QotD: High School Romance, Or Not

What was the best date you went on in high school?

This seems like one of those stories that I should probably keep to myself, but the QotD shook loose a memory and so, here we go.

Of course, being a giant nerd, I did not have many good dating experiences in high school. In fact, the few there that occurred were memorably bad. And with the clarity of hindsight, I can say that it was probably karma for the way I started things off.

It was the Spring of 1980 – there were hostages were in Iran, Another Brick in the Wall (Pt 2) had us all singing “we don’t need no education”(1), The Empire Strikes Back was about to be released – and a young freshman’s mind turned to…

… well, it turned to the cute girl (Lisa) that he had homeroom with. With our Freshman Semi-formal fast approaching (it was called The Morp (2)) – a whole class of boys was learning the agony of asking a girl to a dance. Unfortunately, the object of my affection already had a proto-boyfriend, so I was out of luck.

But one day, Lisa asked me if I was going to the Dance. My mind reeled with excitement until I realized she was beginning to pitch the “I’ve got a friend without a date – maybe you could take her” plan.

Her friend: Joanie Cunningham (3)

Apparently, Lisa was aiming for me to be Chachi. Now Joanie was okay – we’d gone to grade school together. I didn’t really want to go with her, but my Master Plan was beginning to form– I thought, “If I go with Joanie, then perhaps Lisa will see what a great guy I am, and she’ll like me.”

So, yeah, not my proudest moment. The Dance came and went. For the most part girls and boys auto-segregated as they will at age 14. We even danced a little – especially to the slow song which was “Stairway to Heaven”.

In my brilliance, I must have told some friends my Master Plan, because a week or so after the Dance I was confronted by a sobbing Joanie who’d been told that I’d only taken her because I liked her friend and not her. Turns out she’d had a good time and she liked me and was (as you can imagine) upset to find this out. I was busted. I didn’t deny or try to talk my way out of it (4). And assuredly, the name Steve Betz was mud with her and all her girlfriends, including – you guessed it, Lisa.


(1) the grammar of which suggests that we did, or perhaps that Roger Waters and David Gilmour did…
(2) anyone? anyone?
(3) You may or may not remember the show Happy Days, but to be a teenager named Joanie Cunningham in the late 70s and early 80s was like wearing a sign that said, “Tease Me”.
(4) Good thing? Stupid move? 30 years later I still can’t decide.

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30 thoughts on “QotD: High School Romance, Or Not

  1. Actually the first real date I ever went on was one of the best. The worst happened becuse of my own immaturity at 16. If I only knew back then what I know now… [cheesy grin]. :-)

  2. LMAOHer name was REALLY Joanie Cunningham? Hell yeah I remember that show. You know I got 100% on the Brady Bunch quiz on FB. See – those were the Good Ole Days. Ask me about pop culture and current shows/ celebrities adn I am at a loss. Ask me about the 70's-80's and I'm good to go!

  3. Hey, at least you HAD a date in high school! As for not denying it, I think that was the right move because you already knew you were busted and lying about it would just have made you look worse. But you could've made something up about how that was the plan, but then you got to know her and realized she was the one you really wanted to be with….(sounds like an 80's teen angst movie!)

  4. AK — no — though there HAS been a real swell in people from my high school in the last few months. It may only be a matter of time. Somewhere out in vox, she's probably written the story about the jerk that tried to use her to get a date with someone else….

  5. You're right, I had a few. But not many, and not until I was a junior. But apparently my late-bloomer-ness saved me from those 14-year-old heels.

  6. This is funny. Felt like a trip down memory lane. Those middle school dances and stairway to heaven. Knights in White Satin was another big one. Can tell we're same age or so.

  7. Pingback: Little Movie, Big Themes | Steve's Place

  8. Steve! Actually, this doesn’t sound too horrid. Did you end up liking Joanie? And come on you were in 8th grade. You totally get a pass for this one. Now, had you been in 20th or higher…

  9. My mom has a similar story like this. She had a crush one someone,but she was too afraid to ask him to the dance. She wasn’t afraid to ask his friend to the dance and they could double date. So she got to go to the dance with her crush, but she didn’t actually go WITH him. It makes me laugh every time she tells me that story.

    • Christa — I’m glad to know that other people have had similar experiences too. We do a lot of silly things when we’re teens. I’m just SO SO glad that we didn’t have Facebook back then! :)

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