Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Nicest Boyfriend I Never Had

Long, long before I became a slut – in fact, when I was still a high-school virgin – a really, really nice boy was completely in love with me ... and I was absolutely, positively oblivious to the fact.

J. and I met at the University of Texas - Austin the summer before our senior year of high school. We were both in a "gifted and talented" program for minorities called LEAD.

Here are all the signs the boy loved everything about me, even my dirty drawers:

  • He painted my toenails for me.
  • He talked to me for hours.
  • He bought me the 12" version of George Michael's "Monkey" single.
  • He even flew from Philadelphia to see me after the program was over.

Here are all the reasons it never even occurred to me that J. was interested in me:

  • Except for a different J. in kindergarten, who I used to smooch with in the coat closet, I had never had a boyfriend or been on a real date.
  • Even though I was actually quite cute and sort of knew it when I looked at pictures of myself, I was convinced I was ugly. (In middle schools, the boys rated me and gave me Cs, Ds, Es and a Z – all except for C., who kindly granted me a B+.)
  • I was jumpy around men. Probably due to one of my dad's methods of discipline: "bapping." Out of nowhere, BAP! He'd zing me or my siblings with a backhand slap to the forehead.
  • J. never came right out and said, "I really, really like you. Do you wanna go with me?" (Yes, in the 80s, that's how we referred to dating: it was called "going together.") Years later, we reconnected by phone and he confirmed, "I was so completely in love with you. Why do you think I painted your toenails?"
But the truth is, I never knew J. cared about me, because it never even occurred to me that anyone could be attracted to me. I thought of him as a "friend," not because I wasn't attracted to him, but because it didn't occur to me that I should be attracted to him.

I had a blind spot when it came to nice, sweet, wholesome, smart, wonderful and not-at-all bad-looking boys who happened to be crazy about me. Unfortunately, that blind spot followed me well into my adult life.

2 comments:

izzie_tisha said...

Well you painted your picture back in the 80's... but you ended paiting myself right now and ever since I was a teenager... although I can't really point out one "J."... the rest is all me... :|

Cheron L. Hall said...

How cute, those memories are the best ones...feels like we are kindred spirits reading your blog...I swear..I was JUST talking about this "going together" the other night about how a brother would just say, "will you go with me?" and we would just "go" not knowing where, just as long as we were "going" with there together...lol...

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