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How to Repel Jr. High Boys

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This is me at one of the themed grown up Halloween parties of the past. I like this picture because I kind of look like I was near one of the 'cool kids', Trevor, who would normally not really talk to me, unless I was standing next to my husband. Here we actually look like pals, which makes me feel uber-cool!

You can say I’ve been a bit distracted lately.  This week, I was so zoned out while trying to do some household chores, I put a scoop of dry dog food into the running washing machine, instead of laundry soap.  This would be more understandable if I used dry, scoop-able laundry soap and just grabbed the wrong scoop, but no…I have used liquid soap (that I pour into a cup) for years!  It was the sound of the dog food clattering into the washer that jolted me out of my zone-out scene.  My level of hatred for dog food is already abnormally high, but when I had to reach in and scoop out the wet kibble, I almost lost it.  Blech!  I managed to construct a makeshift glove out of a trusty Target shopping bag and grab it, a la ‘I’m-picking-up-dog-poop-while-out-on-a-walk’ style.  I’m not sure which activity is grosser, but picking up dog poop with a bag in your hand still probably beats wet dog kibble.  Again…NASTY!

Anyway…life has been busy with event work, and I have only been able to write blog entries in my mind.  This is very annoying, since they never go away; they just stay in my head and add to the whole ‘distraction problem’ I mentioned a few sentences ago.  So here are a few excerpts from what I’ve been thinking about lately.  If you are new to my blog, you may want to go back to the first entry, to kind of get a feel for what my writings are all about, and to help define why I write these at all!  But please note: The word ‘BLOG’ for me, probably stands for “Big-Long-Overwhelming-Gizmo”, since I don’t really cater to any ‘keep it short and sweet’ mandates.  And yes: ‘Gizmo’ was the best ‘G-word’ I could come up with while in the fog of last night’s Tylenol PM hangover.  Did I mention I was getting a cold?  I know…not too original this time of year.  Last week during the rain showers, it felt almost fitting to entertain a few sniffles, but now that it’s back up to the mid-80s and my husband and 6 year old are also feeling crummy, this cold-stuff has really worn out it’s welcome and needs to am-scray, pronto.

Some Halloween Thoughts For You:

My husband and I are invited to a grown up Halloween costume party this year at a friend’s house.  This will be our 3rd themed Halloween party with them and we are very honored and excited to attend.  I love getting dressed up in costumes!  My husband usually wings it the day-of, and still manages to look the part.  I, on the other hand, usually start obsessing over my costume in June, or whenever the year’s theme-details get released.  This year’s theme is ‘pirates’.  Now, even though I watch tons of online ‘How To’ videos from everything to how to do my hair, make up and how to speak the pirate lingo properly, my costume will still come out about average.  If people around me at the party were asked about my carefully constructed ‘look’, 99% of them would say that I looked ‘Fine’ while that last 1% would probably say, ‘Who’s Jenny?’.  I know.  The term ‘fine’ is nothing to shake a peg-leg at, and if this was the mid-90s, I would KILL to be described as ‘fine’, but we all know that ‘fine’ really means: Not good, not bad, just basically average and forgettable.  Right?  Or as I like to describe it: The opposite of Hot, Cool, Gorgeous, and Awesome; pretty much the exact opposite of every good thing you were going for.  Oh, man…my poor husband has wandered into some tricky territory by giving me the ‘You look fine’ response to my whiny comments about an outfit I had on.


**Cue flashback scene 1**

Me: (While rotating and looking at myself in the mirror) I don’t know…what do you think?

Dave: Huh?  (I probably caught him off guard with my question, and he usually needs more time to come up with a convincing lie.)  Oh, I think you look fine! (Fake smile)

Me: SERIOUSLY?!  Fine?!  Frick…let me go change…(mutter, mutter, mutter…)

Yep.  Me and the word ‘fine’ are not on good terms, yet it is probably a very applicable word to use when describing my costume attempts.  Or at least it becomes so when I’m in the presence of my extremely talented costume-designing friends.  I know, after hearing about how talented my friends are at pretty much everything, you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that they also are routinely ‘showing me up’ when it comes to pulling off a costume.  “Oh, this old thing?  I found it in my dad’s attic.  Who knew it would be completely authentic and time-period specific, huh?”  or “Thanks…glad you like it!  What’s even better is that I found this one-of-kind gem of a costume online for only $3!”

