Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Chick Lit Cheerleader: It's just a little crush!

Me at 14...note the banana clip
Introduction by Melissa Amster

When I was 14, I went to a Jewish overnight camp. My first week there, I met one of the counselors from the boys' cabins. His name was Neville and he was tall, dark and handsome. To top it off, he was from South Africa and had a gorgeous accent. It was an instant crush for me. There was a time when we were all in the canteen and "Nothing Compares to You" by Sinead O'Connor was playing. I immediately made that "our song" (not that I'd tell him that). Our other song was "The Rose," which I taught him the words and melody to. He would sing that song whenever he saw me. I made the mistake of telling my mom about him in a letter. Of course, she couldn't read my handwriting and asked her friend if her daughter knew anyone named Neil at camp. Then her friend's daughter (who I was friends with) asked me who Neil was. Embarrassing!!! My crush dissipated when I found out that he left behind the beaded necklace I gave him. He also never replied to the letter I sent him. Oh, and when I met Scott when we were both in the same high school play....

Our Chick Lit Cheerleader, Jen Tucker, decided to explore first crushes, since we're on a Valentine's Day buzz. (Of course, that could be from the excess amounts of chocolate and candy hearts!)

Jen Tucker at 17
Shaun Cassidy’s face, and feathered hair, was plastered front and center on a shirt I begged my mom to buy me while back-to-school shopping in the mid 1970’s. "Mr. Da Doo Run Run" was the first heartthrob’s image I recall proudly wearing on my apparel. My best friend, Nancy, begs to differ. She swears on a Pet Rock that Count Chocula was the first man I was in love with immortalized on my clothing. Later, my affections fell upon Shaun’s mystery solving partner, Parker Stevenson, his dreamy The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries costar. That’s the thing about puppy love. You fall fast and hard and then when the newness wears away, you trade that clunker in for a newer model, right?

Curious about other women’s memories of first loves, crushes, and cupid’s arrow striking, I sent out an APB looking for tales to share with you. Authors, bloggers, readers, and even a few friends of mine have chimed in to share their thoughts on first loves. Enjoy!

Nicky Wells: There was this boy called Alex. He went to my secondary school (aka High School) and he was four years older than me. He had this delightful 'Human League' style floppy hairdo, brown hair teamed with blue eyes, and he sang in a band. Being the nerdy girl in class (glasses, braces, and straight A's all the way through), I was also a bit of a laughing stock for having a crush on the coolest guy in school.

However, my Cinderella moment wasn't too far round the corner. I started taking ballroom dancing classes, and danced on all the way until the final ball. I turned up at the ball, in a proper dress with black patent heels, and I danced, and I had fun. I sat at a table on my own, just for a moment, to rest my feet and have a drink. And Alex sat down beside me. Oh no, hang on, not Alex--but as close a lookalike as you can imagine.

'Hi,' he said, almost by the way. 'I'm Danny.'
Danny. Instant swoon. He was like straight out of a movie.
'I'm Nicky,' I managed to reply just.
'Wanna dance?'
Did I want to dance?

We danced all night. We exchanged telephone numbers.

Danny and I went out for four whole weeks. But then...(Dang-Dang-Daaaaaang!) Danny just disappeared from my life. Just like that. One day we were dating, the next day he didn't call. End of story. I cried the proverbial rivers. Eventually, I moved on. The memory of those four weeks of dating Danny... well, it still makes me smile.

Lucie Simone: My first crush is, well, a little embarrassing. I was eight and had somehow gotten my hands on Barry Manilow's hit album, Tryin' to Get the Feeling, which I played on my hand-me-down record player over and over for weeks. I'd hole up in my bedroom, strap on the industrial-sized headphones that were way too big for my child-sized noggin, and belt out the lyrics to "I Write the Songs" until my voice was hoarse. I never paid much attention to Mr. Manilow's actual appearance. I was seduced by his voice. And, you know, it was the seventies. An era when sex symbols were all shag-haired and skinny with bad teeth. So, as far as looks went, he wasn't all that bad in comparison! But it wasn't long before my fickle heart moved on to Leif Garrett and then Shaun Cassidy. But Barry, he will always be my first love. Still today, if "Copacabana" happens to be playing within earshot, I can't help but sing along, tap my toes, and wiggle my hips in time with that peppy disco beat. Ah, if only all my loves could be remembered so fondly.

Theresa Crowell: Oh, my first crush! His name was Ryan and he was my dad’s best-friend’s oldest son. I have known him my entire life. He really is the first boy that I remember being a part of my life that wasn't family. He was kind, sweet, and very smart. I am not really even sure when I first started to notice him as something other than as one of my buddies. But, one day, I looked at him and saw this really cute, tall, blonde boy. It took me a while to figure out that to him, I was just a little “sister” type girl. He was always very sweet though, and never made me feel stupid for my bumbling attempts at flirtation. We remained only friends as we got older and are still friends to this day. The day of my wedding, we all had a big laugh when I introduced my very first crush to my very last crush!

Meredith Schorr: My first crush was in the first grade. His name was Eric Grand. I formed a group called the "kissing girls" and we chased the boys around the school yard at recess trying to kiss them. Unfortunately, while I was the second fastest female runner in my class, Eric was the fastest boy and I never caught him. Even sadder, I'm not nearly as aggressive with men today as I was in the first grade.

