Mama Kat's Weekly Writing Prompt: I sometimes laugh when I’m uncomfortable…or being yelled…or in church…or at a funeral. Write about a time when you laughed at an inappropriate time.
I didn't date much in high school. (That "much" should read "ever" really.) I can't really explain why. I wasn't asked much and I didn't have the nerve to ask. I had body image issues and thought of myself as the "fat girl." I wasn't really, but we're all a little skewed in high school. I was also wicked busy. Which is more an excuse than a reason, but most of the time, when my friends were frantically trying to fit everything in and keep their boyfriends from feeling abandoned, I was content with having one less ball in the air.
There were times, though, when I desperately wanted a date. Not a boyfriend, necessarily, just a date. See, all my friends and their significant others were friends. Sometimes, a bunch of us doing something turned into group date and no one bothered to tell me. I'd think that a whole bunch of people were going somewhere to hang out, get there, and discover that I was the only one not partnered up.
That is a tricky situation. If you sit by yourself quietly and alone, you'll seem like a party pooper, the one girl not having fun at the party, so to speak. If you cozy up to one of the couples and proceed to ignore the fact that they are there together, you'll look like you're trying to get between them. This led to a lot of trauma in my life.
There is one guy, in particular, a guy who really couldn't stand me, but who only seemed to date my friends, who I would like to apologize to. I cried at his house once and it was bad. Traumatic for everyone involved, I think. What can I say, I was young, lonely and didn't have my car, so I couldn't just leave. I don't think he ever forgave me. It doesn't keep me up at night, but you know. Sorry.
But that's not what I want to tell you all about.
In 1994, I was 16. I was a morbid kid, working my way through the complete works of Stephen King, writing depressing poetry and trying desperately to be different from anyone/everyone around me. Later that year, a group of us would burn a Barbie doll for a student movie and I would hang her charred head from my rearview mirror, in what I perceived to be a scathing critique of fashion and pop culture. Also, in 1994, Interview with a Vampire hit the big screens. You can imagine that for a morbid kid like me, this was a big deal. I was dying to see the movie. So, when one of my friends mentioned that a big group of my friends were all going on opening weekend, I jumped at the chance.
If you were to find yourself on one of these group dates masquerading as a non-date outing, movies were the best. There was no talking and plenty to occupy yourself with while someone held hands/made googly eyes/made out next you.
I was neither shocked nor appalled when I realized that this particular trip included 4 couples... and me. Disappointed, sure a little. But, vampire movie makes things better. When I ended up a group movie date by myself, I always tried to sit alone. Not across the theater alone, but on the end of the group, maybe a row in front of them if it was a big group. The idea was to not be surrounded. Strategic.
When we walked in the theater, the previews were already going and I hate nothing on Earth more than missing the previews. Everyone was whispering frantically, trying to work out who sat where, and not wanting to miss anything, I didn't pay attention and slid into the row and plopped down. Moments later I realized that I was not only between two couples and in the row behind two couples, but my girlfriends (who were always more sympathetic to my plight) were not next to me, their boyfriends were.
Vampire movie. Vampire movie. VAMPIRE MOVIE, I chanted in my head. This is going to be fine. Vampire movie.
The movie started and Christian Slater (man, I loved him) appeared and all thought of group dates and my life doomed to loneliness were forgotten in a sea of vampiric goodness.
I loved it. It was a wild ride and little, unknown Kirsten Dunst? Seriously? That kid could act! It was all going swimmingly.
Until someone got sliced in half. I have never minded a little of the old ultraviolence in my movies and blood and gore don't phase me in the least. But, I ask for one of two things: either the violence/blood/gore should be so fake as to be campy, so ridiculous as to be funny or it should look real. Period. Lukewarm violence need not apply.
Interview mostly went with the realistic option, and it was mostly fabulous. But there, in the background of one shot, is a guy getting sliced in half. (Now, I should note that no one seems to remember this part, but me. I can't find it in any "mistake lists" from the movie. It may not exist. That's okay. This is how I remember it.) The guy gets sliced in half, with a sword (which is already suspect) then the top half of his body falls to the floor, the bottom half remains standing and spurts blood.
So, I am not a doctor, but a heart (if a vampire even had a working heart) would be in the top half of the body, no? So, spurting blood should be the realm of the top half of the body. The bottom half should sort of ooze blood. Plus, I doubt a pair of corpse legs would maintain balance for very long.
I burst out laughing. I laughed really loud. It was funny! What? I am NOT warped. Well, maybe a little. Anyway, this was a packed theater, a horror movie and a pretty intense scene. And I, well, I laughed so loud that Brad Pitt probably turned toward Kentucky and wondered what the heck was going on.
Both of the boyfriends sitting next to me shot me twin looks of horrified repulsion and tried, in vain, to scoot as far as possible away from me. The two couples in front of me turned in their seats and stared, open-mouthed at me. The large group of total strangers surrounding our little group tried very hard not to stare.
The bad news is that for one of those guys, I will forever be "the girl who laughed at the vampire movie." The good news is that after that, people tended to think twice before they dragged me off on a group date without mentioning that everyone else would be coupled up.
And the double good news is that it crushed a crush I had on one of my friend's boyfriends. I'm sorry, but if you don't find that funny, well, you're better off without me.