Monday, September 12, 2011

Getting Over Jake Ryan

I think all of us have had at least one horrifically embarrassing, unrequited crush.

But, unlike in the movie Sixteen Candles, the geeky girl rarely ends up with the Golden Boy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m an eternal optimist, so I’m sure it could happen…but not for this gawky, bookish, scared-of-her-own-shadow kind of girl.

I can still feel my heart racing as I remember leaning against my locker, books clutched to my chest, waiting for my ‘Jake’ to pass on his way to class. I prayed he would look at me, but had no idea what I would do if he did.

Then one day, it happened. Our eyes locked across the crowded corridor, and he smiled—just a little smile—but it was enough to send my out-of-control imagination into hyper-drive. The boy with the luscious brown eyes, sexy ponytail, and ripped jeans noticed me! Not one to wait around for fate to shine upon our now inevitable love affair, I abandoned my non-involvement policy and joined the ‘football buddies’ club. Showing up at the first meeting, I took out several cheerleaders and a very large female track star in my haste to get to the signup sheet first and earn the right to decorate Jake’s locker before every football game.   

As any of my good friends will tell you, I’m a wee bit obsessive when I get an idea in my head. And I *knew*, as I poured every ounce of creativity I had into the most elaborate locker decorations anyone at BHS had ever seen, that Jake would not be able to help falling in love with me. Never mind that Jake was a star athlete with the soul of a tortured poet, or that he was so beautiful he could’ve had his pick of any girl in our ginormous high school—somehow the stars would align and when he saw me in the halls, he would know we were meant to be together.

Well folks, as you can imagine, it didn’t quite happen that way. But what did happen was even more surprising.

At the end of football season, every football buddy, whose identity was to remain secret, wore their player’s jersey to school. I could barely sleep the night before the big reveal. But after floating through my first two classes with the huge #54 on my back, I was accosted by a gaggle of cheerleaders, lead by Jake’s girlfriend, and ‘asked’ to remove said jersey…or else. I’m ashamed to say that I handed it over, went into the bathroom, and cried.

Heartbroken, I vowed I’d never love again. Until one afternoon, right before Christmas, my good friend Ann called. “Lorie, put on something cute. I’m bringing you a surprise.” Click.

Ten minutes later, I opened the door to an enormous box and jumped out of my skin when a boy in a Santa suit popped out—you guessed it, Jake! And he was rapping…a Christmas rap…that he’d written…for me! After he finished the song, I stood there grinning like a moron as, he turned and ran back to Ann’s car.

Jake and his cheerbot girlfriend broke up after that, and we went out on one date, but nothing ever came of it. Just a hug at the end of the night, leaving me wishing there could’ve been more between us. We’ve connected online since then and looking back, I can see how wrong we were for each other. 
Still, I think there’s a little of ‘Jake’ in every hero I write. Come to think of it, in both of my finished manuscripts, Doon and A Time to Hope, my heroes have soulful brown eyes.
Do you have an unrequited love story? Are you glad you didn’t get what you wished for at the time?


CareyCorp said...

Great post Lorie! I did have an unrequited crush in high school. I never told him - heck, I barely spoke to him in the whole four years. :)

Melissa Landers said...

I love the rapping Santa! Great story. :-)

My first boyfriend and first love was a guy named Derek, and it took me ages to get over him. He never popped out of a box and rapped for me, but he did make me a mix tape (which I still have, by the way, LOL).

amandascaryinmyhead said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennifer McGowan said...

Lorie...LOVE this post!

I so have the mix tapes of all my nefarious crushes. There was probably only one crush I didn't go after in High School... even back then, I knew he was all wrong for me (as evidenced by the brood of children he has since produced with his lovely wife). But *now* I'm going to have to find him again, just for a chuckle! ridiculous. :)


Lorie Langdon said...

