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The first guy I broke up with I never dated. In fact, I broke up with a guy 2 years before I even HAD a boyfriend.
When I was 16 years old, I was a regular at the Rocky Horror Picture Show in Wethersfield CT. Of course, I liked the theatrical part of it, the interaction, the glitter and the costumes. But what I really liked was feeling like I belonged because the other regulars were misfits like myself-people who didn't feel accepted. At 16, the Rocky Horror Picture Show crew was like something in a Fellini film-and I fit right in.
That isn't true.
I didn't fit in. I was queen. I wasn't just accepted-I was noticed and admired, even fawned over. At the time, I found my extreme popularity inexplicable since these were OLDER people-these were people in their 20s-independent and fully adult, while I was just barely able to drive. They were supposed to be the cool ones and I was supposed to be laboring for their approval, or so I thought.
Now, I can understand why. Most of the regulars were in their mid-twenties working, if at all, in marginal jobs barely able to eke out rent.Many of them feared the rejection of others, having been rejected not just by their peers, quite often by their own family. Thus they forged a deep bond with each other and a serious commitment to what most would consider a ridiculous and frivilous "hobby." They were passionate about developing new jokes or responses or sewing costumes and rehearsing. It was their solace-as writing is mine. The place were they felt not only comfortable, but powerful.
As far as they could tell, I led a charmed life. My parents were well off and hadn't disowned me. I went to a reputable private school. I was young, attractive, and smart. As far they could tell, there was absolutely no reason why I would fear rejection or failure. And my presence, that I had chosen to hang out with them, indicated to them the hope that perhaps not everyone outside of their little set was a complete and total asshat.
And I was hot.
I loved the attention to be fair. The boys in high school had crushes on me, but never asked me out. They would confess to me later, when we had become friends that they wanted to say something but were intimidated. "But I'm a 4 ft 6 disabled Jewish woman! How much less intimidating do you need me to be?" Of course, it was this kind of "ACT LIKE YOU GOTTA PAIR" attitude that intimidated them-and then they would chase girls who were less challenging. But the guys at RHPS weren't intimidated.
Of particular interest was Bill-the blonde blue eyed 25 year old who played Rocky. He was my type to the T-right down to the history of emotional problems, specifically anger management issues. Bill had been arrested for bar fights and had the word TEMPER tattooed on his arm.He was dangerous and forbidden. He also worked as a gravedigger-a job he was embarassed to disclose to me. Since I was popular as friend, but never had a boyfriend in school I LOVED finally having power over a man. Instead of feeling rejected or at the mercy of some boy, I was the one who was in control. I flirted with him, and after a while he asked for my phone number. We talked on the phone and talked at the theater, but Bill never so much as kissed me. Not even with a closed mouth. He never asked me out for a cup of coffee or even walked me to my car. So imagine my surprise when he introduced me to a friend as his girlfriend.
I said nothing as the following week I was going to work at a summer camp. It was an overnight camp so I wouldn't have access to a phone with any regularity. I gave him my snail mail address and hoped the problem would resolve itself before camp ended.
I received a rambling 5 page letter from him the second week of camp. Not only did the letter clearly indicate that he did want the relationship to become more physical (I remember the line to this day "I've been practicing my sensual massage technique so it will be perfect for you when you return") but also the depth of his apparently psychotic delusions about our emotional connection. He was planning a huge return party for me when I would meet his parents and he threatened that he had a big and life changing surprise waiting for me when I came home. Luckily, one of my closest childhood friends was also at camp, so we sat on my bed and discussed strategies.
I decided the best course of action was to invent a camp boyfriend. It was a perfect solution. The boyfriend could be from anywhere-Florida, Maine, California even Germany-so his absence after camp would be completely explicable. Being young, having a long distance boyfriend would be believable. All I needed was some letters, which my friend could easily write, to prove his existence.
I wrote back that I was sorry to tell him that I had met someone at camp-a boy who was disabled like myself and understood me in a way he never could. He sent a letter saying how sorry he was because he had dreams for us-living together and getting married. (Most people go on at least one date before marrying, but hey I just agreed to leaving the planet with a perfect stranger last night so hey, I guess not so crazy.) He also said he understood. Shortly after I returned, the Wethersfield theater announced they were closing down the RHPS. The last night I saw Bill, he was sad and withdrawn. He barely spoke to anyone as the rest of us hugged each other promising to keep in touch.