Tag Archives: Teen crushes

Ignorance is Bliss

When I was a preteen, I consumed music fan magazines like a hungry dog: Teen Beat, Tiger Beat, Smash Hits, Star Hits, and my favorite, Bop. I absorbed every detail about the men of my dreams (first and foremost Nick Rhodes from Duran Duran), memorized their birth dates and favorite colors, their parents’ and siblings’ names, and childhood pets. I read every interview I could get my hands on, desperate to know these guys inside and out. To truly understand them.*

As a teenager, I grew out of these school girl crushes and learned that the more I knew about my favorite musicians, often the less appealing they were and in turn, the less appealing their work. This was reinforced several years ago when I saw Jack White of the White Stripes at the Nashville airport baggage claim. I watched from across the carousel as an enthusiastic fan approached him, CD and pen in hand. I couldn’t hear their exchange but the body language was clear: the fan was asking for an autograph and Jack White was totally blowing him off. Sure, it must get tiring to have people come up to you all the time, and Jack White was probably not in the mood to chat. But if he had just signed the damn CD, the whole exchange could have been over in about thirty seconds. Instead, he spent several minutes rebuffing the fan, who ultimately gave up and walked away, clearly dejected. And I thought, You arrogant bastard, Jack White. Without your fans, you wouldn’t even be Jack White.

SalingerWhen it comes to literature, learning more about an author’s life can shed light on his or her work, open you up to a whole new understanding and appreciation. For instance, this past weekend I watched the documentary Salinger, and it was eye opening to learn how much Salinger had been affected by the atrocities he witnessed in World War II. A bell went off in my head when one of the interviewees spoke of how he had channeled this trauma into the character of Seymour Glass, who first appears in the short story “A Perfect Day for Bananafish”. Spoiler alert: After spending what appears to be a pleasant afternoon at the beach, Seymour quite suddenly commits suicide, an event that both intrigued and confused my teenage mind when I first read the story. But of course it makes sense now—Seymour was suffering from PTSD.

The Salinger documentary also revealed some less than wholesome facts about the famous literary recluse. He liked his women (err, girls really) young. At the age of thirty, he befriended a fourteen year old girl on a beach and for reasons completely beyond my comprehension, her parents allowed them not only to correspond but to actually travel together. The girl in question (now a woman in her seventies) avows that he never laid a hand on her, but come on. That’s creepy, right? Apparently Salinger stuck to eighteen-year-olds from then on. In fact, there was a series of eighteen-year-olds, whom he dated and unceremoniously dumped, until he was in his sixties. Um, ew.

Salinger was also purportedly a moody, self-absorbed narcissist. Okay, so maybe that’s not exactly rare when it comes to artists. But how many artists lock themselves in their writing bunkers and forbid their spouses and children from disturbing them no matter the reason, for days on end?

As scores of former friends and lovers recounted his temperamental nature, antisocial behavior, and neglect and sometimes abuse of the people who loved him, I was starting to wish that I hadn’t hit play on the documentary. As a teenager, The Catcher in the Rye was my favorite book. I related to Holden Caufield’s jaded view of the world, his inability to fit in, and his yearning for something genuine. Holden was flawed, but there was innocence in him, loneliness. Salinger is said to have channeled a lot of his own nature into Holden, so maybe he too struggled to fit in with society, to live a genuine life. But I don’t like to think that Holden—or his creator—grew up to be a talented yet temperamental jerk.


* I cringe at the memory of my idealistic/delusional youth.

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The Gift of Bad Writing, Part 2

Last Christmas, I gave you my heart. At least, it was my heart at age 12. Last year at this time, I shared some truly mortifying excerpts from one of the many epic love stories that I wrote in my pre-teen stalker years, this one about Nick Rhodes, the keyboardist from Duran Duran. I had yet to experience my first kiss, and my notion of relationships were largely informed by soap operas and romance novels. The painfully awkward sex scenes – and there were so many of them – make me blush to this day. At the age of 12, I seemed to think that any moment not spent fighting, having sex, or saying I love you was a waste of time.

Recreating a beloved Duran Duran photo at my 12th birthday party. I'm the one in the hat.

Recreating a beloved Duran Duran photo at my 12th birthday party. I’m the one in the hat.

This past weekend, I dug into the dark recesses of my closet to pull out another gem for your reading pleasure. The plot line is thus: My all-girl band is asked last minute on a six-month tour as the opening act for Duran Duran. Within hours of our first meeting, it’s clear that both Nick and Simon Le Bon (the lead singer) are madly in love with me. And so is my current boyfriend, Michael, who is also my band’s manager. But I know in my heart of hearts that Nick and I are destined to be together, if only we can shake these interlopers, including his girlfriend Julieanne.*

The following scene starts with me pressing a glass up against the hotel wall so that I can listen in on Nick fighting with his girlfriend:

“I just don’t understand! Today, all day, you were laughing without a worry on your mind! Why are you telling me this now? Who told you to say this?” I heard Julieanne’s voice crack as she began to cry.

