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I want to hold your hand


By Joe Grace



I'm 21 years old and I've still never held hands with a girl during a movie before.\nWhich makes this night, my first movie date with this girl, all the more nerve-wracking. We're watching "Finding Nemo," an animated comedy about Marlin, an overly cautious clownfish who loses his son Nemo.\nThe movie is just the background for the night, though. The main story is between a nervous boy and a wonderful girl, who, more than anything, he doesn't want to scare off.\nMarlin is fretting. His son has just been taken by a dentist on a scuba diving expedition. I'm fretting too. While Marlin is trying to figure out what to do about Nemo, I'm trying to figure out how to find my date's right hand.\nTwo slight ocean-sized problems though. Her hands are on her lap, and mine are sweating. She'd think I was gross. She'd know I'm nervous. She'd believe I was overly aggressive. I could have monkeypox for all she knows. She'd have to wash her hands afterwards. \nMarlin: You have to be careful. My wife and all my children, except Nemo, died because I wasn't cautious. What if she doesn't like you? Or she does, and she decides there is absolutely no way she could date a guy with sweaty hands afterward.\nYet, even as I'm imagining him saying this, the once over-protective clownfish is throwing all caution to the wind, or would that be current? He's bravely taking on vegetarian sharks, minefields and the incessant jabbering of Dory, a fish voiced by Ellen DeGeneres. That takes some gills.\nThe fact my date scares the seaweed out of me can mean only one thing: Either I'm the first person ever to have contracted pretty girl phobia, or I must really like this girl. I'm afraid it's the latter. If I just knew what to do next.\nDory: Oh, I know. I know. This is where you sing the happy swimming song!\nSadly, Dory is not helping me any.\nBruce, the vegetarian shark: Girls are friends! Not food! \nSadly, neither is Bruce. My hands still feel like I dipped them into the fish tank Nemo is stuck in. Maybe if I rub my fingers together. Oops. Now she KNOWS my hands are sweaty. Why else would I rub my fingers together? Maybe she was paying attention to the break dancing sea turtle.\nNemo: Why don't you just take her hand? It'd be easy. If I can learn to swim well with a deformed fin, you can surely hold this girl's hand. If she likes you, she won't care if your hand is sweaty or not.\n By golly, Nemo's right. If that little fish can survive a vigorous plastic bag shaking, a trip though the sewers and then find his dad, I can surely hold this girl's hand.\n Her hand just moved down to her side. Houston, we have liftoff. Captain, down periscope. All hands on deck ... literally. But what if she's just stretching her hand. Who the heck stretches their hand? Maybe she does.\nYes, I can do this. I can have a happy ending. I can find her hand in this huge gulf of five inches.\nI decide to dart from the safety of my personal sea anemone toward the palm of her hand. I gently touch them with the tips of my finger, and she takes my hand. Only about 15 minutes are left in the film, but at least I'll be holding her hand during those 15 minutes.\nMarlin: You know, she could just be being nice.\nNemo: Dad!

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