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@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
It Wasn’t Me
Honey came in and she caught me red-handed
Creeping with the girl next door
Picture this, we were both butt-naked
Banging on the bathroom floor
I had tried to keep her
From what she was about to see
Why should she believe me
When I told her it wasn’t me
— ‘It Wasn’t Me’ by Shaggy
When I was in middle school, we used to have school dances. I very much liked these school dances, as this was a time where I could get my groove on without booze. Now, I only like dancing when I’m very drunk and also it’s nighttime because God can see you in daylight but it’s a well known fact that once the moon is out, God turns a blind eye to our sins (pretty sure this is fact).
My friends and I had a blast at these dances. I think this may come to a surprise to some people who know me today, thinking I’d be “too cool for school” when it comes to such events. But truth is, I’ve never been too cool for anything. While school dances often were a clique centered thing where the cool kids expected adulation, we were definitely not the “it crowd” and we wholly didn’t give a shit about it. My group of misfits (who are all still friends to this day, some remain my best and truest friends) were just about hanging out with each other.
Sometimes there were “themed” dances, like a Valentine’s Day dance. During school hours one February (and this seems a little odd to me now), in our homeroom classes we were all given these “matchmaking quizzes.” It was a couple pages of questions and based on your answers, you’d get a follow up ‘report’ on who you were the most compatible with in the school. Yes, kids had boyfriends/girlfriends in middle school, but for the most part, I don’t think the majority of these kids were sexually active. Middle school relationships are basically your parents drop you off at the movies, you hold hands, maybe some god awful sloppy kisses and the most “advanced” kids I heard of felt a girl up.
I’d be very late to any sexual encounter. My first kiss was in high school with my friend, Brendan (whom I’m still friends with today). We made out behind shrubbery at our best friend Jimmy’s house during a party when his parents were out (Jimmy is still my best friend as well). And I wouldn’t have sex till I was 20. Today, it’s great to look younger, of course. And people almost never guess my age. But back then I hated how young I looked. Any boy I had a crush on didn’t look at me that way. Back then, I was perpetually in the friend zone.
Anyway, I was hoping my ‘Valentine’s Day’ quiz would match we with some of my close friends, as this would make sense to me because I was a tomboy and spent my free time playing sports with them. Or, even better, I was hoping I’d be most compatible with whatever blue eyed boy I may have had a crush on.
I wasn’t. I wasn’t ‘matched’ with anyone I was friends with or wanted to be friends with. Furthermore, I didn’t even know the kids I was most compatible with. I don’t even remember the name of the kid who was my top match anymore, but at the Valentine’s Day dance, he dedicated a song to me. That song was “It Wasn’t Me” by Shaggy.
Now, Shaggy was very popular in these days and always played at school dances. I knew the song, so I already knew it was a really odd dedication choice (in retrospect, the fact that the DJ played it from one middle schooler to another is kind of disturbing). Because that song is just about infidelity. It’s not a love song. It’s about cheating on a girlfriend and lying to her about it. I guess if he was trying to appeal to my already sick sense of humor, I could give him some props. I did laugh at it, but avoided him the whole night, trying to stay in the middle my circle of friends, dancing.
When my mom picked me up along with some of my friends, I told her about the dedication. She was also highly confused. “Has he never listened to the lyrics of the song?” We may never know.
Flash forward many years later to an adult Lori, who, thankfully, looks like an adult. For sure, I’ve had my fair share of suitors. However, despite the fact that studies show the best relationships usually start as friendships, the times I’ve asked out friends I’ve been met with hard rejections. This has happened to me a half a dozen times. Sure, I’m no stranger to rejection. I’m a comedian and writer, I’ve literally been rejected from at least a dozen dream jobs/tv opportunities. Even though at some point your self worth gets damaged and you basically suspect you’re not good enough and you’ll never get that break, it stings like a jelly fish and irritates you for days to weeks until it’s healed.
I’m both aware that I can be a pain in the ass but I’m also a solid catch. Sure, I have some mental issues, but I’m fucking funny, intelligent, and goddamnit I’m pretty cute too. That’s what sucks so bad when a friend rejects you— because they already like you and have some bond with you on a personal level. And you’re like, “wait, last I checked I’m attractive so what is it about my personality that’s the turn off?”
This is not to say I don’t understand. I too have had friends ask me out, and that’s just not how I feel about them. Fucking hearts, man. And I know love is this weird thing that sometimes defies logic and can make you higher than tall boy and a blunt combined. Love only sometimes makes sense. Additionally, I’ve also not wanted to compromise friendships with sex for sometimes very simple reasons and sometimes complicated reasons. So I get it. I do. But it still doesn’t make you not feel a little burned.
The hardest breakups I’ve had are the ones where you actually do love the person, but you’ve only one foot in the relationship and the other person is in deep. That while you enjoy the present and the relationship itself, you lack the projection of longevity. As for me, I pretty much suck at looking far into the future in basically all aspects of my life. And then comes the anxiety that you’re going to break the heart of someone you care about.
It’s a shitty feeling. It just is.
Even though relationships end all the time, I don’t necessarily see finite romance as failure. That you can dance the dance with someone and have a ball but when the clock strikes midnight, it’s just not meant to be. And I think that when you’re in any sort of relationship where feelings are involved you give a little piece of yourself to them. And if you love them, even if you’re not in love with them, you’re happy that they can take a little piece of you. So, I think it’s important to choose your lovers carefully, not because it might not last, but because you only want to give pieces of yourself to people who deserve it. People you laughed with and made good memories. And then at the twilight of it all, despite the heartache that comes with it, whatever piece of yourself you gave to them, you don’t want back. It’s theirs and that’s more than okay.
You keep it. You keep it.