I remember the cutest girl from my high school. She wasn’t sexy, per se, as much as unquantifiably adorable—the same way the droopy snout and dangling ears of a young basset hound make you want to hug it and wrestle it to the ground before embracing it for two hours without stopping as you talk to it in a high-pitched, melodic voice otherwise reserved for an infant. That kind of adorable.
You might even say that I regard my high school object de amour and the charming hound with identical infatuations, except I don’t wake up mid-nocturnal emission with my mind concentrated on the latter.
This girl was part Egyptian, a spicy Cleopatra, and part French, my little croissant. What could be better? My greatest folly in high school was my inability to summon the 14-year-old courage needed to step up and tell her how I really felt: that I wanted to get married and run away from New York and buy a farmhouse on the coast of Maine where we could eat lobsters every night before having sex for five hours straight on a bearskin rug.
God, I miss those mid-teenage fantasies. That’s all growing up is, really; boundless dreams tempered down into recognized, acceptable, and, above all, boring, nine-to-five jobs. Sorry for being depressing, it’s just that I know you were thinking, “Well gosh, that does sound nice to eat so much lobster and try every position in the Kama Sutra, but it’s never going to happen,” because I was thinking it too.
Such conformity is a large part of what defines going to a college where every SAT score around you feels bigger than your own; we are part of a select group of dorks that elected to study for the calc final instead of cutting school on senior ditch day. Sure, it has its pros. For one, an average Pomona graduate has a $61,778 job waiting for them, even in a recession. The median American adult income is under half of that.
But how many sacrifices do we make to arrive at whichever promised land it is that we so eternally desire? What dreams are left to wither away unfulfilled in the quest to go to a better law school than our parents? Returning to my coming of age romance narrative, what if I had forsaken college in favor of a life with a teenage love in Bar Harbor? Would it have been so bad?
This is not intended to be only a didactic, “Forget money, do what you love!” type column. What I’m really trying to say is that quite a few of the unquestioned cultural norms in our oh-so-great American system, even the ones that survive in California, aren’t really that great; if you swim against their tide, like a brave Alaskan Salmon splashing with all its might to force itself upstream, you might liven up your day.
Here’s an example: the aforementioned cutest girl from my high school was twice my age. She hadn’t been held back 18 times consecutively, either, but rather taught five classes a day in her capacity as a 36-year-old French teacher. Why wasn’t our romance permitted to blossom?
Sure, it technically never got started. But that was only because my booming id got slapped across the face by the unforgiving phallus of America’s Puritan morality. I, for one, have had enough of a world that doesn’t let attractive young teachers date their culturally refined students.
The “half the age plus seven” rule is about as logical as E proposing to Sloan in Entourage’s finale, terrible judgments that will haunt all involved. Which isn’t to say that Roman Polanski should have a carte blanche to seduce 13-year-old girls, only that high school boys should be as free as their fathers to incessantly flirt with elder female pedagogues.
And, screw it, female students should feel similarly empowered, if they so wish. I’m an androgynous rule-maker.
Please, the next time you are handed back a grammar test with a red-pen smiley face sketched an inch to the right of your name, don’t hold back your true feelings for the owner of the soft, sweet hand in front of you. Conjure up the courage–this might be your last chance–and boldly whisper, “If I flip a coin, what are my odds of getting head?”