I was having a conversation with one of our delightful new interns this morning about the dumbest things I have ever done to impress a boy.
“I’m very competitive. I can out-dumb ANYONE when it comes to boys!” I challenged.
If you’ve read any of these old blog posts, you know that I am 100% right.
I honestly didn’t know that adjusting your likes and dislikes to impress a boy was a “thing” until I saw the movie “Runaway Bride”.
I was 19 years old, engaged to be married, and surprisingly, my ridiculously young headed-for-marriage age was not my only issue. I distinctly remember the scene where they realize that Julia Roberts’ character, Maggie, always changed the way she ordered her eggs, based on who she was engaged to.
My eyes flew open at the screen as I remembered that I too, had converted to the “I’ll have my eggs like his, please” way of dating. For the record, I ate my fair share of eggs over-hard with the yolks broken for YEARS! That is not how I like my eggs, but I was so desperate to show this boy just how similar we were (we weren’t) so that maybe he’d try dating me again. This tactic had a fail rate of 100%.
I was always the ‘chaser’ when it came to early adolescent dating, so presenting yourself as an ideal, date-worthy candidate was something I could have majored in because I had done it so many times. Here are a few of my cringe-worthy attempts to win the heart of that special guy.
Summer 1992 – It’s just like swimming, but for Jesus.
I alluded to an old example of my boy-impressions-gone-bad a while back, and I think I’m finally ready to bring you all (hey, mom) up to speed.
The main man of my awkward Jr. High/early high school time (3 years, folks…that’s like a million years in teenage time!) was Aaron S. We cleverly referred to him as “N” (the last letter in his first name) so we could write “J + N” on everything from our hands, binders, homework and Kleenex boxes without being too obvious.
Ha! I actually kept a straight face when I wrote the ‘without being too obvious’ part of that last sentence. No, no, no, dear reader. I was the QUEEN of obvious. Everybody, at all times, was able to tell who I was into at any given moment.
I met Aaron at youth group on St. Patrick’s Day when I was in 7th grade. We were on the same team and had to form a leprechaun out of chewing gum that had been thoroughly processed by the team members’ mouths. It was gross. It was also an idea I think I stole when I worked in Jr. High ministry later in life.
From that moment on, I was smitten. He didn’t go to my school, which was a minor setback when you are 12 and you can’t exactly go drive and see your friends whenever you wanted. School was pretty much the only pool of candidates that I had for my crush-dom.
So, that night I agreed to come back to youth group with my friend who had invited me for many months to come. She was stoked to have scored a ‘new-to-church’ friend — I was stoked to see Aaron’s glorious face every Wednesday night, so it was kind of an even trade.
I later learned that Aaron didn’t just go to youth group on Wednesday night. OH NO! His papa, a giant guy that had once had his jaw wired shut, was the head pastor. WHAT?!
I learned early on as I leaked / shouted my hormonal interest in the boy that A’s parents had put up a protective wall of ‘you can’t date until you are 16’ around him. They were good. But I was ready to wait for guy, and to show it, I would begin working on my extra shiny Jesus-loving exterior.
Jesus and I were hommes, sure, and I learned about him every day at my teeny Christian school from six to seventeen. But I had never gone to church regularly or did things like listen to Christian music. I had a Bible, but I usually only cracked it for doing my Bible class homework. Which, for the record, may sound like it’s easy (Just write “Jesus” and it should work) but it was not! Our weekly Bible quizzes in high school were enough to stress you out faster than you could say ‘ex nihilio’. (Shout out to our amazing Bible teacher, Mr. Wright! You’re awesome!)
Anyway, the first step in Operation Spiritual Awesomeness was raising my hand when the youth pastor, Sean, asked if anyone would be interested in getting baptized that summer. At that church, there was a built in pool that got covered up with gymnasium/stage flooring when it wasn’t being used for the holy purpose of spiritually bathing your sins away. It was super cool, in a Transformers, sort of way.
Another highlight was that usually, the head pastor, A’s super-dad, would come over to the youth building and do the devoted dunkings himself. PERFECT! This would make an amazing impression on the family and we’d be picking out fonts for wedding invitations in no time!
But before you got baptized, you had to go to a class and be put through the wringer to see if you really knew what you were doing. We don’t want any fake baptisms going on here now, do we? Cowardly, I grabbed my best friend, Jaime and dragged her to class with me. She wasn’t so sure about the whole thing, but since teenage girls rarely do anything by themselves, she humored me and went along with the whole thing.
Our Bible class knowledge scored us a gleaming “You’re Ready for Baptism” stamp of approval, and the date was set.
Normally, a child’s baptism would be a big deal for a religious family. Alas, my parents tolerated my spiritual whims but never were on the sidelines with a big pair of foam prayer hands shouting “Hallelujah!” at me as I waltzed by in all my holier-than-thou glory. They agreed to go to the baptism, though, and I thought it would be a wonderful time for the future in laws to get to know each other.
In the meantime, I blissfully went forward with the planning of how exactly I would hold my nose as I went underwater and what I would wear that would allow me to get wet yet still maintain my strict codes of morality. One false move in the garment department and things could be over before they even waited four years to get started! (I had an ongoing internal countdown that would remind me how long it was until his 16th birthday.)
When the day finally came, and all the grown ups piled into the youth room to witness the spiritual milestones about to take place, I scanned to room and realized that not only wasn’t’ my main wannabe-squeeze there, his entire family was nowhere to be seen either. What the…? Sadly, I learned that A and his family were all gone on summer vacation that Wednesday. None of them would witness my moving outward pledge to the Lord. What a jip!
I went forward with the dunking anyway because I never could let down a crowd. I got a cheesy certificate to remind me of my grown up decision and hung it on my wall next to all my Jonathan Brandis posters.
Lesson learned. Baptisms: 1. Jenny impressing a boy: 0.
Totally Tuned In
Music and movies were a quick go-to area of flexibility in my ‘to impress a boy’ quiver. I listened and spent more money on tapes and CDs that he liked than I did on my own music, and was sure to play his favorites whenever he was in the car.
One of my proudest moments was when I finally admitted, on a long car trip up to Washington state, that no, in fact, I did NOT like Pink Floyd. I actually rather despised them. Their music made me want to shove pencils in my ears and cry a thousand tears. Maybe I had come to the point that this guy would never, ever date me again, so I could finally admit such an unheard of truth, but it was a major milestone in my relationship life.
Even now, in my early, blooming thirties, I really enjoy changing the station and making a mature “BLECH” sound whenever I hear Pink Floyd, just to continue to reinforce my point.
Adidas = Love
I came across some old photos of me wearing anything and everything that had to do with soccer, even though I had never played. Getting kicked in the butt by Jennie M. in elementary school after she told me to squat down and hold the ball (a la Charlie Brown) had quickly reinforced that the sport was not for me. But I was sure my sporty gear would show this soccer-star that I was prime date-meat. It didn’t work. Even after I drove 7+ hours to watch one of his college soccer games.
I’m not sure if I’d classify painful heels, murderously uncomfortable undergarments or hold-your-breath dresses to the list, but they were definitely worn with the sole purpose of looking as hot as possible, and therefore, to impress a guy, so perhaps I should add them to the list.
Have you ever compromised some of your likes and dislikes to impress a romantic interest? Please tell me I’m not the only one to get baptized for a boy…Does that baptism even count? Meh. I think I’ll call it good, but let me know if we need to plan another event or something. You know how I love me some spotlight : )