I once worked with a student that was just truly hard to connect to. I worked with her for two years. Two years of attempting to find a way to relate, reach, or resonate with this one student. I don’t think I ever truly did, and well, she didn’t really seem to mind or notice. On an especially good day, she screeched and hissed and slammed a bit of some strange luncheon meat product with such force and venom while claiming that it was soon going to be my brain in a bag if I didn’t stay away. When I saw it, I was certain it was cat food in a baggie, it was crumbly and pinkish gray. I was surprised to hear it was once bologna. Really, surprised. I got stuck on this, because I just couldn’t imagine it. The bologna I had come in contact with did not have texture that would lead to crumble, if it became a glutenous paste-like substance, I would understand…. In retrospect I think it might have been liverwurst….it did resemble gray matter. On bad days, well you know, bad days and good days have a way of blurring when engaged in an honest days work. Most of my days spent with this student seemed pretty much the same; predictably off the charts.
The funny thing is, I have recently connected with her in a manner I never imagined and I have to say, she may have had more self-control than I have been recently exhibiting. When she had a “boyfriend” (it helps to make a big flourish with those finger quotes as you snap out the word “boyfriend” and add in a tight eye wince), so ok, when she had a “boyfriend” or a crush, or a burning desire in her loin of pork, or rump roastbeef area, or headcheese heart, as opposed to my bologna brain, she would take to licking the locker of her dearly beloved of the day. I, or my assistant, would have to have brief endearing heart to hearts to help her to understand that this was just not really socially acceptable and the boys were reporting her to every guidance counselor, administrator, teacher, custodian and bus-driver. She would just look off all dreamy-eyed and stalker ready, and say in a high pitched howl, “But I love him! How else will he know he’s MINE?” followed by shrewish cackling.
I’m not sure how I missed this phase in my own life. Of course I know this isn’t a real phase, or an acceptable aspect of the phase of love-sick teenage development, but I seemed to miss even the more acceptable, somewhat-managed, slightly over the top rendition. With the acceptance of mooning over Larry Ludwig who had a locker close to mine and was all kinds of Michael Yorkish dreamy, his eyes were a tad bit widespread, the bridge of his nose flattened, and he had long blonde bangs, dreamy… I got as close as blurting something at him 2 days before he moved away my mid junior year of high school. Something to the effect of, “Oh now that we finally acknowledged that we like each other, you’re moving? Just Great!” I might have stomped, or blazed red. I probably foamed and spit the words out. I’m sure he thinks of me still and wonders how on earth he let me slip away, he imagines me to be dreamy too….. don’t you think?
I didn’t spend a great deal of time in deep infatuation or love-sick lament. I didn’t stay up nights trying to figure it all out. I was a bit more active and in the game when the game presented itself to me. I didn’t generally seek out love interests or get over the top about any of it and for the most part I was pretty content with whoever presented himself to me. I wasn’t particularly picky and I enjoyed the experience in one way or another. I have had a couple of all out doozies.
Truth be told, I was happy not to have to figure out any of it, it was all a great big mystery of social interacting that I just couldn’t master or muster the nerve for. In high school, the list of crushes, interests, or boys pursuing me added up to around about, or under, well they could be counted on my two hands. And they didn’t all score big, or much, or even have a clue how to score if they wanted to. Aside from being afraid, I was a bit cynical about the whole concept of love. Having deeply entrenched Catholic restrictions to adhere to and equally rip away from played a part. Underestimating the power of “girly girlishness” and not wanting to deal with the big old potential for rejection kept any love-sick boy-crazed potential for being out of bounds, in check. Maybe I had been celebrating my uniqueness and strength a bit too much. I wanted to be different, special, better than most. I wanted to feel that way anyway. Rather ordinary after all, it turns out. I have landed in some rather unique and unquestionably ill-fated relationships because I failed to follow some of the trials and tribulations of ordinary, regular old dating rituals. I could have avoided the “different” altogether.
