Those who delve into the in-depth analytical writings of Freud are all too familiar with the motifs of the unconscious, “repressed” traumatic experiences, which preserve a temporarily stable mentality by saving the self from remembering something really, really embarrassing and accidentally mentioning it during a cocktail party.
Ironically, my unconscious loves mocking me – my most awkward and embarrassing moments have an irritating habit of resurfacing at unfortunate times.
There was once a time when sex didn’t pervade every waking moment of our lives, when its scandalous thoughts didn’t slink in between equations about the velocity of a coconut-laden swallow or striptease the mind into lust after your fifth chemistry recitation.
Then came sitcoms, pop music and puberty. These “innocent years” transformed into the “wonder years,” rich with na’ve teenage passion and heartbreak.
It was the summer before eighth grade. This year was full of legends of the first kiss and what it was like. Around the time when “Goldmember” was a featured motion picture, I was going to see the movie with my brother and his friend on an innocuous Friday evening. Halfway through the movie, I get a tap on my shoulder, followed by a girl’s whisper in my ear saying, “Hey, my friend thinks that you are cute. Why don’t you sit next to us?”
Zing! I ran back to sit with them. I could tell from the glare of the movie screen that the girl who whispered into my ear was fairly attractive. I prayed the saying “birds of a feather flock together” proved true with these chicks.
They asked me to go for a walk with them and I obliged. As we emerged into the late afternoon sunlight, I eagerly glanced at her friend and – oh. Oh, no. She wasn’t attractive at all. She had a sort of ruddy, obnoxious, piggish look. What was I going to do? I was tricked! Her hot Italian friend was obviously trying to set her less fortunate friend up with someone who she thought was in her friend’s league. I was a very confused boy dealing with forces I didn’t, and couldn’t possibly, understand.
Due to my inexperience and my agreeability, I complied and met them there the next day to see another movie.
What do you do when you are outnumbered and in enemy territory? Call up reinforcements. I invited my friend, Eli, to come with me and meet them at the movie theater. They wanted to see “Goldmember,” even though we had seen it the night before.
Halfway through the movie, I turned to my right and Eli was hooking up with the Italian girl! I sat in deflated silence, fending off advances from the unattractive friend. It was a set-up. I was to take the bullet as Eli rejoiced in triumph.
Two weeks later, after sulkily avoiding the movies and everything associated with Austin Powers, I received an unexpected phone call from none other than Eli. He was taking the Italian girl out on a date and he wanted me to come along with him.
We arrived at the movie theater ready for a night of hopeful good fortune. We met the Italian girl in front and with her was a very attractive girl. We were about to go into the movie theater when they wanted to go for a walk.
During the walk we met up with a third girl. Turns out, she was even more unattractive than the girl I had previously been expected to hook up with. She had a round face splotched with red that shined in the sun with grease, uneven teeth and a body the shape of a fluffed pillow.
We bought tickets for “Goldmember,” again. We sat in the back row, the infamous row where sucking face occurs. Halfway through the movie, the Italian girl whispered to me “You should hook up with her.”
I didn’t know what to do. She kept on whispering to me, her voice rising in pitch and volume each time. If I didn’t kiss the girl, I would be faced with embarrassment and humiliation. Plus, she threatened to scream.
So I did. About 30 seconds in, the unattractive girl withdrew, got up, and the three left the theater. Eli and I were stunned. What did I do? Was I a bad kisser?
The Italian girl came back, stifling a laugh. I tried to find out why she was giggling – what did I do wrong? She turned to me, burst out laughing – “She’s bleeding! You bit her lip!” and then ran off. The girls didn’t return. I was mortified. Plus, I had just gone through over $30 seeing the same movie three times just for this!
Now, what is the lesson we college students can learn from this? Forcing your friends into awkward situations is unethical, but extremely funny and makes for good stories to tell other people. It helps you put reality into perspective. Not everything is “magical” and “perfect” like the kisses in movies.
Fishman can be reached at email@example.com.