This month’s LOL topic is supposed to be about all the guys I left behind. It is meant to remember the nice things about one’s exes because obviously there was a reason for the attraction in the first place. I almost skipped this assignment. See, Dirt Man and I got married when I was just nineteen. There weren’t any ex husbands and not many long term boyfriends. However, I do like a challenge, so I’ve decided to take you down a tour of SuziCate’s Memory Lane. Now, I’ll try not to bore you with every single guy I had a crush on or went out with, but I will just touch a few highlights, the ones I recall with fondness or left me with maybe a life lesson . I won’t use their real names, but their alias’s should definitely give you a visual!
My very first boyfriend was in elementary school. It was one of those deals where you get a note asking “will you be my girlfriend? Check yes or no”. I learned that little boys hands are very dirty and very sweaty. He was my first kiss which was awkward but simple. His brother (these boys were part of the Macho Brothers, a family of like five boys), on the other hand, a few years later was my first French kiss. Imagine my shock and disgust at having a tongue almost shoved down my throat at that age. It gave a totally new meaning to having someone take your breath away!
In middle school I encountered the “sexiest” boy I’d ever laid eyes on! I use the term sexy with tongue in cheek as this was my thirteen year old terminology. He had that tall dark and handsome ambiance. First, he was in seventh grade so he couldn’t have been that tall. Handsome…maybe cute would be a better word. Dark, yes that American Indian heritage. He was my first real experience at communicating with the opposite sex. Anyway, I learned from Lumber Jack that boys were absolutely as superficial as girls. Middle school girls only wanted the attention of the cute boys. Apparently, middle school boys felt the same way about girls. You see, Lumber Jack and I shamelessly flirted with each other. Then, my aunt talked me into cutting off my long wavy tresses into that short and sassy Dorothy Hamill wedge. Lumber Jack no longer found me sassy. He turned his head the other way and never spoke to me again. So early in life, my shallowness came back to bite me in the butt. I learned then that looks REALLY were EVERYTHING! Many years later I realized it wasn’t true.
There was the Grocery Bagger who was crazy about me. I liked him until I found out my mother adored him, and well, all mothers had bad taste. So, then I decided that he was a dork. I mean after all, he carried his books around school in a backpack. That was way before backpacks were cool. A few years later, I realized he was just ahead of his time. And he really was nice, but I was still way too superficial to give him a second glance. He was a super hard worker and was an overall nice guy with a bright smile and kind words for me. Good manners and individuality should be enough to stand on it’s own. I learned that I was a jerk.
Then, I fell hopelessly and secretly in love with Stoner Boy. Yes, I saw him a few times, but my parents would have killed me had they known I was sneaking out to see him. But, oh the lovely high cheek bones, and the ability to do as he pleased, and the desire not to care too much about the important things in life… like the future. Yeah, my tastes had taken a downward turn. So, I fantasized of a deeper relationship. Until my older sister’s best friend started a strictly “sex only” relationship with him. And I had to endure hours of her recanting all of their sexual exploits. I was crushed. I learned that some boys really were only interested in sex. And often the older more experienced woman wins! So, really the only thing I took out of that relationship was that I really needed to up my expectations. And sometimes being second best is a blessing in disguise! Still, I remember lots of fun times and laughter.
Some where in there, I went out with my Native for a while. Yeah, another cutie who was a cousin to Lumber Jack. But this one was the sweetest. He always told me that I looked like a movie star. (I wore a lot of make up in those days!) He was always complimentary and courteous. And show me a girl who doesn’t like getting compliments! Made me wonder what he wanted from me. Our timing was never quite right. I recall him with much adoration. Did I mention he was cute? Yeah, that seemed to be my main requirement.
For some reason, Local Hunk was every girls dream date. Every one I knew wanted to go out with him. It seemed that if you dated him, you had arrived. At what I never figured out. I was happy just being his friend, and then he stole my heart. However, he wasn’t willing to give his to just me. He wanted about ten other girls to have it, too. He saw me on his terms. He wouldn’t take me to my prom, so as revenge I took his best friend Trucker Dude. Trucker Dude showed me that some guys really do step up to the plate. He was a nice and fun person to be around. Back to Local Hunk…he didn’t want a “real and meaningful” relationship until he was ready to devote himself entirely to me. (Yeah, I believed those words…and actually, I think he might have sort of meant them.) Like that was ever to happen. However, I appreciated his honesty, and the fact that he didn’t use me in ways that he used other girls. Even though I was cast aside, it was if he was saving me for something special. Yeah, that was the way I processed it. So, I moved on. Or at least I tried. Through this relationship, I put together my list of everything I did not want in a boyfriend or in my future. I spent many a day listening to Carole King belt out “One fine day, you’re gonna want me for your girl”. Yeah, I was planning revenge. But you know when it actually happened that I didn’t want him, I wasn’t elated just a little sad. And thankful. He often told me that I was special and different from the other girls he dated. He told me that I deserved more than he could offer me. Funny thing is that even after all the pain, I walked away knowing that I deserved better.
The Army Recruit. And I absolutely must mention him. He was my summer fling. I spent the summer in Florida with my sister and he lived down the street. This guy was drop dead gorgeous, and Native American Cherokee. I realize you are detecting a pattern here. He taught me that you are respected when you say no. Army Recruit instilled confidence in me. He helped me find value in my own opinions and feelings. I started living up to my own expectations and stopped trying to be who others thought I should be. I had absolutely fun times with this guy. But no matter how nice or good looking, he was not material for the future.
When I returned home, Local Hunk was waiting. No he never actually waited, but he was still the main torturer of my heart…though we were not exactly dating. He’d see me out with someone, and he’d start coming around. He wasn’t persistent until I refused to stop seeing Choir Boy who I must say was the sweetest thing I’d ever met. And of course, he more than passed my main requirement which you know was good looks. Sadly, that was pretty much the only thing about him that rang my bell although he had many good qualities. He actually was the first person to ever challenge my political standards. I’d always taken my Daddy’s world opinions as facts. For the first time I started thinking about the world and policies and how my life was affected by them. And I did break up with him. But it was because I wanted to go out with Dirt Man. (Click HERE for our story.) For the record since I’ve given everyone alias’s, Fox was the term my girlfriends used for Dirt Man.
While I admit, Dirt Man has always been nice to look at, there was so much more to this package than any I’d ever opened. He was all I’d ever wanted and needed and never knew existed. And we may not have all the same interests, but we have common goals. And when real love comes for you, only fools run away. My Mama didn’t raise no fool!
So, I don’t have a little black book of dates or a list of do’s and don’ts. I still thank all of those guys (no matter how insignificant the relationship seemed, even those unmentioned ) who helped shape me into the person I’ve become. They helped me learn what I wanted in life and made me determined not to accept less than what I deserved. I’ve learned not to set unreasonable expectations. And that superficial relationships are fairly meaningless. And through all of them, I’ve learned that for a relationship to work, it can not be one sided. Both sides much trust and love equally. And each partner giving 50-50 isn’t enough. It takes 100% from each side.
And thus my love life is best summed up by Amy Tan.
“I am like a falling star who has finally found her place next to another in a lovely constellation, where we will sparkle in the heavens forever.”