Yesterday, I found an armadillo floating dead in my pond. I'd like to say that the dumb fucker who's been digging up my yard for a week now was too dumb not to walk blindly into the pond and forget not to breathe the water, but the gaping hole in her back suggested her death was a little more foul. More than likely, my dog found her digging around the pomegranate bush last night and killed her. He likes killing things. He's exceedingly gentle with people and other dogs (at least the dogs who leave his food alone), but chickens, deer, rabbits, and raccoons are pretty much screwed when he's around. Oh, and I mentioned that the armadillo was a she. I know this because she fell off the shovel as I was carrying her out to the woods to feed a fire ant bed. They'll keep her from lingering long enough to stink and it's currently too wet to dig a hole to bury her.) The carcass landed on its back and exposed the teats, which were large enough to suggest that she was in a maternal state when she died. The thought of a few armadillo babies slowly dieing of dehydration in a burrow on the outskirts of my property has crossed my mind, but she could have just been preggers.
That armadillo's last day pretty much sums up my adolescent love life, except for the babies. High school didn't even involve the slightest hint of sex for me.
If you know me personally, or have spent much time reading this blog, it probably doesn't surprise you that my wife was my only girlfriend, and that's not because I was such a womanizer in high school that I couldn't stick with one girl long enough to turn her from a one-night stand into girlfriend. It's just that I didn't date.
I'd like to say that part of that is because I'm picky, which is actually true, but the main reason was that I've always been an incredible coward. There were a couple of middle-school style extended flirtations during my tenth-grade year. Both "relationships" followed similar patterns. We met on some band trip, clicked, and then my lack of self confidence and my inability to sort out less-than-overwhelmingly-positive signals led me to abandon the chase after a couple of weeks. The second girl was a much more serious event, but I found out after the fact that the first girl was supposedly a bit of a slut. I have no way to verify this claim, however. I assure you that had I been in a position to verify such accusations, I would have happily investigated the situation thoroughly. It just never got to that point. Actually it never got past the point of talking in the library and afternoon phone calls with either girl. It was more of an emotional trauma than a physical relationship.
Actually, the second one, the Catholic girl with the Jewish name, ended up with a reputation for being a bit easy after our dalliance as well, which is a shame for her and for me. Especially me. Still, knowing that the only two girls to ever show interest in me may have been quit to dispense with their sexual gifts didn't do anything for my self confidence, especially when I couldn't even score a kiss with either.
If it hasn't already become clear, I wasn't one of those creepy guys who over-pursued, smothered, or couldn't take a hint to go away. In fact, I was quite the opposite. I was so fearful of making the other person uncomfortable and found it so difficult to believe that the other person could actually be interested in my attentions that I always read the slightest hesitation or unclear signal as a sign it was time for me to quit before I took it too far and ended up being a creep.
In fact, there is the off chance that at least one of those girls was just playing hard-to-get and my abandonment of the chase led to a brief twinge of a broken heart on her part. More likely, my romantic timidity allowed their interest to fizzle.
My first date was actually quite the accident. During the my junior year, a friend of mine had a crush on a girl and wanted to ask her out to homecoming but was having trouble working up the courage. To encourage him, I told him that if he asked her and she said yes, I would find a date and go with him. Unfortunately for me, my friend got the date and I had to scramble to find one of my own.
The problem was that I really didn't want to go. I'm not fond of dancing and I didn't have my eye on anyone in particular at the time. Even if I had been interested in someone, the last place I would have taken her on a first date would have been a school dance. Seriously, dealing with large groups of people and dancing are not within my cluster of strengths. I honestly hoped I would get rejected by whomever I asked so I could break my promise to my friend without actually breaking my promise. My solution: ask a random girl I had never talked to after band practice one afternoon. There was just one snafu in my plan. The girl said yes without hesitation.
Seriously, what was wrong with this girl? Here was some guy whose first words to her were something like, "Hey! Want to go to homecoming with me?" What was she thinking? Was I unwittingly some sort of band-geek heart throb and didn't realize it? Oh, and my friend's date backed out on him two days later. I was too nice to bail on my date, and we went to homecoming, had a hugely awkward experience and I didn't really talk to the poor girl again that year. We actually did later become friends, but there was never any further pretense at romance.
My last dating experience in high school was an actual date. I had developed a bit of a crush on another girl in the band and finally worked up the courage to ask her out during my senior year. Seriously, I met all of these girls through band functions, which sounds like I had rather limited social contacts until you realize that at my high school, nearly a third of the student body was in the band, and nearly half had been a part of the program at one point or another. I did have rather limited social contacts, but that's beside the point.
Getting back to the date, again, when I asked her out, I received a pretty enthusiastic and quick yes. This time I was actually excited about the prospect. We went out to eat, went back to her place to watch a movie (her parents removed themselves to another part of the house to give us privacy) and we honestly had a pretty good time. She may have even wanted me to kiss her when I left that night, but again, I really sucked at reading positive signals and was hypersensitive to negative ones. The next week I tried to eat lunch with her at school a few days but her male friends were all dicks to me (and at least one of them was gay, if not both) and she was suddenly taciturn. Again, without discussion, I just quit trying.
Less than a year later I was dating my wife, who, luckily for me, never gave me the slightest reason to doubt her interest. Seriously, if she'd made me work for it in the least, which some women find romantic, I would have mistaken her intent for trying to get rid of me. There'd be no E and I'd probably still be a virgin, but maybe that pain would have driven me to right goofy sex comedies about losers who can't get laid.