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  • "I'm in the middle without any plans
    I'm a boy and I'm a man
    Don't always know what I'm talkin' about
    Feels like I'm livin' in the middle of doubt

    I gotta get away - I gotta get out of this place
    I'll go a-runnin' in outer space, oh yeah"

    Alice Cooper, from "I'm Eighteen"

    So, I had a date with a popular girl. Now what? If I could go back 43 years, I’d tell my just turned 17 year old self, “Chill, dude – just be yourself. That’s what she responded to in the first place, why she was interested in you – why would you try to be anything other than you?” And maybe that would help.

    But, alas, my 60 year old self wasn’t there to provide wise counsel to my 17 year old self. I was left with my own, nervous head, wandering, “So, what do you do on a date with a popular girl?” I’d never been on such a date – in fact, I’d never been on a real date, period! Those “group dates” when I was still with the catholic school crowd didn’t really count. We would all just go to the same movie together, and slowly pair off as the evening progressed. I never wound up with the girl I’d wanted to wind up with, on those things. This was much different.

    Where do I take her? Dinner and a movie? What was she into? I didn’t have the first clue about what to do. I waited a couple of days – I didn’t want to appear too anxious – then, I called her up. We talked for a little bit – yes, she was definitely still into going out. So I asked her what she would like to do? She said, oh, anything would be fine. As we talked some more, it sounded like she liked some of the same kind of music I did, so we decided to go to a concert downtown together, at the Civic Arena. There was a group coming that just had its first hit out, and we both liked the song – “I’m 18”. The group was Alice Cooper. Neither of us had any idea what their shows were like. All we knew was that song.
  • Of course, taking a girl like Monika out, you had to have a car. No problem, I thought – I can borrow Mom’s. But, as it turned out, Mom’s wasn’t available that night. My brother Chris was coming home for Christmas – maybe I could borrow his? No dice. He just said no. Oh, brother! I had a date with this dynamite girl, but no car to take her out in! I was so embarrassed!

    I called to let her know I was striking out in the car department for the night of the concert. She said, no problem, she lived right near the Mt. Washington trolley stop – she could just meet me there, and we could take the trolley into town for the show. So, it was all set.

    Of course, I was a nervous wreck. I had already made such a big deal about the whole thing, in my own head, and I just thought taking her on the trolley was such an unromantic way to take a girl out on your first date with her – my first date, ever.

    By the night of the concert, the confidence I had had that night at the party was completely gone, along with my sense of humor. I am sure I made for lousy company on the way to the show. She couldn’t have been nicer, but I was all inside my own head, and nervous as could be.
  • We got to our seats, and the show turned out to be unbelievable. Opening for Alice Cooper was the J Geils Band – this was a few years before they got big – and Blood Rock, featuring their song “D.O.A.” I wound up getting totally into the music, but kind of forgot I was on a date with this hot girl that I really liked. I really had no idea how I was supposed to act – so, I just got into the music and rocked out.

    Then, when Alice Cooper hit the stage, I kind of lost my mind. I had no idea they put on such a wild show. I got totally into it. I suspected Monika thought it was just weird. As a date, it was a total bust – but as a concert, it totally rocked. It quickly became evident that our little fling was going to remain as a one-and-done sort of thing. I was just so uncomfortable the whole evening, and honestly couldn’t wait to drop her off at the end of it all. I just wasn’t ready for this whole dating scene yet, I concluded.

    After I “dropped her off”, (i.e., saw her off at her trolley stop) – I got hold of my friend Cy and went out and got blitzed on beer and some pot. Then, I was in my element. I laughed the date off as being totally out of my depth with a popular girl, and figured that was that. I spent the rest of the winter dedicated to getting wasted regularly, partying as much and as often as I could, and leaving the dating of the popular girls to the popular guys. It was much too stressful for my tastes!
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