Picture HIM – Tall, blond. . . uniquely gifted at figuring out the hypotenuse of an isosceles triangle. The kind of guy who struts down the hall and instantly a soundtrack of I’m Bringing Sexy Back blares in your head.
Picture ME – Pale, overweight. . . singularly uninterested in isosceles triangles unless they directly relate to one of my two ultimate goals: 1. Getting the Hell Out of School or 2. World Domination. (I’d have been equally happy with either, incidentally. Still would. But I digress).
So, HIM and ME. A match made in heaven, you say?
In fact, this became the topic of many a sordid journal entry throughout my high school career.
Make no mistake, the competition was fierce. I attended a small, private all-girls school plagued by the most heinous polyester kilts ever conceived, along with button-down shirts so box-like they made even the anorexic girl look blobby. And did you catch the part about all-girls? Yup. That means no boys to slow dance with, or sit next to, or talk to, or cast oogly glances toward during study hall.
Our very own mathgod.
Which probably explains why HE became such a focus of attention.
For hours we’d slave away at the mirror, slathering on the blue-frosted eye shadow and Aquanet hairspray, each girl hoping this would be the day HE’d notice. We did all our homework (plus extra credit). We prepared questions so HE’d stop by our desk, perhaps leaving a soft cloud of Drakkar Noir in HIS magnificent wake. We found reasons to tap HIS shoulder or say “hi” to HIM in the hallway.
For years, this went on. . .until the JUNIOR CLASS LOCK-IN.
As potential fire hazards go, it was one of the cooler ones. We all showed up on a Friday afternoon, with our jammies and sleeping bags and pillows. Popcorn was popped, mix-tapes exchanged. The ugly girls were made to cry, and the pretty ones consoled one another about their most recent boyfriend dramas. The typical Friday.
Then HE walked in. With his wife.
Now, it honestly never occurred to me that HE might be married. If it had, and if you’d asked me what HIS wife might look like, the image I’d have produced would be something like this:
The reality, however, was more like this:
Which meant, according to the Rules of Dating, that we may have – just possibly – misjudged HIS global appeal.
Yes, when you stripped away our testosterone deprivation, our desperate need for male attention, and our adolescent addiction to fantasy space, all the mystique of HIM – no, check that, him – faded. What we were left with was this:
So did I learn my lesson… that just because something’s off-limits doesn’t mean it’s good?
No, I did not.
This was a good thing, or I might not have crushed on (and married) my grad school Teaching Assistant. (Oh, chill-lax, rule-mongers. We didn’t even kiss until after the class was done. AND we told the teacher everything so future-hubby wouldn’t be in charge of my grades.)
Nonetheless, my point stands:
We all romanticize what we can’t have. In fact, the existentialist Arthur Schopenhauer believed humans are innately motivated toward striving. If we ever got our hearts desire, we wouldn’t be happy. . . we’d be bored.
Ultimately, there’s nothing wrong with having unattainable goals.
Fantasy is good. Crushes are good.
They keep life interesting.
Just don’t forget to pull your head out of the sandbox occasionally to assess whether you’re actually chasing the Ark of the Covenant, or whether you’re stalking a crate of musty-smelling cat litter.
Because, honestly, they don’t look that different.
Now it’s your turn!
Ever had a fantasy revealed as something… less than expected?