Figuring out what I wanna be when I grow up.
Oop..I AM grown up...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Highschool Crush

Image from HERE

Her 16th birthday came and went, and was mostly forgotten.  It's after the wedding of her sister Jinny:  Sam is wearing a pale, pinky lilac bridesmaid dress, with a wreath of dainty flowers in her hair.  She is the last one to come out of the church and when she looks up, she sees the sports car across the street, and unbelievably, her highschool crush leaning casually, looking at HER.  "Me?!?"  She mouths, incredulous.  "Yeah, you!" Jake says quietly back. 

And so highschool girls all across North America swooned.

What--you never saw "Sixteen Candles"???

Do you know why that movie was amazing to me? Sure, it was your basic 1980's teen movie, and yeah, it was funnier and better than a lot of other movies in that genre, but what really gets me, grabs me and lights my imagination on fire is this: the popular, gorgeous highschool senior, falls for a younger student he barely even knows. AND THAT ALMOST NEVER FREAKING HAPPENED!

When I was in grade 9, I felt like highschool was a SMORGASBORD of cute boys. Cute boys were my and my girlfriends' obsession. Who's cute? Who's cuter? Were there any "cute boys" on your summer vacation? Ohmygod, so-and-so went skiing and there was the CUTEST guy there with his family for the weekend! Quick, the carnival's in town! Try to look as good as possible because there are going to be BOYS there! Will there be any cute boys? Oh god, please let there be cute boys.

Nothing like a bunch of giggling, boy-crazy teenage girls with their radars up constantly for CUTE BOYS. But what were the boys doing? Were they as obsessed as us hoping to run into girls everywhere they went?

So, when I was in grade 9, there was this boy. He was in grade 12. He was on the basketball team, AND the football team. He was big and tall, and had black hair. And he was beautiful. To me, he was at the pinnacle of all the boys I had crushes on in those fickle, young girl days. He had this slow, casual way of moving through the halls. I would yearn for the moments between class to see him in the hall. I spent 2 whole school years obsessing over him, desperately trying to work up the courage to smile at him. A couple of times he noticed me. I wonder if he thought; who the hell is this KID who's always freaking staring at me???

When there was basketball practice, or a game, I would be there in the bleachers, swooning.  I would watch nearly every football practice or home game, just so I could see him charge across the field, even if my feet were freezing in my cheap, flat shoes.  At the highschool dances I would be thrilled if he actually showed up.  I could hardly look at anyone or anything else. 

And then, the unthinkable happened:  he got a girlfriend.  I was, of course, in teen devastation.  I can't even remember what that girl looks like now.  I only remember her name was "Marcy" and she was in the arms of the boy I loved.  Teenage angst has no logic, of course, only pure, bald, melodramatic, over-the-top emotion.  They danced close together to the slow songs.  I stood back in the shadows and ached.  At home I would lament in my diary how beautiful he is, how unobtainable, how I hoped this Marcy would be nice to him. 

But yet, I never even knew him.  And then he disappeared.  I dreamed about that boy through two years of highschool, and then who knows where he went.  So, "Sixteen Candles" was remarkable to me.  Did every girl put herself in "Sam's" shoes?  What if my highschool crush had decided one day that he didn't want to go out with his pretty, popular, senior peer?  What if he had been waiting after school for me one day, because he thought it was "kinda cool" the way I was always looking at him? 

Enh--I'd have blown it for sure. 

So recently, in the great world of social connections, thanks to the internet, my highschool crush has resurfaced.  Every now and then on Facebook, I would type his name into the search bar, just for fun, just out of curiosity.  My friend B. sent me a little message not too long ago.  There was a profile, with a guy who had that same name, with a teeny, tiny, frustratingly small, completely unidentifiable photograph.  However, there were recognizable names from highschool on his friend list.  Hm, that's kinda fun.

If you're on Facebook, you'll know that there's sub-section of the "find friends" search option called "people you may know," or something like that.  It works on that whole "6 degrees of separation" concept, and lists people who are friends of your friends.  It's fun to search through that list.  Some names popped up of people I hadn't seen or heard from in years. 

