My Date with Betty
The year was 1994 (I think) I was working in a bookstore in a stripmall type place in the suburbs. There was a Gap in the stripmall too and I'd walk in there alot to just kill time and also try and talk to a cute Gap greeter worked there. (I'll call her 'Betty' for this story. Her real name was something unusual.)
A Gap greeter's job is to give everyone big hellos and stuff when they walk in the store. That's the job. When Betty gave me a big hello I of course interpreted that as her liking me. I sort of dismissed the fact that she was paid to give big hellos. But whatever. Over time I started talking to Betty on my breaks and eventually asked her out. (Actually it started with the shy... 'hey we should go out sometime'...to the 'yeah lets get dinner sometime'... then finally the official ask out for a Friday night... and Betty said yes! Yes!)
I was psyched! Betty was seriously cute! We were gonna go on a date! We agreed to meet at a local restaurant and have dinner. She was there before me and I was early. She looked really cute. It made me nervous. We sat down and I looked over the menu trying to figure out what to order. I asked her what she was having. She told me she wasn't hungry and closed her menu. (Not hungry? What?) I immediately backtracked through the last 5 minutes of conversation to dig through to see if I had accidentally said something so super stupid that it derailed the date already. But there was nothing that was so bad. In fact I hadn't really gotten much past 'You look nice. This place is nice.' I questioned if she was going to have anything at all and she said she didn't want anything. She wasn't hungry. I didn't know what to do! Did we leave? She knew we were going to dinner! How was she not hungry? Finally I convinced her to order a salad.
The food arrived and I struggled for conversation trying to find out more about Betty. We talked about the Gap. I talked about the bookstore. Blah blah. She seemed bored. I was floundering. I asked her what she did in her free time and she finally perked up and excitedly told me that she just did something amazing in her bedroom. (Amazing in her bedroom? What?) She was really jazzed up about it. (By the way, around this time I noticed that she wasn't really eating her salad. She was just stabbing at it and pushing the lettuce off the plate. When the waiter picked up her plate to take it away there was a big ring of lettuce left on the table). Anyway, I kept questioning her about what she did in her room that was 'amazing' but she kept saying it was something that needed to be seen. The conversation sort of fizzled out after that and I was weirded out by the lettuce incident.
We walked out of the restaurant and Betty said, 'Do you want to see what I did in my bedroom?' She was excited to show me. I didn't really know how to react. What was she asking me? Was this aka sex? (Amazing in her bedroom?) She sort of pressured me to just follow her to her house and I agreed. I was actually curious to see the 'amazing thing'. She told me to follow in my car and I said Ok. As we walked to the cars I asked where she lived and she named some town that I had heard of but never been to. It was like a half-hour away. I was like, 'Ug! I thought she was like nearby!' Now I'm driving a half-hour? Before we left the restaurant she drove up next to me in her car and rolled down her car window and said, 'By the way, I'm a virgin...' And drove off.
At this point a normal person would have driven as fast as they could in the other direction. But for whatever reason I felt obligated to go see her amazing thing and we worked sort of next door to each other. So how could I just ditch her? And I've always been too nice. Especially back then. Saying no has always been hard. Nowadays I probably could do the ditch- but back then I was just happy to have a date. And something about this date was turning into a cool adventure that I stupidly couldn't turn down.
I followed in my car barely keeping up. She was driving way fast. I usually drive fast but she was taking turns real hard. She was flying. I had to catch up on the straightaways because my car couldn't take the curves like hers. Eventually we ended up in her town which less suburban- more like suburban/rural. The houses were further apart. There were more woods. We turned down a road that was pretty off the main roads. There was still houses and stuff but it was definitely remote. No streetlights. And it was nighttime. I was officially genuinely realistically scared. I followed her thinking, 'Oh great! I'm driving to a place where I'm gonna get all murdered up! This sucks! I'm so not up for being murdered right now!'
