CouchTeen is arguing with his girlfriend over the phone while I attempt to ignore him.

CouchTeen: I uh…uh…yes…yes I told you that…no, I didn’t say that…yes…no…did not…did not…did not…no I didn’t…no…

An hour later…

CouchTeen: I never…I…I…I…I…no…did not…no…did not…


He moves to another room as I give him a Marge Simpson-type frown and rumble. Romance is not for children, I say, although unavoidable in the growing-up process. You like whom you like, and it seems more often than not your choices are based on some random pheromone-induced hallucination rather than common sense and self-preserving sanity. Of course. Of course. Why? Because it makes the world go ‘round, and sells a lot of products like perfume and tight pants. 

This got me thinking about the boys– not really very many in number – that I fell for in my youth. I wondered what they might have had in common. Using pseudonyms, let us do a quick summary in the pros/cons format.

Preschool: The “Fab Four”

Pros: Handsome, funny, well-dressed, intelligent, musical, world-famous.

Cons: 20+ years older than me. I don’t actually know them. I’m in preschool.

Outcome: Yeah. No.

Kindergarten: “Rodolfo”

Pros: Looked a little like Paul McFab to me, smart, polite, didn’t eat boogers or pee his pants, was nice to me.

Cons: Seemed a little freaked out by girls, shy, a 6-year-old boy.

Outcome: I told him he was my boyfriend and he didn’t say no.

First Through Fourth Grades: “Latency Years, i.e. No Crushes”

Pros: No wasted time on silly gross boys. Read and built booby-trapped forts and rode bikes and played dolls and laid solid foundation to rule universe.

Cons: Still liked rock stars too old for me, but still safe at home. That’s really a pro, right. Yes.

Outcome: Still may rule universe someday. Now like rock stars that are too young for me.

Fifth Grade: “Zebulon”

Pros: Big smile, very sarcastic, one year older, seemed like a challenge, hung around if I gave him hot dog gum and Bit O' Honey and Zotz candies.

Cons: Totally didn’t like me in any way at all and we perhaps never had a single conversation past “You got the gum?” Too rough and mean. Smelled like farm.

Outcome: I spent all my allowance on candy for him, told him in a note that “our song” was “Stuck In The Middle With You,” slunk away in failure and confusion as to what I was thinking at all.

Sixth Grade: “Arthur”

Pros: Very intelligent, nice, handsomely nerdy, good sense of humor, academic but not stuffy.

Cons: Father was my sixth-grade teacher. Awkwardness. Probably didn’t ever date any girls. You get my drift there.

Outcome: Stayed fond friends throughout school.

Seventh Grade: “Matthew”

Pros: Outrageously gorgeous with huge brown eyes and long black lashes and chestnut hair, nice, smart, funny, thoughtful, mature, responsible.

Cons: Gay as gay can possibly be.

Outcome: Dated, first kiss, I dumped him repeatedly for another guy, he dumped me for a guy but didn’t exactly use those words. Yet. Remained close friends for years.

Seventh Through Ninth Grade: “Biff”

Pros: Incredible smile, kind, handsome, athletic, musical, goofy, popular.

Cons: Actually, not much in common at all. Too straight. Liked a sweet Christian girl, which drove me completely mental.

Outcome: Close friends, never dated. Finally, had epic kiss at drunken party. It was lousy.

Eighth Grade: “Marco”

Pros: Super funny, super smart.

Cons: Really, really, really weird. Once ate a cigarette on a dare. Always had really greasy hair. Braces. Zits. Moody and sometimes mean. Didn’t seem to like anyone.

Outcome: Does not compute. He moved away.

Ninth Grade: “Rick”

Pros: Very tall and athletic, popular, nice smile, sarcastic.

Cons: Didn’t like me “that way.” Didn’t have anything at all in common, other than some friends.

Outcome: Became friends with his younger sister. Awkwardness.

Tenth Grade: “Latency Revisited – No Crushes”

Pros: Much needed break from my failed crushes and saying “it’s not you, it’s me,” to unwanted  potential suitors. Worked on music. Read more about rock stars. Thought about what I actually wanted, and how I was way too young to know anything at all. No, really. I have it written down.

Cons: Isolation from paired-off peers, possibly a pro in the long run. No. Definitely.

Outcome: Did some good creative things, ate self into size 13 pants, decided everyone sucked and I needed to move to London ASAP. Did not move to London ASAP because still in high school and now totally too fat.

Eleventh and Twelfth Grade: “Mustafa”

Pros: Handsome, very bright, impressively musical, rebellious, mysterious, a challenge, looked like rock stars.

Cons: Nearly mute, too independent, immature, unknown quantity. Moved away. Came back. Moved away. Dated skanks. Came back.

Outcome: Ten years of negotiations resulted in eventual merger, three kids.

SUMMARY: I apparently liked smart, sarcastic, handsome, weird, gay rock stars that didn’t want to date me. THANKS FOR NOTHING, THE BEATLES!!!

CouchTeen is still on the phone. I am still buying concert tickets. In negotiations with universe. Watch this space.