June 1st…“WHAT WAS YOUR MOST EMBARRASSING DATING EXPERIENCE?”
Hollywood and my dating life coincided in the early 1970’s and they both led to the same outcome…….DISASTER!!! The distinct difference was, Hollywood raked in the dollars from their type of disaster, but I raked in one of the worst dating experiences of my young life!!! Little did I realize that attending one of these films would be a portent to a personal disaster in my dating experience with a lovely fellow classmate there at Battle Ground High School in Battle Ground, Washington. Everything that COULD go wrong that night DID!
It was 1972 and my Senior year at Battle Ground High. I had admired Joan Brosius from a distance as we fellow classmates passed each other in the long hallways and pursued our final year of public education within the portals of these instructional corridors. Self confidence was NOT my forte at that zit-faced stage of life. I had an enormous fear of being rejected by this beauty if I even attempted the courage to ask her out for a date. Nevertheless, from the dregs of my boyish insecurities, I actually managed to muster out the words one day, “Hi Joan! Would you like to go see a movie with me and have some supper afterwards?” “How’s about going to see the disaster flick called Airport at “The Broadway” in Vancouver?” Whether she felt sorry for this quivering blob of boy flesh, or whatever……she actually said, “Yes!” I was catapulted to Cloud 9!! 😉
I pulled our 1967 Dodge Coronet 500 into Joan’s driveway that evening and was welcomed into her quaint home for the customary meeting of her parents and family. After escorting her to my family’s car, we began our journey into Vancouver and the evening ahead of us. I began to perceive that the evening was not going to gel for “love” in that we only seemed to touch on very generic topics of conversation, such as the weather and other superfluous topics that just didn’t spark any deeper interest of one of us towards the other.
Popcorn and drinks in hand, we shuffled into the darkness of “The Broadway” movie theater and took our seats for the first of the Airport disaster movies that had initially come to the nation’s screens in 1970, but was making a second round through movie theaters again. Unbeknownst to me, my own disaster was about to unfold before my very eyes. My bony gluteus maximus was sending me messages as I sat down. My wallet was too fat! It wasn’t full of money, but instead was full of just a bunch of paper junk that made it a giant wad in my back pocket and painful to my posterior premises to sit on, so I removed the wallet and put it on my lap. The intensity of the movie’s plot had my rapt attention for what was happening up on the screen and I soon forgot all about the presence of the wallet. The climactic movie came to “THE END” up on the screen, but what happened next made it “THE BEGINNING” of trouble for me and my ego AND for my poor date, Joan.
As I and my date stood up to leave the movie theater that evening, my wallet quietly slipped to the floor without my slightest knowledge. Part of my promise that night was to treat Joan to supper at the Portland International Airport just across the Columbia River from Vancouver. Yup, you guessed it, I’m now penniless and without a driver’s license and am totally oblivious to both points. Once parked, we made our way in to a nice restaurant inside the airport and we sat down to a delicious dinner as we chatted about the movie we had just enjoyed together over in Vancouver.
After the meal was completed, we both stood up to get our jackets on and walk on over to pay the bill for the nice meal. My hand reached back to my back wallet pocket and a look of horror lit up my face!! Sensing my shock, Joan asked, “What’s wrong?” to which I replied with great angst, “I lost my wallet!!” “You’re KIDDING ME?!”, she said. My reply to her was classic stupidity……..“I thought this only happened in the movies??!!!” I slapped all over my body to every pocket I had on me that night, but no wallet. NOW what do we do? Sheepishly, we walked over to the cashier told her our plight. At first, she thought we were teasing her, but she then turned serious quickly and threatened to make us go into their kitchen to begin washing dishes to “pay for our meal”. Like a kidnapper, I bargained with the cashier…….“My date will stay here while I run back to the movie theater for my wallet!!” Deal? Deal!
Poor Joan was now a hostage while I drove, sans license, VERY cautiously back across the river to Vancouver and “The Broadway” theater. As I exit my car, I see the movie theater staff are literally closing the double doors for the night. I race down the sidewalk crying out, “WAIT, WAIT!!! I lost my wallet inside!” After pleading with the manager, he allowed me to look in the seating where we had sat. Some low life person had stolen my wallet and it was gone! It’s now about 1:00 AM and I asked to use the manager’s phone. In those days, families usually had only one phone and, for the Noorlun family, was out in the kitchen. The phone rang, and rang and rang until my mother finally had walked down from the bedroom and answered it. After sharing my dilemma and need, my mother roused Dad out of bed and they were on their way to save the day…….which it was in this case, the night. In the meantime, “prisoner” Joan is languishing at the restaurant and suffering the drunken passes of numerous men who are barely able to stand up in their slovenly state of drunkenness as they exited the bar there. Later, Joan related that a very handsome and generous man had offered to pay her bill and take her home, but these were the days before cell phones and she kindly declined his offer out of respect for my being sick with worry for not knowing what had happened to her if she DID leave with that handsome man.
My folks eventually rolled up to the movie theater (with cash in hand) and my father took home the one car while Mom (who actually HAD her driver’s license with her) drove me back down to the airport to pay the bill for the meal and set poor Joan free from her bondage. To exacerbate an already acrid situation, the night sky began to unload a torrential downpour of rain on us as we sullenly rode home, without speaking a word, to Joan’s place with my mother as our chauffer. Upon arrival at Joan’s family home, Mom pulled our car to the end of the graveled driveway that was littered with potholes full of water from the pounding rain. Joan’s yardlight was burnt out, so as we half ran from the car to her back porch, we both stepped into deep puddles and got our feet soaked.
In a vain attempt to rescue this first date (which, by the way, was our LAST) I attempted to give Joan a kiss goodnight. Normally, as most of you know, a gentleman tilts his head to one side to facilitate a nice kiss on the lips of his lady. NOT ME!!! In a clumsy act of total doofishness, I came straight on towards her face. We connected nose to nose, chin to chin and teeth to teeth……CLANG!!!!……it was horrible!!! And, on top of that, I had the gall and audacity to say, “I hope tonight won’t affect our future dating!” (OF WHICH THERE WAS NONE!!) Holy Guacamole, I thought to myself, what a loser I am!!!! 😦
Needless to say, in the next few days at school, I heard reports that Joan was intensely livid in anger over what happened that night and told the whole world about her absolutely worst date ever she had had with that stupid guy, Elliott!! And, you know, she had every right to be angry with me. I was so embarrassed about that night that from that moment on, I refused to date anyone for the next three or four years because I was so crushed by this failure.
After almost 50 years having passed, I can now look at this incident in life and laugh about it. Time heals all wounds, I’m told. They say we learn from our mistakes, and if that’s the case, I sure get to learn a LOT, cause I make a LOT of mistakes!!! Hopefully, the young ones of my family will learn from Grandpa’s mistakes and avoid the ooooops’s of this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.