The Return of THAT GUY
I realize it’s been a while since I’ve had an update of the NBK persuasion for you guys. I’ve concocted a list of several possible explanations—it could be that 1) boys have seen the way I devour my spaghetti and meatballs with the gusto of a shark in a feeding frenzy, and 2) they find it repulsive, rather than endearing, when I shuffle into early classes looking like a sleep-deprived zombie coming down off a sugar binge, or 3) boys do not find my pajamas attractive (I was under the impression that baggy T-shirts and fluffy Happy Bunny pajama pants were downright sexy).
So there was doom and gloom on the boy front when I rolled into town over winter break. But alas! A ray of light shone through! It was THAT GUY!
If you're unfamiliar with the enigma that is That Guy, he was my soulmate in high school—he just didn’t know it. I would've been more than happy to fill him in over the course of the long, happy relationship I had mapped out in my head. But sadly, the relationship never came to pass. It probably had something to do with the fact that you could count the number of conversations we had during high school on one hand. So when we graduated, I metaphorically released him into the universe—just like in second grade when we raised caterpillars and then released them into the wild. (My butterfly nose-dived into the sidewalk, but the point still stands.) Anyway, I was totally over him. TOTALLY. And then? Well, then I saw him.
The joy of being a college student means that high school is still going strong when you go home during breaks. My sophomore brother, Alex, came home from school one day and said, “There’s a basketball game tonight. Wanna go?”
I gestured pointedly at the Criminal Minds marathon I was watching. I was still in my pajamas. College does that to you.
“You can see your old friends,” he wheedled. “You can see your old school. You can bring Tara and laugh at the halftime dance routine like old times. Come on! Think of the nostalgia!” He paused. I wasn’t relenting. He threw out one last selling point. “There’s like a .0001% chance that That Guy will be there.”
I practically flipped over the couch as I raced to my bedroom to find something to wear. Alex knew me too well. I was in.
Yet I knew when he said “.0001%,” he wasn’t kidding. That Guy probably had a million activities going on. He had things to do and people to see and, for all I knew, world peace to achieve and cancer to cure. I was resigned to the fact that the chance of actually spotting him somewhere in the bleachers was TINY.
Imagine my shock, therefore, when Alex, Tara, and I rolled into the building and THERE. HE. WAS. Like some kind of gorgeous, tall, muscular angel-dude heading in our direction. I couldn't look at Tara. I couldn't, because the second we exchanged eye contact I knew I would enter some sort of altered state of consciousness from trying so hard not to burst into hysterical, panicky, deranged laughter. We did a reasonable impression of what the kids call "keeping it cool" as he approached. In an extreme exercise in self-control, I somehow managed to not caress his impressive forearms, and I said, “Hi.”
“Hey, Elodie,” he said, casual as that. “Hey, Tara. How’s it going?”
Tara and I fell all over ourselves spewing words like "good" and "great."
"Shave your mustache," Alex commanded by way of greeting, and That Guy grinned and said, "I will when you shave yours," and, being boys, they went on like that for a while. Usually I am not partial to facial hair. But That Guy was working the facial hair. It wasn’t so much a mustache as it was a little scruff around the edges, but he was working it. Maybe that was just the infatuation talking. If he’d glued a live raccoon to his face, I might have swooned.
“So how are you liking [insert name of his college here]?” I asked, thinking, That's a reasonable foray into the realm of casual conversation, right? Right?
“It’s great,” he said. “It’s pretty great.” There was a pause, and I realized too late that I’d set up a perfectly awkward situation. I could almost see the gears turning in his head as he realized he didn’t know where either Tara or I went to college, so he could not politely relay the question back to us.
Alex swooped in and saved us. “I’m liking school.”
“I’ll bet,” said That Guy, laughing. "I'll bet the girls are beating down your door." He asked me sternly, "Is he behaving?"
“He’s a handful,” I said.
“Don’t be sitting with any girls,” That Guy said to Alex, nodding towards the doors to the gymnasium. “You’d better sit with your sister.”
Alex said he would, and That Guy said he’d see us in there. Alex, Tara, and I strolled inside and took our seats, and it wasn’t until That Guy was safely out of earshot that we all burst out laughing.
“What were the odds of that happening?” Tara whisper-screeched. “Oh my God. Just… wow. I can’t even… WOW.”
“.0001% chance, my rear end,” I said, nudging Alex.
“Oh, shut up,” said Alex. “He really needs to shave that ridiculous mustache. He looks like Stalin.”
“Yeah, if Stalin were RIDICULOUSLY HOT!” I enthused, at which point Tara and I commenced chatting about his hotness, and Alex instantly sighed and tuned us out.
I think we all, to an extent, have that one person—that one That Guy—that embodies the high school experience of crushing, of wanting, of wishing, of (let’s face it) creeping in the hallways like a really inept ninja. And that’s cool. I’m just going to keep on keeping on. I’m going to keep eating my spaghetti like it's the last thing I'll ever eat, I’m (probably) going to keep showing up for early classes looking like the living embodiment of death, and I’m for sure going to keep running around in my Happy Bunny pajamas, because they’re just too damn comfortable. There was a point during the peak of my That Guy crush where I wished I was the kind of girl I knew he liked—athletic, outgoing, student government material. But I wasn’t. And that’s cool. There’s a dude out there for me, whether he be First Kiss Guy or First Date Guy or maybe even (God forbid) Marriage Guy. But for now, he’s Mystery Guy, and I’m Spaghetti-and-Zombie-and-Happy-Bunny-Girl. And I'm cool with that.
ELODIE, WE LOVE THIS POST SO MUCH. This is EXACTLY what happens when we run into "that guy"—only there's more sweating, obviously. Has anyone else had a run-in with a crush recently? Was it awkward? DO TELL!
Related post: NBK Michigan