I am wearing 1987 with my white, cotton skirt, hot pink shirt, and multi-colored scarf/belt. I blame Carly Rae Jepsen, Ellie Goulding, and Neon Trees–not for the fashion flashback, but for the feeling that I am twirling through my sixteenth summer to their peppy, poppy, perfect-for-poolside music, which makes me miss the 16-year-old butt that fit into my white denim skirt, Ked’s, and the aqua and white color-blocked, Coca-Cola polo with the popped collar that I wore on my first date to a guy named N–. N took me to Six Flags, and I realized my faux pas quickly, as short skirts don’t do well on rides that require you to straddle them, and white skirts especially do not do well on water rides.
Wow. I hadn’t thought about this in years. N is the only person I ever lied to about my age, and the reason I started telling boys up front that I had no intention of long-term relationships.
He was a really nice guy. A super nice guy. We met at work, and I lied and told him I was 18 because he was 20 and one of the best looking guys I’d ever seen–and because no one knew me there, and I could invent myself however I liked.
N was tall and fit, with dark, wavy hair and green eyes. I was wee, at that point, wearing an extra-small uniform. I already looked young, but I’m sure the braces took me back another full year. It required a lot of convincing to get him to believe I was 18, but once I had managed it, we went out for several weeks.
When he headed back to university, I tried to break up with him using that as an excuse, and he wasn’t having it. N was old enough to be really interested in a commitment, whereas, I was 16 and just wanted to date as many interesting boys as possible. He assured me that we could have a long-distance thing until I graduated and I could join him at his college, and wanted me to promise myself to him in exclusivity. After a couple of hours of this, and me trying to weasel my way out of this relationship I’d found myself in, I finally had to tell him the truth about my age. Rightly, he was horrified.
Granted, we’d not gotten even close to anything that could have put him behind bars, but I remember him stammering, “Y-you’re jailbait!” That was the first time I’d heard the terminology. I supposed I was.
He was dear, and sweet, and still wanted to figure out how we could stay together until I was old enough to marry him. I couldn’t convince him otherwise, and had to get my father involved, and that was that. But I learned a few good lessons:
1. Don’t lie about yourself, but especially don’t lie about yourself when it comes to someone else’s heart.
2. Be clear about your expectations up front–especially when it comes to someone else’s heart. After N, I told just about every boy I dated–prior to the first date–that I was going to see other boys, was not going to fall in love, and was not going to have sex. That doesn’t mean they believed me, but I was clear that my intentions were to date as many interesting boys as possible.
3. Boys aren’t toys. I really hurt N, and I hated that I had hurt him. That’s how #2 came into play. That doesn’t mean that I never hurt another boy, I did. But I didn’t hurt them on purpose, or because I was playing with them, or lying to them for my own fun.
4. If you can’t get a guy to leave you alone, let your father answer the phone.
As I recall, N and I spoke a few times after my father told him to back off, but as friends. And he did end up meeting a girl at school and falling in love with her.