I have here an email that says:
“Dear Sean, I have a crush on a girl in my class. She is super pretty and I know that she would think I’m a good guy if she only knew me. I’m not super handsome or anything like that and I’m quiet, but I am super smart and people think I’m funny. I’m 15 and live in Mount Pleasant. My mom is not alive or I would ask her.”
You’ve come to the right person, Fifteen. If you’ll bear with me, I’m going to tell you a true story.
There once was a boy who lived in a land far away. He was an average redhead who had a deep affection for carbohydrates, “The Far Side,” and late night comedy. This young man knew he wasn’t particularly attractive in a traditional way.
In fact, when this boy later saw photographs of himself, it turns out that he spent his youth looking like Danny Partridge. And his hair? His red hair had the same look and feel as electrified cotton candy.
So anyway, there was this girl in his junior high class named Maggie. She ignored him. And who can blame her? This boy often sent Maggie anonymous love poems written with all the creativity of coleslaw:
“Dearest Maggie, your hair is like spun gold, and your eyes, the color of the water in the public pool after it’s been recently chlorinated…”
So you can imagine how filled with angst I was when the annual Sadie Hawkins dance came along.
For anyone who grew up Mars, a Sadie Hawkins dance is an antiquated ritual people don’t practice anymore wherein girls invite boys to a dance, instead of the traditional way, where a boy asks a girl who then tells him that she will be, quote, “busy washing my cat that night.”
Usually, with a Sadie Hawkins dance, all girls go after the best-looking guys. Geeks like me didn’t have a shot in twelve hells. But one year I came up with an idea which is still talked about in many circles.
I held a summit meeting for all geeks, dorks, nerds and chubby boys. My mom served apple juice.
“Hear ye, hear ye!” I said, banging a gavel on a desk. “Will the United Coalition of Moderately Chubby Males come to order!”
My proposal was that we dweebs pool our money together and bribe the good-looking boys NOT to accept invitations from girls who asked them to the Sadie Hawkins dance. This would thereby leave us fluffier boys ripe for the picking.
All my friends unanimously thought this was a good idea. So we pooled out money together. The problem was immediately clear: we had a grand total of $4.82
So we were hurting for cash. We had to do something to earn big bucks. We got creative. My friend Billy cut a few lawns. My pal Chad cleaned out a few family attics. My friend Ricky hocked some of his mother’s sterling silver.
By our next meeting, we had roughly $150. Whereupon I, and a few of my comrades, approached several of the nicest looking guys in our grade and paid them handsomely to refuse proposals from cute girls. And do you know what? It really is true what they say. Money talks. They all agreed to stay home that night.
So then we dweebs all wrote letters to the objects of our affection:
“Dear So-And-So, in case you don’t have anyone to ask to the Sadie Hawkins dance on Friday, I just wanted to let you know that my calendar is pretty open, and I think your beatific skin is like two-percent milk and…”
I got a call one night from Maggie. It turns out that Maggie caught wind of our elaborate scheme and thought it was the greatest thing she had ever heard. She loved it. Then she uttered eight magic words I will never forget. “My mom will pick you up at six,” she said.
It was one of the best parties of my life, more fun than my own wedding reception. I close-danced with Maggie all night long. And because girls mature so much faster than boys, I was eye level with Maggie’s stomach. When the night was over, she actually told me that I was a funny guy and that she really liked me.
When I told my mother about this, Mama’s first words were, “Of course she liked you. What’s not to like? You’re my beautiful and amazing boy.”
Friend, I know with all my heart that your mother would say the same thing.