Life Before Boys

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I was originally working on a piece titled “What I Want in a Boyfriend, Circa 1993.”

But alas, I had no boyfriend circa 1993 and therefore would have been per fiction.

Maybe it was a good thing.  I say that now, but at the time when I was 17/18 years old, it was all I wanted.  Or all I thought that I wanted.  But not really.  Like many teens, I was ambivalent on the subject.  I wanted a boyfriend, kind of.  I wanted to be be wanted and “loved” (whatever that meant) but I didn’t want him to get in the way too much.  I didn’t want him to cramp my style or take me away from my friends, time to myself or become the giggling mass of dinginess and servitude  some of my friends at the time had become once they got boyfriends.  To me, they were a hot mess of hickeys and hormones held together with a three word phrase, “I love you” that made all their sacrifices of the mind and soul worth it.  But perhaps I am giving them too much credit.  Maybe there wasn’t that much mind and soul to to sacrifice.

I know I sound like sour grapes about it now.  But, really, maybe it was a good thing that I didn’t have a boyfriend.  I had all that time to study, work on myself, go out and have fun, and one always needs time to cry oneself to sleep.

Of course, I am exaggerating.

At one point in my formative years, I would have  loved to make out to Pearl Jam.  I thought that  “Ten” playing in the car CD player in the front seat and making out on the backseat would just be so ideal, so romantic, so deep and meaningful.  I did not date a boy who had his own car until I was 21 and he was 24.  I ended up marrying him.

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It is a good thing I never fulfilled that dream of making out to “Ten.”  That album was so critical to the molding of my young self and, not to be too grandiose about it, but it did influence who I am today.  If I had made out to “Ten,”  and some boy who would have broken my heart, because seventeen year old hearts are meant to be broken, it would have forever tainted that album for me.  Track 2 I would have remembered an awkward fumbling in the dark.  By track 6 he is leaving me at a party and talking to some other girl.  By track 10 I am devastated and would begin to hate the boy and Eddie Vedder by proxie for making me remember.

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And that would be a travesty.

Eddie Vedder might have been my first love.  His songs and lyrics made me think about what it would be like to be an actual person.  To be confused, angry, upset, but with hope and passion.

I remember the line from “Alive” second verse that really influenced my early views of what I thought sex was or what I thought it could be.

“Wow, she walks softly. Across a young man’s room. She said ‘I’m ready for you.’  Well, I don’t remember anything to this very day…. except the look.”

That verse showed me that a girl, no, a woman, is not just the object of affection, but can own her sexuality, but intimacy decisions on her own and she can be an actual participate, if not initiator of sex.  Mind blowing, huh?

I actually had an “Elderly Woman Behind a Counter in a Small Town” moment a few years ago.  I ran into randomly an old crush of mine.  Amazingly, as if out of a scene of my very own novel, every heartbreaking crush, every tingle he gave me with just his smile, even how he smelled filling my body and heart with such ache and longing came flooding back to me.

“I swear I recognize your breath.  Memories like fingerprints are slowly raising. Me you wouldn’t recall, for I’m not my former.. its odd when your stuck upon the shelf.  I change by not changing at all….But I just want to scream HELLO!  My God it’s been so long never dreamed you’d return but now here you are… and here I am….”

And no… even though this moment was rife with romantic tension, like before, like always and forever, it was one sided and this man will never love me.  Not like I loved him.  And perhaps it is just as well.  I no longer hold a flame for him… perhaps just a” candle of thought to light his name.”

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