As all awkward date stories begin, I was 17 years old…
It was the middle of a hot summer in Midwest Large City, and my boyfriend, Dean, and I had decided to take in a live production at a local theater in a park. “The King and I,” I think. But that is not important.
What is important, is that Dean was (and probably still is) about six feet, six inches tall and has very large hands and feet --- but this is not important for the reason some of you dirty-minded people may think it is.
Dean and I decided to take my darling twin brothers, whom I will call Amos and Otis (because that is what my dad considered naming them---until a nurse at the hospital begged him not to), to the show with us. They were 10 at the time, a great age to bring along on a date, really.
As the sun set behind the stage, Dean, Otis, Amos, and I settled into our lawn chairs for the show. Amos sat somewhere, I do not know where, but I know he kept his hands to himself. Dean sat to my right, his (very long) left arm stretched out around my shoulders, touching Otis’s chair, and Otis sat to my left, his (very mischievous) hands wrapped around a bucket of popcorn. I sat in the middle and watched the cold-hearted king fall for the charms of his British nanny, blissfully unaware of what transpired next to me while Anna was busy whistling her happy tune.
We all drove home in relative silence, which I thought was because Amos, Dean and Otis were as taken by the love story as I was.
Dean brought us home, Amos and Otis went to bed, and Dean surprised me with the following question:
“Did you know your brother stuck my finger up his nose during the play?”
“WHAT?!?!” I exclaimed. “Are you sure?”
Dean chuckled. “He held onto my finger and stuck it up his nose during the second act. I felt it. It was my finger.”
He washed his hands and went on home.
The next morning, as soon as Otis woke up, I confronted him.
“Did you like the show last night?” I buttered him up.
“Yeah,” he smiled.
“Did you have fun with Dean?” I asked.
“Yeah,” he smiled.
“Why did you stick his finger up your nose?” I sprang on him.
“That was DEAN’S finger? I thought it was yours!” he began to crumble.
“Otis!” I said, holding my hand up for him to examine. “Look at my fingers! Do any of these look like the one you grabbed last night?”
“I wondered why you didn’t flinch…” he was still puzzled.
“Dean can palm a basketball,” I went on, “I can hardly palm a grapefruit!”
“Was he mad?” Otis asked.
No, in fact, Dean was not mad. Being a younger brother himself, Dean thought it was hilarious, and we dated for many months after that.
But, I can assure you, that was the last time I ever went on a date with Otis.
(Update: Otis has grown into a bright, responsible, and handsome man, and, to the best of my knowledge, no longer sticks foreign objects up his nose. Amos, as far as I know, has never even tried.)