Writing about Boys
Writing About Boys is a collection of short essays exploring relationships and love. My friends will laugh when they read the title and say it is very “on brand” for me.
I started liking boys the second I entered school. At one point, my parents asked me how my kindergarten boyfriend was doing. I simply stated, “we comed apart.” Maybe we “comed apart” because I had a crush on my babysitter named Charlie who was a sophomore in high school.
Later in middle school I named my hamster Charlie.
While these essays unpack my own relationships, they shed light on familiar, universal feelings: Starting to like someone; Realizing you don’t love someone anymore; Secret crushes in second grade; Missing someone but keeping it to yourself.
One of my favorite moments in TV is when Otis in “Sex Education” is giving advice to a heartbroken girl who thought she was in love with her best friend. This high school girl is torn up because she assumed that being best friends with someone would seamlessly transition into a romantic relationship. Otis tells her, “You can’t engineer your feelings.”
These stories are a way to candidly explore feelings, relationships, and love. At times, I become numb or distracted to my own feelings. It’s usually because the jabber of the world around me is too loud — or I’m caught up in constructed expectations that are not my own. Honoring your feelings requires constant checking in with yourself and reflection. Which sounds odd. Having to consistently ask yourself how you are feeling. When was the last time you asked yourself what you are feeling in this moment?
I most often check in with myself through journaling and writing. So here we go.
*I have altered names for their privacy*
Part I: I miss the guy I left to come out to Seattle
The first time I admitted my adoration for Oscar Hill was my senior year of college when he hopped into the backseat of my car even though we didn’t ask him if he needed a ride. He wanted a ride one block to the hockey house. His excuse was a hockey practice that was ‘a total bagger.’ After closing the door he immediately started belting out with “Play It Again” by Luke Bryan playing on the radio. He took pride in his biceps and singing voice, and exuded a playful confidence in being the funniest guy and “Mayor of Brown.” He’s the kind of guy everyone always wants around.
I smiled angrily as he invited himself in for a ride because I knew a drive one block with Oscar Hill would be more entertaining than entertainment TV. In his normal “Hill” manner, he put on a show that had us cackling.
The 8-year-old that Zoe was babysitting became wide eyed next to him in the backseat. Oscar turned to him in between the chorus and bridge and declared, “I don’t really get along with kids, they scare me, but you’re cool.” He then left as quickly as he came, and left the 8-year-old jaw dropped and me starry eyed.
The second he got out of the car I turned to Zoe and said, “We would never date, but Oscar Hill would be the best boyfriend ever.”
Two months later Oscar was driving three hours to my house in New Jersey to take me out on a date after I decisively said, “bye, see you never” to him at graduation.