Jackass McGee Comes To My Party. Hilarity Ensues. *

A number of years ago I went on a bunch of dates with a guy. I will refer to him as Jackass McGee.

We traveled in the same circles, and he had approached me a couple of times after events (plays I was in, or plays where we both showed up in the audience) – and he had a strange shyness that bordered on pathological (my friend Kate said he reminded her of Laura from Glass Menagerie) – but could also be interpreted as deep interest in me. Whatever. I was never quite sure if he was “into” me – I knew he was into me as an actress: he had gotten me involved in a couple of really cool projects (he’s very successful) – but romantically? I never could really tell.

We went out a bunch of times. I don’t know (in retrospect) what I really saw in him – although he could be nice, and stuff -he was very weird, socially. Awkward to the point of being pre-verbal. You wanted to soothe him through social moments (See? Kate was right!).

What I remember about our dates (and none of this is linear – it’s just the fragments that remain from a particularly blurry time in my life) is as follows:

— the first time we went out he invited me to an art opening at a gallery. The day of the date I had horrifying stomach problems, and almost considered canceling. I put in an emergency call to my friend Jen – like: “what should I do????” She gave me a bullet-point list of things I needed to eat, and pronto … that would stop the … nightmare I was in, basically. Anyway, that’s the FIRST thing that comes to mind, sipping nervously on club soda, not eating a thing. Kind of an anxious date.

— He used to drive me home – he lived in Manhattan, so he’d drive me back to Jersey – and he had a tiny car, and he drove like an absolute fucking maniac. 95 miles an hour thru the Lincoln Tunnel at 2 in the morning. I am not exaggerating. 95 miles an hour. It was so transparent … but I was a kinder woman back then, and cut him some slack. It was also exhilarating, let me not lie. I loved going that fast. It was awesome! Also it meant we didn’t have to sit around having awkward silences, which was what was going on on the rest of our dates.

— We went to go see my brother in a play – and Jackass McGee was wearing bamboo sandals or something like that, I honestly can’t remember the details. I was talking with my brother later about Jackass McGee, and I said something along the lines of, “I am a bit concerned about his passivity on our dates.” And Bren replied, “I am more concerned about those sandals.”

— Jen noticed that his fly, more often than not, was always down. She said she thought it was a very bad sign. “Anyone who is that oblivious on such a consistent degree to zipping up his fly is probably a bad lover.” Which I think is kind of brilliant logic. I never stuck around long enough with Jackass McGee to find out if what she said was true or not … but I still remember that comment, as clear as day.

— We went out for pizza with a bunch of other people and a waiter, walking behind my chair, accidentally bonked me on the back of my head with a huge pizza tray. It hurt so much that I felt like crying – and had a huge egg the next day … but it was also MORTIFYING – the resounding sound my head made against that damn pan … it was like it echoed and reverberated through the streets of New York. I felt awkward, clumsy, ashamed, and as though I was somehow to blame.

— Kate and I went to go see him in a play (which was absolutely atrocious) and started laughing so hard at the beginning of the (supposedly deadly serious) second act that we both thought we would have to get up and leave the theatre. I can’t even remember what we were laughing about, but we were literally shaking and crying. Small theatre, too. We still talk about how bad that play was.

— I went to Ireland in the middle of all of this, and through my separation … suddenly became obsessed with Jackass. I don’t know. I’m not a good “dater”, I know this about myself, and there I was in Ireland, using my international phone card in the middle of a brown rocky field in County Mayo, calling my voice mail to see if he had left a message. I also added his name to the grafitti in a smoky pub outside of Galway. I’m honestly not sure why, so please don’t ask me to explain.

— That’s pretty much all I remember about dating him. We probably went out, all told, 7 times. And I DO remember that he started blowing me off. Not calling me back for days, not calling me when he said he would, blowing me off last minute, etc. etc. – all that kind of crazy-making behavior. I suffered in silence. I’m not a stalker kind of girl, but I certainly was really hurt, and just WILTED about it all. I can’t remember the timing of all of this – my dates with him were in the autumn, I know that because of the final nail in the coffin – which was the Christmas party that I threw that year.

In retrospect, the story is so funny and still provides hilarity for my group of friends.

“Do you remember when Jackass McGee showed up at that party???”

