Shortly before Thanksgiving, WonderTurtle tagged me to write about my childhood crushes, which I'm just now getting around to doing, having been fairly preoccupied with a certain adulthood crush.
Although WonderTurtle and Coaster Punchman both remember having crushes as early as the age of four, my first memorable crush was on Jon Black in the fifth grade. Jon Black was a short blonde boy who lived next door to me. We attended some sort of after-school recreation program together which, as I recall, mostly involved eating mentos, playing on the playground, and -- if you had a boyfriend -- kissing him behind the portables. As it turned out, Jon Black had a crush on me too, and he asked me if I wanted to go out with him. Of course I wanted to go out with him, but I was also the world's biggest goodie goodie so I told him I'd have to ask my mom first. "Where are you gonna go?" inquired my mom. "No, Mom, we're not gonna GO anywhere. He's just gonna, like, be my boyfriend" I tried to explain. "Your boyfriend?!" said my mom, "You're ten. You're not allowed to date until you're 16." Which is pretty much what I told Jon Black while my younger sister, to whom it never would have occurred to ask permission, looked on shaking her head and rolling her eyes at my stupidity. I've often wondered whether my mom's answer would have been different had the favorite pastime of Jon Black's four older brothers not been shooting our dog, but I have never repeated the mistake of sharing the details of my love life with her.
In the sixth grade there was David Kerr, who my friends called "chipmunk cheeks." I have no idea what I liked about David Kerr except, perhaps, that his name was David. (It became apparent later in life that I had a thing for Davids.) But in the sixth grade I liked David Kerr so much that I went to school on days I would have ordinarily faked sick. I often pretended to be sick so that I wouldn't have to go to school, not because I didn't like school but because I didn't like waking up. My mom's rule was that if you didn't go to school, you didn't get to do anything AFTER school -- a reasonably good way to determine whether you were faking or not. On one particular Friday that I'd decided to fake sick my mom reminded me of A) the rule and B) the 5th and 6th grade roller skating party that night. After considerable internal debate I decided to go to school so that I could go to the roller skating party where, for sure, David Kerr would ask me to skate with him. He didn't.
In the eighth grade I fell for Jeff, whose wardrobe consisted entirely of Polo and who NEVER did his Latin homework. I was enamored of Jeff for all of eighth and ninth grade and into the beginning of tenth, until I learned that my best friend had gone to the mall with him -- even though she knew I liked him (!), at which point I (temporarily) stopped speaking to both of them. To be fair to her, my best friend only went to the mall with Jeff to make HIS best friend jealous and they (my best friend and Jeff's best friend) are now happily married.
Somewhere in here, although I'm not sure where, was a summer crush on Dave Kelley (see? another David). Dave was an out-of-town friend of my sister's boyfriend Ryan, and his family spent a couple weeks visiting Ryan's family at the beach. Dave was tall and goofy and nice. We sat around at bonfires and went for walks on the beach (ha!) and I think he might have even held my hand. His mom told my mom that he'd gotten some Garfield stationery so that he could write me letters when he went home. I don't think he ever did.
In the tenth grade there was Mike Elkins. *sigh* Mike had long black hair (not black like mine, which is actually dark brown, but black like "quoth the raven 'nevermore'"), painted black fingernails, and approximately three outfits: jeans and a Jane's Addiction t-shirt, jeans and a Danzig t-shirt, and jeans and a Screaming Trees t-shirt. He thought school was pointless and refused to dress out for PE, choosing instead to sit quietly on the gym floor reading Steinbeck or Hemingway or Sylvia Plath and talking to me about politics and religion. As much as it's possible to love someone when you're 15, I loved Mike Elkins.
My junior year in high school I moved from Virginia Beach to the suburbs of DC and developed a crush on Bryce (collective groan), who was also new to school. Bryce was bad. I say that now with a great deal of hindsight, but even then Bryce was bad. My eleventh grade crush on Bryce faded when he got arrested for grand larceny (because, really, a girl's gotta draw the line somewhere), but returned in the twelfth grade after we played Trivial Pursuit together and he asked me to marry him when I correctly answered a question about acetylsalicylic acid (ah, dork love). Bryce and I spent most of our senior year hanging out but not actually dating, due in no small part to a probably-true rumor that he'd bet his best friend he could sleep with me before graduation. A bet he lost, by the way -- I was 17 and saving myself for true love.