A hundred years ago in high school, I was gangly, too tall and nerdy. I had a “good personality” and was “nice” but these characteristics were not highly coveted in teen dating. In contrast, my friends were beautiful, petite and curvaceous. My presence just seemed to accent this fact. Or paraphrasing gothic romances: I was a foil to their beauty. Guys swarmed them almost knocking me over in the process and I could very much identify with the Janis Ian song: “I learned the truth at 17, that love was meant for beauty queens.”
When my family moved, everything changed…
He was Adonis, tall with wide shoulders, sandy curly hair, and over the top masculinity. When he asked me to dance at a school party, I could barely look at him. He was so handsome. I remember thinking I did not want him to get too close. He would see how unattractive I was and not want to be around me. Shockingly enough, his interest grew, and it was the first time I felt special, I mean really special. No one had ever shown me much deference and it was absolutely intoxicating. But at the same time, it was terrifying. What if he finally saw my ugliness? What if he found out I was not one bit special?
We went to the homecoming dance together. He borrowed his friend’s sportscar and looked so striking in it. He took me to an expensive restaurant and a really old waitress (she must have been in her 20s) hit on him. I tried to be cool and fascinating, but I didn’t know what I was doing and was very shy.
After that, everything fell apart. He acted like he did not know me, and I heard rumors of him complaining I did not talk the whole night of our date. The jig was up. Cinderella was back from the ball and Prince Charming was no longer interested.
I felt heartsick and wrote pages in my diary trying to come to terms with the loss. He avoided me on campus and when I did see him, I searched desperately for some sign of lingering interest. There was none.
At the end of the school year, his family moved, and I figured I would never see him again. He was “the one who got away.” He was the first person who made me feel special and I never felt quite like that ever again.
Fast forward a few decades to a world of social media, a world where anyone can be found…
To be continued next week...