It's a tricky thing, defining your very first date. Was it the first time someone kissed me on the lips (grade 3 at summer camp), or when someone actually used the word 'date' when asking me to go for coffee (not until I was 26)? I've shared my definition of dating in a prior blog post, so I'm going to put it to the test here and share my first date story. In turn, I'd love to hear yours as well, and how you decided it was your very first date.
My first date took place when I was in Grade 8 and sleeping away from home for the weekend at school conference. The boys and girls were separated into dorms at the local University, and after the main events took place most of the attendees retired to one of the dorm's chill rooms to watch TV, sing, talk or generally act silly. I distinctly remember Midnight Oil's 'Beds are Burning' playing behind me when a boy by the name of Jakob walked over and told me I had cute knees. It took me a while to realize he was making a play on my last name (Albo), so he pointed to my elbow and asked, "Are they bony too?" This time, the play on my first name (Bonny) got me laughing.
Jakob then asked me if I wanted to come with him and a few other folks who were heading down to the beach for a bonfire. I jumped up, took the hand he'd extended toward me, and ran out the door with him to join his friends from a local school. I saw one of my classmates on the way down to the beach, and she decided to join us as well.
I didn't know how far the beach was, or how treacherous the walk would be, and if I'd known I probably wouldn't have agreed to the trek. It was dark, and under the cover of thick, old, massive trees, it was cold and difficult to see much of anything. I fell a few times on the tree branch stairs before Jakob found me, grabbed my hand, and escorted me the 30 or so minutes down the trail.
A few people sang as we walked, and others chatted quietly. Jakob and I said nothing, but he stroked my hand gently as we moved. After a while we fell into a rhythmic pattern with our breathing and footsteps in synch. Occasionally the moon would poke out from behind the upper tree branches, and Jakob would squeeze my hand and pull me faster toward the bonfire. Once, when I tripped and almost fell over what seemed like a high ledge, Jakob pulled me to my feet swiftly and then kissed me on the lips. I wasn't expecting it, and I blushed immediately. By that point, I wasn't tripping anymore because I couldn't see, but because I was giddy and shaking with excitement.
When we go to the bottom, a gorgeously long sandy beach awaited us with about 20 other kids already dancing and sitting around the fire. I moved away from the group and sat on a piece of driftwood. There were faint lights along the water, perhaps from boats moored out in the ocean but mostly likely from an island that I couldn't see. I sat by myself for a while, comfortable to enjoy the evening air solo. Jakob joined me a few minutes later with two female friends and introduced us all. I don't remember their names, but the two girls and I were pen pals for several years after that first meeting on the beach, and I still have some of their handwritten letters socked away today.
Somehow the conversation moved to gender and sexuality, and Jakob mentioned that he was gay. He held my hand as he said it, and looked deeply into my eyes like only the naive and young seem apt to do. The air seemed thick with romanticism. Many years later I learned about pansexuality and immediately thought of Jakob, but at the time it had no bearing. He was beautiful to me with his long, thick blond hair, clear blue eyes and steady hand holding mine. I didn't care what gender he was attracted to. I just knew I was attracted to him.
The group of us talked for hours it seemed, while occasionally I'd see someone head back up the trail out of the corner of my eye. Within a few hours most people had left, including one of the girls sitting with us. We moved closer to the fire to keep warm, but not before Jakob turned to me and announced he had a poem he wanted to share. I don't remember the exact words, but I remember something about love and the ocean while feeling sad and melancholy after hearing it.
When the sun came up we sat quietly and watched it, and then told each other we'd all stay in touch after this night no matter what. Jakob and I didn't kiss again, but he did hold my hand the whole way up to the residence, and then spent most of his weekend with me when we weren't at the conference.
The four of us (Jakob, the two girls and myself) wrote letters to each other every week for several years. Slowly however Jakob's letters dwindled, until I stopped receiving them late in Grade 10. One of the girls sent me a note about six months later to tell me Jakob had tried to hurt himself. That was the last I heard from any of them.
A sad ending perhaps, but still a date that I'll cherish forever. Would Jakob have called it a date? I'm not sure really, but even if he didn't, it was still one of the most romantic nights of my life.
So readers, how about you? Tell us about your first date, what made it special, silly, fun, or not-to-be-repeated? Did you have to think about what you considered as your first date, or was it an easy choice?
Many About.com Guides are talking about their first time doing something related to their topic of expertise. Interested in hearing more? Check out all the My First Time entries care of our inaugural host, About.com's Guide to Beer, Bryce Eddings.