I cringe at the thought of admitting this, especiallyon the internet, but maybe my story will stop a few people from repeating my mistake. Aweek ago yesterday, I let a guy talk me into doing something that ordinarily I wouldn’t do.

He’s a nice guy; we have Hebrew class together (he started in my first class and continued with me into the second) so I see him once a week. I didn’t go to class last night; I’m pretty sure if I had, he’d have grinned at me in that conspiritorial “I know what you did last week ’cause I was there” kind of way, and, well, I’d have been left thinking “I can’t believe I let you talk me into it.” Last week, after class, he invited me out to dinner, which is standard protocol for us — during the first class, we used to go out as a group, but as the class has gotten smaller, it’s often just the two of us for dinner. He paid for dinner, which I kept telling him he didn’t have to do, especially since he’s been paying for things more and more often lately. All through dinner, he kept grinning, asking me if I wanted to join him for the evening, trying to convince me. After he’d paid for dinner he said, “Hey, no pressure; I don’t want to make you do something you’re not comfortable doing.” My “peer pressure” sensor, installed in me by teachers and older family members while I was a child of the late eighties/early nineties, should have gone off, because I kept thinking, “You know, it’s not such a big deal; I’ve said before I didn’t really want to, that it’s just not typical behavior for me, and I don’t know how I’ll feel after, but maybe . . . just this once . . . maybe it won’t be so bad. And I do like this guy, I mean, we are friends . . .”

So I followed him out of the restaurant, and as we hurried along, he kept giving me a sort of pep talk. “It won’t be as bad as you’re afraid it will be. You’ll be fine. I bet you’ll enjoy it! I really think you will.” He even asked me about other experiences I’d had and tried to make this one sound similar. I was uneasy, and I told him that if I regretted it, I was going to blame him completely. The closer we got to the door, the more a little voice in my head said, “I don’t know about this. This is probably not a good idea. The people who said how good this is . . . do you really trust their opinions? And what about all the people who’ve done it who told you to be glad you hadn’t? What if you can’t sleep tonight after this?” But I took a deep breath and walked in. He held doors for me, ushered me in,and we made ourselves comfortable, even though it was a bit awkward. We’d never done this sort of thing before. As the lights dimmed, I thought, “There’s no going back now. Of course, I could get up and leave at any time, but then what will he think of me?” So I stayed.

It wasn’t what I’d call fun. At times, I was a little nauseous, and I was often surprised by his reactions to things. At one point, all I could do was just bury my face in his shoulder and try not to think about it. I made it through the whole ordeal, and when it was all over, we both just sat there, stunned. It wasn’t even what I expected, and yet, somehow, it was just what I’d feared it would be:

A really, really terrible movie. Don’t go see SAW III.