Forty one years ago, I was a young fifteen year old girl. I hadn’t had many dates, as my parents had just started to let me go out with boys, and on top of that, I was very shy.
A girlfriend of mine needed someone for her boyfriend’s friend one night. She asked if I would like to go on a blind date, and I said “Sure, why not?” I felt very safe since I knew my friends boyfriend, too.
So we went out to the movies then afterwards we went to a drive in restaurant, the old fashioned kind where you sit in your car and a “car hop” comes out and takes your order. As we waited for our food, my blind date and I talked while my friend and her date sat in the back seat. He and I were getting along very well. He picked up my hands and began to examine them. I am a very small person, and have small hands. He admired them, commenting on how tiny they were. Then he pointed to his steering wheel. It was metal, and had a series of holes in it, gradually getting smaller. He gestured to the smallest hole, and said, “I bet your finger would fit into that hole.” Wanting to please him, I stuck it in…
It went in easily enough, but when I tried to pull it out, it stuck. Not wanting to make a fool of myself, I quietly kept trying, gently, unnoticed, to get my finger out of the hole. Finally, I had to admit it: “My finger is stuck…” I told my date.
He pulled. Our friends in the backseat leaned forward, and my friends date pulled too. My finger would not budge. To make matters worse, all the pulling was making it swell. And hurt.
Finally, someone went into the restaurant and got some ice. We applied that to my finger for a while, but it still didn’t work. My little finger was getting less and less little all the time. And being so young, I did not have the finesse to get through this whole thing without being mortified with embarrassment, especially when my date declared he was NOT going to be cutting into the steering wheel of his first car just for my finger…
A crowd formed around our car as the restaurant personnel gathered around to help this silly girl with her finger stuck in the steering wheel of the car. Many people shouted suggestions for releasing me, including an offer of a pocket knife to cut my finger off. Finally, the manager of the drive in went back inside and came out with a cup full of grease. Being older, he was a bit gentler, and covering my lap with a cloth, he worked until he had eased my finger out of the hole in the steering wheel. A cheer went up from the crowd. It really did seem kind of funny once my finger was out.
It’s been a long time now, and I don’t remember if this young man ever called me back for another date. If he did, it didn’t make much of an impression. Maybe it was because he wasn’t willing to sacrifice his steering wheel for my finger? Or maybe it was just my own embarrassment that made me not want to face him again!