We met at a Sunnyslope party, one of the other public high schools in Phoenix. She was slender and a little taller than most of the girls I’d been out with. Large eyes with a softened Eastern European face. I most vividly remember her hair, half-coiled locks playfully falling past her shoulders, flaxen and iridescent, conspiring to reflect glimmers of summer lemons and autumn beiges. It was light, playful, and seductive all at once.

I didn’t think I had a chance with her. Everyone was flirting with her, and much more successfully than me. I allowed myself to float to the periphery, interjecting occasional jokes or comments when appropriate, or wandering about the party to see who else was about. Definitely not imposing my presence. In my detached joviality I somehow impressed her, and just before leaving, I capitalized on my departure and set a date with her for the next weekend.

In the days to follow, we’d talk on the phone while I’d deperately fight a horrible head cold. I was torn between rescheduling and following through. The thought of missing an evening with such a beautiful creature haunted me, so I just jacked myself on Sudafed and picked her up.

We had coffee, and saw “Interview with a Vampire,” hand in hand. We may have sequestered ourselves in the corner of a party later, but the next prominent frames of memory arrived during the drop-off.

“So what happened with Colleen last night, B? She’s smokin’ hot,” Gil queries over our customary evening coffee.

“Uh, yeah, not much.” I know what’s coming.

“What? She looked into you.”

“Yeah, so I really started digging this girl, and I’ve got this wicked cold, right? So when I dropped her off, I just kind of bit her neck in a sort of sexy way, you know, long and slow, like a vampire, but I didn’t want to kiss her and saddle her with this cold. It’s awful. I think she wanted the kiss.”

“You what? You dumb fuck.”


“When a girl you dig wants to kiss you, you kiss her. She knew you had a cold and she still wanted to kiss you, so you fucking _do_ it. Fuck, that girl would’ve rocked your world, she would’ve been off your lips and on your crotch in no time flat.” Gil has a sort of vulgar elegance to his logic.

“Yeah. I know. I’m a dumb-ass nice-guy. Too nice.”

“Yeah, you gotta fix that.”

“I know.”

She never returned any of my subsequent calls. This is why nice guys never get the girl (or more accurately, overly nice guys) – they never step up, even when it’s patently obvious they should. Yeah, I missed out on who-knows-what with a wonderful and attractive girl, but I also learned a hell of a lesson at a relatively early age. No, I didn’t turn into an asshole (I don’t think) – but I definitely learned to read when I needed to put on my aggressive hat. Just ‘cause you’re nice doesn’t mean that you should be everyone’s mum; people make their own decisions. Sack up and take a swing, let others deal with the consequences if they’ve already decided that they want to so.

Damn, I was an idiot.

Sometimes I still am.

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