@Carey – I cannot believe the girl who never waits around for anything to come to her, didn’t even talk to her high school crush! Seems you’ve learned how to go after what you want since then! ;D

@Melissa- Ahh…the mixed tape! Before digital music, it was the way for a boy to tell you he liked you without having to say it. What a lost art! I might have to dig out a few of my old mixed tapes now!

@Jenn – Thanks so much! Keep us posted on your research of the unrequited crush. I’m curious to find out if he’s still crush-worthy after the ‘brood of children’. (love that – LOL!)

Unknown said...

Great post, Lorie. Yep, had a crush on my friends older brother, for a couple years. He wasn't interested and pretty much acted like he was too good for me. I got over him, but satisfaction is golden. I ran in to him years later and he wasn't so uninterested anymore. Fortunately, I wasn't interested at all.

Becke Davis said...

I LOVE this post, Lorie! And I love that your unrequited crush turned out to be such a nice guy - and creative, too! The Santa rap is a classic!

I was a tall, geeky, skinny (in those days), freckle-faced redhead so pretty much all my early crushes were unrequited.

I was painfully shy for several years (yeah, hard to believe) and I nearly died when my best friend - thinking she would be helpful - called the boy I'd had a crush on all through elementary school and yelled, "Becke loves you!" before I could grab the phone from her and hang up.

I was all of 12 years old at the time, and I thought I would die of embarrassment. Luckily, I had good taste in guys and he didn't tease me or make fun of me at school, as so many guys would have. In fact, he was unfailing nice to me. By the time we were in high school, my taste had changed (to guys with soulful brown eyes - must be the Paul McCartney effect), but I will always have a soft spot for that guy.

As to my best friend, I'm sure I got even somehow. We're still in touch, even after all these years.

Lorie Langdon said...

@Tina – I love this! The sweetest revenge is seeing the one that got away and being thankful that you never caught him! ;D

@Becke – Great story! Typical of the best friend trying to be helpful and embarrassing you to tears, but it’s so cool that you two are still friends!
My Santa never would have shown up without the help of my buddy, Ann. Funny side story is that Ann was our class valedictorian and grew up to be a doctor. I think I need to track her down and thank her for being such a good friend. :)

Gabriella Edwards said...

Lorie, I love your story and so happy your "Jake" acknowledged your devotion in his way. That is romance even if nothing but one date came of it.

Thank God I attended an all girl Catholic high school. And it certainly didn't hurt that in my not too humble, too-cool-for-those-boys mind-set I thought our brother school was devoid of any crushable "Jakes" let me tell you!

No, I set my attentions toward more unattainable obsessions like say, Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin or John Taylor of Duran Duran. I was a coward, you see,and it was safer to pine over a rock star than someone real. I used to write about it even then. Ha!

Lea Nolan said...

Fun post! I love that he dressed up for you AND wrote a rap! What a sweetheart!

Hmm, unrequited crush - yes, I totally had one, my geometry tutor. We were so incredibly wrong for each other - hello! He was a math genius, and I...wasn't. Plus, we were three years apart, he was at least 15 inches taller than me and he had a gorgeous senior girlfriend. I never saw him again after he graduated - not even on Facebook. But I'd like to believe he found himself a giant wife and together they produced giant children.

Lorie Langdon said...

@Rosie – I was in love with John Taylor too!! Think I had six or seven posters of him on my bedroom walls… Now I follow him on twitter. You’re right though, so much safer. ;D

@Lea – Ba-haha-ha!! That’s hilarious! You must search the giant online and report back!

Anonymous said...

Great story, Lorie!

I don't have one from high school about an unrequited crush, but I do have a horribly embarrassing one from middle school. (I learned my lesson early.) And seriously, if anyone can beat this, I owe you a drink or some chocolate.

When I was in the 6th grade, I developed a super crush on a boy who shall remain nameless. He was in the 7th grade, but we knew each other and were involved in a few of the same things. So, he at least knew I existed, but he didn't know I LOVED him.

