I'm in the tenth grade. The teacher's calling out our seat assignments. Oh wow, I'm sitting behind Lori Root. For years I'd been hanging out with my friend Sean playing disco records and talking about how cool she was. But I was a grade behind and I'd never had the courage to talk to her. I act nonchalant, stroll down the aisle, drop my books on the desk, sit down.
Lori turns around. "Hey, your sister's Kim right?"
I was uncool. I wore the wrong clothes, hung out with the wrong people, carried the wrong book binder. But Lori didn't give a damn. She talked to me the entire year. God built her to be a rare combination of hot but not stuck up about it. This made her sexy.
One day Robert Pilson ran up to me in the hall.
"I'm giving Lori a ride home," he said. "Want to come along? We can double team her."
We ended up making a pit stop at McDonalds. Robert gave me a wink, went inside to buy cheeseburgers. I was left next to Lori, pushed together in the front seat because Robert's car didn't have a backseat. In the close quarters, I struggled not to touch Lori in any inappropriate places. She didn't seem to have the same concerns. She swung her leg over mine and began rolling a joint.
"You smoke?" she asked.
I cleared my throat. "Well, actually, I'm trying to quit."
"Yeah, that's probably best. Do you mind?"
"No. Go ahead."
We listened to music on the radio and talked about English class. I got a second-hand buzz.
Ten minutes Robert got back into the car. He handed out food and raised his eyebrows towards me. I shrugged and away.
After we dropped Lori off, Robert turned to me. "You're a ripe pussy you know that? You're a fucking dick. We could have hit that up together. The two of us. Like bandits. I'd hold her hair like this and you'd be banging her from the other side like that. That would have made my high school. You're a crappy friend."
I looked out the window at Lori's house. "I know. I'm sorry."
I saw Lori years later. She was working as a cocktail waitress. She had gained weight and was coming out of rehab. She waved and smiled at an old high school acquaintance and me from across the room.
"She looks like shit," the acquaintance said.
"She's still sexy."
"Take a closer look. She looks like a truck ran over her bloated body. Look how the mighty have fallen. You know she was stoned twenty four seven in high school. She didn't even know what was going on. She would pretty much screw anybody. She fucked Jamie Aldrege I heard."
"Really? Jamie Aldrege?" I watched her move around the bar, dropping off drinks and smiling at people.
Well Maybe she did fuck Jamie Aldrege. Maybe she was a drug head. Maybe her life had become a rowboat lost in the sea. But she was inclusive and nice when she didn't have to be. She would always be sexy for that.
Advice based on this principle:
- Talk to the singles of the world. Too often we think about the group we want to be part of and forget we can build or own group one single person at a time.
- Be nice to the 'little' people. Clerks, service people, the people you aren't attracted to, are important and more powerful than you might realize.
- Don't be too quick to focus on the one person you want to connect with. Respect the groups you deal with. Show them you want them to become more cohesive. There will always be time to connect with an individual if you get the group on your side.
Don't be yourself. Be someone a little nicer. ~ Mignon McLaughlin