“Don’t be ridiculous! No one told me to say this, except myself! Yeah, sure, I got advice from a friend, but there is no other girl involved, if that is what you mean!” He paused and added silently, so silently that I could barely hear him. “Well, actually, there is…another girl involved.” My heart sank. “but…she doesn’t know that she is involved.”

“What are you talking about?” Julieanne shrieked with a voice of horror.

“There is this girl, well, actually she is a young lady, who I am very deeply in love with, but she doesn’t know.” I gasped. Now my dreams were hopeless.

“Who is she?” Julieanne asked in a calm but wavering voice.

“No names are going to be mentioned. Anyways, she is very dedicated to this other clutzy guy and I have felt the way I do about you before I even met her! She is not the only reason I want us to cool it.”

“I am trying to be understanding, but what has she got that I haven’t? Is she just some blond flusey (sic) you picked up off the street one night?”

“Don’t you dare even say that about mutter mutter.” I didn’t hear the name. “She is beautiful, she is intelligent, I love her and she doesn’t even have blond hair!” I heard Julieanne whispering something about her changing his mind with one kiss but he screamed back at her.

“That does it! You are even going to stay in this room! I do not want to see you ever again! Take your bloody bags and get out of my life!”

I heard crashing noises and it was obvious that Nick was throwing Julieanne’s suitcases against the door.

“I…I…I hate you for this! Don’t you even come crawling back to me! And if your fluesy (sic) throws you out, you can always find a prostitute to fulfill your needs!” She ran out the door and slammed it behind her.

“God-dambed (sic) bitch!”

I give it about a minute and a half before I go over and knock on Nick’s door. Although consumed by jealousy, I am determined to find out who this fabulous woman he is in love with is.

“I heard you two yelling and after she left, I thought I’d come in and see how you were doing,” I said finally, but still nervously.

“Could you hear what we were saying?” For a minute I thought he knew I had been listening but then it dawned on me that he couldn’t possibly.

“No, I just heard mutters and screams.”

“Thank god!” he whispered under his breath.

“What?” I asked even though I heard loud and clear what he had said.

“Oh, nothing. I was just mumbling something to myself!” After he said that, that was when I knew the mystery lady was me! All of a sudden, I wanted to be held in his arms, kissed by his lips. I knew that if I stayed much longer, I would do just that and where would that leave Michael? So I said,

“I’ll see you in the morning!” and hurried out of the room. I got ready for bed and went to sleep quickly with a very smug feeling. He is in love with me, and I am in love with him, it’s great! Too bad we can’t express our love for each other. I frowned in my sleep at the thought.

I run off but clearly can’t stay away. I am back knocking at his door at 5:30 am:

“Uh, hi. Why are you up so early?” he looked as if he hadn’t slept at all. Not because he had bags under his eyes or anything. He just looked wide awake.

“I had a restless sleep and I suddenly awoke. I took a chance you might be up.”

“I didn’t sleep at all last night.”

“Why not?”

“I was just thinking.”

“About Julieanne?”

“No. There is something I have to talk to you about.” He took hold of my hand and pulled me to where he was sitting on the bed. He pushed my chin up lightly so I would look in his eyes. One arm slid around my waist while his other caressed the side of my left cheek. “I know we have known each other for only a little while, but I feel like I have known you for my whole life. I have been trying my hardest to cover it up, but I really like you a lot, too much to stay friends. I know how you feel about Michael, but I care for you far more than he does. Please, tell me you care about me the way I care about you!” He looked straight into my eyes, almost melting them into nothing.

I pulled his hand off of my cheek and placed it on my shoulder. “Oh, I do care about you! I care about you a lot, I just thought you liked me as a friend because you never really tried anything with me.”

“You thought that I didn’t like you and I thought that you didn’t want me to try anything. You always left before I could anyways.”

“I left because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to stop you if you did start and I can’t cheat on Michael!” I pulled away from him.

“Michael is a dumb-fuck! He doesn’t have any brains!”

I paused and was silent for a bit. “You know, you are right. He is a dumb-fuck.” I got up and walked to the door. I said, right before I closed it behind me, “If I can get Michael to go out tonight, you’ve got yourself a date!” I rushed down the hall and back to my room to scheme how to get rid of Michael.

