Monday, November 23, 2009

Dear Sig: The Saga Continues

When last we left the saga, Cleveland's lake effect snow had failed to providentially strand my fourth grade crush, Sig, at my house mid-blizzard. (Thanks for nothing, Lake Erie.) I was 99% sure that Sig was into me, because sometimes he would, like, look at me in class. The problem: He also tended to gaze at my friend Jessica. Another problem: Jessica liked him too. And also: Jessica was, oh, only the most lusted-after girl in school.

So we did what any girls in our situation would do: We wrote Sig a letter telling him we liked him. Both of us. Me and my infinitely more alluring romantic rival. Together. Because I was a genius. And then we were like, "Which one of us you do like—that is, like like—more? OUT WITH IT, MAN!"

But Sig was not playing our game. He wrote back saying that we were both pretty (wooooooo!), and that he liked BOTH of us and couldn't decide. Which was a) totally baffling (really? he didn't like Jessica more? JESSICA??) and b) totally frustrating.

It also meant that the letters continued. Because Jessica may have been a gajillion times more popular with the boyfolk, but I could surely win him over with my... erm... heart-shaped stationery? The following letter was typed (how casual!) on paper that looked like this:

Raise your hand if you're embarrassed already.

Pre-letter disclaimer: Obviously I never sent this to him, because I still have it in my possession. What I don't know is whether or not I mailed off a later draft. Please, God, I pray that I did not.

July 15, 1988
Dear Sig,

Tomorrow I'm going on vacation. We're going to (in order) Brockport (to see my friends Brendan and Caitlin), Canada (to camp), Gasport (to see my cousins, Bonnie and Jimmy), and Lockport (to see my cousins, Stephanie and the twins, Steven and Michael).*

*The "ports" are in New York.

Yes, my letter included a footnote. Did I know how to woo a 10-year-old boy or WHAT? Oh, and a previous letter must have suggested a picture exchange, because after the really thrilling description of my upcoming trip, I launch into this:

Oh, I don't have any decent pictures to send you right now. I'm going to try and get my mom to take some acceptable ones while we're away.

Er, like this one?

There is absolutely nothing acceptable about those bangs.

Oh, I'm sorry, did I forget to mention that this was the Worst Cut Era? Yeah. You know how people sometimes refer to giant '80s bangs as "The Claw"? Mine were more along the lines of "Satan's Gimpy, Gnarled Hand." So I had that going for me. But wait! There's more!

My boyfriend thinks I looked like one of the Ramones.
Every young girl's dream!

Oh yeah, these pictures were going to make him forget allllll about Jessica. Also, notice how I'm close-lipped in all of the shots? That's because I'd recently acquired a mouthful of metal. Hot, right? Jessica WHO??

Are you going to send yours? The three of us, you know, you, me, Jessica, should all get together soon and talk.

I'm sure Sig was just counting down the days until he could be hounded about this in person instead of via the USPS.

Have you told anyone about this? Well, Jess and I told Katie, the three of us are best friends. I doubt there's anything left to say.

Good instinct, Sada! Keep it short and sweet. The less you say, the less likely you are to utterly humiliate yourself. Just sign your name and we'll—oh CRAP—

Well, I just wish you'd like me more than Jessica.
Everyone likes Jessica. The boys, I mean. When they look at me they say, "Ew, gross, contact" or something similar.

"Contact" was something that you would say to protect yourself against the germs of unpopularity. Like, say someone's hand accidentally brushed against [Insert name of unpopular child] while waiting in line for the slide; that person would then have the [Name of unpopular kid] Touch, and would have to rid him or herself of said Touch by thrusting it upon an unsuspecting victim. The ONLY WAY to avoid getting The Touch was to yell, "Contact!" or, if you were feeling charitable, "Contact! Detours! Force field!" If I remember correctly, this was a more powerful form of Contact that would also protect any friends in your immediate vicinity.

So, to sum up: Everyone with a wang lurves Jessica, and they find me so repellent that they must verbally arm themselves against my cooties. Just, like, in case you forgot, Sig! (You guys, I don't even know. Was I going for the PITY LIKE? Oh, the shame.)

It's nice to know that someone, besides my family and friends thinks I'm pretty.

Because—news flash!—boys think I am The Ug.

I think you're cute. Us girls call boys "cute" if they look good.

Good thing I let him in on that big secret! Jessica recently reminded me of a later incident in which we were walking to her house and Sig had joined us (hi, he obvs liked us!), and we started telling him how comely he was.
comely adj. Vocabulary word courtesy of Judy Blume. According to Rachel Robinson, it means "attractive . . . good looking . . . cute . . ."
Shockingly, Sig managed to glean the meaning from context. The context being along the lines of
"Oh, Sig, you are soooooooOOOOOOOoooooooo COMELY!"

And then I ended the letter with:

L*O*V*E? I'll tell you what I loved: asterisks. Sweet Jesus.


P.P.S. If you get a letter from Rachel, don't write her back.

Because no letter is complete without a dig at Rachel! I think that ultimately only a couple of letters were exchanged (I don't see why Sig wouldn't have written back ASAP!), but I do remember that he gave both Jessica and I pink-and-purple friendship bracelets that he made for us. (ZOMG, a boy made me something! This was almost as cool as being in a skateboard gang!!)

