Boys Are Dumb; Throw Rocks At Them.

30 Day Writing Challenge Day 1: “I had my first crush when…”

His name was Lars. He had a glass eye and threw up right in front of me one day at the snack table. My kindergarten heart did not care. I found his glass eye endearing, an impediment that made him quirky and different in an obvious but not necessarily jarring way. I would many years later fall for a man who did not have a sense of smell, his olfaction destroyed as a child in some freak accident. I guess old habits die hard.

Lars moved to Singapore when we were in third grade, but by then, I had already acquired newer objects of my young affection. There was Rudy in second grade, who I planted a kiss on one afternoon during recess. In sixth grade, there was Ray, better known as Ray Ray. Somehow he caught wind of my fondness and we “dated” for our week, our prepubescent relationship consisting of holding hands when we walked from math class to social studies. He dumped me quickly for Kiara. She had cornrows dangling down her spine and was one of those girls who emerged as a leader of the pack. She often cut her eyes at me in the hallway, either because I was Ray Ray’s ex-girlfriend, I wasn’t in her league, or maybe a sinister combination of the two. I couldn’t possibly compete. Nor did I want to. Perhaps Kiara, the braided badass, taught me that fighting for or over a male is the biggest waste of energy a woman can ever exert.

Since the days of Lars and Ray Ray, I’ve had a handful of other crushes, but most of my adulthood romances have emerged from friendships or men I paid absolutely zero attention to until or unless someone alerted me of their liking. Somehow, the older I’ve gotten, the more I keep the men I adore at bay, all too familiar with the feeling of unrequited anything.

You live through enough fizzled romances to learn how to build an armor of emotion. You learn that crush often transforms from a noun when you’re young to a verb when you’re older, boulders of unreciprocated emotion weighing on you. It no longer feels fun or exciting to like someone who does not like you back; it feels exhausting. You can barely eat or sleep without maniacally monitoring your phone for text messages or missed calls. It isn’t exhilarating to feel completely undone by someone; in fact, it’s unbearable.

You learn that the world is small and your social circle is even smaller. You learn that developing even an infinitesimal liking for someone inside your loop comes with unwritten rules and outright repercussions. You learn to keep your mouth shut, because finding someone attractive is offensive in the event that your friend’s other friend dated that person in a former life. You learn that women are territorial, hell, people are territorial. And, you don’t understand it. You don’t agree with it. You think it’s completely idiotic that if one person who you maybe, sort of, know slept with one person one time than it is blasphemous for you to even consider liking that person. But, you abide by the unwritten rules because you hate chaos or confrontation. Plus, you know the romance will eventually fizzle anyway, so why even bother?

My crushes have evolved, yet somehow, my mindset regarding the opposite sex mimics that same kindergarten girl I was 19 years ago: when in doubt, boys are dumb; throw rocks at them.



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