I wasn’t very popular with girls in junior high and my first two years of high school. Things began to improve when I turned 17 and 1/2, but from 13 to 16 my social life was mostly miserable. Largely because I was regarded as a weirdo. Funny looking, a frowner, “different.” But I was good with my guy friends. I could be funny when the mood struck.  I was irreverent, did imitations of teachers.

On a warm night there was a party thrown by one of the many tenth-grade girls who wanted nothing to do with me. I hadn’t been invited, of course, but around 9:30 pm a convertible full of beer-guzzling guys pulled up in front of my home with a screech. “Hey, Jeff!  Jeff!” They wanted to take me to the party, which had been underway for an hour or two. “Nope, wasn’t invited,” I said. “Thanks but naah, don’t think so.” But they all insisted so I climbed into the car. Fuck it.

Ten minutes later we all strolled into the big party through the rear kitchen door, and almost immediately the blond hostess said she wanted me to leave. Like I had the plague or something. The feeling that began to flood through my lungs and heart and stomach area was horrible. Inwardly I was trembling with humiliation, but outwardly I shrugged and left. 

I was thinking on the way home that I was like Trevor Howard‘s character in Carol Reed’s Outcast of the Islands.

It all worked out in the end, of course. I went on to live a really great life as a movie journalist, and the blonde who told me to leave the party lived an okay, so-so life when she was younger, had a couple of kids, etc. But then she divorced, developed a drinking problem, gained a lot of weight. Or so I heard.