Many of the important details are lost. I must have invited him. But I am sure that I would have invited him in “happier” times, ie: before he started blowing me off. I was living with Jen at the time – and we invited all our dear friends, for a night of hilarity, food, wine, and celebration. It was at our small rickety apartment – so it was vaguely informal, but you certainly had to be invited. It was not a come-one come-all thing. It was dear friends, and dudes we were dating. But I can’t remember how the invite happened. But SUFFICE IT TO SAY: the thing between us was definitely still “up in the air” when the Christmas party happened. Not that we needed to have a big talk about commitment or anything like that, it certainly was not that serious between us … but … were we dating? Or not? It was the uncertainty of it – not to mention the being blown-off – that bugged me. It wasn’t like it was MONTHS had gone by, and we were no longer “dating” and I was like, whatevs, sure, come to my party. No. I know at least THAT much.


The party is going on. I am having a blast with my friends. Our apartment looks beautiful. We have a little Christmas tree up, and a menorah as well – we have hung up stars, put candles in the windows – and have MOUNDS of food and wine in the kitchen. Homemade stuff, store-bought stuff. Lights low, surrounded by dear friends … it was totally awesome. A great mix, too – we had grad school friends mixing with work friends … people who didn’t know each other … It was just a magical party.

Jackass McGee did not enter my mind at all. I don’t think I even thought he would come. I can only surmise this from my stunned response when he showed up. I had invited him before he started blowing me off (at least I think so) … but anyway. He wasn’t expected.

Two or maybe three hours into the party – the doorbell rings.

Wow! A latecomer! Who could it be??

Tipsy on red wine, I click-clacked in my heels down the ghetto-ass staircase of the hovel we were living in … and opened the door. Jackass McGee stood there, beaming at me. And … he had brought a date.

I honestly don’t think he was a cruel or malicious person. But the CLUELESSNESS of such behavior makes me stunned, to this day. What were you THINKING, Jackass?? And zip your fly, please. Jesus Christ.

That poor girl. She had no idea what was going on, and was actually quite sweet and oblivious. She was also probably 22 years old, with big platinum ringlets, and a boobalicious dress. So. Okay. Got it. She didn’t know that I had been kinda sorta dating that guy up to about 2 weeks ago. He had invited her, and she was probably thrilled to be on a date with him … it must have been a very confusing night for her, poor girl.

I did my best with the introductions … “Hi! Oh! You’re his date? Ohhhh … wow! uhm … yeah! Nice to meet you!”

Jackass McGee stood to the side, beaming with happiness at the introduction.

Then I led the two of them upstairs, and I literally could not WAIT to bring them in to my circle of dear friends (all of whom, of course, were totally up to date on the Jackass situation, and knew everything about him). I wasn’t devastated or anything like that – just kind of stunned at the balls of his action … and also thrilled, in a ghoulish spectator-at-the-Coliseum way, to watch my friends’ faces when I introduced Jackass McGee AND HIS FREAKIN’ DATE.

I am laughing out loud now remembering the responses. Nobody was overtly mean, nothing like that. But they all kept shooting me alarmed enraged glances … or pulled me aside saying, “He brought her as his date? What the FUCK is his problem??” My friend Elena, who was just so awesome and so funny, shook hands with the two of them, perfectly friendly, but I could see the steam coming out of her nostrils. Steam of rage.

So the party then took on a very surreal atmosphere. Jackass McGee and his date stood in the kitchen … and tried to talk to people, and be social … and people were kind of playing along, being polite certainly – but in general – his arrival had totally thrown ALL of us into a stunned state, as though we all were suffering from mild head injuries. We weren’t angry – and I wasn’t either -at least not at first …

Like I said. Poor girl with the platinum curls. She was perfectly nice, not too bright, sweet, and we all did our best to include her. But make no mistake. Jackass McGee was subtly shunned.

They left a couple hours later. “Bye! Bye! Thanks for coming! Bye!”

Once they were thankfully gone – the few remaining friends, who all were going to sleep over, our core group – went NUTS. We sat in the kitchen, and went totally insane. It was all we could talk about. We could not stop talking about it. We dissected it like lunatics. We hashed it out, laughed so hard we WEPT, then got angry, then went back into dissection mode … We whipped ourselves into a frenzy. It was more hilarity than rage – it was just that we had all been holding so much back for the couple of hours that those two were at our party … so when they left, we all went nuts.

