So, as part of my attempt to help you feel better about your dating life, whether it is past or present, I bring you part three in my "Dates from Hell" (can you hear it echoing?) series.
This particular date was just a few months after the date in "Dates from Hell, Part I."
I was just a month or two shy of 21. I was semi-attending community college (I think by this time, I had either dropped or just stopped going to all my classes, except at the Institute) and worked about 4 hours a week as an administrative assistant at the home of a contractor/Amway rep. Basically, I compiled the Amway orders and mailed (this was when fax machines were really expensive and no one had them at their houses--and I don't think Al Gore had invented the internet yet) them to my employer's "upline" and wrote payroll checks to myself and one other employee. So, yeah, I had a lot going for me.
But I had a swimming personality that made up for it.
I was a member of Lambda Delta Sigma--the LDS sorority that was basically Young Women's for the college crowd. I joined at Ricks College and when I moved to Tucson, I joined the chapter at the University of Arizona. There was also an LDS fraternity--Sigma Gamma Chi. The thing about the sorority was that it was fun and there were always great girls in it. The thing about the fraternity was that it was full of dorks. Date number one was a member, if that gives you any idea of the quality.
One of the members of Sigma Gamma Chi was "Stu." Stu was someone who always sat on the side lines and never said much. One of my fellow Lambda Delts liked him at one point, but gave up on it since he never talked. And she was the type of girl who talked so much that she didn't ever notice when someone else didn't.
Stu and I had "talked" a few times. Basically, I would say hi. He would say hi and then nod his head, with a silly grin on his face, but say nothing else. I think in the nearly year I knew him prior to our date, we had talked less than six minutes combined.
As I've said before, I never learned the art of just saying no when asked out. I think mainly since I got asked out so infrequently, I jumped at any opportunity. Or I was so caught off guard, I could not figure out any response other than yes.
So, when Stu asked me out, I said yes. But I think it was also a little bit associated with the activity he had in mind.
You see, Stu was getting ready to graduate from the University of Arizona. Apparently, he was a mining engineering student (whatever that was--the gold rush of 1849 was over about 150 years earlier, so what was the need for miners?). As a mining engineer student, he had joined the mining engineering club. Since there were so few people in the club, he was the vice-president. Just outside of Tucson are several mines, mainly copper, and one of them was going to bestow a monetary gift upon the mining engineering club at the University at a "Black-Tie Gala"--his words, exactly. The club president could not attend, so the vice-president, aka Stu, needed to show up and accept the endowment.
Long story short (yeah, right), I heard "Gala" and my mind was aflutter thinking of all the fancy clothes. So I said yes.
Then I remembered I earned less than $25 a week. Which meant, "No new dress."
That's okay, though, I had my black velvet formal dress I had sewn a year earlier.
It was a lovely thing. Yep...it was a pioneer-style dress with a white lacy collar that was so huge, one of my friends asked if I used a tablecloth.
Stu picked me up and gave me a gerbera daisy, with which I was unsure of what to do. It had a card that said, "Beautiful flowers are for beautiful ladies." I think I threw up in my mouth a little because, 1-It was a little bit dorky sounding; and b-Did this mean he liked me? 'Cause I didn't like him!
The Gala was being held 25 miles away at a resort outside of Tucson. Since there are not really freeways running through town, 25 miles is at least an hour's drive. Imagine driving for an hour and saying about 17 words. Between the two of us. Just a little awkward.
We arrived at the resort, a little ahead of schedule and made our way to the room holding the event. We were among the first people to arrive. The schedule of events was posted outside the room and I was able to see that we would be attending the "Gala" being held on the last evening of an annual convention. Hmmm...maybe not so bad.
So we waited in the large, nearly empty room. About ten minutes later, the bar opened for the cocktail hour. I don't think I mentioned this earlier, but I was about 2 months shy of my 21st birthday. Not that it mattered, since I wasn't going to drink.
There still weren't many people, so I looked a little more closely at the convention itinerary. Apparently the event scheduled immediately before the gala was a golf tournament. It must have run late, since everyone who was at the cocktail hour was wearing golf shorts and shirts. Either that, or the "Gala" wasn't "Black Tie." I think it was more likely option two.
As I look around, which is about all I can do since Stu doesn't have anything to say, I notice that not only am I EXTREMELY overdressed, but I am EASILY the youngest person by about 20 years.
The hell of cocktail hour finally ends and we are seated to dinner. It seems like we ate some really dry chicken with steamed vegetables of some sort and a dessert that looked about 30 times better than it tasted.
After dinner, which again had little to no talking, we sat through an excruciatingly long awards ceremony. It must have been a sales convention and just about everyone there received some type of award. At the very end, they announced the gift they were endowing upon the mining club. It must have been at that point that everyone else in the room figured out why there were two practical teenagers who were overdressed.
I think we left shortly after the award was presented. We made the long drive with very little conversation.
I'm sure we "talked" a few times after the date, but we never mentioned the hell of the evening.