Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Childhood Crush Tag - Vol. 1
Wonderturtle began a frightening game of tag about childhood crushes, and I was specifically named as someone who is required to answer. At first I was freaked out by the thought of this, but upon further reflection decided it could be an interesting walk down memory lane. And I suppose for me this will be a bit of a gender-bending exercise as well.
The first time I remember being really, really into someone was when I was four years old. I had a lot of little friends in our neighborhood, but for some reason I really dug this other little boy who lived out of town and visited our next-door neighbors sometimes. I don't remember his name, but whenever he was over visiting, he and I were completely inseparable. If either one of us had to go somewhere in the car we would insist that the other got to go along, and then we would sit together in the back seat. We may even have held hands, but I'm not sure.
The next person I was really, really close to was a girl named Julie from the neighborhood - we were also about four years old. She and I played together all the time, and she LOVED a special game we played called "Pull Down Pants." She always wanted me to chase her, tackle her to the ground and then pull down her pants. My brothers made a lot of fun of me for playing this game with her. It sounds kinky, I know, but it was completely innocent.
(Ok, I didn't have a crush on Julie, but I thought you'd like to hear that story anyway.)
I didn't have any more crushes until I was in second grade, when I was really drawn to this girl, Cindy, who was in my class. Cindy and I TOTALLY dug each other, and everyone else in the class knew it and made fun of us. In class we used to do these exercises where you would go write the answer to some question on the chalkboard, and then if you got the question right you were allowed to call on the next person. Any time Cindy or I were up at the board the entire class would say "Oh, Cindy's going to choose Tom" or vice-versa. And we always did, despite the teasing. Cuz we were in luuuuuv.
I don't remember dropping Cindy for the new girl, Diane, but I did at some point. Diane was totally groovy. She had shoulder length blonde hair and this sultry low-pitched voice. She was also sweet as pie. I was absolutely smitten with Diane. One time I bought her heart-shaped earrings at a garage sale and gave them to her right in class. She loved them.
Looking back on this, I am surprised at how little shame or peer pressure I felt then. Boy, how things changed in later years.
In third grade I had a head-over-heels crush on this girl named Holly. She had the same kind of soft voice and manner as Diane, which I guess is why I liked her. This was another situation where the entire class knew we liked each other, but we didn't seem to care. One time Holly was standing looking at a bulletin board in the back of the classroom. I went up behind her, put my hands on her waist and just stood there holding her for about five minutes. She didn't wince or try to move away, so I guess she liked it. I heard someone say "God, what are Tom and Holly doing over there?" but I didn't care. I was really excited about touching her like that.
Putting my four-year-old boy crush aside, the first time I noticed that I was drawn to a boy was in seventh grade. This seemed to hit me out of nowhere. There was another boy named Tom who wasn't in my class and whom I didn't even know, but I saw him in the hallway and was just bowled over by him. I did some detective work to figure out who he was, and then would casually ask questions of people, trying to get more information. I even wrote about him in a journal I had at the time - it seemed really important that I figure out a way to get to know him and to become friends with him. Never happened.
This was also around the age that kids started getting really mean about anything remotely gay, so when the hormones really started to kick in I denied myself any further attractions to boys for a long time - although it must have been always bubbling under the surface.
The next really serious crush I had was on Lorrie Hansen in ninth grade. Lorrie was a year ahead of me, and was quite popular. She was a cheerleader, but was also really nice and not at all snobby like most of the girls in that set. I got to know her when she and I were paired as dancing partners in "Hello Dolly," and it was with her that I first learned to polka.
I developed a terrible crush on Lorrie, but by that age had been so beaten down by my peers that I didn't think anyone would like me in "that" way. But I was pretty open with others about how much I liked her, and I know at least one person told her about it. She said "well why doesn't he ask me out, then?" DUH! She probably would have gone on a date if I would have dared mention it.
I did send her a flower on Valentine's Day, and simply wrote "Hi, Lorrie" on the card. She gave me a hug to thank me, and that's about as far as it went because I was too much of a wuss to take it a step further. Lorrie was such a sweet, sweet girl. Sometimes I wonder what became of her. She ended up going to one of the all-female seven sisters colleges and I think may have experimented with lesbianism, though I don't know that for sure.
Oddly enough, around that same time I became friends and had a crush on an older kid, Dave, who was alternately flirty and really mean to me. I had always noticed him and thought "wow!" But I would never dare try to talk to someone who was so cool and two years older than me to boot. He and I both sang in the chorus of "Hello Dolly," and one day as a group of us were leaving the rehearsal room, he just started talking to me and joking around. Made me nervous and weak-kneed.
Dave and Lorrie also liked each other, and one night he took her out on a date. I begged him to tell me all about it, and I remember not being clear whom I envied more. But after his confessions about the date, I decided he was an asshole. As he recalled to me, when they were done with the movie or whatever it was they had done on their date, they were making out in his car. According to Dave, Lorrie became pretty excited and started exuding a quite strong female aroma, which grossed him out and prompted him to make her leave his car. He never talked to her again after that. What a dick.
Nonetheless, I still pretty much adored Dave like a stupid puppy dog. One time, toward the end of his senior year, he did something really weird. We had just completed the last curtain call on "Oklahoma," at which point people in the cast all gave each other hugs before exiting the stage doors to greet the adoring public. As I was walking out the doors to go find my friends and family, Dave pulled me back in and said "Tom, wait a minute. Come here."
I followed him through a door back onto the backstage, which at that point was empty and almost completely dark. He just stood there. I said "well, what do you want?" He took my right hand in both of his, and raised it to his lips. For a second I was just stunned, and then I quickly grabbed it away from him, saying "what is your problem? God, you're such an asshole!" before storming out of the theater. I figured he was trying to set me up and had people hiding in the wings to see if I would take the bait.
Or maybe he really wanted to kiss me. Guess I'll never know, but I'd love to hear your opinions.
I think that's enough for tonight. One day I will write a sequel which will bring us to the college years, and I will let Lulu relive the horror of our many late-night phone conversations. (Confidential to Lulu: "It's going to be ok.... It's gong to be ok....")
ps: I in turn choose to inflict this exercise upon three of my favorite B's: Bella, Beth and Bubs.