Ruthie was thirteen and an army brat, always moving with her family to a new school. This time it was to Fort Worth, Texas, after four years abroad in Morocco.
She got a job working at a Snow Cone stand for 50 cents an hour, but the shifts were twelve hours long. She chewed on all the ice she wanted.
Julio was in her class in junior high school that spring. He asked her to meet him at the movies on the day after school was dismissed for the year. They agreed to see Cat Ballou with Jane Fonda and Lee Marvin. Ruthie was prepared to pay her own way, 75 cents, worth one and a half hours of work.
She wore her pale green tartan plaid dress with a V neck and pleats in the front. It was sleeveless and had a row of buttons on the bodice. Her first date! She was so excited. Julio was a good-looking boy.
Her dad drove her to the theater in the family sedan and dropped her off with an agreed-upon pick-up time.
Ruthie met Julio and they went inside. He grabbed her hand as he led her to their seats. His touch was electric on her skin, according to her new teenaged hormones.
Then they settled in for the movie. He put his arm around her, and she was thrilled. He really did like her.
The lights dimmed, and that’s when everything changed. He snuggled closer, and his hand started to move, first across her shoulder, then down the front of her dress until it found her tiny little breast nestled in her training bra. He put his hand on it, and suddenly Ruthie lost track of what was happening on the big screen.
Although a shy girl, Ruthie was strong enough to think No way, Jose, or Julio, or whatever. She excused herself to the restroom and never went back inside the theater.
She sat on the curb, wrapping the pleats of her dress around her knees while she waited and waited for her dad to come pick her up.
The expression Men are from Mars, and Women are from Venus holds true in this sad memory of what a girl wanted in a first date — romance, kissing, hand holding, sweet nothings in her ear.
Not a sweaty hand inside her bra under a beautiful new dress.
Ruth and Julio never spoke again. What was the point? Had she been a mark because of her shyness? When the movie let out, the boys came out, laughing at Julio. She sat there and didn’t say a word.
Or was Julio just a big dumb boob of a boy? We’ll never know, but either way, it was a rotten first date for Ruthie.