And my favorite moment was Elena – sitting on the kitchen floor in her pajamas, glass of wine nearby – candlelight flickering on the red walls behind her … Elena is gorgeous, she looks like Juliana Marguiles – and she was just OUTRAGED by the whole thing (I am laughing out loud) – and she finally said, in a tone of almost despair, “You know what the worst thing about all of this is? He is not even AWARE of how angry I am at him!”

And we all just lost it. Rolling around laughing. Like to Elena, the “worst” part was that he didn’t know that “she” (whom he didn’t even really know) was angry with him. It was so self-involved and so beautiful I wanted to hug her. It was important to her that Jackass McGee realize how angry SHE was at him. Never mind what Sheila’s feelings are – ELENA was mad!!

Needless to say, Jackass McGee and I never went out again. The Christmas party debacle broke the spell completely. It was such a relief! We still are occasionally involved in projects together, and I’ve seen him since, and it’s all quite friendly. I seriously can’t even remember that we dated at all. I just thought of this story this morning and knew I had to write it down.

And I laugh sometimes, almost embarrassed, thinking Oh my Gosh, somewhere on the west of Ireland his name is emblazoned on a bathroom wall … joining all the Seans and Liams and Michaels …

You must always THINK before you deface property. Will this blow over in a month? Will he bring a curly-cued wide-eyed blonde to your party in a couple of weeks? Will he be clueless to a degree that even now seems unprecedented – and should probably be studied, on the local and federal level?

So: THINK before you declare that you love him 4 EVA on the walls of some random bar outside of Galway.


* with a nod to Tucker Max

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34 Responses to Jackass McGee Comes To My Party. Hilarity Ensues. *

  1. Lisa says:

    So you never found out why he brought a date to your party?! That is effed up.

  2. Mr. Lion says:

    Only 95 through the Lincoln? Remind me to top that for you sometime. By a wide margin. ;)

  3. red says:

    Lisa – no! Never found out!

  4. red says:

    Lion – Like I said in my post: it was transparent, and did not impress me at all like it was supposed to – as a matter of fact, it was very weird – made me uncomfortable – like he wanted some reaction out of me – although it was fun.

  5. Mr. Lion says:

    Trying to impress someone with it is one thing, doing it because you like it very much another. Granted, sounds like this nut was after the former.

  6. Kate says:

    He was SUCH A WEIRDO!!! I forgot that I compared him to Laura. At least Laura has manners…

  7. red says:

    Kate – hahahaha Member that play we saw??

    What the hell we were laughing about in the back row??

  8. Kate says:

    I wish I knew. It was probably a weird line reading, or a weird stalling tactic for when that lady couldn’t remember her lines.
    God, that was funny. It was like laughing at a funeral. This venerated institution, this amazing script. Well. . . They can’t all be gems, I guess.

  9. red says:

    Kate – I think our laughing fit came over us as the lights went down, so then we were really trapped.

    Nah, you’re right. Not all gems.

    But HE thought it was brilliant. I remember thinking to myself: Okay. This is going to be a problem.

    We at least need to be on the same page – sort of – about art. He thought it was the best production in New York since the heyday of the 1950s.

  10. red says:

    Kate – also: “that lady” … I am shaking with laughter!!!! I sat thru the tech of that damn play and it was so stressful and awful – with her not knowing her lines – that I could barely sleep that night.

    It was like watching a real live actor’s nightmare.

  11. mitchell says:

    i know nothing about this man!!!! i need way mor info…privately ,of course!

  12. red says:

    Mitchell – I’ll email you his name. You’ll probably remember him when you hear it.


    How ’bout Bren’s comment about the sandals?

  13. Brendan says:

    What a strange dude. He looked like one of those drawings that you do with 3 people…one person draws the head/shoulders, the next draws the torso, and the third draws the legs.

    Nothing corresponds. I remember the sandal incident clearly.

  14. red says:

    //What a strange dude. He looked like one of those drawings that you do with 3 people//

    hahaha I thought he was cute, in a kind of shy farmboy way … not my type at all, though.

    But yeah, ultimately he is very weird – socially. And I can be weird, too – shy and bizarre … so we just stood around next to each other, not talking!

  15. Dan says:

    //And Bren replied, “I am more concerned about those sandals.”//

    I laughed out loud at that. High five.

  16. red says:

    Dan – hahaha I know.

