Oh, he was hot. He arrived in our small suburban high school at the beginning of grade 11 and I think every girl in my class had an instant crush.

He was, objectively speaking, very good looking, and yet was cool, not conceited. Part of the boy’s mass appeal stemmed from being the first new, exciting male to arrive in a long time. In a school where nearly everyone had literally gone to preschool together and many had dated and dissected one another (not literally) to death, here was fresh boy meat.

Even I temporarily abandoned my longtime impossible crush to fixate on this tall, handsome stranger. The girls all did, I think, speaking his name in breathy whispers. One day after school, I and two of my best girlfriends were heading out downtown on the bus when we saw that he was on our bus. At the bus exchange, we invented a reason to hop on the bus he was taking, casually struck up some conversation from the seat behind (“Oh, hi! Where are you going?”), and then rode the bus until just one stop after he had gotten off. We promptly caught the bus going back the other direction, giggling about the whole adventure. Well, actually, I think we considered trying to follow him home to see where he lived, but stopped short of becoming complete stalkers.

And yet, this guy seemed to have no idea. Maybe, objectively, the lot of us girls weren’t particularly hot ourselves. You might think after a couple years of hanging around, he would have picked himself out a girl. His yearbook quote even included the question, “Do you have to open graves to find girls to fall in love with?” (I now know, thanks to the Google magic, that this was a quote from The Mummy. A hot high school boy with a love of film? Who was this person?)

A few years later, by chance I worked with a girl who was a roommate of the boy during this time. She shocked me with tales of how bitterly he complained about not having a girlfriend and of girls not liking him at school, etc. Wow, I thought, was he not only hot but also deaf and blind?

And now he has all but disappeared. There seems to be a lesson in all this about not believing too much of what you think you think about yourself.

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