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A Scientific Approach to Understanding Some High School Crushes

Posted on the 16 November 2014 by Kdcoduto @katydee

High school is a time for regrettable decisions. Most of the poor choices you make from the ages of 14 to 18 won’t really come back to haunt you, beyond the anxiety of wondering why you thought lip rings were really attractive. Spurred by an article on Jezebel comparing Alex from Target to the writer’s high school crush, my friend Carina and I decided to do an analysis of the boys we were attracted to from 2006 through 2010 while attending Hoover High School in North Canton (this is called “owning it”).

The results show a number of things, things both about us specifically and about teen girls and early romantic ideas generally. (Obviously, this is a super small sample size and can’t actually be applied to a larger population, but the trends won’t be that surprising to anyone who was/is a suburban teen girl.) Through a text conversation, we compiled a list of 16 boys who we were interested in in some way from 2006 through 2010. Of the 16, six were older than us, and 10 were our age. None were younger (pssh). They almost all attended Hoover High School sometime between 2006 and 2010, with the exception of one who went to a private high school but knew both of us from middle school. (Carina and I attended different middle schools but lived near each other.)

Based on our discussion, we came up with categories that at least three of the boys would fit into no matter what. The categories are:

  • Cried about him while listening to Lady Gaga/Taylor Swift in Katy’s little red car
  • Ignored him 97% of the time even though I was actually desperately in love with him
  • I could marry him now if I was still interested/wanted to
  • I would definitely marry him now if given the chance
  • Couldn’t pursue him due to fears of being murdered by other high school females
  • Unavailable older men, aka 17-year-olds not interested in 14-year-olds
  • (Redheaded and freckled) Potheads
  • This relationship/flirtation was doomed from the start
  • He keeps an annoyingly low Internet profile so I can’t creep on his life and decide if I still love him or not

Then, after our discussion, I (very scientifically) charted the categories based on the years when they would have been accurate. As you can imagine, some of them didn’t actually come into play until years after high school – like “I would definitely marry him now if given the chance.” Others have an exact time frame based on the specifics of the categories – like crying about it in my car, which could have only happened from 2009 on (when I got my Dodge Neon).

By looking at the chart below, you can see which categories have the greatest longevity (we will both always be attracted to redheaded, freckled stoners) and which years appeared to be the most devastating (junior year, which was 2008-2009).

For the most part,

For the most part, “regrettable” seems to be the only appropriate word choice. A chart I created in about an hour on a Saturday morning.

There’s also a lapse in 2011, the year after we graduated. Fully enmeshed in our first year of college, we weren’t too concerned with the past loves of high school. Yes, we still got together that summer to relive some of the heartbreak, but otherwise we were only focusing on our love of potheads and on our inability to check-in on most of those crushes.

What this chart allows us to do, now, is plot the 16 boys we talked about last night into the different time periods they fit into it on our lives. Some of them were more serious than others, but we can look at them in relation to each other in the given categories and then in the given years when that category was popping. As I said, 2008 – 2009 was the time of the greatest devastation (such as it is), which would’ve been our junior year.

Of course, the final piece to using the chart is to understand the specifics of the given categories. Having discussed the boys and then stripped them down to their similarities, the categories can be understood as…

Cried about him while listening to Lady Gaga/Taylor Swift in Katy’s little red car.
I got my little red Dodge Neon in May 2009, and so senior year I drove Carina to school every day. I was also the designated driver for late night Taco Bell runs during newspaper production weeks. This meant that, when boy activity was happening, we were going to cry about it in my car. Cry may be extreme – but still, senior year involved the boys who we would have one last chance with before college. This equates with serious feels, the likes of which only Gaga and Taylor could understand.

It also equates with, for the most part, boys who were too clueless to notice us because of their firmly developed social circles that were, in many cases, 12+ years in the making.

(And, one time, the spider I had to kill on my steering wheel. Which I may have also sort of cried over.)

Ignored him 97% of the time even though I was actually desperately in love with him.
These were the boys who, starting freshmen year and going throughout high school, we blatantly ignored or kept at the fringes – even though, for whatever reason, we actually really loved them. In some cases, it was because they were actively interested in different (“normal”) girls, and why should we deal with that guaranteed heartbreak? In other cases, these were the guys who it would’ve been a little strange for us to date at any point – like inter-friendship group dating. Bad.

