Fire and the 14 Year Old
Much Ado About Something

Girls and the 14 Year Old

Billbrd I'm going to be perfectly and embarrassingly honest here in talking about girls.  You see, at 14 I had been thinking about girls in a favorable way since, oh, about 12 1/2.  The only problem was they didn't seem to be thinking of me in a favorable way.  They didn't talk to me, and I was clueless about what to say to them.

After lunch in eighth grade we'd congregate on the plaza outside the school.  We began with a herd of guys in one corner, a gaggle of girls in another, a few girls and "advanced" guys in one corner, and the class cast-offs (you know what I mean, the geeks now running major corporations) in another corner.  One by one we guys watched our numbers dwindle as guys would go over to what we called "the dark side" (the girls).  What were we doing?  Mostly immature stuff, but I was usually carrying maybe 10-15 LPs to school every day and talking with 2-3 other guys about music, which, then, was Jethro Tull, Traffic, The Who, The Beatles, Yes, and more.  Those were good years in music.  Anyway, I think we were all secretly envious of the defectors, though we trashed them behind their backs.

Well, at 14 my best friends John and Bobby and I went to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina together, the Las Vegas of teendom, on the bus, of course.  We were, naturally, desperate to meet a girl and figured this was it, our big weekend.  Friday night we cruised the Pavilion but couldn't get up the nerve to talk to one single girl.  We left that night rather ashamed of ourselves, though we never said it.  Saturday night we stood and watched three girls riding the Himalaya, the really fast roundabout.  We saw them, and they saw us.  They looked pretty nice, at least at that speed and at a distance.  After the ride stopped, they came right over to us.  Wow.  That was exciting.  However, the closer they got, the less nice they looked.  In fact, they looked pretty bad.

Well, they had nice personalities, anyway.  We consoled ourselves with that.

It's not a pretty picture, but that's just how we thought about life. . . at 14.