Originally written for my English composition class in college, February 15, 1996.
I’m not sure exactly how and when I first developed my fear of girls, but it has plagued me most of my life. I am only gradually becoming less apprehensive about talking to girls. As I have gotten older my attitude about girls has changed, as has my behavior around and towards them. Throughout my life there have been many influences affecting how I relate to girls.
I don’t remember ever really thinking that girls were ‘icky.’ However, except for a select few, most girls were not worth paying attention to and probably had cooties. In first grade the one girl who was worth paying attention to was Macy. Of course, I never talked to Macy. To have actually talked to her would have caused me to stutter, sweat, break out in hives, and maybe even collapse from heart failure. Although she doesn’t know it, Macy received the honor of having a stuffed tooth pillow named after her.
I was never in the same school for very long, but the longest was from third grade to sixth grade. During that time I remember liking Shonda, and I think she liked me too. But since I liked her, that meant I couldn’t talk to her. Since I was nervous about talking to girls, I generally tried to refrain from giving any evidence that I liked someone. For this reason, singing “Farmer in the Dell” in music class was a mixed blessing. It was fun to sing, but it was also very nerve wracking. I didn’t want to pick a girl I didn’t like because she might think I liked her; but if I picked someone I did like she might (heaven forbid!) find out that I liked her. I remember a Valentine’s Day one year, when we had to pass out valentines to all our classmates. I tried to find ones which only said “Happy Valentine’s Day” and nothing else. The one I gave Shonda was a Ziggy card that read, “If you’d be my Valentine, I’d be on top of the world!” But I had to make sure that she didn’t think I liked her too much, so I added a “Psych!” to the card. (Actually I put “Sike!” because I didn’t know how to spell.) In elementary school there wasn’t much meaning to having a girlfriend; instead one “liked” somebody, which basically just meant that the two people sat together sometimes. I would have enjoyed sitting next to Shonda, but since I didn’t have the nerve to talk to her it kind of ruled out sitting next to her. One day during lunch, Shonda asked me to come out in the hall so she could tell me something. “Stephen,” she said, “I like you, but I like Lapaka, too. This year I’m going to like him, but next year I’ll like you, okay?” Okay. Should I be crushed that she’s not going to like me this year, or should I be happy that next year I’ll have someone to like? Unfortunately, the school closed after that year, so I had to postpone my first significant relationship with a girl.