by Chris Tures
Culture shock set in my first day of high school. I drifted in the floods of new faces — all unrecognizable. And girls. So many new girls. I came from a small, Catholic grade school. My eighth grade class had only 31 kids. It was a very closed environment; we had to get along or the entire class dynamic fell apart. My transition from grade school to high school was like moving from a small town to a metropolis.
I refuse to deny that romance is the foremost thought of practically every high school student. High school drops teenagers right in the middle of a seemingly endless pool of dating possibilities.
At first, I clung to the kids I knew from grade school. Through them, I expanded outward and met people they knew from other schools and then their friends. In grade school, I was one of the most popular kids in my class along with a couple friends. We dated pretty much whichever girls in our class we wanted to. Subconsciously, I assumed my dating ability would carry over into high school. I was wrong.
Though many groups existed in this school — the jocks, the emos, the Jesus kids — I quickly saw that the ‘beautiful people’ unofficially ruled. They had established themselves as the most desired figures on campus — or maybe they just had the most connections. At this school, the guys everybody knows are the six-foot-two, clean-cut jocks and the beautiful girls are either smart athletes in yoga pants or peppy perfect-hair and make-up queens. I mean, they don’t look that way by accident.
I had the misfortune to be crushing on one of the most attractive girls in my grade, whom I thought was just as viable a dating option for me as any other girl. We talked on the phone for a while until she revealed her big crush on the “cutest guy in school,” who turned out not to be me.
I tried to start relationships with some of the other women every guy wanted to date but had similar results. I gradually realized that I was acting superficial and maybe these so-called popular kids were more fun to talk about than be around. I didn’t even know these girls with whom I was infatuated.
I’m short. I’ll be the first to admit it. I’m 5’8”. This stature may be giant for a sixth grader, but it hardly compares to the jocks who roam the halls of my high school. My height limits my dating options to girls shorter than myself.
I also commit stylistic errors by not wearing brand-name clothes. Any contest based heavily on physical attractiveness further limits my dating options.
Possibly the most restrictive dating measure during my sophomore and junior years was the clique-congruency test:
a) Do we have mutual friends?
b) How do you dress?
c) Are you cool?*
d) Are your friends cool?*
e) What do my friends think of you? (* definition of cool depends on clique preference). All the above limitations lead me to a conclusion about myself: I have my own label.
I am a sensitive guy and a good listener. Okay, what guy doesn’t secretly want to think he’s sensitive? But, hey, girls line up to spill their guts to me. My female friends outnumber my male friends three to one. The girls tell me their problems and I give them advice. Then, they thank me.
Oftentimes, I get compared to a big brother or even sometimes (gasp) their father! What girl wants to date a guy that reminds her of a nuclear family member?
I had a crush on a girl who complained about how some beautiful jerk treated her like trash. The so-called compliment that I will never forget came during a conversation with her.
“He’s so hot,” she said.
“Ya think so?” I asked, fueling her desire to speak more of Mr. Perfect.
“Are you kidding me? He’s got a perfect body, he’s captain of the soccer and basketball teams, he’s got a 4.6 grade point average, and he’s such a great dresser, but…”
“I just wish he had your personality.”
I don’t understand how so many beautiful, intelligent girls ignore the fact that the guy they like is a rotten human being who treats them like dirt simply because “He’s SO hot!” It’s discouraging. Granted, I am no Harry Styles, but I am no troglodyte either.
If you take the time to get to know me, I figure you will find I am a beautiful person. I think the real beautiful people are the ones who aren’t so obvious. I know “beauty is on the inside” is a cliché, but it’s true. External beauty fades.
Now I have a girlfriend, and believe it or not, she is one of the most beautiful girls I know. She spent the energy to get to know me, and I her. We talked on the phone for a month and a half and became great friends before we started dating. We just celebrated 10 months of dating. We fight sometimes, but we always resolve the problem. I found someone who likes me for the person I am and not the person she expects me to be. She is one of my best friends.
Lately, it seems like all the ‘beautiful people’ act tired of each others’ superficialities. They want steady relationships with someone they can also value as a friend. Ironically, the compliment queen, who denied me for Mr. Perfect, found out he cheated on her. She called me two days later, wondering if I had plans for the weekend. The thing is, those of us burdened with personalities already date the people who realize that you have to dig to find true beauty.
Choose an adjective describing yourself at the beginning of this year. Choose another adjective describing yourself now.
What has changed?