Being thirteen is like being pranked by G-d. G-d is like, “Ha, ha I made your body stupid and you have no freedom!” It’s a totally hilarious time in your life… in retrospect. I mean, I can barely get over my fashion choices from middle school. In every picture from fourth to sixth grade I am wearing my favorite accessory — a black velvet choker with a ying-yang bead in the middle. It looked like if Dungeons and Dragons had a jewelry line. I remember looking in the mirror before school tying my cheap whore’s necklace, thinking, “I hope you can’t get arrested for being on the cutting edge of fashion because otherwise I’m screwed.”
It was a weird time full of tragic style, humiliating diary entries and hormones gone beserk. The apex of awkwardness for me, however, was my Bat Mitzvah. For those who live in small towns, a Bat Mitzvah is like a personal Kickstarter campaign followed by a terrible party. Here’s how it shakes down; you study Hebrew for a few years, then you read from the Torah in front of of everyone you know, your mom cries, people throw money at you and then you party.
Growing up in Los Angeles, I went to approximately 50 Bat Mitzvah parties in one year. The whole thing had gotten so far from its original roots as a spiritual tradition that kids even had themes. I went to one with a “shopping” theme and every table had a different store name. I sat at “Contempo Casuals,” which was coincidentally my favorite store, so I guess I’m not complaining. If my Bat Mitzvah had a theme it would definitely be “Crying.” I cried a lot at my party.
Before I go into the high drama, I have to introduce you to a couple of characters. The first was Matt B. He was… perfect. The love of my life at the time. He was 5’4, sagged, had blue eyes and gelled hair parted in the middle. Like, COULD HE BE HOTTER? He was so cute that one day I brought a camera to school just so I could take his picture and put it my diary. Unforch, he was also the most popular boy in school so my competition included literally every single girl in school. Whatever, he was coming to my party!
To be 100% honest, I was looking fierce the night of the soirée. I was wearing nude stockings with open toe heels (SEX APPEAL), a pink baby doll dress and heavy lip gloss. Basically, I looked like a piece of candy with long hair. But I felt like a million bucks! I had never kissed a boy in my life but I had this feeling that tonight was gonna be the night and the guy was going to be Matt B.
Before I go on, I have to introduce the last character of the story. Her name was Devyn and she was my best friend. She was also a crack whore. And I’m not using that phrase in the flip, zeitgesty way, she was literally having sex with 40-year-old men in MIDDLE SCHOOL and doing speed and coke. I can’t explain our friendship in a coherent way because female best friendships are insane affairs that defy all logic and reason. The point was I really loved her even though she was constantly betraying me. You know where this is going.
Unlike my peers who rented out all-ages clubs and restaurants in the mall, my big fiesta took place in the rec room at my temple. At the time it was hugely disappointing but as my mom said, “It’s free!” So with all the chairs out of the way, a DJ spinning all the worst hits, glow sticks galore and an ice cream buffet, my friends and I “partied.” I had TWO sundaes, did the limbo, and fast danced in a circle of my girl pals. Things were pretty fly.
Then when the first slow song came on (Bone Thugs N Harmony’s “Crossroads”) something “sexy” amazing happened. Matt B. slo-mo’d his way over to me high-fiving and doing other popular guy things on his way over. “Do you want to dance?” he asked me. I shrugged as if to say, “I mean, if YOU want to.”
For four glorious minutes we danced, groin to groin, flat chest to flat chest and my heart (vagina) was aflame. I have to say, Matt had serious moves especially for a 6th grader. The entire time we were dancing he was scratching my lower back in sexy circles. When the song ended, I was so hot that I needed to go to the bathroom and splash some cold water on my face (vagina). I headed to the bathroom, did my business and looked in the mirror.
“You old fox” I thought, and rushed back out to continue the wild times.
And then it happened. There they were. Not only were Devyn and Matt slow-dancing but Devyn leaned in and they kissed. They kissed! On the dancefloor! At MY Bat Mitzvah party. I was supposed to kiss Matt. Devyn already let old pervs f-ck her. Why did she need to steal my one innocent crush? I was so upset that I ran right back into the bathroom where I cried so hard I threw up. My mom and sister came in and tried to calm me down but I was inconsolable. As the music and dancing continued on, I spent the rest of the party crumpled on the bathroom floor.
The next day at school Matt B. came up to me on the quad. “Rose,” he said, “rumors are going around that Devyn and I scammed at your party. We didn’t even, it was just one friendly kiss.”
“I don’t wanna talk about it” I said and walked away.
I wish I could say that I learned something from that night, but sadly, I didn’t. I stayed friends with Devyn for six more stupid and terrible years. The good news is though, that I used my Bat Mitzvah money to go on a trip to Europe five years later where I made out with every hot Italian and Spaniard in sight. Sometimes you have to endure nights of pain and heartbreak before you can end up drunk on a piazza in Rome dry humping a Mediterranean soldier. And I guess that’s what I learned.