So, today is “Stuffed Animal Day” at school. My daughter is on SCA (student council) this year, representing her class, so she is “in the know” about these things and insisted on taking her favorite stuffed dog to school.
At the bus stop, the daughter of my Bus Stop Buddy (a first-grader) realized she had forgotten to bring her stuffed bear. I told her, “Well, at least you’re dressed like an animal.” She was wearing a leopard print mini dress with black stockings and black mid-calf boots. Her dad looked at me, “We need to talk.”
So the bus comes, the kids pile on, and the bus goes.
The dad looks at me and says, “What do you think of my daughter’s outfit? Doesn’t she look like a sl*t?”
[Let me insert here that Bus Stop Buddy leans toward being an offensive human. I always aim to keep my conversations with him short.]
I told him, “No. She doesn’t look like a sl*t at all. A lot of kids wear animal prints these days. But I will note here that the only time I ever wore animal print, it was pretty much the same thing she’s wearing. I was 14.”
“What was the occasion, though?” he asked.
“Halloween. I was trying to look ‘punk’, and it was the punkiest thing I had — my aunt had passed down a leopard print mini dress to me. I wore the dress over black tights with roller skates to the roller rink. There was an event going on there that night for the holiday.”
“I want pictures,” he says.
“There are none,” I assured him and began walking away as he continued to spout off his fatherly concern over his daughter’s image. I told him it wasn’t really that bad. Her dress was made of flannel and she was fully covered. “Have a good day,” I dashed away.
He did get my mind to thinking about that Halloween night long ago. (Have I already shared this story?) It was the first time a boy ever kissed me (it was on my cheek).
The boy’s name was Jack, short for Giacomo. I had met him at the rink weeks earlier and we would hang out together from time to time. He went to a different high school than I did, and he was 17. I remember having asked him how to spell his last name once. He told me, “It’s Italian. You spell it the way it sounds.”
Actually, if I had spelled it the way it sounded, it would’ve had another “r” in it and be missing the “u”.
A few weeks after Halloween, when I saw Jack at the rink again, I guess he was drunk or something because at one point he got very mad at me — citing something about me being “too innocent” — and backed me up against a wall. He didn’t touch me, but he was only a couple of inches away, shouting at me over the loud rink music… right up in my face.
There was another young man sitting on a bench nearby who was witnessing this event. He didn’t break it up or say anything, but after Jack rolled away from me, the young man advised me not to hang out with him again. I didn’t.
Sometime later, Jack learned how to breakdance (there was an area in the center of the rink for this activiity), so he stuck to that rather than skating… and that was the end of our “friendship”.
So much for (potential) teenage dating. 😉