project 365

27. Crush.

Just watched “13 Going On 30” with roommate Kaitie, and one of the main things I got out of my umpteenth viewing of it was the following:

Jenna runs into her 8th grade crush, Chris Grandy, toward the end of the movie. He’s a cab driver nowadays, he still lives with his parents, he cannot remember Rick Springfield’s name, and time hasn’t been that kind to him (sorry, Jim Gaffigan).

This made me wonder: what DOES the guy I had a crush on in 2002 look like now?

First, the details (though no names, of course): He was a very nice, very tall Mormon boy. We had geography and Spanish together. Though the song “Crush” by Mandy Moore did not apply in this situation since I didn’t really know him outside of school, I liked to think that it did because I was, you know, 13.

But because this is middle school, and because middle school is just not a good time for anyone, this story doesn’t have a happy ending. Some of the mean girls caught wind that I liked him, and they informed him of this and told him that I intended to ask him to the 8th grade dance (which was not the case, because there was no way in hell I was going to ask a boy to a dance. Absolutely not.).

He was apparently not pleased with this news. After Spanish class one day, he stopped me in the hallway to yell, “I’M NOT GOING!” before marching away. I was super confused — what could he possibly be talking about? Then I spotted those girls snickering, and I eventually pieced it together by asking around. It was pretty devastating to 13-year-old me*.  Our friendship was never the same after that, though lucky for me, “after that” was only a few more weeks of 8th grade.

He and I then parted ways because we were off to different magnet high schools. I treasured whatever it was he wrote in my yearbook (it was probably something like, “You’re kool. KIT.”)

Now that you have the back story, back to the original question: is 8th grade crush still cute?

Well, I looked him up just now, and he actually doesn’t look very different from 12 years ago. Wholesome as ever, and featuring facial hair and a wife now.

Objectively, I’d say yes, he’s attractive, but I personally don’t find him very cute anymore. Maybe it’s because a bigger part of having a crush (for me, anyway) is about the interactions you have with that person, minor as they may be.

*I didn’t see “Sixteen Candles” until a couple years after this, but this line from Samantha’s dad still applies:

That’s why they call them crushes. If they were easy, they’d call ’em something else.

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