In Which Our Heroine is the Girl All the Boys Want... to Talk To About Their Feelings

In the seventh grade I had a crush on a boy.  Let's call him Tim.

Tim and I were buddies.  I think we went bowling together once.  Not on a 'date', of course, because dating before your sixteenth birthday is essentially like taking a hawksaw to your Corral of Mor-al.

But that's another post.

So Tim and I were friends, which was Step 2 in the Kristen Crush Creator 2000.  The KCC has adapted and changed a bit as I've gotten older.  It's become a bit more specific, new boundaries have been established.  But during my early tween years, when boys were exciting or something, there was very little to the KCC2000:

Step 1: be male.
Step 2: be my friend.
Step 3: be funny.
Step 4: be more attractive than a used sock.

Step 4 was optional.

Tim flew through all four steps fairly early in the school year.  And I was pretty convinced that I had also passed through the Tim Crush Creator Beta.  He talked to me, he smiled at me; he was obviously under my spell.

Then one day I got an email from Tim.

kristen - hey.  random questoin for you.  do you thikn if i ask marie out she'l say yes?

And so it began.  My transformation into....


See my super awesome eye mask that keeps my feelings for you artfully disguised?

See my wicked cool defensive cape that I can use to protect me from all the hurtful things you unknowingly say?

See the mega-fast rocket boots that help me rush to your aid every time you have a problem with some other girl you like?!

Tim was the first boy I liked who asked me to help him get another girl.  But he would not be the last.  I could never predict when the calls would come.  On cold nights in cars, around my kitchen table eating nachos, on the way home from a date - suddenly the boy I was with would blurt out, "Can I talk to you about something?" and I knew.

Oh, yes, I knew.

Though I have participated in many of these conversations, and they all vary slightly, every single one follows this basic script.

Boy: "You're great, you know that?"

Me: "Oh, I know." (thinking, "And so it begins.")

Boy: "I mean, seriously.  You're awesome.  You're a good friend."

Me: "Pass the salsa, please."

Boy: "Can I ask you something?"

Me: "Sure."

Boy: (hesitates) "It's... well... I know I can talk to you because you're not like a girl.  I mean, you're a girl-"

Me: "Very observant of you."

Boy: "But you know what I mean.  You're like a girl who's a guy.  I mean, I don't think of you like a girl.  I think of you like a friend.  But you are a girl, so you can probably help me.  You know [insert girl's name here]?"

Me: "The girl from your [English class/apartment building/softball team/other]?  What about her?"

But I knew what about her. 

Oh, yes, I knew what.

I have helped guys I liked come up with pickup lines for other girls, plan fun date ideas for other girls, even pick out engagement rings for other girls.  I have listened to guys I liked bitch about how much girls suck, whine about how much girls confuse them, natter lovingly on and on about the adorable things girls did.  The things they were too afraid to say to other girls and too proud to say to other boys, they said to me.  Because I am Best Friend Girl, and my powers are unrivaled.

Also, because I'm a ginormous wimp.

When Tim emailed me about Marie, I replied with some bullshit answer about how I thought she had a big crush on this other guy named Matthew, but I'd totally ask her if she thought Tim was cute.  Then I pressed hard return.  A lot.

A lot.

When I finally felt like I had left a sufficient space, I typed up a post script.

p.s. Tim, I like you.  I've liked you all year.

What I didn't realize was that when Tim replied to my email assuring him that I'd find out if he was cuter than Matthew, all those hundreds of hard returns I pressed would turn into these:


These stupid little >s had it out for me.  A long line of them led Tim to the confession I thought I'd hidden.

p.s. Tim, I like you.  I've liked you all year.

My friendship with Tim was essentially destroyed.  Years later, when it was becoming hard for me to remember why we weren't friends, I'd bump into him out in public somewhere and Tim would mutter a quiet "hey" and shuffle away without making eye contact.

Maybe he thought I hadn't ever gotten over that seventh grade crush.  In which case he is a moron.

But regardless, I didn't want what happened with Tim to happen again.  So in later years, whenever I was with a boy I liked and he started hemming and hawing and asking if he could talk to me about something, I knew that I wouldn't let on how I felt.

After all, Clark Kent doesn't exactly go around all willy-nilly telling everyone he meets that he's Superman, now does he?

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