I didn't keep a diary in fifth grade, but there's a mention in my school journal about Sig and his puppy stopping by Jessica's house while I was over (me: apparently unfazed that he was randomly stopping by Jessica's? or did we invite him?). That year Sig played the lead in our school play, The Emperor's New Clothes. Of course, he wasn't actually NAKED, but we had to pretend that he was. You can imagine the maniacal giggling that occurred.

And I would insist on going to Family Skate at the ice rink every freaking week because Sig went too and sometimes he would skate with me for a bit (woooooooo! again). The most dramatic Family Skate event involved my friend Casey, who broke her leg while skating with me and had to be carried off the ice by Sig's dad—oh, the mortification! Afterward Sig skated up to me and said, "The bigger they are, the harder they fall, huh?" I still don't know what he meant by that. In hindsight, I think he was just trying to make conversation, but in the moment, I was infuriated that he dare cast aspersions on my injured friend, and I came back with this incredibly witty rejoinder: "Well, I guess Casey must have a really big LEG then!!!" Um... ? What does that even MEAN?? (I don't know, but I was definitely mad at him for, like, at least two days.)

I do have some dishy materials from a sleepover with Katie. First of all, we rated ten of the boys in our class (as preteen girls are wont to do) on a scale of 1–10. I rated Sig the highest with a 9½; the baby-faced new boy Aaron, who lived a few doors down from Sig, a 7; and the remaining boys in the 2 to 6 range. Harsh! Katie, meanwhile, gave Sig a 10, when she supposedly liked Nathan—whom she only rated a 9! WTF, Katie?!

Also, to answer your question: YES, for some reason I have kept a copy of fifth grade boy ratings for TWENTY YEARS. There's obviously something wrong with me. But! Below the Boy Ratings, there's a list of the following:

People (or things) that go together in our grade:

1. Rebecca and Nathan
2. Sig and Jessica
3. Katie and Chuck [Chuck was the "hot stable boy" where Katie rode horses. Except for the part where he didn't actually exist. We started to get suspicious when we realized his letters were all written in Katie's handwriting.]
4. Rachel and Yoav
5. Michael and Laura [crossed out, I suppose, after they "broke up"]

But yes, did you see #2? It's true. The inevitable happened: Sig asked Jessica to "go with him." I was crushed. (Actually, I was home sick that day, and I don't really remember what happened. But I'm sure I was crushed.) And my family had just moved onto his very street! But, oh, what did it matter now?

I tried briefly to focus my attentions on Aaron, the new boy, despite the fact that he was only a 7. And by "focus my attentions" I mean "fantasize that I might lure him to my house to play a few rounds on our awesome new mini-pinball machine." But then all the other girls decided they liked Aaron too (one friend even puffy-painted "I ♥ Aaron" on her socks, so you know she meant business), so I was like, screw this. Plus, living on Sig's street meant that sometimes he would bike past my house. Like, while Bon Jovi was poignantly singing "I'll Be There for You" in the background. I swear to you.

So, he may have picked Jessica, but whatever—this shit was clearly meant to be. I knew it; Jon Bon Jovi knew it; and in his heart, I believed Sig knew it too. On the other side of the "Boy Ratings" paper is a list entitled "Who Boys Like," and you know who's listed under Sig? That's right: Jessica and Sada. I was keeping the dream alive, you guys. KEEPING THE DREAM ALIVE.

The saga? To Be Continued...

Also, in my dedication to embarrassing myself as much as humanly possible (and because, hey, I wondered what he was up to), I did it: I TRACKED SIG DOWN. And I sent him a link to The Sig Saga. Oh yeah I did. However, because he has the memory of a normal person instead of, like, a freaky computer elephant (ahem), he didn't recall too many of the specifics. He did say: "Offhand what I remember is having to deal with the barrage of notes and letters and phone calls from you girls when all I really wanted to do was jump my bike off the curb or play street hockey." Which... yep. That sounds about right.

One of the best parts, though, is how I finally found him: through my third grade crush, Andrew. That's right, people. I've been e-mailing all the boys I had the hots for in elementary school. I even confessed my crush-of-old to Andrew (he was not, I'm pleased to report, the recipient of any third grade letters) and he wrote back that he had a crush on—I am not even making this up!—JESSICA. Of course he did.

NEXT TIME: A rare look into the mind of the fifth grade boy! My brother proves that snarkiness runs in the family.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fashion Backward

You guys? Why do I have this blog format where I write novella chapter book–length entries? It's killing me. Not to get all Woe Is Me on you here, but the main reason for my spotty blog performance is that I have chronic forearm pain. (Starting a blog? Maaaaybe not the most brilliant idea I've ever had.) And I have two jobs! I don't want you guys to think I'm just lazy. Okay, SOMETIMES I'm lazy, but other times I'm like, "I want to blog! I want to blog! Blogging... blogging... Ouch! Ouch ouch OUCH." And then I have to stop. And wait a few days. And try again. So, I'm sorry. Rest assured that even when I'm not blogging, I am thinking about blogging and yearning to recount my prepubescence in embarrassing detail.

