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Boys at the Movies

Perhaps one story changed your life. Saved your life. Revealed a secret. Or fooled you completely. Can you name them?

Plenty of books had me fooled.

Every book opened a door, an escape route, to girls I wanted to be and boys I wanted to know. Like many silly girls, I wanted a boy to love me like boys loved girls in books. I understood that lots of things were fantasy, everything, in fact, but that. Which was ridiculous considering the state of romance among the adults I knew.

When I was in the 6th grade, my father dropped my step-sister, N., and I off at the movie theater. It was our first time to go without a grownup, and N., to my dismay but not to my surprise, attracted two boys before we’d taken our seats. They were 10th graders and they had Shawn Cassidy hair and cowboy boots. One of the boys sat between us. The other sat on my left. I sat with my folded across my chest, my eyes glued to the screen, and my hatred for N. rising to new levels.

The boy to my left put his arm around me, and I pretended I didn’t notice. He talked, and I pretended I didn’t hear. He sighed deeply at the giggles coming from my step-sister. Tick, tick, went my anger, and I saw nothing of the movie.

At the end, N gave them our phone number, and she hit me when I dragged her away, pulled her to the curb, and pushed to the waiting car. “You don’t know them!” I said to her, before my dad opened the door. “They’re cute!” she replied. Maybe so, but they never did call. That N. didn’t notice they didn’t call, made me hate her even more.

I didn’t want a boy who thought he could put his arm around me without knowing my name or what book I had just read or that ice cream was my favorite food. Boys in books were worth making your father wait by the curb.

3 thoughts on “Boys at the Movies

  1. Gosh did books save my life. If I hadn’t been a reader, there’s no telling the trouble I could have gotten into, a little (half) white girl growing up in the Bronx.

    And the whole real world of boys scared the hell out of me. It was much safer in books.

    Come to think of it, everything was safer in books than in real life.

  2. Mr. Rochester of Jane Eyre was the object of my first literary enamoration. ( I think that’s a word.) He is the classic Byronic hero. Begin your psychoanalysis now, Dr. Freud.

    I’m with Rowena. Books saved my life, and they continue to do so. Real boys were SO one-dimensional I couldn’t stand them. I wanted someone complex and passionate, but someone who loved me for my intelligence and depth. I wanted Mr. Rochester. I married a mild version of him and I’m in heaven. 😉

  3. I have so many of your blog posts to catch up with! Just reading the titles makes me excited to see what you’ve got to say.

    It’s so hard now for me to remember my thoughts on boys at that age. I don’t think I had many thoughts. I’m not sure I read a whole lot in my youth either. I mean, I did read more than the average child, but I don’t remember having my nose in a book all the time either. I probably would have been much better off if I had read more.

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