    It’s really handy to have a brother who can make observations like that at crucial moments.

  17. Brendan says:

    Don’t get me wrong, he was a handsome dude. It wasn’t really about his appearance per se, just the feeling of disparate things being put together in a haphazard way.

  18. tracey says:

    /Awkward to the point of being pre-verbal./

    I am dying!!!

    Did he ever find out how angry Elena — and you — had been with him??

  19. melissa says:

    I LOVE the idea of his name defacing public property in Ireland!

  20. red says:

    Bren – absolutely! Like: bamboo sandals and his damn fly was down. Dude: you’re in your 40s. Get it together.

  21. red says:

    tracey – no! We never told. The whole thing blew over so quickly – it was like his appearance with a date at my party showed just how unsuitable he would be as a partner, boyfriend, whatever … that I stopped worrying about him instantly.

    But I think Elena’s still mad.


  22. red says:

    Melissa – I know!! On my next trip to Ireland I have considered trying to track that one bar down, just to see if it’s still there, but I do realize that that is insane.

  23. melissa says:

    Oh, no. I would. Armed with a red sharpie, in order to write Jackass McGee over his name!

  24. ricki says:

    I had a guy who was kind of like your Jackass McGee, once. He was a little more socially adept but not much. (And thank God, HIS fly was always up – or at least if it was down, no one pointed it out to me)

    I didn’t quite have the experience of him showing up with some poor besotted girl at a party I was throwing, but it came close. That horrible moment of discovery, of realizing: you have been wasting your time. This is not going to work out, not on this or any other planet.

    I can kind of laugh about it now, but even though he was kind of a jackass, it really hurt at the time.

    (Oh hell – it does kinda STILL hurt. And maybe I was the jackass, reading something into his asking me to go to plays and movies with him that he didn’t have in mind. We never had that “but I think of you as a sister” talk but maybe it was coming.)

  25. red says:

    Ricki – I hate those moments, too – when you realize: wow! Waste of time!!!

    Jackass was so clueless, though, that I was almost psyched to be rid of him … not in a mean way, but i could just move on, with a clear conscience … because I certainly didn’t want someone who was so socially retarded that he would bring a date to a party thrown by a girl he was also dating.

    I need someone who is a bit more aware of nuance than that!!

  26. nightfly says:

    I feel badly for the girl. –OK, these are all my non-friends, and this is my “wasn’t an ex until you showed up.” Would you like a soft drink?–

    Long live Jackass McGee.

  27. red says:

    I know. Poor thing. She had no idea.

    I don’t know if she had ANY ideas, actually, about ANYthing, but that’s another point entirely.

  28. Emily says:

    “that would stop the … nightmare I was in”

    That’s the point where I started laughing and didn’t stop.

  29. red says:

    emily – hahahahaha!!! I know – it was terrible!!

    I had to save my readership from unnecessary details. “Nightmare” will suffice.

  30. Erik says:

    Jackass McGee is such a nard. When I read this story, the first thing I thought was:

    Ooooo say drak.

  31. red says:

    Oh my God!! You have assimilated “oo say drak” and that is so thrilling!

    So true! The only thing you can say when a dude you’re dating shows up at YOUR party with a bimbo on his arm is: Oo say drak.

  32. Erik says:

    The Jackass McGee story reminds me of something that happened to one of my best friends in college. She was dating this rocker dude. He wasn’t *famous,* but his band was fairly well known and had opened for some pretty big bands. Anyway, this singer thought he was the shit and he was very aloof — but they were definitely DATING. Anyway, one night she goes to meet him at his recording studio. They’re supposed to go out, but she was early. The singer dude was in the “booth,” mixing tracks or whatever. And there was some other girl (who looks kinda like my friend) sitting there in the waiting room, ALSO waiting for the singer dude. My friend starts talking to the other girl and finds out that SHE’S dating the singer dude TOO. But here’s the kicker: not only did they look alike, but they also had the same name. This singer dude was dating two girls with the same name who looked alike who didn’t know about each other. They walked into the mixing booth together and broke up with him at the same time, which I thought was pretty rockstar of them. Dude didn’t know what hit him.

  33. red says:

    Ha!!!! That is so awesome!

    “Yeah. Melissa and Melissa broke up with me today. Bummer.”

  34. Pingback: Meeting Elia Kazan | The Sheila Variations

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