Sometimes I miss being so incredibly naive and hopeful like I was when I was thirteen. Watching too many romantic teen comedies gave me a false sense of how things worked in the real world. Like that one night or one party could change my luck. The luck I was looking for the boy of my dreams to notice me. Not just notice me but fall in love with me. Like I said, I was naive.
It was October and my friend Sara announced she was going to have a Halloween party at her house. If my life were a movie, it would have been Sixteen Candles. Jack* would have been my Jake Ryan. Most days I felt just as invisible to the whole world as Molly Ringwald did. I only wish that the boy would notice me.
For the past month, I had been pretty bummed about the Jack situation. I felt like he didn’t notice me and if he did it was because I was that “weird girl” in his science class. He had been dating April*. She was pretty and nice which was a rare combination in junior high. I never had a problem with her until I saw her sitting on Jack’s lap one night.
Anna* and I decided to get some fresh air one night during the high school basketball game when we noticed them and another couple practically making out on the swings. It scared me. I wrote in my journal that night declaring that I was “afraid to grow up in a world of sex” and that Jack “made me sick!” (Lisa Frank Journal).
After that, I tried to accept the fact that Jack was too advanced for me, and I should just let our love go.
Ok, I let it go for about a week. I kept writing about how I wanted to find a new boy to make Jack jealous, but it never happened. My second plan was to make April unpopular, but I didn’t know how to manipulate an entire eighth class into hating one of the prettiest girls in school. Eventually, I gave into the idea that maybe they were meant to be. I overestimated the seriousness of a typical preteen relationship.
A couple of days before the Halloween party the rumor broke out that Jack and April broke up. At the time, it was one of the happiest moments of my life. It was fate, I thought. That day I came up with a fool-proof plan to win Jack’s heart.
First things first, I needed a killer costume. Being only thirteen I had never dressed “sexy” for Halloween, but this year was going to be different. My idea of sexy was, of course, wearing tons of makeup and looking girly. I just wanted to look different, look prettier. I begged my parents to drive me the twenty minutes to the city to buy the best costume I could find. The costume store had been raided, but I ended up finding a red “saloon girl” dress. The day of the party I got self-conscious of trying to intentionally look pretty. I panicked and ended up changing my costume to “zombie saloon girl”.
The second part of the plan was a bit flawed. I would ask Jack to dance and not just Jack, but other boys. I was going to make Jack jealous. I thought if he saw other boys taking an interest then he would be interested. I never took into consideration that other girls would be coming up with fool-proof plans.
Come Saturday night, someone was going to be Jack’s girlfriend. It just wasn’t me.
To be continued…
*Names have been changed because I don’t want to be sued for defamation. ☺