Yes, folks, one minute I was too moral to cheat on my boyfriend and the next, I was hatching an elaborate plan to get rid of him for the night so that I could go on a date with my true love.

This story goes on and on for 591 hand-written pages. I know I teased the awkward sex scenes – and really they are some of the best parts of the story – but what if my parents were to read this? I don’t know if I could look them in the eyes again.

Okay, maybe just one. It is Christmas after all. (Sorry, Dad!)

We sat down on his couch. He leaned over and began to kiss my neck. I laid my arms around his back and rubbed my hands up and down. I kept rubbing with one hand and played with his hair with the other.

After a couple seconds, his hands slipped off of my neck and down to the buttons on my shirt. I closed my arms around his neck and pulled him to my lips. Before I knew it, he had my shirt off and was working to find the zipper on my pants.

Since he had practically got me in nothing, I decided it’s my turn to help with the strip tee’s (sic). I pushed him away for a minute.

“Lift your arms up!” He lifted his arms up and I pulled his thick sweater over his head. “You see, if we get caught, I don’t want to be only one with their shirt off, or pants, for that matter!”

“You’re crazy!” He said jokingly, and took his pants off. “Happy now?”

“I would be happier if you took off your shoes and we were doing this on the bed, not the couch!” We got up and went into the bedroom.

I sat up and put my hand over the clip on my bra. I slowly unclipped it and let my tits breath (sic) again.

“Wait a minute, I think I can do without these!” I reached under the covers, took off my lace underwear and tossed them on the floor. “Won’t you do the same?” He took off his underwear. I scooted up close to him and rubbed one hand up and down his hip, while I played with his hair with the other. “This is it,” I told him.

“I know,” he answered and put his lips against mine. “No more talk now, all action.”

“Yes!” He leaned over and kissed me. I opened my mouth wider so he could slip his tongue in and that is exactly what he did. He rubbed his hands all over my body and masaged (sic) my tits. I lowered my hand off his hip down and delicately rubbed around on his d**k (yes, I used asterisks). It didn’t take more than a few minutes before he was so hard up I thought he just might burst.

He started to say something but I put my hand over his mouth, “Shut up and make love to me!”

I pulled him onto me with my arms. We kissed passionately while he shoved himself into me. I felt so good all over and decided that this was real love. I reminded myself to tell him that I love him later.

Okay, I need to go crawl under a rock and wait for the flush to leave my cheeks. Happy holidays!

—–

*Real name of the woman whom he actually married – and later divorced – in real life. Oh how I loathed her…

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A Backward-Looking Foreword

As a child, I was always making up stories. Some may call this lying, but I prefer to think of it as being imaginative. I was in third grade when I first transcribed one of these stories onto a piece of paper. It was a gripping supernatural tale about jolly, treasure-laden fairies and the pair of naughty raccoons that slip into fairyland to rob them. The treasures were far too plenty for the fairies to carry around with them, so instead they placed their gold bullion and jewel-encrusted tiaras within the most beautiful flowers in the meadow, where they were ripe for the raccoons’ picking. Long before I studied Greek literature in high school, I created my own deus ex machina in the form of the sun, who offered the distraught fairies a simple solution to prevent future theft: he would keep an eye on their treasures during the day and then each night as he set, he would close all the flowers’ petals to keep them safe. And this was my rationale for why flowers close at night. Perhaps it isn’t quite Greek mythology-worthy, but really it’s not too shabby for a nine-year-old.

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My Dream Boyfriends in their Hair Heyday

In my pre-teen, boy-obsessed years, I was less concerned about understanding the meaning of the universe than I was about meeting and dating pop stars. Enter Duran Duran. In fifth grade, my friend Cass and I wrote our first epic love story, trading a small embroidered notebook back and forth between us as we chronicled our grown-up lives as notable fashion designers who just happen to meet John Taylor and Nick Rhodes at a party. Throughout junior high, a steady diet of soap operas and Tiger Beat magazine fueled my solo practice of penning epic tales (the longest of which got up to 800 handwritten pages) of my torrid relationship with Nick. We fought. We made up. We had a lot of sex (really mortifying written-by-a-12-year-old-virgin sex). We were harassed by the media and plagued by his jealous ex-girlfriends. But at the end of the day, we were in love.

Nowadays, I’m pretty sure I create fictional characters primarily so that I can torture them. Why else would I introduce the shy, undiagnosed narcoleptic woman to the guy with erectile dysfunction and a chip on his shoulder, and then force them to date? Why else would I conceive of the career woman whose child is kidnapped while she is sleeping with her boss? I am a literary sadist. And as my fourth round with National Novel Writing Month creeps ever closer, I am already stalking my next victim…

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