I met Jade at the beginning of cosmetology school, and while she had grown up in a huge suburb and I had always lived in a more rural area, we had a few things in common: We liked Wiz Khalifa and drinking, and she happened to be in a pretty serious relationship with a guy from my hometown, Cole*.
Cole and his younger brother Cameron went to a different high school than I did, so I didn’t really know them well, although I knew of them.
My friend Jade* was set on hooking me and Cameron* up. What better way to spend even more time with your bestie than to hook her up with your boyfriend’s brother? It sounded like a pretty good deal to begin with.
I met up with Jade one Monday night, went and got some wine at the gas station with the cashier that didn’t ID and rode with her to Cole and Cameron’s house.
They still lived with their parents, so we went on in and talked with their Mom until the guys got home.
Their mom recognized my name and said she knew some of my family, but seeing as everybody knows everybody where I’m from, I thought nothing of it.
Once the guys got home we went down to the basement to drink and listen to some music. It’s not as shady as it sounds; they had some furniture, a TV, and a card table down there.
Cameron and I talked a lot about people we knew in common, and he even reminded me that we had run into each other at a concert a few months before. He had tried so hard to dance with me but I had a boyfriend at the time and wanted nothing to do with him.
We talked a lot and drank a lot, and ended up making out before the night was over. Even though Jade and I ended up staying over because we couldn’t drive ourselves home, nothing else happened between us. I didn’t realize just how thankful I would be for that later.
We texted some after that night and Cameron really wanted to see me again. The week after that first night he invited me to come hang out at his house again. I went over that afternoon and he said he wanted to take me on a 4-wheeler ride around their land (go ahead, make your jokes! We’re out here in the country, people.)
After we rode through the woods and through an orchard, Cameron told me he wanted to ride over to his MeMaw’s house.
(The more I type, the more I realize just how backwoods this all sounds. Spoiler alert: it gets worse.)
We rode on down to his MeMaw’s house, and what do you know? Sweet little lady was just pulling in the driveway. She got out of the car and he stopped the four-wheeler.
“Hey MeMaw! How you doin’ today?”
“I’m good baby, now who is this with you?”
I went on and introduced myself. Then, in what is to this day is one of the most baffling moments of my life, sweet old MeMaw said, “Oh! I know you! I’m Alma, I’m your cousin!”
I died. Not really. I did get nauseous real quick though. That’s not exactly a casual mistake to make. Either this lady was really crazy about her grandson and out to humiliate him/ruin his dating life, or I was actually sitting here cuddled up on the four-wheeler with my cousin.
Cameron turned really red and told MeMaw real quick we needed to get going but it was good to see her. We pulled off on the four-wheeler and I said loud enough for him to hear over the engine, “What the fuuuuuuck?”
I also scooted back as far as I could on the four-wheeler, trying to distance myself from Cameron and also from the gross possibilities of the past week.
“Ignore her, she don’t know what she’s talking about!” he yelled back. I wasn’t buying it.
After a little bit of investigation, and by investigation I mean calling my mother and asking her if we do indeed have a cousin named Alma, I discovered that yes, Alma was my grandmother’s second cousin. That makes Cameron and I fourth cousins, meaning we have the same great-great-grandparents.
We texted occasionally after that, and so many people tried to tell me that didn’t matter, including Cameron. That was it for me, though. The fact that you could call us cousins at all and that there was blood relation, even if it was distant, made me embarrassed to have kissed him.
Jade, of course, thought the whole thing was hilarious. Being raised in the suburb and not a small town, it played out like a bad country song to her.
Thankfully she helped me see the humor in it, but I still can’t think of that weirdness without a shred of nausea.
I’ve heard all kinds of worst-date stories, and that is absolutely my go-to. You went out with a guy who made fun of you all night? One that couldn’t stay off his phone? A guy that brought his cat? That sucks.
But having gone out with my cousin, I think I will forever win. Or lose. Whatever.