My sophomore year of high school, my English class was assigned one of those gay-ass group projects. I couldn't tell you what the project was for, but I am positive it was gay-ass. Kind of like Full House except even more gay-ass. Kind of like your cat, but even MORE gay-ass.
My best friend AB and I usually worked on these gay-ass projects together. We were and still are very gay-ass for each other. Now, in this class, there was a girl who was...different. It wasn't that she was weird or freaky, exactly. She was one of those girls who had grown up with a group of friends, but when they hit high school those friends all became popular and pretty much left her behind. She was pear-shaped, dumpy, had frizzy hair, and was smart, but was the kind of person who believed that her intelligence WAS her IDENTITY and whose self-esteem was reliant upon the fact that everyone knew how smart she was. My self-esteem rested on how skinny everybody thought I was, so, on a weird level, I could relate. One of my great failings as an asshole is that I am immediately attracted to the underdog.
I couldn't tell you how it came about that AB and I asked her to join our group to work on that gay-ass project. All I know is that subsequent to working on the project, we all started to hang out together--Mostly at each other's houses. We would sit around and do the thing that I now hate more than anything--we would talk ad nausium about our insecurities.
So this sort of weird trifecta formed. AB and I already seemed like unlikely friends to those who didn't know us, and the addition of this girl, we'll call her "Balloon," was just kind of bizarre. But i felt safe with these girls--I trusted them...and I didn't trust anybody. Except for Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
We remained friends through our senior year of high school. We all ended up going to different universities, but AB and I both kept in touch with Balloon, and we were invited out to Chicago where she was in school to visit her our junior year of college.
Now, I was a bit of a late bloomer. As you know, I didn't even go on my first date until I was 17, and that was when I received my first real "kiss/mauling." AB had to explain to me what a blow-job was when I was 16. And then had to draw me a diagram. And THEN had to draw me a diagram of the male body. And THEN had to draw me a diagram of the female body. And then had to blow her boyfriend in front of me so I would finally understand what she was talking about. (That actually didn't happen...but, really, it might have helped. Thanks A LOT AB. I blame you for my weak fellatio).
As such, once I got to college, I "discovered" boys. And they "discovered" me. I learned how to flirt (badly), I learned how to drink (successfully...after a few mis-fires), and I learned how to tease (my 1 truest talent). To be clear, I was a virgin until I was 21.
I tell you this because by the time I reached my Junior year of college, I was a seasoned flirt, drinker, and tease. Going out was a bloodsport to me.
The three of us reconvened in Chicago. Immediately I felt a sort of tension between myself and Balloon. AB and I had sort of developed in the same manner after we got to college. We both drank our faces off, smoked cigarettes, dated people who were wrong for us where as Balloon had stayed pretty much the same.
Our last night there, we went out to a club in downtown Chicago. We went with a group of Balloon's friends, some of whom happened to be boys. We were drinking a lot, but I wasn't shitfaced by any means. By the time we got to the club, it was pretty clear that AB had the monopoly on the boys we were with. This was fine with me. I went off to try to find other boys to flirt with. I guess I did. That part's pretty blurry. What I remember happening next was the series of events that ruined my relationship with Balloon forever and that spawned a piece of literature (cough) that I found on a greeting card in my suitcase when I returned to New Orleans:
a) I decided that the best way to fix any awkwardness was to bond via the drink. The profound drink that I chose for myself, AB, and Balloon was the ever poignant Buttery Nipple shot.
b) I noticed that the bartender was obscenely hot. Tattoos, piercings, spiky hair. A Cookieface special.
c) I noticed that he had forgotten to put the cherry in our buttery nipples.
d) I hastily handed the shots to Balloon, and then used the lack of nipple to flirt shamelessly with the hot bartender.
f) When I finally turned around to take the shot that I had bought for the three of us, I watched as Balloon gave my shot away to one of her friends.
It's so stupid, but I was upset. Because I was drunk. And because I was drunk, I said so.
Which unleashed in Balloon a flood of animosity toward me that she had apparently been holding onto since the day she and I met.
Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion, and the letter that ended it all....