Saturday, September 24, 2011

Twitterpated

I saw Katie holding hands with her boyfriend. I volunteer once a week as a reading helper in her classroom. I was working with another child at the back of the room when Katie's teacher asked everyone else to get up from their tables and put their assignments inside their cubbies. Out of the corner of my eye I saw it: Katie and a boy holding hands, talking. I couldn't hear what they were saying. But I saw the boy, Alden, tapping her chest with his pointer finger. She later told me, when I asked, that he was pointing to the heart on her tie-dyed dress and telling her how much he liked it.

Will recently revealed to me that the reason he loves it when I wear my wedding dress, also a tie-dyed dress with a heart in the center of the chest, is because I remind him of Tenderheart Bear. I'm glad Katie is similarly attracting sweet souls.

Katie had told me about Alden two days before I caught them holding hands. They're both half-day kindergartners, so I'd seen him getting picked up by his mom several times. But this time when Katie and he said goodbye to each other, he grabbed her and hugged her and kinda tried to kiss her cheek but got a clump of her hair in his mouth, turned suddenly and ran toward his mom. I had seen Katie's best friend Ava hug and kiss her many times, but this was the first time I had seen a boy other than her cousin show such affection toward her.

I don't know why, perhaps because I myself am a fag hag, but my immediate assumption was that Alden is a little gay boy and Katie is his best girl friend. It didn't even occur to me that it was anything other than platonic until Katie and I started walking home and I asked her, "Who was that hugging you back there?"

"My boyfriend." She said nonchallantly.

What?

I didn't have a boyfriend, or a girlfriend, in kindergarten. The first boyfriend I had was in fourth grade, a boy named Jason. Jason did not know he was my boyfriend. The next boyfriend I had wasn't until I was in high school, a boy named Reuben. Reuben also did not know he was my boyfriend.



I had crushes on fictional characters growing up. The first was Cubby on the Mickey Mouse Club. I was very young, maybe two or three. I didn't understand that at the time, in the early seventies, I was watching a rerun of the fifties-era TV show and that by that time the actor who played Cubby was no longer a cute little boy but probably a middle aged man. Next I moved on to Radar O'Reilly on MASH, a middle aged man who looked and behaved like a child. I remember my sisters and brothers teasing me about my crush on Radar and I didn't know why. I thought he was adorable.

Then I kinda had a crush on Shaun Cassidy, but really only because my girl friends did and I wanted to fit in. But who I really liked, in fact the subject of my first semi-sexual dream, was Han Solo. Mmmm. I still kinda have a crush on him. I remember waking up one morning in third grade feeling like I had to pee really bad because I felt so tingly "down there." I later realized the tingly feeling had more to do with how sexy Han Solo was in my dream than how much urine I had in my bladder.

By junior high and high school I'd moved on to fictional relationships with celebrities: Roger Taylor of Duran Duran, then Morrissey of the Smiths, Michael Stipe of R.E.M. By my late teens it was k.d. lang. Honestly it's still k.d. lang. Yum.




I went through a short obsession with Tobey Maguire's character Jake Rodell in the movie "Ride with the Devil." I saw that movie seven times in the theater, by myself. Then it was Health Ledger's character Ennis del Mar in "Brokeback Mountain." Something about gruff cowboy slightly girly types does it for me.

I was eighteen before I had my first real girlfriend, then a real boyfriend, then a real girlfriend, girlfriend, boyfriend, girlfriend, and finally boyfriend who turned into husband one month before I turned thirty-four. I guess I'm a late bloomer.

I didn't go to preschool, but my mom took me to storytime at three different branches of our public library system each week. My favorite storytime was at the old Carnegie branch downtown. That's where Auntie Bea was the children's librarian. I LOVED her. Well, not that way, but the way you love someone you admire.

What I did not like about that branch's storytime was the boy who always chased me in the stacks before storytime started. I don't remember his name, but I remember he had very greasy hair and he seemed kind of smelly. I was never a very dainty girl - I played in the dirt and in the creek with the best of them. So for me to think this kid was kinda unclean is really saying something. He was also very big and had no social skills. I thought he was weird. Later, when I read one of my favorite books, Dinner at the Home Sick Restaurant I was reminded of this boy who used to chase me when the sister follows the weird boy home and discovers that this weird boy is some doting mother's son. I immediately felt a little sad that I had not bothered to befriend my weird boy, just as the girl in the book did not befriend her weird boy. I sure hope my weird boy finally found a sweet girl who let him catch her. They're probably married now with a bunch of weird kids chasing other kids around the library stacks.

I think because I was such a romantic late bloomer, it caught me off guard to discover Katie Bug is already beginning to buzz around love's full bloom. She informed me that "the more time I spend with Alden, the more I feel like he's my family. That's why I love him and we're going to get married when we're grownups."

I should have paid attention to the signs my girl was getting twitterpated at an early age. She howls with laughter each time she sees that scene in "Bambi" when the grumpy owl explains to a teenage Bambi, Thumper and Flower that if they don't watch out some pretty girl is gonna get them all twitterpated. I always thought that scene was pretty dumb until I watched it as an adult with Katie. I finally got it, something my five year old understood immediately.