I was a Facebook “early adopter” inasmuch as I created a profile in late 2004 or early 2005 so that I could do recon on the undergrads I was supposed to be spotlighting in the marketing publications that I worked on at the time.* Back then, I could see pretty much anyone’s profile, provided they attended the university where I work. Mostly, I needed to make sure that none of their profile photos included gravity bongs** and that none of their personal information said anything to the effect of “HITLER WAS RIGHT” or “Embrace Jesus as your personal savior or suffer His wrath.” If they passed on both counts, they became a Maybe. If they had academic honors or a special scholarship, they became a Yes. And if they were “diverse” in addition to that, we basically dispatched a limo to go pick them up and bring them in for an interview. Because that’s how the world works.

My own profile was entirely blank, no photo, nothing. I would periodically get friend requests from old college friends, but I’d ignore them, because that’s not what I was there for. Now I’m on Facebook every day. I do not remain in contact with too many high school or college friends. (You needn’t wonder why.) I’ve blocked a lot of people. (Look: I’m not up to anything interesting. You’re not missing out, okay?)

Friday night, I came down with a 102° fever, lower GI nastiness, muscle aches, general malaise, etc. I lay on the couch, wrapped in the amazingly warm and strange blanket my in-laws gave us for Christmas, watching Tivo’d episodes of Tabatha’s Salon Takeover. (What.) At some point, I checked my email. Work stuff, sale at Rugs USA, and a Facebook Friend Request from my first unrequited high school crush.

I was momentarily startled, but also quite delirious, so I promptly forgot about it and went back to sweating, self-pity, and concern that the salon in Palmdale was just plain unsalvageable, Tabatha or no.

***

The backstory: This was about 21 years ago, at the end of the school year. I was 14. He was a senior, a soccer player with blond, wavy hair. He didn’t know I existed. I was way, way too young for him to be interested in me.

We had a mutual friend, however, who promised me that he’d introduce us at a graduation party.

I actually attended a number of graduation parties leading up to THAT graduation party, hoping that he’d turn up at one. So the night he did turn up, I was beside myself. I think about it now, what it would be like to be in your last week of high school, ready to go off to college and become an adult and drive after 9; you know, all the important stuff. And in those last few days, you find yourself presented with a googly-eyed 14-year-old kid (wearing Converse All-Stars with AFRICA UNITE written down the back and brightly patterned shorts that seemed cool at the time of purchase) who is, you are told in advance, completely in love with you, as if you couldn’t have gathered that. So what are you supposed to do in that situation? Well, if you are any sort of gentleman, you offer her a couple shots of vodka.

Now, I do not remember most of what My Crush and I talked about that night, but I’m positive that it didn’t involve planning our next date. I remember our mutual friend gallantly scooping me up, driving me home, carrying me upstairs, and depositing me in the bathroom, just moments before I started vomiting up stuff that looked a lot like the shorts I was wearing. “She, ah, she had a couple of wine coolers,” he told my angry parents.

In addition to being hung over and in Big Trouble the next day, I was also mortified. And I never, never, never made any attempt to see My Crush again. I didn’t forget about him entirely or anything. I ended up dating a good friend of his a few years later. Once in awhile his name would come up in conversation and I’d wince. I think we attended the same parties once or twice. And of course there was that one time when he appeared in the Playgirl “College Studs” issue.

It was mid-90s-ish; he was in grad school at that point, and my friend actually called me LONG DISTANCE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY to tell me about it. Naturally my roommate and I ran out and got it. That was only the second time I’d ever seen Playgirl — the infamous Burt Reynolds issue being the first — but I came away from the experience pretty much convinced that Playgirl wasn’t meant for girls at all.

***

Anyhow, so. I checked out My Crush’s profile on Facebook the next day, after I was able to sit on seats that didn’t have flushing mechanisms. From what I can gather, he is a mixed martial artist and (aspiring?) physique model. He lists The Fountainhead among his favorite books. Even if we actually had good times to reminisce about, I don’t think we’d have much in common. I’m astonished he’d even remember my name. So, I’m sorry, dude, but I cannot accept your Friend Request. And anyway, I still have that Playgirl somewhere. I already know what *you’ve* been up to.

*Ask me about the incident with the little person sometime. I can’t write about it here.
**Those they generally saved for their MySpace profiles. Remember when MySpace wasn’t populated entirely by Juggalos, serial killers, and your cousin’s boyfriend’s black metal band?

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