Back to Dawson's Creek for a moment now.
Remember that tortured "will-they-or-won't-they?" relationship between Joey and Dawson? Ladies - didn't you want that kind of thing more than anything? I certainly did. (Mostly because instead of drinking and partying, they stayed in and ate pizza and watched campy movies and danced around their feelings with the grace of Elaine Benes. Dreamy, huh.)
Spoiler Alert - I didn't find that kind of love. I doubt most high schoolers do. Instead I settled for relationships that at best just hinted at the kind of friendlove exhibited in the soapy teen series.
Friendlove - n. The overwhelming desire to have a tension and drama-filled relationship with your best friend of the opposite sex, secretly hoping that someday the unspoken chemistry between the two of you will reach some critical mass! and that you'll finally divulge your true feelings! and enjoy the best kiss of your young adult life. Romantic comedies are rife with this kind of lie.
My first boyfriend, of course, did not fit this category.
He was a fellow lifeguard at the pool I worked at during the summers. He was blond and tan and looked like he dived out of a Sweet Valley High novel - broad shouldered, blue-eyed, strong-jawed, cholorine-scented. He looked like the kind of guy who would've been named Brad, and could've easily pulled off hot pink swim trunks.
We met in the summer of my sophomore year and spent the long days frolicking in the water like tan, blond, glistening dolphins, subsisting only on young love and concession-stand soft pretzels. Of course, we were terribly unsuited for each other.
We spent nearly a year dating, though I'm not sure now looking back how that worked. He was sweet. In the way that vanilla ice cream is sweet. He played football, but the wrong kind (ie. American). He didn't think Waiting For Guffman was funny, so . . . that should've tipped me off. He was someone I was attracted to but didn't like all that much. His company was fine, and there wasn't much better at the time. He ended up cheating on me with a senior cheerleader, an act totally typical! of a Brad who could pull off hot pink swim trunks. Very D. Creek, eh?
Next came the older guy.
If you're going to have a rebound guy, you want a dashing, charming, bad-boy type who will sweep you off your Doc Martins and make you forget all your troubles. Instead, I somehow stumbled into Mike.
He was another "nice" fellow. Sensitive, mellow, go-with-the-flow. I could make him laugh and I liked that. Sort of passionless in his pursuits, except when it came to his jet-black Camaro.* In that area he was very, well, driven. Much of our relationship was spent cruising around at night in his car listening to Dave Matthews Band, his favorite artist. In hindsight, I wonder if he dated me to have a passenger-side accessory to his beloved car. Once again, slim pickings at my high school.
*I realize the Camaro + driving for recreation + Kansas upbringing makes me sound like I walked straight out of a John Cougar Mellencamp song. Oh gosh, did I?
Enter the guy I tried to fabricate friendlove with for over 2 years to disastrous results.
Troy. Not enough and somehow too much to say about this one.
He was kind of a Dawson type, even dressed the same, though it was no longer fashionable. With Troy I wanted friendlove, I wanted to (semi-consciously) recreate some kind of relationship modeled after the ones I saw in the movies. Of course, this was a unbelievably stupid thing to do, because I was not Joey Potter (thank heaven) and he was not Dawson.
The thing was he was the one guy I liked a lot as a friend, unlike the guys I actually dated. This friendship couldn't be manipulated into more than friendship, to my dismay, and it ended badly. I am entirely to blame for this lack of romantic or platonic relationship.
Instead, I ended up kissing one of his best friends outside of his house. Oops?
= one of his best friends outside his house.
I hesitate to mention him, because it wasn't much of anything. However, it sort of was a game changer for me in terms of my taste in men.
Nigel was the object of every smart girl's affection and the ultimate triple-hyphenate - sexy, cool, mysterious. He sort of(?) looked like Seth from The O.C. and played in a band and carried a briefcase instead of a backpack. COUNTER CULTURE ALERT! He was a hipster before I even knew what that meant. He also wrote and performed his own poetry. Swoon. He was the antitheses to the football player, and a VERY welcome alternative. Of course, he was trying just as hard as they were, only he ran on a different platform.
It started with a month of hands-off flirting. Followed by an extremely brief and desctructive affair.
As the story goes, high school graduation came and went with no friendlove in sight.
I felt severely cheated out of a high school sweetheart and felt like I hadn't learned very much about relationships, except that I didn't like who I was as a part of them. I always acted false somehow. Probably because I was screwed up from too much television.
Upon now watching Dawson's Creek with wizened eyes, it occurred to me that I was off the mark in even wanting a Joey/Dawson kind of love. Those two were probably the most static and irritating characters on the show and their friendlove soon began to cloy. Pacey Witter was much more the interesting character. I digress.
But thank goodness for college, right? It's where you get to repent for all your high school crushes and relationships and actually go after guys who you like for the right reasons and who ignite something in you that makes the both of you better.
And in the end you do much, much better than a Dawson, or a Pacey.
Or I did, anyway.
Did you hear that, high-school Adrienne? You'll get an improved, true version of friendlove. You'll get the real-life filmmaker - articulate and hilarious and passionate. He'll love Waiting for Guffman, prefer math rock to anything resembling Dave Matthews, hate to go swimming, hate football even more, share your love for antipasto, and very organically use words in conversations that would have even stumped Dawson.
And you'll never believe this one. He'll be blond.