shouts out to girls from Minnesota. I don’t think I’ve met one who I don’t like (having a thing for Scandinavians probably helps). great state you have going on up there.
when I was about 11 I went to a nerdy summer camp in the Twin Cities that in hindsight was at least as much about my parents getting my brother and me out of state for a couple weeks as us learning anything. this was a weird time. I was all of a sudden super intrigued by girls, without having any idea how to interact with them. (what’s changed??) I had the biggest crush on this cute blond girl in my debate class. she always wore her hair in a ponytail. I don’t even remember her name! I had such a crush though.
a ?-week summer camp wasn’t nearly enough time for me to figure out how to kiss this girl, which I really wanted to do. I had no moves and there were always people around, but mostly I had no moves. so I just daydreamt, tried to flirt with her (whatever that meant—scary), and used every voodoo in my power to increase the odds that we would be assigned to work on things together (where am I sitting? where is she sitting? are we doing odds and evens here? can I hedge against the teacher starting at the bottom of the alphabet instead of the top?). on the last day of summer school, I exited class with this girl and we said a generic goodbye. my grandpa was waiting right there to pick me up. as I walked towards his car I started to panic. what have I done? what if I never see this girl again? what if that was my last chance ever to kiss her? what if she was supposed to be my first girlfriend? I decided to do something. with my grandfather and probably like 15 other people in earshot, I turned around and yelled at this girl, “hey [name]! you’re hot!”. then I raced to my grandpa’s car and got in as fast as I could. I actually thought this was a suave thing to do.
my grandpa never said anything about the hit-and-run compliment. neither did this girl. but we wrote each other AOL emails for months afterwards. she always wrote me in pink and used a lot of emoticons. this was when email was a new thing. nobody else wrote me emails. I checked my inbox compulsively, which was impossible to do on the sly because dialing up took like 2 minutes (seemed like eons each time) and we only had one phone line. oh boy did that “you’ve got mail” set my heart racing. I don’t remember much of the content of our conversations. she talked about things that were going on at school, which I was always interested in because she was a couple grades ahead of me. I remember a story about her being asked to a school dance, probably because it made me jealous at the time. I tried to seem cool, and peppered her with questions, because she would respond.
I eventually was back in the Twin Cities to see my grandparents, and this girl and I decided that I would call her and we would hang out. or something. I got her phone number. wow was this big. a phone number! I called this girl from my grandparents’ beige kitchen phone and she invited me to meet her at the Mall of America. (you cannot make this shit up.) it never happened. my parents wouldn’t take me, and I’m not sure I asked with any urgency, because I was terrified of going to the Mall of America and talking to this girl in person. she would see how young and uncool I was, and how little I knew about how to hang out at malls. I called off the date, with apologies. this girl and I didn’t exchange one email after that.