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Request an entry – I know what boys like

Risking the danger of turning this blog into Total Request Live, minus the screaming girls with homemade signs (though if you’ve got the cardboard and magic markers handy, feel free), I thought I’d tackle a question M. asked me last week:

Did you get crushes in high school? And if you did, did you let them know? And, more generally, how did you feel towards boys and was your weight a factor at all?

Being supplied with the average amount of estrogen for a girl my age, yes, I got crushes. My first was in 2nd grade on a boy fortuitously called Beau. He even invited me over to his house after he saw a picture of me on my grandpa’s tractor. Elementary school boys love a girl with a tractor. My next crush was on a smart, black-haired, green-eyed boy in 4th grade named Stephen, who in retrospect was obviously gay. Really, would any heterosexual nine-year-old boy refer to John Stamos as a sex symbol? But at age nine my gaydar was not yet fully developed. Honestly I think I’m still missing a few vital components for the system. Both Beau and Stephen knew me before I got fat, so I obviously had no fat issues in my pursuits of them, which honestly weren’t that aggressive. At that point the most serious my peers got was saying they were “going together,” which strangely didn’t involve much going anywhere except to the lunch hall and back or maybe once around the playground.

In middle school I had a crush on an adorable, smart-ass named Matt who had a raging case of acne. He however was on a different team then me, and no, that’s not a reference to sexuality. Our school split each grade level into three teams with kooky names and you would only have classes with people and teachers on your team. I only saw Matt at Quick Recall practice and one time when I delivered a note to him from the office and I think he maybe might have smiled at me. He totally smiled at me! Do you think he smiled at me!? I had started to put on weight by this point, weighing probably 160 pounds and not yet being fully grown. Due to my lack of access, my weight and just my general timidity, nothing ever happened with Matt.

In high school I had a crush on a slightly anti-social, yet artsy guy who created a cool commercial for the school play that played on our closed circuit morning news. He also read women’s magazines. I found this odd because disregarding the year or two I read Jane, I have never read women’s magazines and I was a women, still am a woman too. No, I don’t think he was gay. I think he was trying to gain insight into the female mind.

There were a couple crushes in college too who will remain nameless because I never underestimate the power of Google. If I’m going to tell a guy I was crushing on him, I’ll do it in person after I’ve had a couple Jell-O shots and not by hoping he Googles himself one day. They included my roommate’s goofy computer science classmate with a thick southern accent and the guy in my linguistics class who would have looked better without the beard but had a very melodic voice.

It’s pretty pathetic to admit this, but it seems I was most aggressive socially when I was in elementary school, because I never really went after any of the guys I had crushes on past that point. I’m sure being fat had something to do with this. It’s easier to take a gamble when you’ve got a good hand and being fat typically isn’t considered a royal flush in the dating world.

But I am hesitant to blame any dating deficiencies solely on the weight. I suspect the still common social convention that men should be pursuers, not women, influenced my passive nature. When you’re as fat as I was, you don’t get pursued too often, unless you’re fleeing the scene of a crime or you go poking a wasps nest.

You should also factor in that I am a loner by nature. My mother tells me that my Kindergarten teacher was a bit worried about me because I didn’t play with the other kids, instead I’d just sit and watch them play. Maybe I was just honing those keen observational skills that make me the writer I am today. I recall being so fed up with the boys and girls at my lunch table in elementary school that I actually wanted to be sent to the punishment seat, which was a lone desk over in the corner. Punish me! Punish me! I hate you freaks! I would have loved to have eaten lunch on my own and not with my dumb ass classmates. (Confidential to Eric M00dy: Die, you little punk ass bitch, die!) I think I’m just not wired to be as social as other people. I’m not building mail bombs in a shack in Wyoming, especially since it would be difficult to get an Internet connection out there, but I do enjoy having lots of “me” time.

Also, I am just a chicken shit when it comes to dating and meeting new people. Yeah, I’m shy and a loner by nature and not a total knock out, but I’ve got to admit I’m a coward when it comes to mingling or making small talk, be it with men or women. I don’t know if I’m a coward because of those reasons listed above or I’m just naturally scared of new people. Either way, I know it’s an issue and it’s one of the things I’m working on improving about myself besides my weight. As my mother always says, I’m a work in progress. With a little more work I’m sure I’ll have a serious relationship someday. I mean, I’m totally awesome. Who wouldn’t want to date me? I just need to find someone worthy of me. Hopefully they’re hiding under my couch and I won’t have to actually, you know, go out and find them.

