I was a Junior in high school, out with my girlfriends at a local under 21 dance club called Players. It was the kind of place where everyone knew your name. We went as a group every Sunday night. My best friends (Giggles, Huggles, Dizzy-D, Kay-Kay, Flic) and I (Cuddles) were Lefty’s Angles. Who is Lefty? Well, he was the DJ and he always played our requests. He even let us in the DJ booth with him. Yes, really, those were the nick names we gave ourselves. When passing notes in high school you really don’t want your name written on one that might have held private details accidently fall into the wrong hands.
That night I was mad at some boy from Walkersville, I think his name was Brian. He had been hitting on me for about a week or two. Not just a little bit but way-over-the-top hitting on me. It was extremely annoying! My friends and I met him at a Hall and Oats concert where he loaned me his lettermen’s jacket. He took off before I could give it back. This was his plan to make sure I had to see him again. He knew someone at my school who passed his phone number on to me. I called him to find out when and where I could drop off his jacket. Back then we didn’t have Caller ID but we did have *67. This feature would allow you to hear the phone number of the last incoming call. This is how he got my number. Anyway, the jacket was returned and I did not go out with him. He did call a few times but only enough to irritate me.
Any time he came near me at Players I backed him off with the ‘stare of death’ so he would know I meant what I said. In the beginning I tried to be nice but he was persistent and ignored the fact that I repeatedly said “No. I have a boyfriend!” I was not in the mood to deal with guys that night. In addition to seeing Brian at Players, I broke up with my current boyfriend, Jimmy just two days ago.
Jimmy explained that his mother thought he was getting too serious over one girl and we were much too young for that. Apparently, he told his mother his future plans were to finish high school (he went to Frederick High), join the Air Force and marry me right away. His idea to please his mother was for us to see other people. I readily agreed but added that we should take a break. His reaction “Break up! No! That’s not what I meant!” I liked Jimmy but I was not ready to marry him. That was way too serious for 16 year old me. Then there was the issue of you-know-what. He thought since he had proclaimed his love, proposed and had our whole future planned out then it was ok for us to ‘do the deed.’ I was so NOT going to do THAT! I couldn’t even say the word let alone do THAT. No Way! No How! Not a chance! That was Gross! I could say Marriage and Husband and Wife but I still couldn’t say THAT word. What business did I have getting married?
Back to that night at Players - I was a little wisp of a girl so basically anything I wore was cute. I couldn’t pull off sexy to save my life but then again, I preferred cute. I had on little black flats, little Bobbie socks, a black mini skirt (not really all that mini), a white - long sleeved - cotton blouse with a long light blue sweater vest with dark blue stitched edges. All topped off with a cute navy blue, brimmed straw hat. This was my ‘Buster Brown’ hat. In the days where a paisley top and stripped pants were fashionable - together. Well, I was still a bit of a traditionalist when it came to my matching my outfits. I even had a white Swatch watch. Why? For me, even my watch had to be something that traditionally matched anything I might wear.
For some reason people were drawn to my silly hat. Everyone wanted to try it on or try to run off with it. My friends trying on my hat was okay by me but when guys took off with it in an attempt to make me chase them…that was so not cool. “I’ll give you back your hat if you dance with me.” This was not the night for guys to be messing with me or my hat! Good thing we had tall, strong, ever so sweet and lovable David around. He made sure to bring back my hat. But only if I would let him wear it for a little bit. Okay he was a big silly dude. At least I didn’t have to chase after my hat.
Players was a bit of a ‘meat market’ but I felt safe. I had my bestest friends - Lefty’s Angles and my group of guy pals. These were guys I knew from school or church or they were friends with one of my brothers. Some how I established a rule that I would never date a guy from my own school. If they were not from my school then they knew my brothers. It is never ok to date your friend’s sister. Ever. Everyone knew the rules so it was really safe to say that they had no chance of being more than friends. Thus the pressure was off on both sides which allowed us all to have fun clowning around together. My guy pals were also very quick to stand up and be big-brotherly when a guy they didn’t know approached me.
A few times that night I was caught … well, sulking. I was trying to convey my “I hate all men” attitude. This made my guy pals determined to cheer me up. Which lead to a couple of them taking turns literally carrying me to the dance floor kicking and screaming. “Hey! People might see my …my underwear! My hat! You made me drop my hat!” Ok, they did eventually make me laugh about it all and I started to have a really great time.
Eventually, my girl friends and I spotted a group of three guys standing together. Each of them had on a button down shirt, tie and black jacket or coat. One we were sure was gay, one looked like a GQ model and the third guy…he seemed like a guy you could sit by the fire with and everything in the world would be calm and peaceful. He was the Knight in shining armor.
