Sunday, August 12, 2007

Soap Opera Sunday - First (french) kiss

Brillig and Walking Kateastrophe's collective baths continue. Here is another one of my sudsy tales....

The summer before eighth grade, I worked as a Counselor in Training (yup a CIT) for a camp my brother and I attended for several years. I loved it. So much that I ended up working there as a counselor through my freshman year of college. But that isn't what this post is about.

Most of my school friends that summer enrolled in a summer sailing program that cost $1. Yup, $1 for months of sailing instruction, access to boats and members of what-ever gender you were attracted to. I'm sure the $1 fee was intended for more poverty-stricken youth but no one asked the kids from the suburbs what their parents' incomes were so they all went sailing.

A few times I joined them. Some of my girlfriends had become friendly with some boys from a different town. They were all a year older. They were going into high school.

One of them was Lew Root (not his real name). Lew was blond and tall (like 5'10"). And he was older than me. An entire year older. One of my friends started "dating" a friend of his so after the sailing program ended, we would occasionally double date.

Later in the school year, my friend and I went to a dance at, gasp, the other town's high school. We were the dates of our, tee-hee, high school boyfriends. The high school gym was dark and the DJ played early '80's songs because it was the early '80's.

Eventually, Lew and I made it to the far wall in front of the pushed up bleachers where other couples were making out. I was just so excited to finally, for the first time, kiss a boy at a dance. I lifted my chin, just like in the movies, closed my eyes and opened my mouth ever so slightly.

And thought my tongue was going to be ripped out.

This may also have been Lew's first attempt at a french kiss as well. He seemed to think that you sucked really hard on the other person's tongue. With a lot of force.

So I pulled away, fortunately with my tongue still in my mouth, and ran back to my girlfriend (a chaste Catholic who wouldn't go near that wall, much to her boyfriend's dismay) and yelled to the group they were standing with,

"Lew kisses like a vacuum cleaner!!"

The entire group, mostly 9th grade boys who were classmates of Lew's, burst into hysterical laughing. We didn't see each other after that night.


Three years later I was the Head Drum Major for our 100+ marching band. Drum Major. Not Majorette. I wasn't some girl in a little skirt twirling a baton. I led the band on the field during performances. I conducted the music and co-led rehearsals (you haven't lived until you've conducted Sweet Georgia Brown). I yelled commands ("Atten-hut! For-ward march!"). I will admit I did some twirling. It was a three foot long mace with a big spike at one end that I threw into the ground with a grand, forceful jab. I could've killed someone with that thing. I most definitely wasn't an ornamental majorette.

Our high school football team had a pre-season game against Lew's high school team. The band went as well. I hadn't talked to Lew since that night in his high school gym. He was a senior by then and I noticed he was walking around with a camera. Turns out he was the yearbook photographer.

After I had lined up the band I turned around to face the field with my chin up and shoulders back (standard Drum Major stance). Out of the corner of my eye I saw Lew then heard,

"Hey Hoover! We need you to take a picture over here!" He winced.

Hoover? HOOVER?!?!? This kid, for the last three years had been carrying the nickname "Hoover" (which in case you don't know is the name of a brand of vacuum cleaners).

I am apologizing that my outburst as an 8th-grader led to such a mean-spirited nickname. While it is funny, it was a horrid name to bear during the cruel years of adolescence.

I just hope his 20th high school reunion last year didn't use nicknames on the name tags.


chelle said...

Oh no! That nickname must have had suction power! HAHAHA!

summershine said...

Oh no! Poor guy!

Brillig said...

HAHAHAHA!!!! Oh my gosh, so much deliciousness here. I love that you clarified the Drum Major stuff (hahaha--wouldn't want anyone to think of you as having ever possibly touched a baton) and I died laughing over this: "because it was the early '80's."

And poor Hoover. You cruel, cruel thing! Thank goodness for a blog, right? So that you can publicly apologize twenty years after the fact...

Fourier Analyst said...

Surely he didn't get that nickname just from kissing you. I expect he used the same technique on at least one other person, if not more. Hopefully your guilty conscience has been somewhat relieved by this public confession and apology!

(Bet you were awful cute in your Drum Major suit, even if you weren't a majorette! Gotta love a gal in uniform!)

Jen said...

Awe... this is sad AND funny. Poor guy, though! Andd poor you, for that first experience! Happy SOS!

Kateastrophe said...

That is so freaking hilarious.

I too had a guy nicknamed Hoover after an unfortunate kissing accident, so I am laughing even harder!

anno said...

Oh, this is so funny! Poor you, your romantic expectations so cruelly dashed. Poor Hoover, marked for life.

Maybe, though, you had an improving influence on his future technique...

Goofball said...

haha, very funny. don't feel guilty...guess what other nickname he could have got if it weren't Hoover. All nicknames are embarrasing.

Alex Elliot said...

I feel so bad for him! I'm impressed that name stuck for so many years. I wonder if people even knew why he was being called "Hoover" later on. There was a guy in my high school called "Goose" and he had been called that for so long no one really knew why. Maybe he just winced because you were there and he knew that you knew how he had gotten the name.

Luisa Perkins said...

I'm so jealous that you were a Drum Major! I marched with the rest of the flute players.

I'm with FA: he must have earned that nickname from a variety of sources. Ouch!

Dedee said...

I tried to be drum major, but they didn't pick me. Probably thought I was too much of a ditz.

Poor Lew. (Snicker, snicker, snicker!)

Flower Child said...

Frickin HILARIOUS! I think my first kiss was in a very public place - bus on a class trip. I seem to remember it being part of an endurance contest. Oh, to grow up in the early 80s.

Gunfighter said...


Oh, man!


I love it.

Jenn said...


I found my first kiss mostly disgusting. The kid's tongue was like a slimy snake.

I remember my best friend being like "I don't understand why people like it! GROSS!" In response to hers. Haha.

cathouse teri said...

I was wondering why you came up with LEW ROOT, of all things, as the pseudonym of this person! I kept waiting for a limerick or something to turn up!

Did I miss it?


ZoeyBella said...

Hehehe... funny :) I always enjoy your writing ;)

Jenn in Holland said...

It took me until the end of reading through your, ahem, 16 comments, to stop laughing at this post. What a great story! What a grand tale to tell.
Yeah, It WAS the early 80's and yeah, all bad kissers should be outed!

Canadian flake said...

awwwwwww the poor guy!! I feel bad for him. Nice story though...very well written. Looking forward to more SOS.

Bitsy Parker said...

Blogging is so perfect! Now, the real story gets to be told.