So, anybody else got any requests? I can’t promise you I will actually answer your question, but if I have something to say about the topic that isn’t too embarrassing or private, I might blog it. I might blog it even if it is embarrassing, but only if you send me some cookies. Bonus points for snickerdoodles.

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Karen • August 23, 2006 at 2:41 pm

Never give up! I was convinced I’de either let the wright person go or had never met him. But, I got married on July 14th at the age of 41 and 195 lbs and am as happy as a clam! All my single friends say that I give them hope.


Sarah • August 23, 2006 at 3:49 pm

We might have had a crush on the same Beau. You and I are both 25, we’re both from Indiana (but I’m from the southern part, Evansville). So in 1st grade, I had this mad crush on this boy named Beau G@rdner. But he moved away after that year. Maybe he moved upstate? Does his last name sound familiar? That would be totally weird. ;)


PastaQueen • August 23, 2006 at 4:11 pm

Sorry Sarah, it was Beau Priebe. Though that would have been really creepy/cool if it was the same Beau. I lived in Crawfordsville at the time.


DKN • August 23, 2006 at 5:16 pm

God I had so many crushes from elementary school through college that one would wonder if I had Histrionic Personality Disorder…it seems like I ALWAYS liked someone. That has since changed. I think the fact that my feelings were rarely recipricated had something to do with my “chubbiness”, yes….and perhaps my desperation to be found attractive. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; American men (for the most part) are warped. Even at age twelve. I hate to generalize but for real…I think they are even more influenced by our rediculous standards of beauty than we females. I live in New York City and out here it’s NOT any better. Online dating is overrated and meeting people in person is a rarity. I weigh 190 and am proud of my kickin’ curves but I’ve noticed how many are simply not attracted to it at all. My solution: Well, black men would be the obvious choice since they are typically an exception the American rule…or latin men…but there is SO much macho crap going on there I’ve found that most of them I’ve dated don’t like that I have opinions, but again, that’s just my own personal experience. So honestly, international has been the way to go for me. Especially Irish and Scottish men. Over there my body type is quite average and they simply aren’t wired to believe that a size 12 – 18, for example, is “fat”. Also I once met up with a guy I met online and I was looking to start dating…he was looking for something else and confessed to me that he only wanted to meet me because of my size. That totally creeped me out for some reason. I let him pay for my drinks and got the heck out of there. Sorry this is so long, I have just put so much thought into this very topic. I’m really excited that you have brought it up.


Laura • August 23, 2006 at 5:46 pm

There’s also the possibility that the guys you had crushes on would have been clueless as to how to pursue an interest in you without overt encouragement. This is going to sound like a stereotype, too, but you are obviously intelligent and I suspect that the traditional feminine wiles I always felt like all other girls were born knowing may not have a talent/skill set you pursued. Smart females scare the hell out of a lot of guys, even guys who are on the nerdy side themselves (not all of them), especially if they happen to be shy, insecure and socially awkward in addition to being young and inexperienced.

I’ve been socially programmed to want to be pursued, but in the absence of that pursuit, I’ve done some chasing myself, with bad results. I actually had the chance to date a guy who I had the worst crush on (I had a crush for three years and then we dated for three more) and it was disastrous for me. The adage “Be careful what you wish for” is true indeed. Believe me, it’s better to have no or little experience than to have a rotten one.

The funny thing is, I’ve found that when I HAVE been pursued, it’s given me a yucky feeling. Like I want to ask the guy to either 1) stop making fun of me, or 2) if he has some sort of disability or something.


K • August 23, 2006 at 6:02 pm

You know, I was totally hoping someone was going to say “Really? I never had crushes on anybody”.

I didn’t. Not really. There were times when I liked the idea of having a boyfriend, but the idea of having to be with someone that often… and having to kiss them… yuck!

