Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I had not counted on meeting Andre the Giant in the lobby.

andre the giant

Admiral Haddock takes his childhood crush to the Princess Bride premier:

My mom worked in PR when I was growing up, Hollywood kind of stuff. It was a great childhood—endless swag T-shirts, movie screenings all the time, riding in limos occasionally, etc. We were never high flyers ourselves, so it was amazing to have relatively constant access to that world.

One of the highlights of my childhood was seeing the NY (maybe world?) premiere of the Princess Bride at age 12. All the more so because it was my first date ever! I took a girl I had had a crush on since first or second grade. The power of my infatuation with her was so great that, when I noticed she was the sole mouthbreather in our first-grade class, I started mouthbreathing too. My romance knew no bounds. 

My mother was at the premiere because she worked for Mandy Patinkin for a long time. When my mother said I could come, too, and even bring someone, Jenny (let’s call her Jenny—which is easy for me to remember, because her name was Jenny) immediately sprung to mind. I didn’t know much about the movie, but magical fairytale seemed like the perfect way to win her heart.

I wore a little suit. Jenny wore a pretty dress.

We milled about with my mom while waiting for the movie to start. It was a relatively fancy theater on the Upper East Side—I think the one on Second and 64th or so (not sure it’s there anymore). At one point, Jenny and I went to go get some popcorn—it was a big enough deal of a premiere that concessions were free. I had been to a number of “all media” screenings, even big ones, and popcorn was rarely free. First date + Jenny + free popcorn and soda = the most incredible night of my life ever. I was more or less in heaven.

I had not counted on meeting Andre the Giant in the lobby.

But there he was. 

I pretty much died. 

Giant didn’t do him justice, especially to a little 12 year old boy who was yet to hit his adolescent growth spurt. I felt tiny. I don’t remember being taller than his belly button. AND HE WAS FROM TV! I was no bigger than a crumb.

But I knew that I had to meet him. Normally, my mother would broker that sort of encounter, but she was holding our seats, and I could never count on going to grab her, drag her back to the lobby, and get her to introduce me, without Andre the Giant wandering off. Plus, I had Jenny with me, and I didn’t want her to see me relying on my mother like that.

So, I grabbed her squirmy hand and ran off across the lobby to meet Andre. I waited for some people to finish with him and then boldly stuck out my hand and said something like, “I’m Admiral Haddock, Mr. The Giant, and I am on my first date with Jenny. I am a big fan and I think you’re great.” 

"Nice to meet you Admiral. You can call me Andre," he said in his deep, mysteriously accented voice. "Hello, Jenny. Congratulations on your date. I hope you like the movie." In his palm, my hand felt no bigger than a baby’s. But he was so gentle and nice about the whole thing. I was transported. I felt like a hero: on my first date—with the lovely Jenny, of all people—meeting giants, seeing what I was then sure would be the best movie ever, eating free popcorn.

And it turned out the movie WAS great. It was pretty much everything I needed to win Jenny’s heart, for sure. She liked the movie, too. Jenny lived not far from the theater, and my mom and I walked her home. I’d like to think that I would have gone in for my first kiss when we left her, but it was more than a little awkward with my mother standing there.

In the end, though, Jenny and I were not meant to be. I tried to ask her out again a few days later, but without another gala event to go to, she wasn’t interested. I was fine with that, though. 

Yes, she may have been super pretty. And yes, she was an alluring mouthbreather. But look at me! I not only asked her out, but I introduced her to a movie star on our date. I was a bold tween Casanova. Jenny’s brush off wasn’t going to send me into a funk.

My romantic life has had its ups and downs over the years (and is on a pronounced up with my recent marriage). But whenever it’s been low, whenever I’ve felt unlucky in love, I’ve just thought to myself that it wasn’t so bad: I am a friend to a Giant.

(Source: metafilter.com)