Anatomy of a Reunion: Part 3 – The Swiss…Old Friends Become New


The first thing that strikes me is that all the girls who were considered hot in school…are still hot.And the ones who would have been categorized as cute, mousy, or merely potentially attractive as teenage girls, have flowered into beautiful women.And honestly, dear reader, I am not exaggerating knowing that this writing will probably be read by a number of them, if not all of them. It is an unpredictable factor in the evening.Neither bad nor good. Just…unpredicted.

What strikes me most about the guys are the number of bald heads.Its as if Telly Savalas was suddenly in vogue. I should have passed out lollipops and renamed the event the 2008 Kojak Reunion. But I can understand.Male pattern baldness runs in my family.My dad had it.My brother has it.I somehow managed to dodge that bullet.At least for now.If you are used to being Mr. SportsStar Soccer Player with flowing blond locks, your mullet bouncing on the back of your neck as you kick the winning goal – and that hair starts to disappear? Well.Your only choice is to take that bull by the balls and grab the nearest Gillette. Balding is not a choice.Bald is.And a mullet without a cap is a silly thing indeed.

I talk to anyone and everyone, including people who aren’t in our party, accusing them of not being in our group and demanding they introduce themselves.I choose to zero in on a group of ladies who I know know Rachel, and who have already seen her this weekend. I want Rachel to have a good time, and the quickest route to a good time is being comfortable.She wasn’t going to be comfortable roaming around with me as a tag-along while I talk with everyone she doesn’t remember.Social baby steps.

No sooner am I chatting up Rachel’s friends when I’m pulled backward into a circle of friends who have managed to take over a corner of the bar.A flurry of hugs and/or kisses by women I’ve known since Kindergarten or at least elementary school.Tricia grabs me first, questioning whether I remembered her or not.Of course I remember her.We had dated for about 33 seconds in 6th grade during a field trip to a museum. But I was an asshole, by 6th grade standards. I was overcompensating because I felt a conspiracy fomented by co-conspirator Chrissy Carlson.  Hey, I was 12 and knew nothing of social dynamics and how girls’ minds worked – Hell, I’m 38 and still in the dark.  Anyway, we both knew that the timing was all wrong.So after the 33rd second, it was done. I seriously don’t think those few moments in time held any substance for her, so I play coy, choosing not to bring up the past prepubescent pain.Looking at her smiling up me now, I had a faint itch in the back of my mind telling me that I could have made a mistake. Because, 6th grade romances always end up with happy, life-long relationships.

Tricia brings over a luscious blond vixen, more diminutive than Tricia, but who makes up for it in enthusiasm.She looks at me with piercing eyes and a broad smile and says “I don’t remember you, but you look really familiar!”…I retort “I don’t remember you either, but I certainly would like to.” Tricia refreshes my memory with a mere mention of Jill’s name.I’ve only attended school with Jill since Kindergarten.Back then she had fiery-red hair, which was consistent through school. She grew into a Goth-ish phase (along with Tricia), which by universal Goth-law means you have to be different and non-conformist.Now she was blonde, dolled-up and a hair-stylist in Redondo Beach. I could not have picked her out of a police line-up if she had raped me the night before.That’s just how different she looked between the Jill in my mind, and the Jill currently hanging around my shoulders.I honestly have no problem with beautiful women hanging on me, especially when they are single and live 20 minutes away from my Venice abode.

Lisette approaches next and gives a cordial hug…a “good-to-see-you” hug.But, Lisette has never been enthusiastic about her casual affection.She is very calm, reserved, cool, and collected.It would have complimented her well if she had become a runway model – which there is no doubt she could have been.Models always have that cool exterior…which generally hides that they are crazier than a shit-house mouse.However, I don’t think this is the case with Lisette.  I believe she went through nursing school.  Sometimes being a patient has upsides.

I turn to speak with Chris P., my nomination for most changed (outside of Jill who I didn’t even recognize).Chris is, and was, soft-spoken with a slightly “off” sense of humor that I can appreciate.He was always best friends with the girls, which would occasionally spark sexual orientation conversations from those who were, for some reason, concerned about such things.His penchant for Mister Roger’s scheming puppet and Merry-Go-Round inhabitant Lady Elaine Fairchilde didn’t help the argument.I can’t speak one way or the other, nor do I care.  I’m metrosexual enough to have had the same questions aimed at my back. Chris was small in general.He filled out in numerous directions, which includes a moustache which accounts for half of his bodyweight.I had seen a photo beforehand on Facebook, and thought that one of the Village People might be looking for their ‘stache.But, he’s a cop in Brooklyn.I think the ‘stache is a prerequisite for even being considered.Without it, he wouldn’t be taken seriously as he smashes some punk’s face into the concrete while cuffing his wrist to his ankle.Frankly, I don’t know if Chris does that kind of thing, but I have my perception of the world, and you can have yours.

Melissa, aka Missy, circles the group like a Broadway stage mom, gathering everyone she can into photo-op moments, capturing the best of drunken confusion.  Nothing like mixing some alcohol into the system to lubricate that memory to optimum response.  I include “Missy” as Melissa’s name because its ingrained in me…mainly by Mom who keeps alive the names we had when we were eight. “Is Missy going to be there?”  I would look up from what I was doing, “Missy… you mean Melissa?  Yeah, I’m pretty sure she’s making it.” “What about Petey, Stevey, and Davey?” … oh dear Lord, I love my Mom.

I see Steve B., another classmate from Kindy on up, a roommate in college, and now a dentist, or orthodontist — he’s a teeth guy.  I point at him accusatorily.  I don’t know what I’m accusing him of.  I think its more equivalent to a short nod of the head, which in guy-speak is “I see you. I see you see me.  And if we get around to it, we’ll shake hands gruffly.”  Anything more enthusiastic would be deemed un-manly.  He quickly makes his way over and we share a huge hug.  Manliness be damned.  Steve is the type of guy whose energy is contagious, and when he combines that energy with his laugh, you’re hooked into him like a sturgeon on a Wisconsin fisherman’s line.  You’re drawn in whether you like it or not.

Each turn reveals new friends, and the evening becomes more and more enjoyable.

Honestly, my patient readers, I won’t go through the meetings of every single person that was there.By our count the following day, 83 people had shown up, which is about a third of the class. Not a bad turnout – however, is doesn’t always make for interesting reading.  So if you don’t happen to be mentioned, don’t take offense…or even more so, be thankful that you aren’t a target.

And with that said … on with the story.

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