And so, one night when I was bored recently I scrolled down through that whole, long list.  Hm...that girl looks incredibly familiar.  Wait a minute!  Isn't that my highschool crush's sister?  I slipped in, undetected, to her profile.  She's one of those fun people who doesn't have her privacy settings so tight that you can't see her photos.  I lurv that, personally.  Not because I'm a creepy voyeur, but because, well, some people have really nice pictures, and I guess I am a voyeur--just not a creepy one.  There I found a picture of her and her family sometime in the early 80's.  The pic was great:  her dad looked like a more balding Chevy Chase, hairdos were feathered to perfection, and there was that boy standing there smiling out from the picture. 


So now, here I am, years later.  I have 2 beautiful children.  The years between highschool and now have been at times, wonderful, amazing, lonely, extremely difficult and completely heartbreaking--not unlike anyone else, I suppose.  I love my husband and family.  I'm glad I never have to go through highschool again.  While I think about my highschool crush every now and again, I'm certainly not in love with him.  What the hell???  I never knew him, I never met him.  Who knows if we'd even have gotten along if we'd ever exchanged any words. 


there is part of me that was compelled to send that sister I found on facebook a little email. I even kind of considered sending "him" an email-not because I want to cause any trouble, or upset his wife, or stir the pot, but because don't you think it would be so cool if anyone ever sent YOU a message like that?  Plus, when I was a teenager, I was so shy.  So insecure.  But now I realise that all of that silly stuff is NOT bigger than I am, and even though everything felt like THE END OF THE WORLD at one time, I'm old enough to realise that that just isn't so. 

I never sent any message, of course. 

Would YOU?


  1. ahhh the good ol days, when we had romantic notions, that anything could happen, a la 'sixteen candles'.i had a crush on a couple of guys, and guess what, i found out later that they had crushes on me too! that is the ultimate in ego boost!i even got to marry one of my crushes, hey maybe romantic notions do work out after all!

  2. A Mike Hall's scenes with Molly (sam) in the autoshop class car and in Jake's kitchen drinking martinis are so good, they should be studied in school. the throaway lines are epic

    i have repeated the speech Sam's dad gives her when she tells him about Jake to my teenage daughter...pinky swear

    your blog makes me laugh and/or smile everyfriggintime

  3. Paula, that's a wonderful story! Now go away with your wonderful story. You were supposed to tell a tale of unrequited angst.

    It's true though, about the young romantic notions.

  4. oh Lance. I heart you now. I had a feeling you'd know the movie. That makes ME feel happy.

    You're right--Anthony Michael Hall was hugely underrated in that movie.

    And thanks for the nice compliment, by the way.

  5. I would! I've gotten in touch with lots of old friends and flames through facebook. It's nice for all of us to see each other with families, although I still have a tough time looking at all these 50 year olds when I still picture them as 29!

  6. That wonderful story had a few 'bumps along the way', as you may recall, Karen. But then again, I guess Sixteen Candles did as well! More evidence that 80's coming-of-age movies were an effective guide for life...

    Stand By Me had a more resounding impact for me - just sayin'

    Crushes can be scary too. Like the girl who got someone to spy on my locker combination so that she could steal my winter scarf. The grade 9 rumour mill suggested many unpleasant things were done to that scarf (likely untrue) - enough to make me politely turn down an offer to return it a couple of months later. Funny that years later I bumped into that girl and we both laughed about it.

    Karen - should I publicly guess who that 'crush' of yours was??? C'mon, it'll be fun!

  7. that's true Leanne--I have no clue what this guy looks like now. What if his appearance now is so different it ruins a LIFETIME of trumped up memories???

  8. Ha ha ha ha ha, now you're making me feel like I'm 14 again, pleading with people to NOT TELL! You have to fb me with who that girl was in grade 9. I have completely forgotten that story. Do you think you know how that crush was of mine?

  9. ppffft....

    like he'd ever read my blog.

  10. Just rent 16 Candles again and laugh at Long Duck Dong. I suspect it will likely be much better than reality.

  11. Doubtful! I don't know if I'd put it out that - why? I am so different now, not sure I'd want the misconception of "who" was sending the message. Just a thought. BUT if it felt totally right, and then yes, I would. If it felt like a present thing, not a past thing, I'd do it.
    Great question!

  12. dbs, I actually just watched it again a couple of weeks ago. Those Long Duck Dong jokes would never fly nowadays.

