Everything is worse in high school: your hair, your taste in music, your grasp of how bad you have it, your ability to have a meaningful conversation with a girl that does not revolve around how awesome Nine Inch Nails are. But especially worse is your ability to maintain a relationship of any kind, which is why most high school romances end in whatever is the emotional equivalent of watching a bus full of orphan blind baby koalas go over a cliff in a bus on fire. Let’s go back to school now with, uh, me:
“I’m A Cold Heartbreaker Fit To Burn And I’ll Rip Your Heart In Two”
By Jeff Vrabel
In spite of an unfortunate decision by my parents to hold off on getting me braces until late in high school, and a general disposition that led to a running joke involving my similarity to Paul Pfeiffer on The Wonder Years, I actually had a girlfriend for the better part of my senior year, though I had absolutely no idea what was going on most of the time, and was, as I recall, so deliriously happy that someone was paying attention to me that I implicitly, and gleefully, consented to dating a girl who was pretty regularly flirting heavily with several dozen other dudes at any given time of day, especially Gabe, the new trenchcoat-wearing long-haired tortured poet-type who could draw really well, was a good listener and liked the Smiths. Fucker.
Anywho, my flimsy high school relationship rolled along as well as such things do, I suppose, right up until Prom Night, which was largely a disaster, though not one of my girlfriend’s making. First, my Dad showed up at the dance, being a school administrator of some kind, and damaged our father-son relationship for life by actually walking over and talking to me; were it not for the gaze I was giving him, which indicated I was trying to use the Force to make his his head blow up, he would have probably asked for a picture, which would have made me strangle him with my cummerbund. Secondly, during dinner in Chicago, the male portion of the other couple we’d rented the limo with with accidentally punched me in the mouth. I can’t remember the context here, but I do know this: It is extremely impossible to look suave in a downtown restaurant whilst bleeding profusely from the lower lip.
In my head, these are the primary two reasons my girlfriend unceremoniously ditched me two days later – that’s right, Romeos, two days AFTER the prom, the Last Dance if you will, which was evidently preferable to doing it long before prom, right before prom, during prom, during dinner after the prom when I was bleeding, the next day at Great America or any other time ever. But the cherry on top of the story was that she did so to begin dating my friend Tony, a tremendous guy but something of a large, hirsute full-time smoker who, to my knowledge, had never held a conversation with any female for more than 12 seconds that wasn’t about weed. (Also, my grandfather died about a week later. That detail is tangential, but certainly added to the irrationally potent self-pity I was able to muster up at the time).
Needless to say, the whole episode left quite a mark on me, and soon after I began pursuing a girl who was even more nuts and paid me less attention. The kicker is that I can’t remember if we actually had a breakup song or not — or any song, for that matter – but if I know myself in high school, it would have been something off of one of the Use Your Illusion records, which I had memorized frontwards and backwards. Which, come to think of it,was probably the reason we began dating in the first place.
Guns ‘N’ Roses, “You Could Be Mine” (download)