I think my first experience in being completely ‘out-costumed’ came from a 7th grade Halloween party.  Now, I told this story the other day to my friend, Dena, and so if you are her, you may want to skip ahead, so you don’t get bored at hearing it again.


 **Cue flashback scene 2**

(Imagine that Boys II Men, T.L.C or maybe some Mariah Carey tunes were blissfully pumping in the background.) 

In October of 1992, I was 12 years old, and just a few weeks away from becoming a real-life teenager.  I was in the midst of my ‘Mike Applegate’ years, and was successfully maintaining an unreciprocated crush that I had had since 6th grade.  Do you remember the “Richie Rich” cartoons?  That was Mike Applegate.  Blonde haired, dreamy-eyed, and always decked out in the latest fashion, which at the time for dudes meant, silk shirts and Z. Cavaricci dress pants.  Mike was an only child and lived a few miles away from me a 2-story gray house with white trimming, which forever imprinted upon my mind, the desire to one day, also, live in a gray house with white trimming, since it was by far, the coolest house I had ever seen at the time.    That year, Mike hosted a Jr. High Halloween party in his back yard and invited all the 7th and 8th graders to attend.  The 8th graders at my school were so cool, and hip…they far exceeded the normal 8th grade coolness barriers.  They were sassy, rude, usually poor-students (since many of them were in the same math class as I was, which isn’t saying very much since I was always average or below average in that particular subject).  The 8th graders I knew were usually friends with my super cool BFF, Jaime, and so I knew many of them by default.  Jaime was in their league of coolness and actually had plans to date a few of the boys, whereas I was forever trying to erase the knowledge that one of the girls had gotten some mean rug burns on her knees from doing ‘You-Know-What’!

At this cooler-than-thou party, I made plans to make my appearance looking as amazing as possible in hopes of finally getting my crush to notice me.  Unfortunately, I was 12, so even if I came wearing a deluxe Vegas Showgirl ensemble, I would still look like the skinny, knob-kneed, brace-face with thin, flat, mousy brown hair that I actually was.  (Aw yeah…can you just picture the coolness I emanated from my sassy 12-year-old self?  Yikes!)  My mom and I were shopping for a costume the day of the party.  I’m not sure why we didn’t plan ahead more, but while we were in Mervyn’s, I came up with the brilliant idea of dressing up as a cat.  I know what you’re thinking, “Hmmm…a cat could be pretty sassy!”  But again, I was 12 and clueless at how to dress in an ‘appealing-to-Jr. High-boys’ style.  Now, years later, I think, “Great!  My daughter better be extremely clueless in that area too, since that isn’t exactly something a young lady should be trying to excel to and if a boy even looks at her when she’s that age, I may have to clothe her only in handmade prairie dresses!”  But back to my early nineties adventure…

Allow me to paint the scene for you…it was a cold and rainy night.  I stepped into the party to see all the above-average/proportioned 8th grade girls wearing matching, cutesy, non-dress code, French maid costumes.  The 8th grade boys (plus Mike, who was in 7th grade, like me, but much cooler) were all wearing matching Phantom of the Opera costumes, which meant, a nice black suit or tuxedo, a black cape, and the little white half mask.  They boys looked so dashing!  The girls looked so smokin’ hot, it should have been illegal.  I had left my house feeling pretty good about my cat-costume choice, but now…ugh!  I felt like a major dork!  And I really was!  The ‘cat’ costume that I ended up wearing was more of a ‘baby-ish kitten’ than a ‘sassy feline’.  I had chosen some white tights and tragically, paired them with a pink leotard that didn’t do any wonders at hiding my training bra.  I had struggled to find underwear that didn’t show below the leotard line, and I wore Keds, or some other type of flat canvas shoe that had little pink lines on them.  I don’t remember any more details about my lame costume, like if I had ears, a painted-on nose or a pin-on tail, but I remember that the evening’s weather provided me with an excellent opportunity to keep my long, quilted mauve winter coat on during the whole party.  Thank you, Jesus.  The party was outside in a giant gazebo that could hold at least 50 people, plus the real-live DJ that had been hired to play a ton of dance music, even though ZERO people were dancing.  Nope.  What the ‘cool kids’ were doing was playing ‘Spin the Bottle’ on some makeshift table.  I hadn’t been asked to play, and since I hadn’t really kissed a boy yet, I wasn’t too sad about the non-invitation.  Kissing boys, although it sounded appealing, and I had received enough details on the ‘how to’ from Jaime, was still kind of a scary thought, especially if I had to pull one off in front of an audience!

