Those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it. The principle applies equally to macrohistory, like wars (hello Afghanistan) and personal history. Case in point, I was getting my gchat on with Roo (because that’s how I communicate with my personal panel of “explain this to me”) when I was hit with a major case of déjà vu. And as with any such case, I wracked my brain trying to figure out where it came from. And then it hit me, like a jet powered face palm: we’d had this same conversation perhaps a dozen times back in the early days of our friendship. You know, well over a decade ago when we were both still in braces and thinking about our first kisses (which hadn’t yet happened). Because apparently I’ve regressed to boy-girl-interactions-101.
Let me lay the scene for you. There’s this boy… And merely by stating this fact, my face bursts into a flame that proves that you don’t have to own the complexion of Snow White to blush. Like I said, I’ve apparently regressed quite a bit. But let’s see if I can be slightly mature about things and at least get the story out. So as I said, there’s this guy. We met online via things other than online dating so the purpose of our interactions were not so explicitly laid out. Also, he doesn’t live in NYC. Stay with me here! Neither of us (as far as I can tell) had any intention of making of it anything other than a casual digital friendship. And then I got to know him. And saw a picture of him. We progressed from screen names to real names. And like any girl worth her ovaries, I started to like him. Like…like like him. Yes, I had to say it like that because I’m apparently twelve. And though I didn’t have the Internet when I was actually twelve (we had NetNanny if you guys remember that shit), complaining to Roo the situation is remarkably similar.
Back then, in my braces and glasses (I know, cringe! I was a dorky little kitten), I fell into the same situation over and over with guys. Unlike my female friends and the pretty girls who somehow did get the guys, I had no problem talking to them. In fact, you could often find me in a group that consisted mainly of me, five pubescent boys and whichever girl friend I dragged over to tag along with me. Talking to them wasn’t the issue. Getting them to talk back wasn’t even the issue. The issue was that somehow, by interacting with them and holding actual conversations with them, I was rendered invisible. The girls who stood off in their cliquey circles, giggling about the guys I was casually chatting with were the ones that they wanted to date. Even when the braces came off and the glasses were replaced with contacts, the situation stayed the same. And so Roo—then as now—got to sit around and listen to me moan, “why doesn’t he like me? It’s like I’m invisible!”
I did finally get noticed by guys. I had boyfriends and got that first kiss (and first other things). But it was still never by those guys I easily chatted with. It was always the ones from afar who I often didn’t notice or to whom I couldn’t think of a single thing to say. I learned to separate the friends from the boyfriend-material and just accept that as the way things worked, but as I sat there, drowning in déjà vu, it didn’t seem like enough. Sure, in this specific case it probably wouldn’t matter if he did see me as anything other than a friend (I’m developing into quite the NYC snob and I’m okay with that). But it still baffled and frustrated me. I know the history, and I know the lesson that I guess I’m supposed to learn from it (that friends don’t turn into lovers…unless of course you live in a rom-com). But instead of accepting the lesson and putting it to use, I’m still chafing against it, butting my head up against the status-quo and demanding petulantly: Why the fuck not?