It’s cool, though, because as it turns out, they were all worth ignoring anyway.

I could marry him now if I was still interested/wanted to.
You know that whole thing about being clueless and/or ignoring in the previous two categories? Yeah, most of those guys would probably pay attention now that we’re almost five years out of high school and relatively successful adults. This says a lot about where they are in life and what they need.

We would not marry any of them now if the opportunity presented itself.

I would definitely marry him now if given the chance.
Of course, the flipside of the above is that there are some crushes who are definitely now marriage material. They might’ve been questionable in high school, but they turned their shit around and are now respectable adults with real careers. Granted, this category does include a few crushes who we knew were marriage material even in high school. Four-plus years have only made them that much better – and, in some cases, bilingual.


Couldn’t pursue him due to fears of being murdered by other high school females
I am a fan of this category because it really speaks to high school life in general. Remember that “ignored him 97% of the time” category (I hope)? This is that, but amplified. Before, we were worried about our own heartache (and image). This, though – this is more than that. This is the threat of other females doing us harm, which from the ages of 14 to 18 is an incredibly real fear. At least one boy in this category talked to one of us on the phone every night for months, with no one ever knowing. These boys were often friends of ours, who could’ve been something more, but their side interests prevented us from ever moving forward. Again, the threat of physical injury would have been imminent.

And trust me, none of these guys would have been worth the physical pain.

Unavailable older men, aka 17-year-olds not interested in 14-year-olds
This was an especially real problem for the first few years of high school (although it carried throughout all four years – because by junior year, hi college boys). I was especially initially drawn to guys who were at least two years older than me (some things never change), and Carina found her own distinguished older counterpart in no time. But the problem when you’re in high school is that, as it turns out, 14 is just a REALLY YOUNG AGE. You know nothing, and I mean you really know nothing. It does not make sense for a 17-year-old to pay you any attention; and, if they do, it says a lot about the 17-year-old and less about you as a 14-year-old.

Plus, almost all of these older men (hah) definitely had the guise of distressed artist going in some way, just expressed in different genres (misunderstood indie intellectual, strung out punk pioneer, etc). This would not have ended well for any of us.

WITH THE EXCEPTION OF TWO OLDER GUYS… who, to this day, Carina and I should have gone on a double date with.

Damn it.

This relationship/flirtation was doomed from the start
If you don’t understand this category, I can’t help you, and you, too, are doomed from the start.

He keeps an annoyingly low Internet profile so I can’t creep on his life and decide if I still love him or not
This is difficult. There are a handful of crushes who have fallen out of our lives completely, mostly because they never got on board with or got rid of Facebook and stayed away from Twitter (Carina and I were early adopters, heyooo). They don’t have easy-to-find Instagrams, and casual LinkedIn creeping just isn’t possible. As a result, it’s too hard to determine if these guys are worth still having a little flame for or if dumping an entire extinguisher on that flame is in order.

Please alert us when you are back on Facebook so we can judge accordingly.

(Redheaded and freckled) Potheads
The one category that remains forever true: There were a handful of potheads in our public high school, and they were almost consistently beautiful. Almost all of them were redheaded and freckled. In the course of our discussion, Carina and I settled on one fact that will remain forever true: We will always be attracted to stoners. This actually prompted a separate discussion where we tried to determine whether or not stoners are actually physically more beautiful than other people; unfortunately, we couldn’t casually cull semi-legit data for that study.

Anyway, these were the most laid back guys in high school (…). They were funny and witty and enticing. They were also just dangerous enough, because pot. But you knew for the most part that they had no idea what was going on, and that was awesome.

All of the above remains true, and it is relevant outside of high school walls.

One of the questions Carina asked me, in the course of compiling this information, was: “Why did we go for the ones who were literally mean to us?” And, despite jokes of devastation throughout, the thing is: It’s pretty awesome we got all of that awful experience out of the way in high school. Not that we won’t learn more in our twenties, but we have an incredible foundation of gross experiences to operate from.

And, as you’re stalking your Alex from Target, just remember: He’s 16. He’ll fall into one of these categories, and it’s not going to be “I would definitely marry him now if given the chance.”

When talking about one of my past guys, Carina said: “…He is so terrifying.” This seems like an important inclusion.

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