I had a date in the winter of 1991 that is forever branded into my memory. It was one of those evenings that began with us both having the best intentions, and it ended with us never speaking again. In just one evening, too much weirdness transpired. And if I live out the rest of my days and neither see nor speak to Chloe again, I’ll be no worse for wear. Strangely, despite the 18 years that have elapsed since the four-hour date -- and notwithstanding the fact that I have absolutely no idea where she is, what she does, or even what she looks like -- I feel like I can say with 99 percent certainty that she shares this sentiment. Here’s what happened:
I was a student at an all-boys private school for a spell. She was a student at an all-girls school down the road. As anyone who has spent time in a single-sex school will tell you, a social awkwardness develops. For me, I developed timidity when it came to striking up conversations with girls. I had very few girl friends my age, and when boys and girls were paired in a social setting (in this case, a school dance between our private schools), most of the night was spent with the gals on one side of the gym, the guys on the other. When there was maybe an hour of dance time left before our parents scooped us, one brave soul would ask one of the girls to dance, which would embolden someone else to ask another lass, and then there’d be a domino effect.
I’d had my eye on Chloe most of the night. She had this extremely blonde, almost white hair and piercing blue eyes. She was a ringer for Marilyn Monroe in style and appearance. But she sure didn’t have Norma Jeane’s grace. I felt comfortable approaching Chloe and talking to her because the rash that exploded over her neck and face was a telltale sign that she was just as nervous and shy as I was. Probably more.
Anyway, we managed an awkward dance to an awkward song (“Girl I’m Gonna Miss You” by Milli Vanilli), and I managed to ask Chloe if she wanted to go to a movie the next Saturday. Before she could say yes, the rash answered for her.
My mom and I picked Chloe up in our red Taurus station wagon, which made me redder than Chloe, who was redder than the wagon. The plan was to grab a bite to eat and then catch a movie. Easy enough.
We were dropped off at Severance Mall in Cleveland Heights, which was a classy joint back then. Feeling a chemistry with Chloe, I splurged and bought us dinner at the Steak Escape, where they cooked our food right in front of us as we waited in line. Nothin’ but the best.
After the grease and some curly fries, Chloe suggested that we get our movie tickets and grab seats, as she was certain that the movie we’d agreed on (If Looks Could Kill, starring Richard Grieco) would sell out. That seemed reasonable -- at the time.
Safely past the ticket agent, I scanned the theaters for our flick. That’s when I decided to show this girl what a rebel I was. Our movie was rated a nice, safe PG-13, but only one theater away was this R-rated movie I’d heard about. How cool would Chloe think I was if I sneaked us into The Silence of the Lambs?
Just moments after Hannibal Lecter made that now-famous fava-beans comment, it was over for Chloe and me. The ride home was a comfortable, understood silence, one that said: “You brought me here, you made me watch this, and now you and your mom and your Taurus are going to drive out of my life.”
Turns out, Sir Anthony Hopkins isn’t the boogeyman I’ve thought he was for all these years. In fact, when you read our amazing profile of him (page 40), you’ll discover that the man behind the character is more human than you may have thought. Eighteen years later, Silence remains a horror classic … much like my date with Chloe.