Friday, March 12, 2010
My biggest crush in seventh and eighth grade was on a boy named Kevin (last name forever withheld to protect the innocent). I liked him for no other reason than that I thought he was cute.
When you're a 12- or 13-year-old girl, what other reason can there be? You don't (or didn't in "my" day) hang out with the boys at lunch. You don't shoot hoops in their driveway after school. You don't find yourself drawn to the fascinating and insightful comments he made in class about Lord of the Flies. You simply see him in the hall or sitting hunched over his desk and you think, "That's the one for me."
And then you stalk him.
I didn't exactly stalk Kevin. I just looked for him . . . and watched him and put his initials on my legs using stickers when I lay out in the sun. And I called him. Once.
His mother answered the phone and told me, quite, uh, forcefully, that girls should never call boys. I don't even recall if he came to the phone after that or if I hung up, mortified and humiliated.
He did, however, become my boyfriend for about two glorious weeks, during which time I saw him outside of school once. He came to a friend's party to say hi after a baseball game, and all I remember is how much he smelled like a boy: sweaty and gross.
A few days later, he went back to his old girlfriend and I moved on to my next target, er, crush.
Looking back, I don't know if I can call any of my early-teen crushes 'crushes.' I think obsessions is the more truthful word here if we're being truthful--and since it's been 20-some years since then, I think I'm okay with being truthful.
See, (being truthful again) once you actually do sit by that boy in lunch or shoot hoops in his driveway or listen to him speak up in class, you get over the 'crush' about 99% of the time. "He talks with his mouth full of food? Disgusting." "He stinks when he sweats? Nasty." "He didn't understand that the conch shell represented civilization and order? Please." That's how life goes. Most things look better from a distance and are more appealing in theory than in actuality. The only two things that are better are staying in love with the person you fell in love with, and being a parent.
My oldest is 13 now, and he's hit the stage where the girls are calling him . . . and texting him and hanging outside our house on a Saturday night hoping to catch a glimpse of him. And they're crying when he gets his hair cut. And he's clueless. I don't mean he's humble, because humility implies overcoming pride. I'm saying he's seriously clueless.
Over the course of four days recently, he received (primarily) and sent (well more than a handful) a total of 615 text messages to several girls (all of them friends with each other). My husband and I had to have a little pow-wow with him and explain the concept of limited texting and massive overages and college funds.
He got it. He understood. Since this little pow-wow three nights ago, he's sent one text (I keep a close watch on the account now). He's a good kid who, even at 13, doesn't want to upset his parents. Or upset them too much, anyway.
More than having a little chat with him, however, I wanted to have a little chat with the girls--and not the kind of "chat" Kevin's mom had with me. What I wanted to say was, "Sweeties, he stinks when he sweats, and sometimes he talks with his mouth full, and he hated Lord of the Flies."
I absolutely believe my son is wonderful and smart and funny and good-looking and kind. But he'll get even better with age.
And so will the girls.