I recall in college when my closest friend made a point of looking out the window of my dorm room checking out hot young men, old men, and any old man in between. “Oh man, look at his ass! I’d like some of that!” she would whistle and cat-call. I, exasperated, woman of equality dreams and fantasies, did not like that she was using male-like sexual objectifying towards ….males. It bothered me. I also thought it important to “know” someone. I thought it important for a person to have inner beauty and strong qualities and values. Intelligence and humor were the qualities that I found, and still find, most attractive. I would go on and on about how important it was for a person to be thoughtful and deep and interested in learning. She once had a great time, calling out the window in an exaggerated and rather animated fashion at my expense, “Hey Ginger, what about that one, does he have a good “mind”? Ooooh baby, you have a really hot MIND! Ooooh sweetness can you show your intelligence, my roommate wants some of that – oooh, man is that his sense of humor showing, or is it his funny-boner I see?” I called her an expletive, laughed a little and went off to see my skateboarding boyfriend, who incidentally had a fine sense of humor, a ripped six-pack, and a very sweet, worthy and buff ass with thighs that could scissor hold an amazon, or just me. He broke my heart, however, with the large breasted amazon and I attempted to focus even more attention on finding a better-minded individual. An attribute that is a lot harder to “see” and hold on to than a fine ass it turns out.
This year, for whatever reason, (I have a categorized list of specific reasons, alphabetically organized, and numerically sequenced) I was dumbstruck and have spent the greater part of the past 2 or 3 (or secretly 5 and 3/4) months mooning over some dreamy bit of manliness. My friends and a few concerned colleagues were getting close to doing an intervention it was getting, that bad. At times, direct contact created such havoc. I was a hot mess of blushing, palpitating, stammering delight, or a confident smart ass or a woeful admirer across 3 minutes and back again. I could not help but conjure up and consider my previous student. When I wasn’t beaming a goofy smile or staring off into space, I was threatening to lick his door, his walls, the side of his face. I was beaming smiles that needed to be cognitively released. Smiles don’t generally need to be released, but my mouth was getting sore from the wideness of the smiles. One morning after I stopped for coffee, the smile, the sing-songy leap of my gait and the smell of the freshly coated sugar donuts lead me to walk off without paying. I was so dreamy and bedazzled by delicious thoughts and imaginings, his arms, his laugh, the twinkle in his eyes, his…..I got to my car and suddenly woke from his spell and laughed my way back into the good graces of the cashier. That’s when I knew I had it bad. And I had better get it in check!
That’s also when I knew I had never had this at all. And I have to say, although the wall-licking moon-struckness appeared to be maybe a tad tilted toward one side, I have actually enjoyed this wacked-out off-the-charts burst of desire and dreaminess. It has served a purpose. Maybe a few. I had the opportunity to learn a few things about myself and my need to let go of a few too many inhibitions. I think much of this worked out rather nicely and I am looking forward to road testing this new found freedom. I learned that I am hungry for some big hulking arms. Salivating for them in fact. I learned that it is important to reign oneself in from time to time, but it is equally important to let go and let it all hang out, y'know, from time to time. I learned that there are good, decent men out there, something I had not been very willing to explore or believe, maybe ever before. I learned that I am still not that easy to contend with at times, but I can be a great deal of fun and funny in my occasionally bologna-brained efforts. Being responsible is incredibly important to me. Being miserable is not. I am currently moving toward responsibly thrilled and reasonably excited. I feel more alive having experienced and enjoyed and survived this most exciting diversion.
I actually feel hopeful and excited about the possibilities that lie ahead in a way that I had not previously imagined. I feel, perhaps, next time out, or in, or under……or hmmmmmm.... on top…..I can cope a bit more reasonably and maybe even in a socially acceptable manner with decorum and grace. I hope. I wonder. I will be able to participate and socialize and maybe even flirt a bit without burning into a blaze of heat and hives. I might be able to wear my funny and sexy and smart out loud, more consistently. My fine piece of whatever suits your fancy is here for the giving, and I get to choose carefully, or even with carefree abandon who I will give this to. I am no longer willing to put my life on hold. Now I just have to figure out how to express to some lucky fella that he is MINE. I might need a club or some string, a little tape, and a few bamboo finger cuffs, maybe just a sneak-attack ear nibble. I can probably pull that off with stealthy elegance and my highest heeled pumps. Do I come in from behind or side to side? Another student recently gave me a wet-willy, I don’t think I want to try that. It doesn’t do anything for me. Although I am wondering if it might buy me a nice disability package.
As for Mr. McDreamy? I can’t imagine how that saliva got all over his car handle or who left him a bologna sandwich. The bite marks on his ass? I have no idea what you’re talking about… stealth and elegance and some very happy thoughts.... And much gratitude for delicious imaginings, twinkling eyes, and kindness during more than a few blazes of heat and hives. And my God, those arms.....OK stealth and elegance, and a little more time for composure.