♫ “Dear Marcus…you rocked my world…you had a charismatic way about you with the women…” ♪
Oh Alanis, how many men done you wrong, sister? I feel you, I do. This will kind of be my very own “Unsent”, but I’ll change all the names to Woody Allen characters. I’m not entirely sure I feel comfortable with all this. But the thing is…
I feel that we’ve all left a trail of crushes through our lives that we hold on to. Their fleeting nature means nostalgia for that particular time and place in our existence remains long after the feeling of origin has died away. To me, in that sense, they’re uniquely suited to show how we’ve grown and changed over the years. My most memorable crushes are those who at the time made my heart feel bruised, but upon current reflection mostly make me laugh. So here they are. Some of them, anyway.
1) Sid: It turns out you were gay all along but nothing could keep my 7-year-old self away from that golden blonde curtain of hair on the playground. You were drôle, dry, sardonic. I felt we were both just a little too good for that place, two old souls swinging from the monkey bars while our so-called peers sat in the sand crapping their pants. I used to pace around the school hoping to casually run into you. I’m guessing I was probably a lot less super casual in my well-coordinated Northern Getaway outfits than I thought I was. One time I had a 5 minute conversation with you and your friend Tim during a game of marbles. Best day of my life. I heard Tim has turned into an ass who walks up to strangers at weddings and flips their ties over to check the label. That’s what I heard.
2) Isaac: Ours was a tortured love. At 8-years-old I was disillusioned in my realization that boys go after the pristine, perfectly coiffed, genteel girls. I was more of a roll-out-of-bed, throw-on-a-dress-with-sweatpants-and-go-to-school-with-Cheerios-in-my-hair kind of gal. I found your favoritism as a tennis instructor to be sickening, and yet my dark-hearted desire for you was hard to conceal. I’ll admit I wasn’t the most emotionally subtle elementary school student, and I felt my only option was to stage a coup d’etat. When my chanting protest on a bike I named “Purple Angel” failed to start an uprising outside the tennis court, I made a formal complaint to one of the community mothers. Now, I’m not necessarily proud of what I did or said to get you fired. But, what can I say. You mess with the bull…etc., etc.
3) JTT. (no need for a name change, ladies – PUT YA HANDS UP!) So uncomplicated. Your boyish good looks filled the pages of Tiger Beat and similarly thrilling magazines. My sister and our two friends, also known collectively by our club name “The Challengers” (I’m sure you’ve heard of us), even formulated a game based on what we would do if you came to our door. It was creatively called “What Would You Do If JTT Came To Your Door” and always ended in a fit of giggles and a lack of understanding of what was supposed to happen when we reached the bedroom. I remember tearing out a poster from one of my magazines in which you were wearing overalls without a shirt. I taped it up in my closet so my mom wouldn’t see. Oh, to be young and in love.
4) Mickey. We’ll skip ahead a few years. Being called a fat lesbian by the boys in your class throughout middle school kind of dampens the appeal of the entire gender. Things started getting better in high school, with the exception of an 11th grader throwing a fruit cup in my face and a 10th grader throwing a hacky sack at my head. I guess I should have reconsidered my “Please Toss Random Objects At Me” t-shirt. I was pretty much entirely unfamiliar with positive male attention. I think my sense of humor allowed you to bypass the requisite “this girl is not considered cool so I can’t talk to her” legislation put in effect by teenage boys. And I really liked making you laugh. It probably confused you and your not fully-formed brain a great deal to have warm feelings for someone like me, who wasn’t an Ashley or a Brittany; who didn’t start binge drinking and performing other way-too-early actions in the 8th grade. So you’d taunt me, trying to get attention. You sat behind me in physics class and made hurtful sexual remarks in my direction, knowing how much it embarrassed me. I figured if I ignored it, it would disappear. I’d been trying that since the age of 9. If I was invisible, they couldn’t hurt me. But this was different, you were my friend. You took my stoicism as a huge insult and decided to verbally abuse me in front of a group of my friends. I still can’t repeat your words out loud. My face flushed like fire, my tear-filled eyes fixed steadily on the blurry clock, watching its hands saunter like an old man at the grocery store for the remaining 15 minutes of class.