After that rousing party game the next activity was announced, and they said everyone had to play.  It was called “Hide and Go Get” and probably was thought up by a horny little 8th grade boy, or some college frat brother. It involved breaking everyone up into ‘boys’ versus ‘girls’, then one sex would be required to go hide, then the other sex would go out and ‘seek’.  If the seeker found someone, they got to make the hider do whatever they wanted, and I’m not talking about telling the hider to walk around and squawk like a chicken.  Since Jr. High boys were doing the ‘getting’ it was usually a thing like, “Woo hoo! I found you!  Now you have to make out with me in this dark corner of the un-landscaped backyard!”  Or “Hey!  I found you!  Now I get to touch your {insert inappropriate body part here}.    I know…seriously!  WTF?!  Where were these parents?  Who was supervising this hormone-induced madness?

Well, I sucked up my kitty-courage and went and hid in the backyard with all the other girls.  (I think I crouched down behind a hot tub or something.)  I was easily found by a redheaded 8th grade boy with the unfortunate last name of ‘Hooker’.  I stood up and was disappointed that it wasn’t my darling 7th-grade Phantom that had discovered me, but a scary un-cute 8th grader instead.  As I approached him, ready to hear what my punishment for being found was, he turned his back to me and yelled to his buddies that he hadn’t found anyone.  Yes!/What the…?  Hadn’t found anyone?!  I was so repulsive that guys were literally turning away and fleeing my presence, instead of having to deal with my kitty-cat seventh grade hotness?  Sigh…oh well.  Looking back on the situation now, I am pretty thankful that no one messed with me, and that I did not share a kiss (or worse) with the creepy Mr. Hooker.  I have also decided to never let my daughter out of the house.

I hope you’re upcoming Halloween brings fewer scares and thrills than my 1992 episode did.  I plan on embracing my mediocre pirate costume this year; I also plan on enjoying the little ‘catch up’ conversations that you get to have with friends you haven’t seen in a while.  I will also be excited to enter on the arm of my most favorite crush, yet-Captain ‘Hot Stuff’ Fuller.

About Jenny Z

I love to overuse italics, misplaced hyphens and internal dialogue when I write about my usual favorite topic, myself.

11 responses »

  1. Jenny! This was an awesome read! {BTW – i need to get back to my blogging!} I love that you were a friendly cat in the midst of lots of sleazy cookie cutter French maids… this is, by the way, why so many people love JENNY! Being “Unique” in 1992 wasn’t too much ‘fun’ but it’s what defines us as grown ups… you where a step a head!

  2. Great job again! I think junior high is pure evil and torture !

  3. I bet when I asked you how the party was, you answered “FIne….”!

  4. A Super-Fine Blog Jenny! One of the best for me. I could relate to all you wrote and feel all your mortification. I know Violet will be well protected by her Kitty Cat mother while in her teens. Keep em coming girl!

  5. Haha. I’ve heard that story before. Too bad for the ginger. I do agree that our girl will never be able to go anywhere alone. And you are more loved and admired than you lead on. Be careful about putting me so high on that pedestal. That is a long way to fall.

  6. Oh Jenny! You wrote my memories of that night, but with more details! I can’t remember my costume. I do remember my crush, fear of 8th graders, the gazebo, etc. I’m pretty sure Shan and I went together. Hopefully we were hiding with you near that hot tub.


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