I’ll be the first to admit that I know jack diddly about teenage romance, which is why I am answering an important email on teenage romance.
This morning, I got an email with the subject line:
“URGENT!!!!! NEED ADVICE ABOUT A CUTE BPY IN MY CLASS!”
Almost anyone can relate to the urgency of this six-exclamation-point statement. We’ve all been there, sitting in third-period algebra, filled with teenage angst and confusion, but all we can do is daydream because in our heart of hearts we aren’t exactly sure what a “bpy” is.
When I read the email, I realized the person who wrote this letter was not being funny, but has a dire emergency.
Here’s part of the message:
“There’s a guy in my class [eighth grade] who is cute and I want to talk to him, but he doesn’t even know I’m alive, and my mom told me I should ask you because you’re also a guy. I hoped you might have some advice for me.”
Well, the first thing I want to say is that I am jealous of my parents and grandparents. They had it a lot easier than we do. There have been some major changes in the field of romance within the last sixty years.
The uncharted waters of teenage love were a lot easier to navigate back when Sandra Dee was still playing Gidget and people were still using the word “gosh” before each sentence.
Let’s take, for example, the movie “Beach Blanket Bingo,” which was on cable a few nights ago. Fifteen minutes into this movie and you can see how much society has changed.
For one thing, fashion is different. Men quit wearing skimpy swim trunks, and ladies quit wearing those massive conical brassieres that resembled military defense machinery capable of taking out entire villages. For another thing, nobody uses the word “spiffy” anymore.
We can clearly see that dating was a lot simpler. Back then, a boy merely waltzed up to a girl and said, “Gosh, you’re spiffy!” Then, they went surfing together while Frankie Avalon sang “Secret Surfin’ Spot” and played a guitar that was strung entirely with dental floss.
But today we have things like cell phones, email, social media profiles, Twitter, Snapchat, text messages, video calling, and whatever else there is. How is an American kid supposed to navigate this new world?
The thing is, I sort of know how you’re feeling. When I was in eighth grade, I wanted Jessie Grant to notice me. I was clueless and shy. My method of getting her to pay attention to me was easy. I never spoke to her, or made eye contact, or stood in the same time zone, or breathed her oxygen.
Instead, I kept her under distant surveillance, hoping that one day—this was my big plan—she would spontaneously tackle me and say, “ASK ME TO GO TO THE MOVIES, YOU DWEEB!”
The downside of using this approach is that today, Jessie Grant is middle-aged with six children, and she still has no idea that I ever officially existed.
I was always afraid of the opposite sex. In fact, I’m not even certain how I managed to get married. I didn’t initiate much with my wife. All I know is that one day I met a girl, and the next day I was at a real-estate closing.
I say all this to tell you my basic philosophy for life, which is: “I have no freaking idea what what’s going on.”
I am one hundred percent serious. This is my credo. I have never known what’s going on. I will never know what’s going on. And neither will anyone else. That’s the beauty of it.
Oh, sure. Lots of people claim to know. They act like they have a clear idea of how life goes. Or worse, they act like they have a say in it. These people have sand in their britches.
So if you ask me, I say why fight it? When you see this crush of yours walking the school hallway, here’s what I think you ought to do.
That’s it. Just relax. Be yourself. Stay cool. Enjoy your life.
I don’t know much, but I know that the greatest things in life happen TO you. They don’t happen because of you. They happen in spite of you. At least, that’s how it’s worked for me.
I am running out of room here, or else I would tell you a few more anecdotes about my childhood which you probably don’t care about. Like the one about how I eventually took Jessie Grant’s cousin, Elaine, to the movies. And when I placed my arm around her shoulders she said with total sincerity, “I can’t breathe, dweeb, did you go swimming in a pool of cologne?”
So I’ll just say this. You’re a human being. You are special whether you know it or not. You have the entire world before you. If this guy you admire is worth his sap, he will find you. And if he doesn’t, just relax, Gidget.
The right bpy will come along.