Sometimes mothers just need to keep their suggestions to themselves. Not all ideas are good, even when the intentions are honest and well-meaning. For example, take my first date. My mom and her best friend, Ms. Essie, thought it would be a great idea for me to tag along on one of her daughter’s dates. Sounds harmless, right?
Nope, it wasn’t. Allow me to elaborate.
Becca (Ms. Essie’s daughter) had been my best friend for years leading up to this hellacious night out. She lived to be the object of lust for boys and the occasional grown man while serving as the girl to be envied by females. If milk does a body good, then Becca must have been latched onto a cow’s udder as soon as she was born. This girl had a body to make guys weep: huge boobs, a thin waist, smooth cocoa skin, and a baby face. The only thing she didn’t have was long hair, the object of her desire, which coincidentally was the one thing I possessed.
My mom and Ms. Essie decided to put a weave into Becca’s hair in preparation for her big date with some guy named David. Becca claimed she didn’t like him, but he was cute, popular, and owned a van. She didn’t need much convincing. Becca stared me down while she got her hair styled. After a few minutes of feeling like a mouse attempting to evade the eyes of a hawk, I finally asked her why she kept looking at me.
Sullen, she said she wanted my hair.
Ms. Essie didn’t help the situation by comparing my long, thick tresses to her daughter’s short, unmanageable hair.
I remember her saying something like, “Krissy has that ‘wash and go’ hair. You could do that too, Becca, but your texture isn’t the same. You’d have to do a lot to it, especially since it’s so short.”
That pissed Becca off. She got up, hair half done, and ran to her room. We weren’t too surprised by her theatrics; she was a bona fide drama queen with a specialty in storming off. We simply waited for her to emerge from her bedroom.
Fifteen minutes had passed before Becca surfaced from her bedroom with a broad grin. She told us she had called David and told him to invite his cousin, Reggie, on the date. She had never met his cousin, but that was fine with her. The more the merrier.
I guess Ms. Essie wasn’t thrilled about her seventeen-year-old daughter going on a date with two boys. I watched her jump up and tug on my mom’s arm like a little kid. She didn’t hesitate to tell her I should go on the date, too.
I couldn’t have been less enthused if I tried. I didn’t want to go out with strangers for my first date, much less with Becca. We had been friends for years, so I knew she was an attention whore (putting it bluntly). What if the boys liked me more than Becca? Sure, she was built like an ebony goddess, but her personality could be abrasive. Could my timidity cause a directional shift for the limelight?
I did not want to find out.
My mom, however, was all too happy to offer my services as Becca’s sidekick. Becca and I sat on the couch and watched our moms giggle like schoolgirls as they conjured up possible outfits for me to wear. They forgot all about Becca; they didn’t even ask if it was okay with her.
I let Becca know that I didn’t want to go. I’ll never forget how she looked at me: her arms folded across her ample chest and lips drawn tight, she glowered at me, disgusted. Without so much as an utterance, she stormed back into her room and slammed the door.
The moms didn’t even pay her attention. Either they didn’t notice Becca’s attitude or they flat out didn’t care. Excited, they led me next door to my house where they dressed me. By the time we made it back to Ms. Essie’s house, I was dolled up. They put me in navy blue and white tweed pants with a matching navy v-neck tee shirt. My hair hung loose down my back and my face was painted by Ms. Essie’s skilled hand. I looked pretty good, but I was far from happy. The whole time they picked out outfits and debated over lipsticks, I protested. I didn’t want to go on this date! I didn’t know David and Reggie! My displeasure went unheard. I guess they were happy to get me out of the house. I mean, I knew I was a late bloomer, I was fifteen at the time, but come on…Was it wrong of me to wait for a special guy to ask me out on a private, romantic date?
Becca had an attitude the whole way to the movies. She and David sat up front (he drove, of course) while Reggie and I took up the first row in the back of the van. I remained quiet through most of the ride as my date talked a hole in my ear. He was attractive: very tall, muscular build, a mini Afro, and thin goatee. I wasn’t feeling him, though. He didn’t seem to notice. He was quick to put his arm around me the minute I sat down. Evidently, I was his type even though he wasn’t mine.
David tried to snap Becca out of her funk to no avail. She seemed determined to have a bad time. She barely spoke to any of us. Obviously, she wasn’t thrilled about me being there, but I did my best to liven the atmosphere after the tension reached a peak. I tried to joke with David and Reggie. I didn’t even squirm when Reggie put his arm around me, even though my skin crawled. I didn’t like to be touched.
We made it to the theater in record time. Becca insisted Reggie and I stayed in the van while she and David got the tickets. Why, oh, why did I agree to that?
It took all of five seconds before Reggie moved closer to me, his hand on my thigh. I tried to be smooth like Becca, but my nerves got the best of me. I found myself inching away from Reggie, yet he didn’t take the hint. When I finally picked up his roaming hand and placed it on his own leg, he understood. I wasn’t interested.
Instead of being a gentleman, Reggie sucked his teeth and huffed as he scooted as far away from me as the van’s bench would allow. I couldn’t believe he had the audacity to get mad because I wouldn’t let him feel on me!
