Tonight I watched a scenario play out in real life that was reminiscent of something you might see in an old movie. I was sitting at the bar in a Chili’s restaurant waiting for my to-go order when it happened and I couldn’t stop looking once it was in play.
Four high school teenagers are sitting in a booth across the room from me. I’m guessing they were either juniors or seniors because they looked a bit mature underneath the high school logos plastered all over their shirts. One girl with long shiny brown hair had the school colors painted on her face. It was a sunburst of feathers around her eye. It was a pretty paint job.
They are all talking and laughing in between sips on their straws when the girl with the painted face slightly turns her head towards the front door of the restaurant. Walking in is the handsome, almost stereotypical high school football star. He had the shaved whitewalls that have the clever razor cut patterns that rise up to his inch high mohawk hairdo. He’s wearing one stylishly scissored teeshirt over another tighter white teeshirt, all plastered with the same school logo, that effectively show off his teenage buffy arm muscles.
It feels like these teenagers can almost smell each other. It was uncanny timing that she should turn just as he was walking in!
She sees him and quickly turns her head back towards her posse. She rolls her eyes and you can tell she’s trying too hard not to blush and stupidly smile. She’s trying to be cool in front of her friends. She lowers her voice and clues them in. They all look in his direction. So much for being cool and nonchalant, I think.
The football hero sees them, seeing him. He reaches his hand up to smooth his hair and smiles really big. Then he purses his lips too, cutting off the grin so it’s now a super chill smile, like he does this everyday. He starts walking towards their table. The girl’s friend across the table from her tells her that he’s coming over and the closer he gets to their table, the further she turns her face towards the wall. Now she has her hand on her chin with her index finger raised to hide the side of her face.
The football hero stands at the table and everyone chats with him, except the girl. He tries to engage her, but all he gets is a chopped answer and a shy smile. It’s awkward and uncomfortable to watch, even for me and I’m a total stranger.
Finally he walks away to go to his own table. The hand leaves the girl’s chin and her face is beaming. She leans in to her friends and they whisper conspiratorially together. And that’s when I take inventory of the group dynamic there at the table. Boy, girl, boy, girl. It looks just like a teenage doubledate! They are even sitting the way couples would sit.
That’s also when I notice the expression on the boy’s face sitting next to her. You can tell he likes her. You can almost feel the teenage angst of him wishing she would look at him the way she was just looking, or not looking, at the football jock hero just then.
now I’m sad and a little melancholy…sigh
The girl with the painted face that obviously has a mad crush on the football jersey hero scoots out of the booth. I’m hoping she’s going over the the jock’s table and manning up to the crush, but she’s not. She’s walking with ramrod straight, perfect posture, to the bathroom. She’s looking straight ahead, not to the left and not to the right. God forbid she should get caught looking for him! Her steps are small, but even, and she appears to glide across the greasy floor on her way to pretend to pee.
The boy at the table watches her too.
The other couple are laughing and talking together with their faces close to each other.
The girl with the painted face comes back. The boy stands up so she can slide back into the booth and she pulls her cell phone out of her pocket and stares at the screen. She pokes it a few times and her brow furrows. Maybe she was hoping the footballer would see her beauty floating across the restaurant and would send her a text asking her to go to prom with him.
She looks disappointed.
The boy sitting next to her looks disappointed.
The football hero is suddenly back at the front door holding hands with a cheerleader in her uniform. They are now gliding across the restaurant while the girl with the painted face watches.
and my food finally arrives…
Isn’t this the way of most teenage love stories? Pretending we don’t like someone, but hoping they like us. Meanwhile because we have done such a great job pretending to be aloof and super cool, the object of our fantasy has found someone that wasn’t afraid to be vulnerable about their feelings and that’s who they’re holding hands with at the senior dance.
I think many of us carry this twisted behavior into our adult lives. We continue to play those games to get attention, or to make someone stay with us. We constantly test our mates to figure out how much they love us, or how far they’ll go to be with us. It’s silly teenage bunk like this that will cause a mature relationship to go belly up before it’s even gotten started.
If you love someone, it’s pretty simple.
Act like it.