  13. good answer, Christina. I don't know if I would, because it might sound like I'm fishing for something, and I wouldn't want his wife to wonder who the hell this bitch is.

  14. Nice post.

    I would not send any message. I think it is likely that he was, and still is a neanderthal, and as such the memory is always greater than the reality.

  15. I loathed high school. So much. So I wouldn't send the message.

    But I love your story!

  16. Laoch! A neanderthal! Oooo...that's something I hadn't considered...

    can you imagine if I sent him a message and his reply was all DUH DUH? Yeah, that would ruin years of fond day dreams.

  17. Ms. Suniverse, loath is just barely strong enough to describe how much I too hated highschool. I'm almost worried this post gave the impression that it was good times ;)

  18. that jake ryan is still a hottie 25!!![i am so very old] years later, for some reason he doesn't look very 80's. am i the only one who really loved high school?[well only grades 11 to 13].

  19. Oh my god -- I cannot wait to read this. Sixteen Candles is my all-time favorite movie. I know nearly every line by heart! "The donger need food!"

    But my kids are screaming for breakfast, so I better go toss some scraps through the bars of their cages to buy myself some time to read this! Will check it out later...

    (Um, you people know I was kidding about the cages, right....?)

  20. Yeah, but Paula, you didn't go to Super Snob High. Yes, Jake Ryan is still SMOKIN' HOT all these years later, and it probably IS because he doesn't look very 80's. I still like Judd Nelson in Breakfast Club too, but he was blech by the next movie.

  21. The Donger Need Food! LURV IT.

    Why not have cages? It's the civilized way to MOTHER.

  22. Okay so I finally got to read this post. I knew I had to, because as I mentioned, this is perhaps my favorite film of all time. You can imagine how my film-school interviews went -- Esteemed Film School Instructor: So, tell us about the directors and films you admire most. Me: Umm, John Hughes... Sixteen Candles. Them: blank stares as they wait for the punchline or for me to recant. Which I never did. Though sometimes I also added: "And Cinema Paradiso." Because it was true. That's one of my other favorite movies.

    Ever since fucking FB showed up, I have pondered questions like yours. Whether we revisit our past. What it would be like now to see some of these people as our adult selves. That just lead me to remember an idea I had for a post of my own -- about finding an old love letter. Hmmm... glad I remembered that! Will have to write that one!

    I guess... the simplest thing is NOT to contact him. Which you say you didn't. It's certainly the least problematic. But... it might also be fun if there were some anonymous way to send a message simply to say how you had such a crush on him in high school, and how funny it is to think about now, and it's weird to be a so-called "adult" and remember those years of teen anxst. It might make his day. I know a message like that would make mine. I would also include the fact that you're happily married and that you have no desire to start up a conversation with him, but you just thought it would be fun/amusing for him to know that way-back-when, he was your big secret crush.

    Chances are, even if he's a neanderthal, he's possibly a balding, beer-gutted neanderthal who wishes he could relive his glory days (as many of us do, though mine were often more like gory days), and you'd be doing him a favor.

    As long as you aren't starting any trouble and keep yourself anonymous... it could be interesting. Then again, I tend to be a litte wackier than most... so listening to my advice is probably not a safe idea!

    Loved the post, and yes, it threw me back to the time when boys wouldn't even look at me. I had similar experiences to you, but for me it was more college where I felt like it was a buffet of boys. My high school was small, and I'd grown up with so many of those guys. But college? I got there and holy shit -- some of those "boys" already looked like men! The seniors? Jeez. I was literally rendered speechless during freshman orientation when the football players returned from summer training camp and stormed across campus, the earth thundering beneath them. I could not believe I was going to share a campus with those Adonis-like creatures. Ahh, memories...

  23. that was a great reply, Minka! Yeah, I also SUPER LURV Breakfast Club. And as for Pretty in Pink and oh...what's that movie with Eric Stoltz..Some kind of Wonderful: not as exciting somehow.

    Anyhoo, all good advice on how to send a 'trouble' free SHOUT OUT. See, you agree with me: it would be totally thrilling to get a message like that, especially during these cruel MIDLIFE CRISIS years.

    Yeah, when I got to highschool, all the boys I'd grown up with were in grade 9 with me. It was all very exciting and completely, pathetically unrequited.


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