Then I remembered that I hate all men. Why? It was my day to hate all men forever. I was 16 and I was suppose to hate all men every other third day. Right? Also, if a guy had not pissed me off then chances were that a guy had pissed off one of my friends. I had to support my friends right?
After tearing up the dance floor with my friends I decided to put my feet up and take a little break. At our table I ordered a glass of water (only $1 but we thought it was outrageous at the time). Then I noticed that “third guy”, the “Knight” had walked past the table a few times. Where was my group? Where were my guy pals? Just as I was realizing that I was at the table unprotected…Huggles came to the table. She was out of breath but excited and bursting with some good news she just had to tell me!
Before I knew what had happened the “Knight” had walked up to me, very graciously asked if I would dance with him and I actually said Yes! “Did I just agree to dance with that guy? Was it the Knight?” But…I… it was my night to hate all men! Why did I say Yes?
It was the debonair way he asked, not just the normal “Would you dance with me?” I really wish I could remember exactly what he said but I was under his spell. He lead me to the dance floor, put my hands at his shoulders and his at my waist. At first we kept a good distance between us. Due to the large crowds the heat in that place was a bit over whelming. Plus, the fact my hat would have cut into his neck. Eventually, my hat slipped back and my head was resting just below his shoulder. He made the world calm and peaceful, just like I thought he would. We talked a bit while we danced. My Knight’s name was Ronnie Leadore. He was a Senior at Walkersville High School and played on the high school soccer team. The second song came to an end and he thanked me for the dance.
Of course I had to report immediately to my table of friends. They were anxiously awaiting all the details on this new guy who managed to get me out on the dance floor during a slow dance. Without their approval no less. There was squealing and giggles from my girl friends. Giggles reminded us to act our ages. Of course there were a few “You let us know if you want us to take care of him” from my guy pals.
During what was left of the night I danced with my friends, giggled about this and that. Ronnie and his friends would dance in their own little circle next to ours. Time and again Ronnie and I would join the two circles by dancing with each other. When a slow song would come on Ronnie made sure to be close by. Sometimes another guy would reach me first and I would start to make up some story along the lines of “my feet hurt” then my Knight would come and rescue me.
Before we knew it, it was time to go. I had to get out of there quickly since I didn’t want to miss my curfew. On my way out Ronnie asked for my phone number. I did want him to call me but it didn’t seem right to give out my number to someone I had just met. I noticed Brian was standing with Ronnie and his friends. When I asked how they knew each other Ronnie said they were giving Brian a lift home. After all, they were all Walkersville boys. Knowing how Brian wouldn’t want to give up my number I said “Brian knows my number” and I ran out the door with my friends. Well, if he wanted my number surely he should have to work a little for it.
I made it home in time to beat my curfew. Just as I was ready for bed the phone rang. A moment later my mother yelled up the stairs that the phone was for me. I thought it was one of my friends calling to make plans for tomorrow. To my great surprise it was Ronnie! He explained that he had to rough-up Brian a bit before he would cough up my number. He also assured me there were no broken limbs or life threatening injuries.
We talked until 1 a.m. It was wonderful just talking to him. We didn’t talk about any one thing in particular, just talked. During the phone call I found out he worked at Murphy’s Mart in the sporting goods section. I told him I worked at Montgomery Wards in the catalog section. We exchanged information on how many brothers and sisters we have. I have one sister and two brothers. He has three little sisters.
Of course both of our Moms tried to get us off the phone several times. My Mom finally had enough. She stood at my bedroom door, tapping her foot saying “If he really likes you he can call at a decent hour. What sort of boy calls at this time of night? Do you want him to wonder what kind of girl talks to a boy at this time of night?” He heard that last part and said in my defense, something to the effect of the ‘most wonderful girl in the world.’ Covering the receiver I whined “But Mom! You just don’t understand” in a tone only a teenage girl can convey. As soon as I hung up my Mom pulled the phone cord out of the wall and walked out with my phone. She wanted to make sure we didn’t talk any more that night.
The next day at school I told all my girlfriends about how he managed to get my number out of Brian and that we talked until 1 AM! We screamed and giggled about it for a few minutes. Giggles gave me a few stern words “Respectable girls don’t take calls late at night and they never talk to a boy until 1 AM either.” I told her my Mom would like her a lot better right now. Still, I glowed all day. Seriously, I couldn’t stop smiling all day. It was making my girlfriends ill. After dinner Ronnie called. He too couldn’t help from smiling all day!
Months later Ronnie and his Mom recounted the night he met me. He came home busting with excitement. “Mom! I met the most wonderful, most beautiful girl in the world! I was so smooth! So Cool! And she danced with me.” His Mom mentioned how sharply he was dressed that night and Ronnie quoted a ZZTop song “Every girls crazy ‘bout a sharp dressed man.”
(to be Continued)