This is a teen-written article from our friends at Youth Communication, a nonprofit organization that helps marginalized youth develop their full potential through reading and writing.
For 17 years, dating was a big, scary unknown to me. I’d never had a boyfriend or a hook-up. As a Christian from a conservative Korean family, I made a promise to God to stay a virgin until marriage.
So I was caught off guard when Cupid shot his arrow in my direction, late in my junior year, right in the middle of English class.
The guy was a charmer with curly blonde hair, sea green eyes, and a huge brain. We already knew each other from sophomore year science class. When our teacher was absent, he’d plop himself down next to me with a smile even though his assigned seat was elsewhere. Sometimes we would walk down the stairs together to our next class.
But his intelligence intimidated me. His backpack held books by philosophers from centuries past whose names I couldn’t pronounce. He’d ace all the tests without much effort. I felt like he thought I was much smarter than I actually was, and I didn’t want to look ignorant.
I wasn’t sure if he wanted to move toward dating or if I was really ready for that. I was afraid of being in a relationship. The combination of these two things -- his intellect and my lack of relationship experience -- caused me to respond to the situation in a rather immature way. I shut him out, and he stopped talking to me.
Straight Through the Heart
By second term of junior year, when we were placed in several classes together, he’d apparently forgotten how I coldly brushed him off before and he was friendly again. This time, I didn’t push him away.
And once I let myself relax, the conversations we had were fun. We’d talk about our mutual favorite shows, like Monty Python and How I Met Your Mother, and flirt on Facebook.
One day I read an article he wrote online about how he volunteered to help students with developmental disabilities. In the article, he described this program in a way that wasn’t patronizing or haughty. After finishing the article, I couldn’t stop thinking about him. I guess all our flirting had built up until my feelings finally hit me like an avalanche. It was a sudden and bewildering crush.
It sucked. I hated how distracted it made me. I hated how I would check his Facebook page 500 times a day. I hated how whenever we were in the same room, I would sneak glances at him. I hated every girl he talked to, even his sister.
I decided to slowly make my interest known. I joined the volunteer program he was in and saw how he interacted with the disabled students, which made me like him even more. He genuinely cared for the students and respectfully listened to them. His attitude towards them was so gentle -- something that I admired.
Was My Cutie a Party Animal?
One day during lunch, he was telling me a funny story about how he and his friends got drunk one night during our school’s college trip. They had sneaked in a bottle of vodka and drank the whole thing (among four guys) throughout the night.
I was surprised. “You drink?” I asked naïvely.
He scratched his head and grew wide-eyed at my expression. “Uhh, yeah, I do,” he said, sheepishly.
“I -- you -- wow,” I sputtered, at a complete loss for words. “I didn’t know that.”
He chuckled nervously. “I feel like your image of me is sinking lower with this news. I really don’t want that to happen.”
Shaking my head furiously, I denied it, but in my head, a little voice was whispering, “Yup. Down the drain.”
I decided there was more I needed to know about this guy. I asked my friend, the Queen of Gossip, to find out any bad things about him. I wanted to know before anything happened between us.
My friend met up with a girl who was a frequent partier. The party girl said she saw my crush at parties (but not often) and that he would drink a lot, until he got plastered. I was incredibly disappointed.
Reprinted with permission from Youth Communication.