Auntie SparkNotes: I Want to Ask Her Out, But What Will People Think?!
I am a boy, and a junior in high school. At the beginning of my second semester, I found myself in first period Drama with this girl, who I realized I have met before.
(It was actually at Dance-a-thon, and after the seventh hour of non-stop dancing, her friend lent me this weird little dress thing that went super well with one of my costumes. But it was really small so they helped me put it on, which was hilarious, and then on the night of our plays hers was before mine, so we were together in the intense quiet room.) She’s super pretty, and every time I look at her she’s looking at me. But! She is a freshman. She’s 14 and I’m 16, and she’s not very tall, and I’m kind of tall, and she looks like she could be in 8th grade so... that's a big no-no, right?
But I feel like I’m her age, and I think I am a gentleman. I respect ladies who I like, and I put their goals above my own, and I am not threatening at all. I don’t really even care about sex, I mean I've got nothing against it, but there are just so much deeper things that seem way more important. I am not confident, I am scared of her. I've never kissed a girl. They always turn out to have a boyfriend. What should I do? I have no experience, and I am frightened by her, even though she is so friendly. But people don’t know all of this. If we were to be together people would just see an upperclassman taking advantage of a defenseless little girl.
They would? How do you know? OMG! Can you see the future?! Quick, Sparkler, tell me: do my dreams come true? Will I ever own a Great Dane? Or see the Great Wall of China? Or make out with Adrien Brody in the rain while wearing the world's most fabulous organza evening gown?!
...Oh, wait. My bad: you're not psychic at all, are you? You're just a worrywart! So... right. Moving on. (What? Oh, please, like you don't all have crazy-elaborate fantasies about putting on gorgeous formalwear and kissing your celebrity crush in a thunderstorm.)
And as for what you should do... well, can we start with what you shouldn't do? Namely: working yourself into a tizzy over the public opinion, sexual dynamics, and other intricate details of a romance that hasn't even happened yet. Seriously, darling, slow down and chill out. You can always worry about this stuff after you ask her out.
Which is what I hope you'll do next—or if not, then that you'll at least start a conversation that could lead to another conversation that could lead to your making a move. Talk to her! Flirt with her! Ask her what she's doing this weekend, and when she asks why, tell her you'd like to take her ice skating! Or, y'know, something. ANYTHING. What's important is that you redirect your energy into the here, the now, and the within-your-power-to-control, and that you stop wasting it on all the far-fetched maybe-mishaps that you've got no control over whatsoever. And this is true not just in this case, but in all cases. There will always be some scary What If to psyche you out, paralyze you, and keep you from pursuing the things that make you happy. And the only way to be happy is to refuse to give those doubts a foothold in your headspace.
And if things do work out, and you find yourself happily coupled with the teeny freshman of your dreams? Guess what: no matter what your relationship looks like to other people, you still get to be together. (Want to hear a story? Check this out: I'm four years younger and a full foot shorter than Mr. Auntie SparkNotes, and the last time he and I traveled together, a flight attendant thought he was my dad. You know who cared? Nobody.) The beauty of love is that it doesn't mind whether or not it meets with public approval. The only people whose opinion of your romance matters are the people involved: you, and her. If you're happy, and she's happy, then it doesn't matter if the whole wide world thinks that you're too old, or that she's too short, or that your hair clashes with her skin tone.
Now go forth, and flirt your face off.
Have you ever worried yourself into paralysis over what might happen with a crush? Tell us in the comments! And to get advice from Auntie, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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