Gift Habeshaw, Unsplash

And They Called it Puppy Love

17:00 February 10, 2022
By: Keith John Paul Horcasitas

Long ago when I was still able to date, things were a lot different. Back then, who would have ever imagined the innumerable venues that are now available to people per social media. And I recall some awkward and fun times as a kid and in high school that make me chuckle now as I reminisce about them!

How many of y'all remember The Dating Game? It was a popular television show back in the late 60s when I was a pre-teen, and my sister had a board game version of it. She and her friends would constantly be playing it and, one day, she let me join with her and some friends—I now think that I was just being set up for ridicule by them.

Somehow, I won and had to take Karen, another neighbor, on an outing. We used to hang out all the time at the Tulane University Center—near to our home then in New Orleans—so I went with my brother and sister and treated Karen to a lunch. Even as I was beginning to develop an interest in girls at that time, I was also very shy, so I felt kind of embarrassed about this.

As the youngest of three, I was always a little slow with picking up on things. My brother and sister lamented when I would constantly tell them that "I didn't get that" while watching Laugh-In as kids, since I would then cause them to miss the next punchline. So they had to put up with a lot of things like that and especially my not understanding why guys would want to do anything with gals.

How can I forget my first innocent kiss with a girl when I was about 7? I don't know exactly how it came about, but I think my brother and sister dared and tricked me into it by promising me one of my favorite candies if I would do that with Gigi, one of our neighbors. So I quickly ran next door, since I played a lot with Drew and Jubi, her brothers, and reluctantly gave her a peck on her cheek—"yuk" I recalled feeling but looked forward to the Sugar Babbies!

After graduating from high school, David, Scott, and I went on a little summer trip to visit Marshall in Cocoa Beach and to Disney World nearby. At this age, I was certainly more interested in trying to date, but combined with a shy disposition, I had also begun to consider a religious vocation, so I hadn't dated much at all during high school—never went to the proms and etc.

During our trip to Florida, we all met Monique and tried our best to impress her. Little did I know that Monique seemed to like me the most, but I was awkward in relating to her in front of my buddies. On the morning before we left for our return to New Orleans, Monique asked me to come out by the beach while David and Scott overslept a few too many beers from the night before.

Monique and I had a great time talking in private and exchanged some gifts—I gave her a crucifix ring and she gave me a neat seashell with a prayer inside that she'd written for me that I eventually put into a song. While we never saw each again and mainly corresponded off and on for a few years, that was my first puppy love.

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