Saturday, April 05, 2014
The Dating Game
My first "official" boyfriend, J.Z. (Those are his initials. Not Jay-Z, just to be clear) happened in 3rd or 4th grade. I believe we had been in the same class since Kindergarten, so the relationship was inevitable. He was also my BFF's boyfriend--he liked both of us, we both liked him, why make things messy? I believe she and I worked out a timeshare agreement ahead of time where we would, on alternating days, ignore him on the playground and blush furiously at the mention of his name. Also, once he gave us a broken Breyer horse statue to share. It was like a dream.
My first kiss with him was decided by coin toss--well, really by pencil flip, wherein if the pencil landed this way, it would be cheek; the other direction, mouth (spoiler alert: it landed on mouth). A second flip determined open or closed. Eyes. Open or closed eyes! Don't be gross. I don't remember what happened to the relationship after this pinnacle, but clearly it did not endure.
After that, grade school featured the guy I totally crushed on who liked me, too--but that all came to an end when I beat him in a race on the playground. I wasn't about to dumb it down. Then came the cute neighbor boy who was my true love until he broke up with me because I wouldn't walk in the park with my arm around him. What he took as a lack of devotion was really just an arm cramp.
Then came high school (after those awkward middle school years; not going to talk about those), the hormones and higher stakes. My first actual, real boyfriend happened. We were a real couple and went on dates and everything. He was a great kisser and we shared a love of music. This really was the tone of all my teenage affairs--kissing, music, not much talking, lots of unrequited feelings. Aah, the 80s.
I couldn't help but think back on my high school years watching teenage relationships portrayed in the media. From Andie & Blaine* to Dawson & Joey** to Rory & Dean***, these teen relationships did not represent my reality. I was more Angela Chase & Jordan Catalano**** or Julie & Randy*****--all angsty and clumsy.
So as I'm freaking out over my kid & his love life & talk to my friends about their experiences and seek out reality-based input, I found out that in real life? There's way more of the clumsy, angsty, not talking kind of relationship. I mean seriously, the first guy I was actually myself around asked me to marry him. What 12 year old American child is ready for that kind of pressure?
I have no regrets.
Name that teen couple! Did you recognize the names dropped in this post? If not, I assign you some remedial watching. To wit:
* Pretty in Pink
** Dawson's Creek
*** Gilmore Girls
**** My So-Called Life
***** Valley Girl
Bonus playlist: songs about love & such.