Actual skates – oh, I keep them for parties and stuff! No, seriously.
The other day I was attempting to parlay these NBC segments I’m doing into a piece for a national magazine. As I typed away, touting myself as an “expert,” trying to seem way more important than I actually am, and rambling on about my amazing qualifications to an Editor in Chief (whom I shouldn’t have been writing directly in the first place), Eddy Grant’s “Electric Avenue”came on and I was immediately transported to SKATELAND in Cockeysville Maryland, circa 1984.
It was Girl’s Skate and the disco lights had taken over the floor.
Now, if you’re unfamiliar with roller skate culture, Girl’s Skate is the precursor to Couple’s Skate. During Girl’s Skate, your job, as a girl, is to look as totally awesome as possible. You have to rock your Flashdance style off-the-shoulder-shirt with splatter paint detail, and your acid-washed jeans.
The boys watch from around that short wall AND If they likes what they sees, they put out a hand for you to slap. The “hand out” also implies that they would like to Couples Skate with you. SO, if you think the boy is cute, you slap his outstretched arm, buuuut if you think he’s too dorky, you hold your hand super close to your body in an overly dramatic fashion that says: “I’d rather be caught dead than be seen skating with you.”
Yep, it’s an exercise in fostering self esteem.
On this particular day, I had my eye on a very cute older boy; he may have even been a preteen! I spotted him from across the crowded rink, as my dad laced up his skates trying to catch up to my speedy entrance.
Oh, I didn’t mention that my dad skated with me every week? How could I forget that detail, this story is about how cool and awesome I was, right?
There I was, doing my best tricks:
- The speed up and glide.
- The Shoot the Duck (crouch down and stick one leg forward).
- The professional leg cross weave around the corners.
I looked around at the outstretched arms, while Electric Avenue played in the background. As a sensitive kid, I was an equal opportunity slapper. So, I’d slap the hand of anyone that put it out there. Well, unless they were super nerdy and everyone else was avoiding them, obviously!
Then I spotted him, that cute preteen. He looked bad. I mean, good — bad. He probably drove there on his motorized bike… Skates hanging from the handle bars and a switchblade style comb in his back pocket to flush up his mullet. He was definitely from the wrong side of the tracks. You know, like Matt Dillon in Little Darlings
I noticed that he wasn’t really offering his hand to too many girls and in a defensive action, started to skate towards the middle.
As I got closer, he did it. He eyed me and then threw out his hand.
Holy crap, that’s for me and now I’m so far on the inside I’ll never make it, and then we won’t get to Couples Skate. I won’t be able to hold his hand, which I’m sure will be cool and big, not small and sweaty, like the other boys I always couples skated with. He may even be good enough to do the envied backwards hands on hips skate! My life is officially over.
Move Jenny, move!
I weaved through a few of the slower girls and reached as far as I could to touch even a fingertip. Then in a crushing blow he pulled his hand back and pretending to slick his hair. Holy shit, he gave me the “psyyyyych,” before the “psych” was actually invented!
To add insult to injury, my arm had overstretched to meet his teasing gesture. I felt myself going down. Think slo-mo in some cheesy 80‘s film, “Ohhhh Nnnoooo.” I grabbed at the short wall to pull myself in ricocheted off it and slammed straight to the ground a few feet away from him.
Yep, COOL, I was! (if you say that with a Yoda accent, it has the truest effect.)
I got up quickly and ran to the bathroom to cry in a stall, while Couple’s Skate started without me. Seriously, it just began like normal, as if the most horrifying incident had not just occurred on that concrete slab of rejection.
I remember the song perfectly, it was Air Supply’s, “All Out of Love” I also remember the pain. Oh, the pain and the “uncoolness.”
“I’m so lost without you.”
Apparently, you can’t get too cocky in Cockeysville or anywhere, because someone will put you right back place. Unfortunately or maybe fortunately, I’ve been put in my place more times than I care to remember.
Even as an adult, a simple song can bring back an experience that sends you to rock in a corner. I guess you’re supposed to dust yourself off and get back in the ring or the rink as the case may be.
So back to my pitch:
Dear Editor in Cheif – I AM A kick ass writer and I’m not half bad on a pair of skates…
PS : I got that job – eat your heart out mullet boy, everyone knows rat tails are like way hotter anyway!
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