On July 5, 2023

Flavor of the week

When I was in 7th grade, a couple girls in my class decided that I was going be the focus of their attention. The two girls wrote me a note explaining how cute I was and that they both liked me. I was admittedly, taken aback. It was impressive to have one girl like you at that age, but two?

At roughly 13 years old, I had minimal experience with the opposite sex so I wasn’t quite sure how to approach this unique situation. Sure, I had “dated” a couple girls, but this amounted to a few phone calls and some note passing. Nothing had prepared me for this level of attention.

Some time after their initial announcement, the two girls roped in another girl who also wanted to focus her attention on me. At this point, I was completely overwhelmed, so I looked to a friend for guidance. 

I explained the situation and showed him the notes I received. I guess I also bragged a bit while conveying my situation. I mean, three popular girls all decided at the same time that I was dating material. How could you not brag?

Well, my friend turned out to be a bit two-faced. He immediately told several other classmates what was going on and instead of portraying me as a teenaged-stud worthy of reverence, he painted me as conceited braggart. Almost overnight, I lost all of my guy friends. 

I was distraught. I loved getting attention from girls, but losing my social standing with the guys was too much to bear. I was ostracized for weeks. 

Looking back, I’m sure there was some jealousy at play, not to mention some ego surfing on my part. I don’t remember thinking or portraying myself as “all that,” but I likely did feed the narrative. And it came back to bite me — hard. 

My memory is foggy on how I navigated my way out of that situation, but I do remember distancing myself from the three girls and doing everything possible to re-ingratiate myself to the guys. It took some time, but eventually I regained my social standing.

And those three girls eventually moved on to another guy, and then another guy, and then another guy. Their habit of choosing one boy to focus on before moving on to another totally deflated the ego-trip I had initially enjoyed.

For over a decade I kept the notes from those girls tucked in a cardboard box in my attic, along with every other note and letter I ever received from past girlfriends. When I met and married my wife, I showed her the box. She was mildly amused by the scribblings, but made it clear that she found it odd that I felt the need to hold onto all those missives. 

So, one day while visiting my grandmother’s house in the country, I set the burn-barrel ablaze and ceremoniously incinerated ever single correspondence. My wife sat with me and laughed at my nostalgia as I read and burned each piece of paper. I didn’t let on, but the experience was mildly painful. In a weird way, it felt like I was destroying a window into my past.

And I have to admit, sometimes I wish I had that box of notes again. On a psychological level, it would be both interesting and revealing to read what my female peers had to say about me. In all likelihood, however, they were probably filled with boring and innocent musings about the angst of teenaged infatuation. 

But then I thought, how cool would it be to reconnect with all those girls in my past and send them their notes back? It would be far more reveling for them to see what they had to say since they were the authors. I mean, I’d love to see what I wrote to my old girlfriends.

Then again, maybe that’s a Pandora’s Box not worth opening.

This week’s film, ‘No Hard Feelings,” features a 19-year-old young man who was also ostracized from his classmates after a horrible rumor tarnished his social standing. Unlike myself, however, he never recovered and spent his teenaged years as a reclusive nerd. 

Nervous that they were about to send their young son off to college unprepared, the boy’s parent’s decide to hire a local woman to “bring him out of his shell.” That woman happens to be Jennifer Lawrence.

“No Hard Feelings” starts out with a barrage of hilarious scenarios, all of which had me laughing out loud. However, as the film progressed, the sentimentally took over, thereby diluting the comedic mojo.

Check this one out if you’re in the mood for a few guttural laughs. Jennifer Lawrence has a genuine knack for comedy and is obviously game to make excessive fun of herself and others, which is refreshing in today’s climate.

A clingy “B-” for “No Hard Feelings,” now playing in theaters everywhere.

Got a question or comment for Dom? You can email him at moviediary@att.net.

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