I mentioned briefly in Reflections on Monogamy: The Childhood Years that as a child, I was particularly preoccupied with the idea of falling in love. This can easily be traced back to having seen entirely too many Disney movies and the notion that I’ve always been the kind of person who just does what they’re supposed to do. And clearly, based on the Disney principle, what I was supposed to do was marry the first boy I see (because I’ve been living under lock and key for all of my life, but still manage to understand how to love prudently and demurely…seriously, how were those Disney princesses not hopping on those pretty boys right off the bat?).
I was very methodical in choosing who would be the lucky man, often having to change course once realizing that many 8-year-old boys were not interested in marriage, despite how alluring I tried to make the tax breaks and other various monetary benefits. Usually it was a) whichever boy was talking to me (because I was really strange and awkward and anxious, so getting talked to was kind of a feat in and of itself) or b) whosever name I liked the most (because phonetics are important in a relationship).
I have undoubtedly learned well since then (or have I?), but it took a lot of trial and error and growing up to realize that there is more to love than a name, and that relationships can be a pain and it may be best to wait around for the second or third boy you see before doing anything rash.
Meanwhile, I bring you the top 5 most awkward encounters I had with these potential suitors.May they bring you joy, wisdom, and confidence…because 3rd grade you probably had much better game.
5) Cute boy with nice name is seated across from me on the first day of school. He says nothing to acknowledge me, but I decide if I stare at him enough, perhaps he will notice me. Isn’t that how you let a person know you like them? By staring at their face? Is that how you tell them they have a nice face?
Him: Uh…could you stop looking at me?
Clearly, I had been mistaken. I sometimes wonder if this is why I now live in fear of eye contact.
4) I strut over to boy’s desk, sporting new haircut. I coolly tilt my face toward his, flashing a gap-toothed grin.
Him: What the hell happened to your hair?
Granted, he was absolutely right. It was a horrible haircut. I thought maybe if I cut it short, I would look like Amy Jo Johnson, aka the Pink Ranger, aka the most badass bitch on cable. The problem is I have incredibly thick hair, and cutting it any shorter than my collarbone results in my resembling a church bell.
3) In classic fashion, I send my best friend to stand behind my crush on the lunch line to casually dig for information about his feelings toward me. I sit with my hood up, incognito, at a nearby table.
Friend: Hey, so do you like Jillian?
I still have no idea if this was more or less embarrassing than my more ambiguous attempts. On the one hand, I didn’t have to spend any more time wondering. On the other hand, if he possessed normal intelligence (which I really wasn’t sure of. Like I said, it was all about names!), he was now fully aware of the fact that I liked him. Ah well. At least my hood was up to hide my tears!
2) Me: Hey, I bet I could make you laugh.
Him: Bet you can’t.
I run away.
In the fifth grade, while at the pinnacle of my pubescent awkward phase, I discovered that I was sort of funny, and I thought I could use this redeeming quality to my advantage when it came to my quest for male affection. However, I also discovered that forcing yourself to be funny on the spot is a recipe for panic. My hope is that he thought my running away was the punch line and that he actually laughed hysterically. I am unsure since I never looked back.
And the heart-breaker…
1)It’s the first day of school and I see the boy I had a monster crush on the entire year before while heading out to the buses. I give him an enthusiastic wave to outwardly reflect the fluttering of my heart.
Him: I don’t know you.
In a way, it made me more attracted to him since he was clearly hyper-aware of stranger danger, and if he really didn’t recognize me, he did the right thing. Still, it stung a little.