So, being me, I decided that I needed to solve this problem, and being the budding writer that I was, I wrote him a poem. A perfectly horrible angst-ridden poem. I vaguely remember a line about loving him even if his hair was teal. (Did I mention he was a skinny, grunge/punk rock kid? Still not sure what I was thinking.)

Anyway, realizing my efforts were hopeless, I decorated it with heart stickers during my boring math class and stuck it in my math book. Clearly, I was not a good enough writer to express my feelings. The note was promptly forgotten.

Well, the next year, I still had a crush on the same boy. No big deal. Until his younger brother got my math book--the same book from which I had forgotten to remove the signed note from the year before! That teal line earned me a place of infamy among my peers, let me tell you, and his brother sent it into the school paper, where they removed the names, but still printed it. The horror. It was awful. Now, it makes me laugh, but at the time...

Although I probably did accomplish at least part of my goal, I doubt he's forgotten me. :)


Athena Grayson said...

Lorie, what an awesome post, and a terrific story! I had a crush on the kid with the six-inch mohawk (and man, that crest was spectacular!), but I was too intimidated to do anything about it. Although in retrospect, since we never spoke a word to each other, or even in each other's presence, maybe me (the hairdresser's kid) might have been more crazy about the 'do than the person. :D Wherever he is, I hope he's doing well, and that he still has enough hair for a mohawk.

Lorie Langdon said...

@Sienna – LOL! That is awesome! What are the chances of his kid brother getting the same book?! It could have been destiny! ;-) Any chance you still have a copy of the poem that you’d like to share with us??? Please!!!

@Athena – You must look up Mohawk boy! There’s something intensely gratifying about finding out your crush is no longer worth all the pain he put you through. :P

Liz Bemis said...


Great post! I had a crush on a boy who was completely adorable... and completely out of my league--or at least, so I thought at the time. (Though there was that moment in 7th grade health class... le sigh...)

My 20 year HS reunion is coming up in 5 short days, and I wonder if I will find a lot of my perceptions of that time of my life were completely based on my own insecurities?

Lorie Langdon said...

Liz - @Liz – Thanks for stopping by! You go to that reunion and hold your head high! I want a full report. :)

Jennifer McAndrews said...

Lorie, I loved this post, loved the image of Jake performing a santa serenade!
But I have to admit, I've been reluctant to respond to this one. Two reasons: #1, I attended an all-girls high school so had no swooning-in-the-hallways moments. But more importantly, #2, my Jake Ryan? The guy I crushed on throughout freshman year of high school? Yup. Dated him in college, married him after grad. watching the football game with him right now : )
But he never dressed as Santa...or, for that matter, came to pick me up in a red Porsche....

Jennifer McAndrews said...

Lorie, I loved this post, loved the image of Jake performing a santa serenade!
But I have to admit, I've been reluctant to respond to this one. Two reasons: #1, I attended an all-girls high school so had no swooning-in-the-hallways moments. But more importantly, #2, my Jake Ryan? The guy I crushed on throughout freshman year of high school? Yup. Dated him in college, married him after grad. watching the football game with him right now : )
But he never dressed as Santa...or, for that matter, came to pick me up in a red Porsche....

Lorie Langdon said...

@Jennifer – Aww…I’m so glad you shared your story with us! I *love* that you married your high school crush. Everyone loves a real life HEA!!
As a side note: I found my real like hero and HEA, but that’s another story...maybe for another day.;D

Lorie Langdon said...

Thanks to everyone for stopping by and making my first blog post such a fun and positive experience. May your days be filled with Santa’s popping out of boxes!

Mary E. Ulrich said...

Oh Lorie, great story but he didn't deserve you. I'm wondering how he found out. Your friend must have been a great friend who felt your pain and then DID something about it. There is an inspirational warrior woman there. I hope the cheerleader girlfriend has remorse, or at least a dozen pimples.

Your blog has lots of promise, congrats and I hope you cherish the memory of santa popping out of the box.

ps. Did Ann take the pictures?