No one escapes high school without going through awkwardness – some of us more severely than others.
I was a complete goober from the first day of freshman year until the summer before my junior year.
After having had a rather traumatic junior high experience with male classmates, I’d chosen to attend an all-female high school.
I loved it! I wasn’t even interested in boys. In fact, I kind of acted like one. I didn’t wear makeup, cut my hair short and wore sports bras exclusively. I probably didn’t own a real bra until I was 15.
Needless to say, my first couple of years in high school were not spent going on dates, save for twice a year when I got to go to a semi-formal dance. And thus began my series of male conquests. Here’s the timeline:
Homecoming 1998: I knew no boys. So a classmate invited her friend from grade school to go with me.
Winter Dance 1999: I invited a boy I kind of had liked when I was in grade school. He said he “didn’t dance.” So I invited his best friend instead. His friend happened to be the biggest nerd in my elementary school. I’m still not sure why I invited him. I think I probably had low self esteem and needed to practice being comfortable around a nerd before I could ever be comfortable around a boy I really liked. My friends at the time ridiculed both of us. If only geeks had been as cool back then as it is now!
Homecoming 1999: New set of friends. New random bro a girl set me up with. Her boyfriend drove us in his Camaro. It was an automatic, but for some reason he pretended it was a stick shift by putting it into Park at every stoplight. He tried to hard. We met at my friend Becky’s house for pictures. There were a group of us, including this one kid who seemed almost as awkward as me. He mainly stood in the corner slouching a lot.
The other day, Becky found some old pictures from high school complete with handwritten captions I’d added to the scrapbook!
Winter Dance 2000: New set of friends. New red dress. New random dude a friend set me up with. He had bad acne and wore a looney tunes tie.
Homecoming 2000: Yet another new set of friends – but these were the keepers! I don’t remember who I went to the dance with, or even what I wore.
Junior Ring Dance 2001: This was the first time I ever invited a boy I really liked. I’d had a crush on this boy – we’ll call him “Joe” because his name was Joe. He was my very first crush! It was the best dance ever. I didn’t wear a bra and I felt quite daring. At the end of the night, we went to an after-party. When it was time for me to leave, he walked me to my car. I told him I liked him, literally quoting a line from Sixteen Candles. He said he liked me as a friend only. I told him that was okay and said goodbye.
I sobbed so hard on my way home, I almost drove off the road. It was the worst night of my entire life.
About a month later, I started hanging out with this boy named Adam. I’d developed a bit of a a crush on him when we were introduced by mutual friends. I started visiting him at his after school job at a local sporting goods store. He liked me back. I found out his phone number and called him to invite him on a date. We went to the movies and he kissed me – my first kiss ever. (It wasn’t his first kiss. He was a total stud who had made out with several of my classmates already.)
He invited me to his Junior Ring dance.
2001 Homecoming: I wore a blue strapless dress and brought my boyfriend, Adam.
2002 Valentine’s Dance at Adam’s School: I’d passed out and thrown up after donating blood earlier that day. But I was too amped about my sassy red dress to skip the dance.
2002 Prom: I wore a black and white ballgown and brought the boy I loved, Adam.
So, the other day when my friend Becky sent me the pictures from freshman year above, imagine my surprise when I realized I knew who that awkward kid was.
2008: I married the boy who slouched in the corner and barely spoke a word.
We’ve been awkward together ever since.