It was Halloween, and I was in eighth grade. Over the previous summer, I’d decided to give up on most everything I’d previously held in my life. I began dressing differently, listening to different music, stopped caring what everybody thought about me, and embarked on becoming my own person. I had always been looked down upon as uncool, but you know what? I didn’t care anymore.
And subsequently, became accepted and somewhat less of a dork than I had been. So, I was hosting my first boy-girl party. The entire event was orchestrated so, at some point in the night, the music would spontaneously slow down and I would propose dancing. The girl I liked would be the first I asked to dance, and we’d have a romantic, wonderful evening that ended with us taking a stroll around my parent’s property and perhaps even kissing.
I cooked and put together an assortment of snacks, decorated our shop (we had a large workshop on our property, the first room of which was for work and the second for storage; I cleaned this out and used it as something of a retreat at times), and sent out the invitations. Considering my lack of popularity, the turnout was decent: mostly girls, at least ten people, and the girl I liked had shown up. Things were going well, I thought.
But instead of dancing, we ended up playing some basketball, and when we came to the moment I’d waited in such anxiety for, I ended up dancing with my friend Kendle. She looked around the shop, smiling benevolently, and declared that I would make a very good husband someday.
That statement haunted me throughout high school, as it proved accurate on a variety of levels. I was a great friend, and most of my friends were female. They turned to me for advice, talked with me about anything (even things most guys shouldn’t or don’t want to hear about), and looked to me like a big brother. I was reliable, gentle, and intelligent. I didn’t push anything on them and didn’t even pursue a relationship when it was obvious to me that it would never happen. Everything they might want in a friend.
But I was a terrible boyfriend. Not that I had much of an opportunity to find out, but I knew it would be the case, because I simply didn’t want to be a boyfriend. Since a young age, I had wanted to be a husband. To have a family, to settle down and commit to one another. Once you reach a certain age, that attitude is desired and admirable, but teenage girls weren’t looking for that.
I wanted a deep, committed relationship, but I wanted it before my time, so to speak. If I’d developed that attitude in my early to mid-twenties, no problem. At twelve… well, there was a whole transition there between “friend” and “husband” I just wasn’t capable of exploring.
It’s obvious that this desire came more out of my need for a stable family than out of any real maturity, emotional or otherwise. I would make a good husband because I was committed to it as an idea, and willing to work for it. Because once I committed, that was it; there’s no backing out, no renegging. But a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship is supposed to be more casual, testing the waters, spending time learning about one another and about oneself in a relationship.
Suffice it to say, the girl got away, which was probably for the best in the long-run. As for me, I did manage to become a boyfriend the next year, in one of the rockiest and somehow longest relationships of my life.