Monday, February 21, 2005

Deirdre was possibly the prettiest girl among those in our high school advanced classes. She was also accessible and friendly. Very down-to-earth. Kind of a cross between Diane Cort from Say Anything... and There’s Something About Mary’s Mary. So of course she was quite popular among the guys I knew -- I’m sure a lot of ‘em were hair gelling themselves over her -- but she and I were just friends.

We’d talk about sex a lot. She’d explain that girls associated sex with a relationship, to intimacy, whereas with guys it was mostly physical and kind of an ego thing. I agreed, but pointed out that while girls would say they wanted the first time to be special, they’d admit they weren’t planning to marry the guy who deflowered them. In fact, after their first time, they’d be willing to be much more casual about sex, to enjoy the pleasure and gain experience. Just like the guys. I thought they got the order of things mixed up.

We didn’t get personal in these conversations, just conceptual, really. I’m not sure how many bases she had rounded; I had scored a few runs. But the occasional times I had gotten lucky were overwhelmed by numerous frustrating exhibitions of chastity. Clothes strewn across the couch, body parts entangled on the living room floor, thankful the girl’s parents were out of town... then hearing that "no, I’m not ready, I want my first time to be special" mantra. Which didn’t seem to jive with the excuse of "I dunno, you’re such a nice guy, Michael..." Never knew what to say to that. "No, I’m a jerk. But a special jerk. So let’s do it, baby..."

Of course I didn’t share these thoughts with Deirdre. There was definitely an attraction between us but we never admitted it or acted on it. I guess we silently acknowledged that hooking up would cause a maelstrom of dissent within our circles, and back in high school, this would mean the world would collapse upon itself. So we remained just friends, even though there was a lot flirting going on.

Plus we both were often seeing someone else. I had just started dating this girl who was in the school chorus, so she was in with the whole music/performing arts crowd. She told me about two guys from that group: fraternal twin brothers, Gus and Pablo.

They had already graduated, but last year they were quite the Casanovas. Being upperclassmen gave them some appeal among the juniors and sophomores. And I suppose they were tall, dark, and... Handsome? Well, Pablo was also on the wrestling team with me. I had seen him in the locker room, naked. Dude just did not have a happy body. The idea of any girl gettin’ it on with him made me shudder in disgust, but what do I know? As Eddie Murphy said in 48 HRS: The generosity of some women never ceases to amaze me.

Actually, these guys had an interesting scheme for bagging the babes. Either Gus or Pablo would get close to one of these young, inexperienced, impressionable girls and then hand them this super-sappy line: "You seem so special to me. I would love to be your first." And it worked. Then, after they hooked up, he’d blow her off. She’d get depressed, and go crying... right into the arms of the other brother. Taking advantage of her being sad, vulnerable, and on the rebound... Bam! -- he’d nail her, too.

It sounded pretty shitty, but I gotta admit, I was intrigued with the effectiveness of the plan. My girlfriend told me they tag-teamed quite a few of her friends that way.

"Really?" I looked at her. "You know... you seem so special to me..."

"Nice try," she said. "Maybe after the prom."

Yeah, the end of the school year was approaching, and we were all hanging out on campus, enjoying the warm weather, when Pablo and Gus showed up. Done with their freshman year at their respective universities, they came to say hi to their old friends, and got a warm reception from a lot of people. I was wondering how pathetic it was for college men to still be hanging around high school kids... when I noticed Pablo was checking out Deirdre’s photo in our yearbook.

"Damn, she looks hot," he said. "I’d love to get her in my dorm room at Cornell..."

What a wanker. Then he scowled and said to me, "She’s not still going out with that guy, Scott, is she?"

Now, normally I enjoyed making fun of Deirdre’s boyfriends. Scott was a big-chinned soccer player, though a totally decent dude. Still, I’d ask her how Pelé the Pelican was doing. And Deirdre would retaliate with a crack about my girlfriend’s dark brunette hair contrasting with her very fair skin. "What’s black and white and has trouble going through a revolving door? Michael’s girlfriend with an arrow in her head."

This time I raved about Scott, what a great guy he was and how he and Deirdre were getting pretty serious. But Pablo didn’t seem to care. Schmuck said he’d be hanging out at all the upcoming graduation parties. And would definitely catch up with Deirdre soon.

Yeesh. I tried not to think about it, but it bothered me to no end.

Finally, I called up Deirdre. Made some small talk, trying to be casual. Hey, did she see Pablo and Gus when they were at school today? Oh, no? But, what? You figure you’ll see them a lot this summer?

And then I launched into it. Told her everything my girlfriend had said, and then the way that lecherous Pablo was ogling Deirdre’s photo. Had to wipe the drool off my yearbook...

Deirdre seemed angry. But was she mad at the Booty Brothers, or me -- the messenger? One of the twins’ "conquests" was a good friend of hers, but Deirdre had never heard about it. I suggested maybe her friend was too embarrassed to share. Deirdre didn’t want to believe it.

I said I didn’t think my girlfriend had any reason to lie about this. But still, I didn’t want to spread rumors. So maybe it was all bullshit. Maybe these guys didn’t pull that routine on the girls. And maybe Pablo didn’t really have designs on Deirdre. And maybe Deirdre would be too smart to fall for it anyway.

But, I said, if either of those guys did anything to hurt her...

"...what?" She still sounded angry, as if I was going to finish by saying I told you so. But that’s not what I had in mind.

"...I’ll rip their fucking lungs out."

I was dead serious, too. But then I was surprised at myself, how I was feeling. Wasn’t just the disturbing thought of Deirdre being used like that. Or the subsequent violent rage I would unleash on those bastards. I realized that my attitude about casual sex had changed slightly....

Deirdre was quiet on the other end of the phone, which also made me self-conscious. Was she still pissed? Mad at me for meddling in her affairs? Uncomfortable with me revealing -- in a strange way -- how I cared about her?

She didn’t say much; it was the way she said it. Deirdre sounded all choked up and just said, "Thanks, Michael."


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