Sunday, November 10, 2013

Puppy Love By: Karen Pilarski

Freckled face and long lashes suited Sean well. When we first became acquainted we were pipsqueaks in Mr. Mansfield's fifth grade class.

Sean had brown hair with blondish strands. His eyes were warm and inviting. Together we sat and worked on assignments together. In the age of written communication notes were used instead of texts.

Scribbled in pencil, with doctor type handwriting I put my pitter pattering heart on the line. Mind you this was in grade school. "Dear Sean, I kinda lik you." While Mr. Mansfield was chalking up the board I enlisted a classmate to give it to him just before recess.

Afterwards I was given a note with his shaky handwriting "Hi Karen, I sorta lik you two." Over the unintentional sexual innuendos and bad grammar we were in the midst of serious puppy love.

That is where the crush was left, somewhere over the stinky coat room, grotesque cafeteria food and monkey bars outside. We didn't cross paths again until middle school.

The whole school knew I had the hots for Sean. There was relentless teasing that ensued during middle school. Sean had hit a growth spurt and towered over me. Damn he still had the boyish good looks. I was still a stumpy looking girl who was underdeveloped and scrubby.

Somehow he still thought I was cute and sweet despite my lack of height and breasts.

It was the 90's so he wore his cute track suit, often. I think that was his uniform. Mom agreed to let us older kids have a boy/girl party one weekend. Nervously I invited Sean who seemed happy for the invite.

The party was not roof raging or high school level of partyhood. Bowls of M&Ms, chips and soda cluttered on the kitchen table. My twin who thought he was the cat's meow wore his bright red jeans.

As soon as Sean was spotted nearing the house on his bike my brothers sprang into action. "Karen, your wannabe boyfriend is here!!" This was followed up by kissing and lip smacking noises. Funny that the boys announced his arrival and not my giddy girlfriends. Wusses.

For two hours we all did the typical middle school dating dance. Boys in one room and girls in the other.

Suddenly Color Me Badd was blaring from where the boys were congregating.

"A tick tock don't stop (stop to the).."

My friends and I were in the kitchen when we heard yelling and things moving.

" (Ooh a tick tock don't stop) I wanna sex you up.
(Ooh a tick tock don't stop) All night."


My bully brothers were trying to get Sean to kiss me. The pushed him into the kitchen and took off his shirt in the process. One of the macho guys screamed "Sean wants to sex you up!" How mortifying for us both.

He laughed it off as I did too. I was too young to be offended that a male recoiled at the thought of kissing me.

Somehow we ended up being a couple. In fourteen year old code that meant nothing more than maybe holding hands and saying I love for the sake of proclaiming it.

For our first date we went to see "Home Alone 2, Lost in New York." Only it wasn't just the two of us. All five of my brothers were required to go with me. Sigh. He did give me a bear with a heart on its tummy that said "I love you" when squeezed. 

During rollerskating I made him hold hands with me. His hand was sweaty and clammy. A bit disgusted I wiped my hand on my jeans. He just looked plain uncomfortable.


As it turns out with puppy love, it lasts exactly the same lifetime as a fruit fly. Sean dumped me and went out with my friend. As a erratic teen, I played Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" as I clutched my Sean bear and sobbed.

The last time I interacted with him was when we were sixteen and working at a fast food place. He had a nice girlfriend who was expecting his baby. He was going through the rock/punk stage and had long dark hair. No more cute boyish looks. Just a man flipping burgers and trying to support an impending family at a young age.

In high school I had my share of crushes and boyfriends. I even broke a few hearts myself. My thirteen year old step daughter is in that weird stage of life where everything is a big deal. One slight from the heart's desire feels like a deep wound. From the story above, it happens to the best of us.

Honestly, even as adults people have crushes and feel devastated when the feeling isn't reciprocated. It would be mocking to her if I didn't admit that crushes happen to the best of us.

The ones we become infatuated with may take awhile before we get to the "What the hell was I thinking?" stage. I think it is actually worse to get to that point. How exhausting it is knowing you wasted so much time and energy on some lame jerk.

I could say that her crush doesn't know what he is missing. However, rejection is part of life. As much as it hurts me to see either one of my kids in personal anguish, that is the truth.

In the movie "Sixteen Candles" the father is listening to daughter Samantha's problems. She confesses to having a crush on Jake Ryan and being upset he didn't seem interested. The sympathetic father consoles her by saying "That is why they call it crushes, if it was any easier they would call it something else."