Until I met my husband (who fortunately pursued me) and found out it wasn’t yuck. But he is still my one serious relationship. I went out with another guy before him, and didn’t treat him as well as I should have, partly because I didn’t fancy him and partly because I felt he couldn’t really fancy me.

I’m sure that part of the non-interest in boys was down to my low self-esteem at the time – I honestly couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to go out with the very prim, rather awkward person I was. And weight was part of that, yes. But I now think I was just a late developer.


M. • August 23, 2006 at 7:00 pm

Awww, thanks for the post. I could even make a sign now, complete with hearts and glitter, heh. And I had that song stuck in my head for an hour after reading this, damn you!


JJ • August 23, 2006 at 7:33 pm

I really didn’t think much of myself, even as a middle school kid. I was fat from day one.

Consequently, I didn’t leave myself open to having friends, male or female. I shut myself off from the world. Fortunately, I had a tribe full of brothers and sisters so I wasn’t exactly isolated in my room.

But, in high school it was really rough. At that time, most guys who showed interest in me did so because they felt I would be “easy” because, after all, I was fat so I would do anything to be liked by a boy. (This was not my imagination … or low self-esteem. My sister and I are only 15 months apart and she was the typical blue-eyed, blonde hair beauty. She told me that this guy who did want to date me said that very thing, that I’d do anything with him because I was fat and desperate!)

That put me in a downward spiral that lasted for 10 years, at least.

Of course, it didn’t help that my own mother (she was an alcoholic at the time) made fun of me in front of people and encouraged my slimmer brothers and sisters to do the same.

So, I never had a date in high school or college. I didn’t care. I wanted to be loved and to fall in love, but not at the price of my dignity.

My head is in a better place now. My body is a little slow to follow, but getting better every day.


Monica (M.) • August 23, 2006 at 10:40 pm

I was skimming this and there were some cool old ads, that you can view here. Search for “Bisks”. It’s hard to read, but the third paragraph in the first one says: She’s a big girl now. But she won’t stay that way:”Now I’ve met a chap who’s made it clear he’d like me more if there were less of me I’m determined to lose weight. A friend put me on to Bisks and I’m joining the Bisks Slimmers Club today. Haha. I’d like to meet that chap too. And I’m not even overweight (anymore).


Heather • August 24, 2006 at 12:16 pm


You have to ask, if he is hiding under your coach, is he really the right one for you? I tend to not get on so well with stalkers myself. :)

Gotta be careful about not being outgoing when you are younger. They wanted to hold me back in Kindergarten. Yes, despite testing gifted… because they thought I wasn’t social enough. *facepalm*


E. • August 24, 2006 at 7:56 pm

I completely understand the loner thing. I, too, was a loner even before I was fat. I sometimes wonder if that was a factor for why I continued to pile on the pounds–just to be left alone.

Hmm…, my friends always tease me that only man I’ll ever go to the door to meet will be carrying a flat square box that smells of pepperoni!


PastaQueen • August 24, 2006 at 11:12 pm

Monica – Heh, old ads are funny! Back in high school I would sometimes have to do research at the main library downtown. This was before the Internets were so popular. After I was done I’d go into the stacks and flip through books of the old Seventeen magazines from the 60’s and laugh at the ads. You have to wonder what people 30 years from now will be laughing about in our ads.

Heather – They wanted to hold me back too! My mom would have nothing of it though.


Jen • November 13, 2008 at 6:52 pm

OK, I’m one of those readers who recently discovered you and is now catching up on the archives. I’m finally commenting because you mentioned Quick Recall!! Ack!!

I, too, lived in Louisville as an adolescent – from 3rd grade through 9th – and was on the QR team. Even captain, at one point – could it get any geekier than that? Ah, the days of buzzing in, using Commodore 64’s to power the system. Although you’re little younger than me, so maybe by then they had upgraded?

Of course you’re never going to read this, but I just wanted to say that, even though I already love your blog, I love it more now. :)


Forthright Fattie • February 27, 2009 at 6:11 pm

[Ditto above comment re: archives]

Teams! Between teams in middle school and a mention of Tom Raper RVs a few years ago, I’m feeling the Indiana love.


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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JennetteFulda.com now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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