At the end of the road there was a big house that looked like it was originally a huge barn. It was one tall rectangular structure at the end of the street. It was a nice house. There was a Mercedes in the driveway. I pulled in and got out of the car. Betty was seriously excited to show me her room. I was seriously scared for her to show me her room.
We go into her house and the door closes behind me. At this point things got surreal. The whole house was weirdly open space. Like there were no walls downstairs. It was like a big loft space barn of a house and the house was dark. Everything felt weird. We headed upstairs to her room. For protection I fumbled in my pocket so my car keys were sticking out through my fingers in a fist. Like brass knuckles but with car keys. Just in case. I gripped them tight. We walk into her bedroom and the room weirdly perfect. Pink canopy bed. Teddy bear in front of a stack of pillows. Everything looked too neat. Everything was just so. It all looked fake. I didn't see what was amazing. She turned to me smiling big and said,' This is it!'
She pointed at a tall narrow chest of drawers. With two drawers on each level. There was probably 12 little drawers in the thing. I looked at her and was like, 'You...umm... made this?' And she was like, 'No silly! Open the drawers!' (Open the drawers?) I was like, 'Umm.. ok.' One by one I pulled open the drawers. Inside each drawer there were little objects or scenes or something. Like one drawer had a pair of ballet slippers and a small bowl of beads. I shut that one. The next had a tiny rocking chair with a tiny doll and a teacup. I shut that one and opened the next. That one had a weird ceramic duck by itself and a key. One by one I opened and closed each drawer. Each one had something bizarre. At this point I was completely freaking out and expecting to feel a knife stab me at any second.
I acted really enthusiastic about her drawers thing. (I didn't want to rock the crazy boat) I told her how amazing it was. How unique it was. How fun and interesting it was. (It actually was kind of cool.) And then I told her it was time for me to go home. She was like, 'Wait! You have to meet my brother!' I was like, 'No it's ok. I really gotta go...' She was like, 'He's just down the hall ...come say hello...' I really didn't want to meet 'the brother'. She took me by the hand and walked me down the hall. (Gulp)
At the end of the hall she opened a door to a room- which looked like it had just been robbed. There was big bed with no sheets on the mattress. All the drawers seemed like they had been pulled open and had clothing hanging out. I could see into the bathroom and saw there was like empty shampoo bottles and crap all over the floor and stuff. It was a mess. And sitting on the floor playing a video game was a kid about 10 years old. (Phew! Only a kid!) I was introduced to him by Betty. He said, 'Hello....' without stopping his video game. I talked some video game talk with him for a minute or so and he seemed to know his stuff. I was happy to fumble for some common ground in that house. I asked him who's room this was and he said, 'Oh... this is our parents room...' (The parents room? Where were the parents? Why was it so trashed?)
I calmly told Betty I really had to go and she said, 'Ok.' and escorted me to the stairs. As the front door got closer and closer I got more and more scared. (Isn't it when someone is almost home free that they get the STAB!) I walked down the stairs which looked over the living room. It was really dark and shadowy. I was looking over the room and clenching my car key fist. Squinting and walking down the steps. All of a sudden I see something weird. I squint at one chair in the far corner in the dark and it looked like there was someone sitting there! I squinted harder and definitely saw a woman... sitting in the chair! (There was definitely a woman there!) I nervously threw out a 'Hello?'. A second or two later the woman said, 'I'm Betty's mother.... And I'm not feeling very well today...' I told her I was sorry to hear that and got out the front door fast... and sped the hell out of there.
Betty and I never had a second date. I continued to bump her Betty when I passed by the Gap now and then. We spoke a few times. She was as friendly as ever. Never a mention of our date. Then one day I noticed Betty hadn't been at the Gap for a while. A week or so. I went into the Gap and asked them what happened to Betty. They told me she left to go off to school. And I never saw her again.
And that was that.
Bestest of good vibes to 'Betty' wherever you are.
This has been true story.