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,
S*A*D*A

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

P.S. WRITE BACK SOON


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.

20 comments:

That Kind of Girl said...

omg I am giggling maniacally! I love that you actually tracked him down! His memory-reaction is so typical of a boy. I mean, honestly, street hockey? There isn't even heart-shaped stationery involved, sir! PRIORITIES!

Sada said...

Sig had a profound dedication to all forms of hockey (street, ice, possibly even air?); an 11-year-old girl and her heart-shaped stationery could not compete. An 11-year-old girl and her mini-pinball machine, however... MAYBE?

Kristin said...

Ah! I love that you found Sig! Is it weird that I am really curious to hear what Sig is up to, even though I never knew him? This Sig saga is making me totally curious. Sig should start a blog. I will say I feel like his reaction was far nicer than most fifth grade boys' might have been .... making friendship bracelets and calling you both pretty? Awesome.

Sada said...

It's true. Even though his love for hockey outweighed his love for the ladies, Sig was truly a prince among 11-year-old boys (or at least an emperor in long underwear, tee hee hee!). But yes, he was actually NICE--even in the face of our hormone-driven lunacy!--which is probably why we all had such massive crushes on him in the first place. Well, that and his spiky hair.

Sig actually DOES have a blog, but I don't think it's my place to break his (relative) anonymity. Maybe if we're nice he'll leave a comment. :)

Kristin said...

Yes, he had some lovely manners for a 10-year-old. I love the idea of him having a Sada saga over on his blog, although it would be shorter gauging by what you posted. Understandable why he may not want to post it but it would totally boost his readership!

Steam Me Up, Kid said...

"I doubt there's anything left to say" is so damn funny, especially since there's always something left to say, isn't there. Sigh. Why didn't we ever just shut it?

Also, I would never have thought that about the Ramones, but now that your boyfriend mentions it...heehee!

Casey said...

HILARIOUS!!!!!!!

The grading of the boys reminds me of those other games we used to play with boys' names: "Love, Hate, Friendship, Marriage", and "MASH"...remember that?

I'd completely forgotten about "contact" and "force field", haha! Today we fear H1N1, but back then it was far deadlier to become contaminated by a "5th Grade Nothing"...aughh, the preteen angst!

And wow, was I ever embarrassed when I broke my leg and Sig's dad carried me off of the ice, bawling in front of everyone. His dad was so nice though, as I recall - kind of like superman, except really tall and thin. And bearded. (Ok, not at all like superman, but my hero of the hour nonetheless.) And then I remember being really happy one day in school because Sig asked to sign my cast...such recognition of my existence (ha ha) almost made the broken leg worthwhile. (Dammit, why was he such a stud?? hehe)

zanne said...

That's awesome that you tracked down Sig!

Jessica said...

Yikes. Poor guy. I'm glad we didn't turn him off to romance for good.

Btw, I have a hilarious picture of the two of us. Must have been from when we were "going together," because I remember my mom making us pose for it. It was at 5th grade promotion, and we're both looking utterly tormented, standing just close enough to both be in the frame, and obviously saying something like, "hurry up already! GAWD!" What did "going together" even mean? We wouldn't even stand next to each other!

Cory said...

This might be my favorite entry EVER! I love the following quotes:

"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."

"Yes, my letter included a footnote. Did I know how to woo a 10-year-old boy or WHAT?"

"'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."

"I doubt there's anything left to say."

"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."

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

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

"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??"

All hilarious. I'm still laughing, and I've read this entry a few times. Also, I have a freakish memory about random life events as well. I remember the most random details of the past, like hat shirt I was wearing when we drove past the Disney water tower in Florida. When I was three. Which was 20 years ago. So I understand.

Sada said...

Kristin & Zanne: Maybe we can have a "Where Are They Now?" when the saga is complete. I feel like we're all going to need some closure.

Steamy: I know. He usually claims I looked like Johnny, but I think the photo here has more of a Joey vibe.

Casey: I SHOULD HAVE BROKEN MY LEG! Then he would have been mine! Hindsight, soooo 20/20.

Jessica: I must request a scanned copy of that photo ASAP.

Cory: Thanks! Someone else told me the most memorable line was "Everyone with a wang lurves Jessica." And I don't know that I want to remembered for my wang. Wait.

Cory said...

Also, I agree that you looked kind of like a Ramone. I never realized it until now.

Sadako said...

Is there a rule that awkward kiddie photos have to have bangs? 'Cause I rocked some bangs for way too long as a preteen!

Sada said...

Children really shouldn't be photographed between the ages of 10 and 14, I think that's what it boils down to. ESPECIALLY if they have bangs.

I was going to ask why we thought bangs were universally attractive, but then I remembered that spandex bike shorts were also popular as everyday wear around this time, so I'm not going to bother.

Reepicheep-chan said...

Awww, I just recently got me some bangs too...

Sada said...

Bangs look lovely on many people! I, however, am not one of them.

obie119 said...

Oh, gosh - our version of Contact, Force Field, etc was that undesirable people had "Korotion" (corrosion???) and you could go touch them and pass it on to other people...with "no backs" of course so that it was fully transferred; and "no backs, no gives" if you wanted to make sure they couldn't pass it on to someone else.
Gah, kids are mean.

This was one of the most awesome posts ever!

Laura said...

I am only in 9th grade, but I really like this blog. I think it is hi-larious! Especially since I remember six years ago, when I was in third grade, I had A HUGE crush on this kid (we'll call him Ryan.) I filled an ENTIRE notebook with Mrs. Laura (insert last name here). I found it the other day, and all of my third-grade memories came flooding back.

The funny part is, I asked Ryan who he liked in third grade (so I could see if that was all wasted time) and he said he liked me and this other girl, Brianna! So when I read this blog, I was thinking, "Why can't young boys stick to one girl?"

However, Brianna and I never wrote him love letters. I just filled notebooks with his name and mine combined. That's not weird or anything... right?

Sada said...

Obie: Kids are jerks. I love how we all went along with these arbitrary systems. Like, what would happen to us if we touched an unpopular kid and then DIDN'T TRANSFER THE TOUCH? The apocalypse, obviously.

Laura: An entire notebook?! I hope you broke it up with a few rounds of FLAME, to scientifically calculate whether your destiny was Friends, Lovers, Alimony, Marriage, or Enemies. (You have no idea what I'm talking about, do you? I'm old.)

Adam's Clayton said...

I stumbled across your blog a few weeks ago and have been catching up on all of your entries. I haven't laughed this hard since I discovered my own collection of stories. I can't say 'chapter books' because every last one of them were one giant paragraph...

Keep it up, you're hilarious!