It was spring of 1986 and Pioneer Days -- the festival that made Chico State notorious (with the help of MTV and about 20,000 out-of-town partiers) -- was in full swing. I was 20 with a bad perm, braces and no fake ID. Dale must have been unstable, looking back.
Dale picked me up in his tiny little convertible -- an old MG Midget or something -- and we drove downtown to have dinner. The sun was still pretty high in the sky on that early May evening.
(Original photo stolen from these guys)
I don't remember where we ate, what movie we went to later, or what we talked about. All I remember is The Hook.
A good song has a "hook" that makes you sing, dance or take off your clothes.
A good movie has a "hook" that keeps you from changing channels or leaving to go take off your clothes.
And a good date has a "hook," too. Some might say it's when you take off your clothes, but you didn't hear that from me.
This date had a hook.
We sat in the car at the curb near one of the busiest intersections in downtown Chico. We were parked right outside The Oaks Bar & Grill, which was HOPPING.
We were about the same distance away from the world-famous Madison Bear Garden (a crowded college spot we just call The Bear), as was the photographer who took this photo:
(Original photo stolen from teejayhanton on Flickr)
It was bustling, it was Pioneer Week (the last one before The Pioneer Week To End All Pioneer Weeks*), and I was not old enough to legally buy a drink.
So naturally, Dale brought the alcohol to me.
He made me close my eyes while he set up. If you've ever been inside an MG Midget you'll know that a womb has more elbow room. I heard the squeak of cork as Dale opened the wine, heard the gurgle of wine poured into glasses, smelled popcorn all of a sudden -- where was he hiding that? -- and then I opened my eyes.
We had a blast drinking wine in the tiny parked car, as throngs of people and police surged by. It was like being naked in a fishbowl, but somehow no law enforcement witnessed our crime.
It was a pretty good hook for a date, but no sparks flew, no one got naked or arrested, and I moved away a couple of weeks later.
Seriously, I did NOT take off my clothes. For real.
*If you care to see very old footage of the 1987 Chico State Pioneer Days Riots, click here. I was 3000 miles away at the time so you can't blame me for it.