I have a bigger entry in the works, but I thought I'd get this little one out for you in the meantime. Because some of you have been writing very nice things about me on your blogs (thank you!), and I'm feeling especially guilty. This one is dedicated to That Kind of Girl, who I would totally give a blog award to if I had the arm capacity for such a thing (speaking of which, Sadako, I owe you one too) and fashion blogger Sara M., who apparently doesn't realize I was born all the way back in 1977. Thank you, Sara M., THANK YOU. For that I am bringing you this fashion-tastic post.

So you know how when I "wrote a book" (is there any way I can not put that in quotes?), I often liked to whip up a nice visual representation of my protag? Well, sometimes I'd just do the character illustration and skip the whole "book" part. I was crazy like that! This post features such potential heroines in search of a plotline.

Oh, and the best part is that they're all drawn on random Dun & Bradstreet paper that has this awesomeness at the top:

Only imagine it SUPER GINORMOUS.

My keys to success? First off, character names stolen from Can't Buy Me Love (click the images to enlarge; if you suffer from an irrational fear of poofy hair and geometric-shape earrings, DO SO AT YOUR OWN RISK):

Why yes, I'd like to spill a glass of wine on ALL OF THIS, thanks!

So instead of Miss Popularity, my Cindi Mancini is... um... a moderately snazzy Hasidic Jew? Unless you have some other explanation for that skirt? Actually, I'm not convinced that Cindi Mancini is her name. It might just be the name of both of her arms and her right leg. And the utterly bewildered rabbit on her chest. But if so, what's the abandoned sailor shirt's name? Ronald? No no, you're right, it's DONALD.

Next up is another Cindy. A New, Cool, and IMPROVED Cindy. (Wait, I just realized that all of these gals have roughly the same name. But such different styles! *cough*)

Really? Huh. I'm not so sure I want to see the old Cindy...

Nothing like announcing how cool and improved you are VIA SWEATSHIRT. Baby Hands here looks like she's struggling to maintain balance. That bow on her head may be a little too tight...

Also, if The Make-Out Team ever breaks up, my next band is definitely going to be called Baby Hands and the Vast Improvements.

And then, you guys? Then? There's Cynthia Viot (not Voit, VIOT), who has outfits for all seasons and time. Don't believe?

For all time! But especially for four o'clock.

Where do we even start? How about with the Stylish ("Mini-mini") look. Which... is that a joke? Because this is Cynthia Viot! All of her looks are stylish!

Anyone else picturing this on Verne Troyer right now, or is it just me?

"Mini-mini" should maybe be renamed "Quintessentially '80s." Side pony? Check. Off-the-shoulder sweater dress? Check. Oversized belt, squiggly earrings, and stack of bangle bracelets cutting off circulation to a critical limb? Check, check, and CHECK! (Helloooo, her arm is quite clearly stunted.) The flats with anklets are just a bonus.

But the "Mini-mini" is not for every day. No sir. For that we have the "Totally Me."

More like "Totally Saddlebags."

Totally mom capris and geyser hair! And weird bug-eyed monkey face! That's totally me! But look how I've brought the geometric shapes and the squiggles TOGETHER AT LAST.

And now for a completely different season (oh, wait), it's Casual Summer, aka "Sunglasses":

Dude. Her sunglasses might be wearing sunglasses.

She's wearing sunglasses, her shirt's wearing sunglasses, and her belt is made o' sunglasses. It's not clear what her earrings are, but I'd say sunglasses are a safe bet. Say, what's that you've got behind your back, Cynthia? Oh, let me guess... [Note: I meant sunglasses, but if you were thinking "baby hands," you're probably right too.]

But it's not all fun and games with Miss Viot. Sometimes she has to go to school, and that's when she reveals the "Uniformed" look:

"You're taking a fashion risk. I like that."

Everything I knew about school uniforms I learned from watching Girls Just Want to Have Fun. Namely, that they were better when fastened with Velcro and accessorized with giant dinosaur hair clips. Or, as pictured here, just plain ol' giant hair.

Actually, I'm noticing that Cynthia's hair always reaches to her shoulders, no matter what her hairstyle (one exception: the Hair Fountain, which... yeah, you know you want to scroll back and look at that mess again). Huh. How does that work?

When she's not in school, sometimes our girl just has to fancy it the hell up, with "Bows, Bows, Bows" (really, is there any other way?):

That's a fuck-ton of bows all right.

The bow epaulets are particularly nice. Bows: the '80s equivalent of bling?

The real question is how did this deserve three "bows" when Casual Summer got but a single "sunglasses"?

NEXT TIME: The Sig Saga continueth. For real, you guys. For really real.

In the meantime, you might enjoy Psyched on the Prairie, wherein a grown woman is reading all of the Little House books for the first time (and learning a lot about pig anatomy, woolen veils, and Pa's beard in the process), or the pee-your-pants hilarious Awesomely Bad High School Diary trilogy on Steam Me Up, Kid. Click here for parts 1, 2, and 3, respectively. I only WISH I'd written poetry about the possibility of boys scamming on me! So many opportunities lost... So, so many...