As the perpetually single friend, Jessica Wurst has been on a lot of dates. Sometimes she gets swept off of her feet. Sometimes things get strange. Sometimes both. We asked the Alma native, who now lives in New York, to tell us about her most memorable Arkansas dates.
*On a quiet Friday evening, I had resigned my single self to some binge TV watching when I noticed someone was peering through my window. Panic struck and I reached for the phone to dial 911, but the guy outside the window started calling my name and asking me to open the door. Turns out it was a handsome young musician I had seen about town, but never met — he’d gone around asking various friends, employers, etc. of mine where I lived so he could show up at my window. He told me that his grandfather was in the van waiting with a cooler of beer. Would I like to go two-stepping with him and his grandpa? Did I mention he was handsome? I said yes. We went to a honky-tonk dive in Levy (never been before or since). We danced the night away but he kept telling me to reserve a dance for his grandpa. Well, that turned out to be two of the longest minutes of my life. Grandpa had a tremor that only became apparent once we started dancing, and he spent the entire dance leering at me and making dirty remarks. When the bar closed, we went back to grandpa’s trailer. More beer and we sang cowboy songs. There were some oddly placed mirrors and a black hot tub in the bedroom at the back of the trailer. And maybe a waterbed, I can’t quite recall. He drove me home in the wee hours of the morning. It was definitely a more entertaining evening than whatever was on TV.
*I got in an elevator on a Saturday night, going up to a friend’s apartment where I was staying. There was a guy in the elevator with me and when I got off, he got off too. “Are we neighbors?” he asked. I explained I was just staying for the weekend. “Well, what are you doing?” he asked. “Would you like to come over for a glass of wine?” Sure, why not? This is the sort of thing I do with my time. We had a pleasant evening. He was 11 years younger than me and had just quit law school in order to train for the Navy Seals. I saw him a few more times. He liked to cook me dinner. He kept showing up with new tattoos. We had the same birthday — between that and the elevator, he thought it was a magical sign. It was sad: He cried when I broke it off.
*An accidental date of sorts: I was walking down the street with a guy — a friend of a friend, visiting from out of town — when someone came up behind us. We noticed he was walking faster and faster. He weaved in front and pulled a gun on us and said “give me all your cash.” The guy I was walking with handed over his cash; I had a stupid purse with thousands of zippers and couldn’t find my money, so after much fumbling, the robber demanded that I just give him my purse, which I did. The robber ran away. The guy and I called the cops and filed a police report. Feeling traumatized, we cozied up together that night. “Everybody’s going to be so nice to us tomorrow,” he said. Then he kissed me. Post-traumatic make-out session.
*In true Arkansas style, one date took me camping, out in the middle of nowhere. He set up the tent and we started a fire, cooking steaks as the sun set. We were well into a bottle of wine when out of nowhere he pulled out a guitar. He had apparently been hiding it somewhere so he could surprise me. What did he choose to serenade me with? The Indigo Girls “Closer to Fine.” This was such a bad choice that I actually felt, well, afraid. Also, either he wasn’t very musically inclined or maybe he had just learned the song for this big moment (was I giving off an Indigo Girls vibe?). He was well out of his wheelhouse and struggled through the rendition. At this point, we were out of wine and it was getting cold. He suggested we move to the tent and play a game of strip poker. I agreed and immediately started losing. When I was down to the bare essentials I decided it was time to call it a night and managed to hide by zipping myself all the way up inside my sleeping bag.
*The guy I’m currently dating I met because my cousin placed bets on a game of Connect Four and she lost. She had bet that if she lost he could kiss her cousin (me). I was talking to another group of people and some random guy just walked up and kissed me. It was bold. Is he the one? Not sure yet.