Still, in my naïve mind, I thought I could make the best of the evening. Maybe I’d like Reggie if I got to know him. Wrong.
After striking up a mindless “getting to know you” conversation, I learned that Reggie was a twenty-one-year old baby daddy who dropped out of high school and spent his jobless days working on his rap career. I also learned he had an impressive package, as he was all too eager to whip it out for my approval. I suppose in his world, talking was synonymous with sex. You would have thought I was Speedy Gonzalez the way I ran out of that van.
Becca and David never made it back to the van. I met them in the theater lobby. They had been gone so long (no doubt, allowing Reggie and I to get better acquainted), they didn’t question my sudden arrival with Reggie hot on my heels. I didn’t tell them what happened.
At the concession stand, Becca proved to be the diva she portrayed. She walked up to the counter, leaving us all behind, and ordered everything from M&Ms to hotdogs…for herself. Once the order was complete, she abandoned the counter and walked into the theater, leaving David to pay for it all. He must have really liked my friend to be at her beck and call like that.
While David paid for Becca’s food, Reggie stepped up to another cashier and asked for Twizzlers. Never once did he offer me anything. Thankfully, David bought me popcorn. I had money to pay for my own food, but he turned out to be a gentleman. If only Becca and I could have switched boys…
The movie, Rush Hour, proved to be hilarious but I was a bit distracted sitting in between Reggie and Becca in the front row. While Reggie busied himself by trying to cop a feel, Becca made out with David. As much as I wanted to get into the movie, I couldn’t. Not with Becca’s squirming and moaning in the next seat. To this day, I can’t watch Rush Hour without remembering Reggie grabbing my boobs or Becca’s passion for French kissing.
After the movie ended, we left the theater without incident. Becca and the boys wanted to get a late night breakfast (it was barely ten o’clock), but I insisted on going home. Since the movie theater wasn’t far from home, I offered to take a cab while they went on their way. Becca was fine with my decision. She never wanted me to come anyway. David, however, didn’t want me left alone. He insisted he take me home before they continued on.
Becca threw a fit. She cursed David out and accused him of liking me more than her. I didn’t know what to say except, “I’ll be fine! I’ll catch a cab!” Even poor David was taken aback by her actions, but he held his ground. He accused her of not caring enough for me as a friend. It was late and he didn’t feel right about leaving me alone.
Reggie, on the other hand, didn’t say a word. He just stood off to the side, drooling over some girls hanging around the ticket booth.
David won the battle. Becca had no choice but to sulk in the front seat as he drove me home. I remained silent. I knew the evening was a bust, but I didn’t care. I just wanted to get away from Becca’s nasty attitude and Reggie’s lustful glances. I didn’t give a damn what they did so long as I was left out of it.
I shouldn’t have thought that. Becca may have lost the battle, but she was determined to win the war.
It wasn’t long before she turned her charms toward Reggie. A shameless flirt, Becca had no problem telling Reggie how cute she thought he was and how much she wanted a man not a boyfriend. Reggie slipped right into the trap and reciprocated her advances.
Now, I may not have liked Reggie, but it still stung my ego to watch him flirt with my best friend. Regardless of how the night went, he was my date, not Becca’s. What right did she have to talk to him in such a way? Right in front of me, no less. That was the first time I saw my Becca for the type of person she truly was: vindictive, bitchy, and spoiled.
Through the rearview mirror, I could see pain in David’s eyes. Like a lovesick fool, he longed for Becca, as most guys did, but he would never win her heart no matter how well he treated her. Selfish girls like her seldom settled down with the “good guy.”
After a few minutes of sexually charged banter, Reggie and Becca moved to the last row in the van. Soon after, the only sounds to be heard were soft moans and wet kisses. I climbed into the front seat. I wanted to get as far away from that bitch as humanly possible.
David had asked me if they were doing what he thought they were doing. I refused to look back, but it didn’t take a genius to figure out what was going on. I prayed David would wise up and leave Becca alone. He was too much of a gentleman to be tarnished by a girl like her.
Thankfully, it didn’t take long to get to my house. Before the van could even come to a complete stop, I had the door open and a leg out. I thanked David for the ride and popcorn. Becca had the nerve to tell me goodbye with her apple pie “I’m a good girl” voice.
I told her to go to hell.
Of course, my mom and Ms. Essie stayed up, awaiting our arrival. They had set up camp at my dining room table with empty coffee mugs and cookie crumbs strewn about. They couldn’t wait to snatch me up, plop me down at the table, and grill me about my first date. Especially my mom. She looked so proud, all teeth and grins, as she waited for me to dish out the goods. I hated to disappoint her, but it had to be done.
I told them with as even a voice as I could muster that my date turned out to be an inconsiderate pervert who felt me up, didn’t pay for my snacks, and made out with my now ex-best friend, but I did enjoy the movie.
I waited for a comment, but both moms just stared at me, mouths agape and silent. I took that as my cue to retire to my bedroom so they could talk among themselves. After all, it was their fault I was put in that situation in the first place.
Needless to say, that was the last time either mother forced me to go anywhere with Becca.