Archive for January, 2013

The In-Between Guy

I went to miserable high school in a miserable suburb of Southern California. I imagine it was much the same as other suburban high schools, socially at any rate. We won at swimming and lost at basketball. You are welcome to infer demographics from that.

It took an interminable amount of time to graduate, particularly as I had one eye on the door the entire time. Not just on the door, but on the other side of the country. I pined away for Manhattan and let everyone know it. So even the most romantically idealistic teenage girl could not consider a relationship with me as more than a time killer. That a relationship has a future is important, so I am told. I am not very good at such things.

My obvious disdain for my surroundings did not engender me much popularity, and this coupled with my general cynicism made me a non-consideration when it came to dating. Particularly as an underclassman, I spent the weekends playing video games with my loser friends or studying film by myself. That should have helped me develop some moves with the ladies, but at fourteen I lacked the courage and self-awareness to put anything into practice. Not that I had anyone to practice with. Not regularly anyway.

Though I became well known, I did not precisely fit in with any clique. I took honors classes, but did not study hard enough to fit in with those studious types. I landed character parts in the theater, yet had no enthusiasm for the gossip and flamboyance that served as currency in that circle. I ran track, but since I smoked pot and cigarettes, took college courses, and acted, my teammates deemed me a stoner, nerd, and fag respectively. And I never fit in with the stoners because I never cared for their music and needed to keep my wits about me for the aforementioned AP classes, theater productions, and relay races. A more socially adept teenager might have turned this outsider status into sexual attraction, but I remained unable to generate more than disinterested acknowledgement. Needless to say this did not translate into a robust sex life.

Still, I had enough style, verve, and attitude that I attracted in a couple of girls every year. I’d hear rumors that so-and-so was into me, but remained scared of what her friends would say. Or if I asked whatshername out she’d say yes-if only I had a car. The lack of a car severely impedes a suburban sexual awakening.  After all, that’s where most adolescent encounters go down. Second base was not happening on my Schwinn.

Being a mildly attractive outcast whose cache devalued with increased public knowledge, I became the “in-between guy”. If a comely classmate of mine found herself drunk at a party while in-between boyfriends, I instantly became exponentially more acceptable. With no commitment demanded and plausible deniability assured, I provided an outlet for sexual frustration or experimentation that could be quickly discarded come Monday morning when the social order restored itself.

So for a few hours on Saturday night, I might find my hands up the shirt of some girl from the track team or in the underwear of a theater tech. Even knowing I could never brag about it to my loser friends, I gladly took what I could get and kept my mouth shut. After all discussing it would serve me little, other than ensure I’d not get another shot a next week’s party. If she was still unattached that of course, and that was seldom the case. In my whole career, I only had two repeat customers. I attributed this to needing the status of a boyfriend, rather than a reflection of my performance. I never heard any complaints, since their mouths stayed shut too.

Gradually, I became known for this pattern. By the end of my junior year, being the “in-between guy” proved almost a tired joke. Whenever a prominent couple predictably broke up, I’d get threatened by the boyfriend not to perform my usual tricks on his ex. I seldom heeded these warnings and took a couple of beatings when caught with my pants down, literally. At one memorable houseparty, I found my lips around a sexy underclassman when her boyfriend arrived. He tried to crash through the door of the toilet. I, ever the gentleman, helped her escape out the bathroom window. I think they got back together before my black eye healed. Such were the wages of the “in-between” guy.

By the time I’d gotten my college acceptance letters from the east coast, I’d mastered a routine. Gossip came back regarding who was recently unattached and where they planned to party on the weekend. If I could secure an invite, I’d be sidling up to her after a few drinks. The more polished the approach, the more laughable it became. Eventually it grew tedious even for me.

On night towards graduation, I decided to put it to one of my targets. Mid-session, with her breasts exposed, I asked her if she wanted to be my girlfriend. She giggled and whispered, “For what? the next two months? And what for? This is what you’re good at!”

At that, I stopped and pulled her bra back on.  She asked what I was doing. I told her I wasn’t good at it any more. I stumbled out of the bedroom and made my way outside. I smoked cigarette and walked home. I did not hook up again until I got to university in New York. Within three weeks, I had a regular girlfriend. It did not last through the semester though. I wasn’t good at that either.


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