October 1976. Saint Louis Park, Minnesota.

I’m sixteen and I’ve begun growing a beard in an effort to look older. I’m shooting for twenty-one, but I’d settle for eighteen —the legal drinking age in Minnesota. My beard is still thin in places and since I have a date tonight with Lisa A., an especially attractive cheerleader from my high school, I decide to darken it with mascara from my mother’s makeup case.

I’m taking her to Webster’s West for crab legs and alcohol, and although I have an excellent fake ID, I’m of the opinion that sporting a full beard will all but guarantee our entry. Without so much as a second glance from the doorman, Lisa and I are admitted inside and we dine at a leisurely pace.

Back at my parent’s house we retire to the den, which boasts deep yellow shag carpeting and a yellow plastic couch behind which our dog Pappo, a Hungarian Puli often urinates. I lay on the couch with Lisa and begin to kiss her on the mouth and soon, after flipping over the mood-enhancing, That’s The Way Of The World to side two, on the secret parts of her body.

It’s late and now it’s time for me to take Lisa home. As we put on our winter coats at the front door I see her face. It’s completely smudged with mascara. She looks like a blonde, female version of Al Jolson in the Jazz Singer.

I immediately turn off the lights so she won’t see her reflection in the big mirror by the front door. I can only imagine what she’ll see when she takes off her clothes and gets ready for bed.

I kiss her goodbye and then…

I never speak to her again.



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