Sarah Quigly is the 2009 debut author of TMI. =) Here she is telling us what she wished she knew when she was sixteen. =)
Dear Sixteen-Year-Old Sarah,
I know you’re really desperate for a boyfriend. You’re embarrassed that you’ve never kissed anyone besides relatives (who totally don’t count). You feel like everyone around you is in mushy, mushy love. A few girls in your class are even pregnant. Of course, you don’t envy them in the least, but seeing their bumps makes you wonder how they got into that state when you can barely get a guy to make eye contact with you. I know you constantly wonder what’s wrong with you.
The answer? Absolutely nothing.
I could tell you not to worry, but that’s crappy and pointless advice to give a World Champion Worrier such as yourself. Instead, I can offer you a few nuggets of information that may give you a little reassurance.
1. Not everyone is in mushy, mushy love. It just seems like it because there are those exhibitionist pairs who make out in the hallways and grab each other’s butts all the time and generally put their feelings for each other on public display. You can think whatever you want about them, but remember that they’re in the minority. Most of your classmates aren’t part of a couple.
2. It’s totally okay and normal to have never kissed anyone by age sixteen. You’re going to meet people in college who are still kissing virgins. The idea that you have to achieve this romantic milestone by a certain age is dumb. Trust me, it’ll happen.
3. And another thing: it’s much better to kiss someone you really like and are attracted to. Don’t go kissing someone just to get it over with, or because your friends say you should, or simply because he’s male and has a pulse. I mean, you can do that, but you’ll probably be disappointed by the experience.
4. It’s quite unlikely that you’re going to get a boyfriend the way girls do in your favorite eighties movies*: a guy they barely know asks them out, and they have instant chemistry. Sure, that sometimes happens in real life, but most people meet through mutual friends or school activities or classes, and romantic interest develops over time. So although you’ve followed the advice in teen magazines about how you should just go for it and ask out the boy you like, there’s a reason they’ve all said no. Again, I don’t know how loudly I can shout this: there’s nothing wrong with you. The problem was that these guys didn’t know you. Your invitation came out of nowhere for them. It was too forced, too artificial.
*See Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, Heathers, Some Kind of Wonderful, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and Say Anything for examples.
5. Boyfriend ≠ Band-Aid for life’s problems. The right guy can certainly add a lot of happiness and fun to your life; he can’t make things perfect, though. So don’t assume that those girls walking down the hall hand in hand with their cuties have it made. They don’t. But they’re putting on a good show, aren’t they?
You’re going to be just fine, honey. You have lots of great kisses to look forward to, and they’re not as far-off as you may think. Just try to be patient. I know that may seem impossible, but you can do it. In the meantime, keep writing in your diary; it’s therapeutic and will come in handy when you become a young adult author someday.