We were both cute and ditzy. That was our trademark, and that's why we became boyfriend and girlfriend. Of course, I knew better. I knew she was everything a potential girlfriend should be and I knew that she liked me and I knew that, despite the nagging itch in my nether regions for the boys in my grade who had chest hair and played football, I liked her. But, mostly, I knew that if I didn't ask her to be my girlfriend that people would wonder why we were not a couple. And you'd better goddamned believe that it would not have been her sexuality in question.
We were in the 9th grade and we had already spent a year as friends playing the trumpet in the marching band when I asked her to be my girlfriend. A few months later, after consulting her posse of girls at the lunch table, she dumped me. I knew what was coming when I sat down on the faux-wooden bench and at once everyone looked in my direction as if my tater tots had been garnished with a steaming pile of shit. It was that obvious.
I was fine, though. I knew better than to dwell on the loss of a relationship based on false pretenses. Somehow I knew that it didn't really matter, and that she'd probably be the last girl I'd ever have to ask to the Homecoming dance.
But, seriously, take a look at those dance photos. And that little purple basket. And my girlfriend's waist and how I'm not holding it. You see how I don't really fit in? You see my forward-thinking gay collarless shirt? See my awkward, boyish smile? See me wishing those photos on the wall were of my older hunky football-playing boyfriend?
Yeah. Everyone at the lunch table did, too.