By Nels from With Sexy Results
In sixth grade, I was THE MAN.
In Corvallis, Oregon where I grew up, we had middle school instead of junior high. That meant the sixth, seventh and eighth graders all went to school together. It also meant there was a lot of social pressure on the sixth graders to act like eighth graders.
I had to get a girlfriend.
Luckily, talking to girls always came naturally to me. Of course, that meant getting stuck in the “friend zone” a lot, but all-in-all this skill has more advantages than drawbacks.
For example, I got to be really good friends with Molly. All the girls wanted to wear what Molly wore. They all wanted to look like Molly looked. And, of course, all the guys wanted to date her.
Molly was way out of my league, But I had her blessing to hang out with the girls at lunch and between classes. It was my entrée into the exciting world of sixth grade dating.
Bobbie. Even at my young age, I knew she was unique. Beautiful. Her father was African-American and her mother was Guatemalan. She had cinnamon-colored skin and big, brown eyes. She moved away to California before our seventh grade year, but I’m sure she broke plenty of hearts wherever she went.
We would get together at the roller rink on Friday nights to hold hands, be with each other during the couple skates and share a root beer float (which I paid for because I’m high class like that).
We even sat next to each other in math class… touching my knee to her knee and holding hands under the desk. All accomplished while pretending to learn pre-algebra right under the teacher’s nose. Playing footsie never seemed so naughty.
I’d only been dating her for about a week when she said we had to talk. Turns out her father found out she was dating a guy and was none too pleased with the idea. In fact, he forbade her from dating anyone. She dumped me.
I know… HEARTBREAK. Thank you for your kind thoughts.
“Just don’t tell your dad,” I whispered to her in the hall.
She put her hand on my chest.
“We can’t. I really like you, but if he even knew I was talking to you I’d be grounded for a month.”
Her hair brushed against me as she turned and ran to catch up with her friends.
I shook off her rejection — there was another woman waiting in the wings. And why not? I was a free man now! I’d been dumped. Sure it hurt my pride, but this was a hot eighth grader who knew how to French kiss! How could I say no?
Oh, but what a price I would pay!
You see, even though Bobbie had dumped me and told me there was no future for us at all, it wasn’t really over. Even though she had told me that we couldn’t date secretly, we were in fact dating secretly. According to Molly, because Bobbie had been forced to dump me, she hadn’t actually dumped me even though she told me she was dumping me.
As I’m sure you can guess by now, when it came down to Molly, Bobbie and their blinding perfection versus me and my freakishly large size for a sixth grader (I was already nearly 6 feet tall)… let’s just say that they were still popular and I was not. Oh, they signed my yearbook and still acted like we were friends. But in the musty corners of the art room, nasty things were said about me. NASTY.
Women don’t make sense and, furthermore, they have the God-given right NOT to make sense. This is the lesson I learned in those dark days.
It wasn’t all a loss though. When our seventh grade year started, and my popularity reached its nadir, I became friends with a new guy named Chris. Befriending the new kid — pretty much the worst thing you can do. We were essentially persona non grata.
It was all right though, because we were best friends. We played basketball together for hours. We had epic battles in Tecmo Bowl on the Nintendo (guys, you know what I’m talking about). Over the course of a year, we got to be about as good of friends as two thirteen year old boys could be.
There was just one small problem. Chris was a good-looking dude. Not in a George Clooney, “ladies just fall at your feet” kind of way. But as more and more of the new kid stench wore off of him, he got the attention of an increasing number of girls.
I can still remember the day when it all came to a head. My former best friend Molly just walked right up to him like they’d known each other forever.
“Hey Chris! We’re gonna walk over to the 7-11 for Slurpees. Wanna go?”
He turned around and he had this big, shit-eating grin on his face. Then I got a shrug.
“Hey man, I’ll swing by your place later.”
He never showed up that day.
And that was it. Sure, we were still friends… I mean, how could I blame him? Who wouldn’t want to be a part of the popular crowd? But it was never the same after that. Even though I didn’t hold a grudge, he always seemed uncomfortable around me… like he would rather be somewhere else.
I guess, even at that young age, he realized that he’d crossed some sort of line. That he’d betrayed me in some small way and I’d never forgive him.
I’m not sure whether that reveals more about him or me.
* All names have been changed to spare me from any possible angry emails.