Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


Feels Like Junior High

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:46 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Some things never change.

You know, no matter how hard I try, it seems there are just some things about me that never change. Take, for instance, my terrible luck with the opposite sex. Okay, not so much “luck” as the results of a range of poor interpersonal skill and bad choices. Frankly, every time something like this happens, it’s just like Junior High. (I think they call that “Middle School” in Texas.)
There was a girl, naturally, who caught my fancy right at that special time when we were all “changing” and discovering all these new feelings about our opposite member. Her name was Julie. Nice gal, cute, popular, the works. Sadly, I was not cute nor popular. Only I hadn’t figured out that mattered yet. I was a late bloomer. So, throwing most of my caution to the wind, I wrote her a note, no doubt expressing my undying love for her with all the eloquence my little seventh-grade writing skills could muster. I think I can sum it up by saying I wrote something equivalent to “I like you. You’re pretty. Do you like me?”

I was subtle in my delivery of said note. No go between for me! Nope, I bravely told her she dropped something and handed her the note. Then, I believe I practically ran in the opposite direction. Then, for what felt like the next six years, Julie and her friends, the popular girls, all pointed and laughed and made me feel… Well, I guess they didn’t make me feel anything, but what I felt was strange, bad, small, and “less than”. It was a feeling that chased me all through the rest of Junior High and High School, too.
It was that feeling that made me feel good enough to help the cheerleader with her physics homework, but not good enough to be her actual date. No, that was reserved for her boyfriend who was too busy with his Advanced Placement Physics to help her figure out basic physics. Honestly, I doubt she even remembers my name today.
But, that’s pretty well how things played out over those years. I was the nice guy that all the girls felt safe around, and I worked at that, but, as a result, none of them really thought of me “that way”. In retrospect, I wonder how many of them thought I was gay. Regardless, that’s just how things were. No, I’m not whining about that “nice guys finish last” malarkey. It’s not that they didn’t like me, but, somehow, in being safe and careful with them, I just got shuffled off into another category where dating wasn’t a possibility.

So, flash forward about twenty years and several relationships, including one failed marriage. You’d expect that I’d have learned something, right? Apparently not. I discovered that I’ve made an ass of myself again, doing the same things that I did in Junior High.
I put myself out there. I was as real and genuine as I know how to be. I wore my heart on my sleeve. And, I even got a little response. Enough, at least, to keep me hooked. Oh, I put her on the prayer list at church. I prayed for her, at her request. I even sent prayers along to her. (Prayer and my relationship with God is actually a very private intimate thing that I don’t share with a lot of people.) I was caring and I listened to her problems. The whole nine yards. But, Monday morning, when I got into work, I found out she’d been to a Super Bowl party with someone else as her date. Her and her kids.
The guy who squealed had no idea that I was the most likely reason why she’d sworn him to secrecy, or I’m sure he wouldn’t have told me.
I’ll tell you true, faithful readers. I felt like a right jackass. I was embarrassed and ashamed. I was damn mad at myself for getting into that position yet again. And worse, for letting it get to me. And, yes, it really burns me up that after more than twenty years, when I do this to myself, I can still hear Julie and her friends laughing at me.

A friend told me, via e-mail, that it was just my turn to go through this. Again. Just like everyone else. And, honestly, I know that. Deep in my heart, I know he’s right. And, yes, I can hear my very own father saying “In a hundred years, who will care?” And, yes, I know that’s true, too.
But none of that makes it sting less today.
And, yes, just like in Junior High, I want to say something, do something, to make her see, make her understand how unfair it is. How I felt deceived. How I would have handled it all differently if I’d just known from the outset that I wasn’t dateable. But, I know, just like in Junior High, that none of that would be of any use anyway.
Okay, I’m done feeling sorry for myself today.
Thank you.

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"People may doubt what you say, but they believe what you do."


  1. I’m sorry that she has her head so far up her !@@ that she couldn’t see the great thing right in front of her that she was throwing away. I’m sorry that you are hurting now, but at least you know where you stand, and can get on with it all. She’s a stupid girl. You’re a kind worthy man and someday, I hope you come to see yourself that way. I guess you could say that love is like death, however it’s going to happen is how it’s going to happen. You have no real control over that, for the most part, so there’s not anything to worry about until you hear those delightfully annoying wedding bells. (My paraphrasing lacks something here 😉 )

    I’ll bet Julie and her many followers do think of you from time to time and wonder why they were so stupid. I was guilty of brushing off a few guys that just didn’t seem as exciting as those bad boys, but oh my, what I wouldn’t give to be appreciated and cared for by someone who could see past his own ego.

    Comment by Cheri — 2/6/2007 @ 7:09 pm

  2. Thanks, Cheri, that’s sweet. But, I doubt that Julie or any of those girls even remember my name, much less think about me. In part, that’s what bothers me so much about this little character flaw of mine. Here I am, more than twenty years later, still kicking myself for a perfectly natural mistake. And, repeating it.

    I used to play a game called “Paranoia” with some of the other geeks in high school. Their maketing slogan? “Trust no one!”

    As for the girl in the post that set me off… Well, no, actually, I don’t really know where I stand with her. Frankly, I don’t think she knows where she stands with herself, either. Either way, I’ve started putting some distance, emotional distance, between us. I hope it will help me feel less vulnerable and exposed. We’ll see.

    Comment by the Network Geek — 2/6/2007 @ 9:21 pm

  3. Ouch. Sorry you are going through this. Women. Pashaw!

    Comment by Alison — 2/7/2007 @ 10:00 am

  4. Well, thanks, Alison, but, as per usual, I mainly set myself up for this. It’s a shame my thick head doesn’t provide a whole lot of protection for my soft heart.

    But, yeah, chicks. Aack! Thbbbt! Just like Junior High.

    Comment by the Network Geek — 2/7/2007 @ 10:11 am

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