of chainsaw massacres & basement dates

The story which you are about to hear is an account of the tragedy which befell one awkward, horny dork. It is all the more tragic that she was young. But, even as an adult, she could not have expected nor would she have wished to see as much of the mad and macabre as she was to see that night. For her an idyllic school year hang session became a nightmare. The events of that night were to lead to the discovery of one of the most bizarre disappointments in American heavy petting history: The Time I Watched The Texas Chainsaw Massacre with a Boy, and He Didn’t Even Ask to Touch My Boobs.

It was a dark and stormy Friday after school when Arielle uttered the words that pierced through my heart like the machete of a murderous lunatic.

“We’re going to watch a scary movie tonight.”

This wasn’t the first time that my friendship with Arielle had forced me to stretch outside of my scaredy cat comfort zone. At her sister’s birthday party one year, we watched Anaconda, and while I kept my eyes covered with my hands the entire time, I did stay in the room. I also stayed in the room when we watched Burkittsville 7, a fake documentary about the supposed true story of the Blair Witch. We walked from her house to my house that night armed with a pair of craft scissors and a fly swatter, just in case.

But in all my sixteen years, I’d still never seen, with my eyes open, an honest to goodness, capital-S scary movie. Sometimes my mom would describe the plots of scary movies to me and my younger brother. This habit is how I learned that my mother is, in fact, an evil genius, as she made the decision to tell us all about Friday the 13th while we were out on a lake in paddle boats.

“What are we watching?” I asked Arielle, trying to stay cool.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre!”

My blood ran cold. I still couldn’t keep my eyes open for the Jekyll & Hyde scene of The Pagemaster! Hell, I left the room every time Woody knocks Buzz out of the window in Toy Story! How was my little cinematic weenie self supposed to make it through Tobe Hooper’s iconic 70’s masterpiece?

Well, to one of those points, I would soon find out that we weren’t even watching the original. No, no. What had been plucked out of an unsuspecting Blockbuster was the 2003 remake with Jessica Biel. I wasn’t even going to pop my horror movie cherry to a classic.

Speaking of cherries: there was one possible silver lining to this night of impending doom. We weren’t going to be watching the movie alone. Oh, no. We were going to watch it with our boyfriends. Now, I didn’t know much about scary movies and I didn’t know much about making out, but I did know that the two often accompanied one another, especially when practiced by dumb high school kids. I wasn’t going to have to watch the movie at all! We’d make it through the opening credits to be respectful, and then, seduced by dim lighting and parental absence, we’d… You know.

Okay, I wasn’t totally sure what we were going to do. I started to panic. What were we supposed to do instead of watching the movie? I’d had one boyfriend before, and, sure, we’d gotten pretty handsy at the tennis court in his neighborhood that one time, but I wasn’t sure if that qualified me as any kind of expert. We’d aggressively smashed tongues during Pirates of the Caribbean, but, then, a pirate movie carries none of the sexy pressure of a horror movie.

At this point, I feel that it’s necessary to hop out of the narrative for a minute, and paint you a picture of my junior year boyfriend: Let’s call him Brad. Brad met me for a date at the mall one time dressed in the following: blue jeans, a black sleeveless Under Armor top, a leather jacket, sunglasses, and a surfboard-shaped necklace with a Yin Yang on it. He once interviewed for a job at Teavana, and when he didn’t get it, he told everyone that the manager was too intimidated by his tea know-how. He once took me to his gym on a date. I thought he was going to teach me racquetball, but instead we ended up doing drills that he’d learned on the wrestling team which I know sounds sexy, but no. Not those kind of drills.

And, like, I know. But we were in drama class together, and he was one of the only boys in our grade taller than me. I was smitten.

I don’t remember the name of Arielle’s boyfriend, so let’s just call him Jeff. Jeff and Brad. Sounds about right. 

We were going to be watching the movie at Jeff’s house, and the whole situation felt terribly grown up to me. Arielle was going to drive us there, and then we were going to watch the movie all together IN THE BASEMENT. All alone watching the 2003 remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

I was sure that this was to be the most erotic night of my life.

But which would be scarier? The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, or getting to second base? Third base? Both terrified me. But, if I’m being honest… also a little excited? I’d been reading rated-M Harry Potter fanfiction for about a year at that point, so I wasn’t completely naive. I could picture it. The first spooky moment in the movie would happen, and he’d put his arm around me, all macho and protective. I’d turn my face into his chest to “hide,” getting a strong whiff of Axe Body Spray in return. Our hearts would thump together out of fear as well as the sheer thrill of being so close. I’d tilt my face up to be close to his. I’d be able to smell the Dr. Pepper on his breath. And then… then…

TEN POINTS TO HUFFLEPUFF!

Tragically, neither present me nor past me has a satisfying conclusion to this particular story. The boys found out that I’d never seen a horror movie before, and then decided that watching my terrified reactions and grabbing me by the shoulders when something scary happened on screen was going to be far more entertaining than making out.  We made it all the way through the 2003 remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre without a single tongue unfurled! You know what’s a terrible movie, by the way? THE 2003 REMAKE OF THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. As Arielle and I drove back home late that night through the back roads of Dacula, I wasn’t even spooked. Just disappointed and a little hurt. How was my admittedly nerdy yet still warm and human self not more alluring than Jessica Biel being menaced by power tools?

For the record, this wouldn’t be the last time that my tongue got stood up during an unchaperoned basement movie. A very similar thing would happen to me after prom during Shrek 2.

Don’t feel too bad for me, though. I did eventually see the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Twas the following summer at the Governors’ Honors Program. Nobody Frenched me then, either, but we also watched the movie during class, so I didn’t take it quite so personally.

Guys, I usually like to wrap a story with some manner of thoughtfulness or self-reflection, but honestly, I’m still kind of mad about this whole situation. If I have any lessons to impart to you, here they are:

  1. If you’re hoping to tongue kiss during a basement movie, don’t be afraid to make the first move.
  2. If someone’s being a jerk to you on a date, don’t be afraid to tell them to shove their surfboard necklace up their ass.
  3. And, finally, if you have the option, always rent the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. And then, actually, don’t make out through it, because it’s pretty fantastic.

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