%@ Language=VBScript %>
By Tina Dunlap
This column is devoted to love letters, hate mail, and other correspondence from guys that I've saved over the years. Names have not been changed to protect the innocent.
Erik Dirks was the first guy that made a fool out of me. He transferred to my high school at the beginning of junior year and quickly earned a reputation as the dreamy new bad boy. Not that he was really all that bad. He was more like Luke Perry on Beverly Hills 90210 than James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause. Sure, he had the requisite pout and pompadour. But his leather jacket was fake, his bike was a Yamaha, and his cigarettes of choice were Marlboro Light Menthols. The only song he could play on his guitar was "Stairway to Heaven." And he was a Mormon. Of course, none of this stopped me from falling for him. Hard.
I don't know if I can explain this obsession. I don't really want to, because I'd have to try to justify the workings of my hormone-addled teenage brain. It may have started because he had the same name as Eric Dirks, the hunky football player I had a crush on in sixth grade. (Erik's real name was Eric but he spelled it with a "k." And an anarchy symbol over the i. Go figure.) Or it may have been the thrill of competition. Erik was the wet dream of every new wave chick, skate betty, punk rock grrl, and goth queen in the crowd I hung with, and he knew it. He fucked around with everyone, including me. I liked to think of myself as his girlfriend even though I wasn't. But I didn't care because I was his favorite. Until Yvette came along.
I still hate her. She was a classic beauty like Ingrid Bergman, with smoky eyes, creamy skin, and a fluffy halo of auburn hair. She wore silky pastel blouses tucked into short black skirts that showed off her long legs. She could pull off stockings and heels and lipstick without looking trashy because she had this debutante air about her. Once Erik got a whiff, I was forgotten.
But I didn't give up on him so easily. I continued to alter my route between classes so I could bump into him in the halls. I continued to drive out of my way past his house so I could see if his bike was in the driveway. And I continued to write him racy letters in hopes of wooing him back, if only to fuck around one more time. But all I got in return were empty sexual innuendos like those in the letter shown here. (Don't ask me what the references to raking leaves, ice cubes, potato chips, and blue frosting are all about.)
This went on well into senior year, even after I became another guy's "real" girlfriend. Even after this other guy and I exchanged the big L-word. Even after this other guy and I came really, really close to doing IT and decided to wait until the prom. And that's when it all came to a head.
I had assumed that Erik was going to the prom with Yvette. In fact, he wasn't going with Yvette, because she was going with this burnout named Mike who was repeating senior year (of course she was). In fact, Erik wasn't going with anyone. In fact, as he told me one day in the smoking area outside school, he might have gone with me if I wasn't already going with that other guy.
My mind reeled with the wild possibility of going to the prom with Erik. I even entertained the idea of breaking up with my boyfriend, then trying to get back together with him after the prom. But I didn't do it. What I did do was go to Erik's house the day of the prom with a proposition: I gave him first dibs on my virginity. I didn't put it like that, exactly, but I made it very clear that this was his big chance. I don't think he knew I was a virgin and that night was THE night for me and my boyfriend. Had he known this, he probably would have taken advantage. But after some passionate groping under the monkey bars in the school playground behind his house, he turned me down.
So I went to the prom that night with my boyfriend. Erik went with this toothy fag-hag named Sherri who sewed her own clothes. The fact that she had also sewn her own prom dress confirmed my suspicion that he had been going with her all along. The whole night was a disaster. I choked on a piece of steak at dinner, and later on my boyfriend and I got into a big fight because he didn't want to go with my friends to the post-prom booze-a-thon at the hotel where presumably he and I were going to have sex. Instead we went back to my parents' house, microwaved some chicken nuggets, and watched the movie Beer. (I am not making this up.)
But this pathetic story is not over. My virginity intact and my dignity crushed, I plotted a terrible act of revenge against Erik. I got my friend Renee to write him an anonymous mash note in big loopy girly cursive, you know, with hearts dotting the i's and all that. Something like, I'm not in high school anymore but I've seen you on your bike and I think you're really cute and we should get together this summer for some hot sex. We sprayed the note with Love's Baby Soft cologne, the most vile of feminine fragrances (the girls will back me up on this).
And then we baked Erik some brownies. Not your run-of-the-mill fudgy Betty Crocker treats, but extra-special chocolate-flavored Ex-Lax brownies. We wrapped them in pink sparkly paper, attached the note, and left them on his doorstep at some ungodly hour of the night.
I am not proud of this. Especially considering that Erik's little brother ate most of them and got really sick. But Erik did eat enough to keep him out of school for a day, and he never found out I did it, so I had some small satisfaction.
But this pathetic story is still not over. Fast forward one year. It's the summer after my freshman year of college. I'm home hanging out with all my old high-school friends. One day someone brings up Erik Dirks. He moved out of his parents' house but he still lives in town. He is hosting a co-ed bachelor party for his older brother. I know I shouldn't go. I go.
Besides losing my virginity (finally) and breaking up with the high-school boyfriend (finally), I hadn't changed much since the previous summer, except I was even more over-sexed. Erik, on the other hand, seemed to have changed quite a bit. Gone were the pout and pompadour, replaced by a stoned-out smile and chin-length hair. He was sporting a tie-dye T-shirt now instead of a fake leather jacket. He had sold his bike and bought a Volvo, and he was smoking more pot than cigarettes. And his guitar repertoire had expanded beyond "Stairway to Heaven" to include Grateful Dead and Allman Brothers tunes (none of which I knew at the time).
Anyway, I got really drunk and approached him at some point during the evening. He was sitting in a chair and I got down on my knees between his legs and tried to kiss him. He pushed me away and said, "I have a girlfriend."
Always the coy one, I replied, "Well, she's not here, is she?"
He took my hand and put it over his heart. "No, but she's here."
I did what any scorned woman would do. I laughed in his face, stood up, poured the remainder of my warm beer in his lap, and stormed out of the room. Then I got another beer and went outside, where I tried to kiss his older brother. Then my friends dragged me out of there to a club, where I became another kind of fool – a dancing fool.
I wish that was the only kind of fool I've ever been.
Copyright©2001 by Tina Dunlap.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system,
or transmitted, in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying,
or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.