends had come right back to FLIRT WITH THEM! Yes, that speaks well of my life choices. Go ahead and award me the prize for idiot of the year.

A few weeks later, at another football game, my friend Bonnie brought her friend Kimber to meet everyone. Dennis had this great group of friends who called themselves “The Fellas.” To this day, I still follow most of them on Facebook. They’re all pretty awesome guys. I went to college with Lee, who kept me out of my fair share of trouble. Seriously, I should have dated any one of these treasures. Why I chose Dennis, I will never understand. But back to the football game, Dennis disappeared with Kimber for pretty much the duration, then came back and broke up with me. I was certain that he lost his virginity to her while he was gone (which he denies), but I’ll never truly know because he’s quite adept at lying.

Flash forward to present day. After 4 months of paying more attention to me than I expected, surprising me with unexpected visits and acting almost like a real human being, Dennis did The Fadeaway because he didn’t have the balls to tell me he was actually seeing a handful of other girls as well. July of last year, he married one of them. Now they’re expecting a baby. The irony here is that I don’t think he ever really wanted kids. He’s probably afraid they’ll end up like him.

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