For the life of me, I don't know how I ended up on the debate team in my freshman year of High School. Actually, that's a lie: my parents really wanted me to have some sort of extra-curricular activity, and I picked something that had sleep-away trips (which sounded like a cool idea) but didn't require me to be even remotely athletic (which has never been a good idea). However it happened, this is how I came to find myself once again in the Greater Boston Area - Cambridge, this time - for some hotel fun on a Valentine's Day.
The debate team was a co-ed proposition. I mention this because you just can't put a bunch of teenaged piles of hormones in a hotel, away from home and parents, without the idea of sex hanging in the air. By "idea", I mean exactly that: in our heart of pubescent hearts, we knew nothing was really going to happen. Still, you could practically smell the hormones in the air in that hotel - from us, from the other teams booked in there, just in general.
Big talk and dumb shit was the order of the day. Lots of knocking on doors and running, lots of knocking on doors and barging in, lots of knocking on doors and saying stupid things like LADIES, YOUR ESCORTS HAVE ARRIVED. Believe me when I tell you this: I have not a whit of nostalgia for that age when your body is telling you that you want it, the big IT, but you really haven't got a clue what to do about it. In some ways, the scariest prospect of all was that you might actually, you know, get somewhere...and immediately be revealed as the inexperienced phony you were. Fortunately - or unfortunately, depending on perspective - I was about a year off from that uncomfortable moment.
At some point, I think it was probably around eleven o'clock or so, my friend Chris and I decided to take a minute or two off from being teen-dork goofus jerks and go walk around the hotel for a while. We did this for about an hour or so, taking in as much as of the range of human emotion on display as our fertile little minds could handle. Particularly image-making was a woman running down the hall in a bridal dress, screaming obscenities at the (her words) stupid faggot she'd assumedly just married. We took this as a sign to head back towards our own little corner of the chateau. On our way there, we ended up walking past another team's boys' room, door open, teen-dork stationed outside. He speaks up: "Hey guys - do you have any girls on your team?" I don't miss a beat: "We do. In fact, they're waiting in our room for us as we speak. Sorry, gentlemen." I believe I was then called an asshole. Both halves of that exchange are proof positive that some things never change.
Actually, there were indeed girls from our team waiting for us in our room when we got back upstairs. Not for anything more illicit than further teen-dork goofus jerkery, mind you, but while I may have been an asshole to the guy on the lower floor, I was not a liar. From there, things proceeded into the wee hours as you might expect them to: silliness, loudness, empty threats to order porn on the hotel TV system and/or open up the minibar. At some point, one of the girls threw a wrapped tampon at my buddy Chris; he and I then did what any red-blooded male teenagers would do and proceeded to play soccer with it out in the hall. We'd made our way down to the bank of elevators when one of them opened, revealing a well-dressed woman. She made a face I can't quite describe but will never forget and yelled, with the full weight of sheer indigence fully behind her, "THAT'S DISGUSTING!" I grinned at her and waited a moment; as the doors started to close, I executed a perfect kick that I couldn't possibly replicate if I tried and landed the, er, "soccer ball" squarely inside the elevator car just before the doors closed. Triumphant, we scrambled furiously back to our room, to slam the door, hide, and charm the ladies with our tale.
I was originally going to say something along the lines of "I was proud in that way only a teenage boy can be", but truth be told I'd probably still be proud if this happened again tomorrow. For that revelation, I sense I'm about to once again be called an asshole. Like I said, some things never change.