Michelle Radtke: David J. (because, as we know EVERYONE in preschool goes by their first name and last initial) was the man for me. One day after lunch we were heading to the red reading carpet when my teacher reminded me that I forgot to push in my chair. I ran back to take care of it, hit a puddle of milk that someone had spilt, and bashed my head on the corner of the table. Five stitches later…

Our class was scheduled to take a field trip the next day, and my mom kept me home. Suddenly our doorbell rang, and it was David J. standing on the step with a flower for me. Our entire class was lined up behind him, and there was a big school bus blocking the street, but all I saw was his dark brown eyes and wavy brown hair (I think may have also heard harps). I don’t even know that I ever paid any attention to him before, but I was definitely swooning that day. His mom told my mom that the side trip to my house was all his idea. Our “romance” continued for the rest of the year. Every day after lunch he would push my chair in for me so that I wouldn’t get hurt again. I still have the scar above my right eyebrow and a little bracelet he made and put in my cubby to welcome me back to school the following week.

Samantha Stroh Bailey: I will always remember my first crush, Scotty, of the red hair, freckles and adorable smile. I fell in love with him in kindergarten and dreamed he would be my boyfriend until I was in the sixth grade. If only he weren't in love with Laura Kay. I was convinced he only loved her because she had the very same crimson hair and copious freckles, and I would have taken a Sharpie to my face to create those delectable dots. Alas, I didn't, and I finally had to give up on Scotty. But I never forgot him.

Eileen Goudge: I met Tim my freshman year in high school, at an outdoor dance at Lake Pinecrest where my family camped every summer. I thought he was pretty cute, loved the "Beach Boys" shirt he wore and that he rode a motorcycle. What other criteria does a 14-year-old girl need? I knew nothing about boys. I'd never been kissed. My dad wasn't too keen on the motorcycle, so we arranged to go on a double date with a friend of his who had a car and my friend Mary. I don't remember much about the date, but I DO remember my first kiss, with Tim in the backseat of his friend's bitchin' wheels. It was WET! All I knew about kissing was from watching movies - especially old movies where there was absolutely no tongue was involved. I was so unbelievably grossed out I instantly decided it was OVER with Tim and me (it took a while for him to catch on because I was so lame at breaking up). Years later when Mary came out as a lesbian, I wondered if she'd had a similar experience in the front seat with Tim's friend. Lucky for me and the guys I subsequently hooked up, I eventually learned that French kissing could be fun and lead to other fun things.

Julie Valerie: When I was in kindergarten, I made a new friend (a boy) and was so fond of him I asked him to come home with me after school to play. I'm pretty sure his name was Terry and as it turns out, Terry was fond of me, too. We walked from school to my house, taking our time, being kids, you know . . . we threw rocks, pretended sticks were swords, avoided stepping on cracks in the sidewalks so we wouldn't break our mothers' backs, that sort of thing.

Turns out, you don't need cracks in a sidewalk to upset a mom because when we arrived at my house, my mother was quite upset.

She didn't know I'd be walking home without an adult, let alone bringing a (boy) friend home with me. In fact, no one knew of our arrangements except us. We simply walked off school campus then headed to my house about a mile away. Turns out, Terry's mom was quite alarmed when he didn't get off the bus at his house that afternoon. So Terry's mom called the school. And the school called the police . . .

Thank goodness my mother had the good sense to also make a phone call. She called the school, but by then, it was too late; Terry and I were in BIG trouble. His mother arrived at my house moments later in a cop car and ran up the steps of our porch, crying hysterically. She grabbed Terry in her arms and started kissing and hugging him.

Like most young lovers, we had no idea the implications of our actions. We simply acted on our affections, never thinking there'd be consequences.

After all that hula-ba-loo, I stopped bringing boys home with me and instead concentrated on learning how to read. Phonetically speaking, Cupid should be spelled: Q-pid. Rhymes with: Stu-pid.

Karen Chilton Forber: It was a carefully-folded piece of notebook paper with selected lyrics from The Cure’s song, “Just Like Heaven” copied neatly at the top of the page, and a few lines about the beauty of my smile beneath. Given the date scrawled on the back, I had to both laugh and question the author’s sincerity: at that point in time, I was fourteen years old, and my smile was obscured by a small fortune’s worth of orthodontia. I’d come across it in the course of fall cleaning (which should give you some idea of how far behind I am on certain chores; most of the memorabilia in this box dated from 1989), and the funny thing was how fully and instantly it took me back to moments I’d otherwise forgotten.

PJ Schott: At some point in time I decided I would be my own Valentine. I mean, really. Who's my best friend? Who do I love the most? And who more fun to be with than ME?!!

Hope you had a great Valentine's Day! May all the chocolate you consumed (or continue to consume) be calorie free and fabulous!

Jen Tucker is the author of the funny and true stories, The Day I Wore My Panties Inside Out and The Day I Lost My Shaker of SaltIn September 2012, she had her children's book, Little Pumpkin published as an e-book. She also blogs monthly for Survival for Blondes. She currently lives in Indiana with her husband, three kids and two dogs. You can find her at TwitterFacebook, her blog and on her website. And in case you missed them. check out her previous Chick Lit Cheerleader posts here.


Janine said...

This was a fun post

Unknown said...

What a super great post, Jen! I loved reading everyone's "first crush" tales. Love that it's a collection of people that I adore and "talk" with all the time!

Meredith said...

I just saw this now. I loved it. First crushes are adorable!

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Awesome! Glad to know I'm not alone in experiencing teenaged dating ordeals.