boys, cliques, competition, dating, high school, jocks, popularity, romance -

Fall 1995 • The 97 Jocks vs 98 Populars

Hi Shelby & Stephanie,

Ok, here's a fun question for you. Let's talk about social cliques from our High Schools.

Do you remember who the most popular jocks were in high school? The guys in your class or maybe the class or two above you? Did they bully you, hang with you or like you? Were you the head cheerleader dating the quarterback who everyone voted Prom King and Queen? My best friend Ronnie was Prom Queen, Andrea was Homecoming Queen and Stephanie was Prom Queen at her school. I wasn't really the popular, out-going type. I just won gold medals and dating all the boys that made the popular girls jealous but for some reason I had a group of friends who I just liked to hang with like I was one of the boys. Their bullying made me bully them back.

Brendon Benson. He could be such a jerk to me but that made me hungry to be a jerk to him. In Junior High he called me Aimee Aero Dynamics. Let's just say you know what that means. Lauren Speed Bumps and Cassie Peaks. Thankfully only Brendon called me that for a year. As a 7th grader I was extremely shy and lacked self confidence and Brendon was an 8th grader who said whatever he felt like. I began becoming very self conscious of my body. All my best friends where physically developing. They had the bodies the boys wanted. I had my athletic success so I'd just laugh it off and tell Brendon that's what made me faster.

There were so many things that Brendon said to me that weren't very nice. Boys will be boys but I was raised like one too. Screw you. That was my attitude when Brendon picked on me. He thought he ruled the school and he kinda did. If he was the quarterback, I most certainly wasn't the cheerleader. He made fun of me for being flat chested and that's what the boys cared about, so I was never going to get the guy that every girl wanted.

But if Brendon approved of you, you'd be popular. I was drawn to Brendon's obnoxious male behavior. Not necessarily by having a crush on him because he could be an asshole, I just needed to win his approval. Be his friend. He was just like my dad. If he likes you, you're cool. If he doesn't, you'll think he's a dick. Maybe I'd just be a dick to Brendon too. That sounded like fun.

Brendon, his brother, sister and I grew up in Church and Sunday School together so I had to tolerate him. He was cute so I guess it gave him the right to rule the class. His label was quite simply "The Jock".

When I was a Freshman and he was a Sophomore, Brendon and I got to know each other at Track Practice, usually on the bus or team blankets under the bleachers between events. Going into the summer of 95, I started hanging out with him and with his friends because one of my best friends, Ronnie, was dating his friend Jack. Jack's friend, Joe, supposedly had a crush on me. It was that age where you still asked your friends to find out if a girl or boy liked you before you had the nerve to ask them out. Rejection could be a bitch and destroy a circle of friends, but I had so much fun going out with Ronnie, Jack and Joe. The boys above us had cars to drive us around.

Ok weird, I just remembered that the guy from the other foursome I hung with, Bryan Black, called me to ask me out and I said no, but he married Joe's sister. There are a lot of those relationship cross overs in My Story since we grew up in a small town. I will be honest, small town life is almost more damaging to a teenager than living in a big city. You have to deal with jealousy and trading boyfriends / girlfriends because there really aren't that many prospects to go around. If it doesn't work out you don't have many other options unless you start dating your friend's ex or a friend's secret crush. It really is like Rachel Green only having the choice between Ross or Joey because Chandler is already taken. If you're like me, going after Chandler might be more fun. It's a bigger Championship but the writers didn't stoop to that level for a comedy.

What if I did? What if I broke the Best Friend code? 

Erica Hendrix had a crush on Tim Becker first. We'd lay in her bedroom in the dark, staring at the glow in the dark stars on her ceiling, and she was always talking about him. I had a little bit of a crush on him from Track but I couldn't tell her that. 

Erica, Rochelle, Andrea, Kiersten and I spent all summer together roller blading around Bluestone in the summer of 1995. Brendon, Tim, Jack and Joe would pick us up go to Teen Night at the dance clubs. "Come On Ride The Train" would be rocking but the night away and I really started to like Tim. We all went to see Blessid Union of Souls at The Mirage. My first concert ever, although I will deny that until the day I die and say Lollapalooza 95 was the first. Erica and I rocked the concert scene. Telling her I had a crush on Tim too was not going to be the right thing to do but there wasn't anyone else in school who I liked.

We were 15 and the boys were 16. Driving their cars was our favorite thing to do on a summer night. We'd go out to the country and find a house that was supposedly haunted and Brendon would get out and try to find a way to get into it.

When we weren't with the group, Tim and I seemed to make excuses for seeing each other. I'd go to the store where he worked to buy something and say hi. One day he called me while my mom and stepdad were at work and asked me if he could take a shower. His was apparently not working or had cold water. Ok, that was weird. Out of all his friends, he calls me? Tim was much nicer than Brendon was. He still joked around but he always found some reason to stop by my house when nobody else was getting together.

In August we started Cross Country practice and a new family just moved to town and Jason Kenny joined my dad's team. School was about to start when Jason asked me out. He was 17 and I was turning 16 but we were both sophomores and going to be in the same classes. Cassie and I hosted our Sweet 16 in my basement and everyone wanted to know who this cute new guy was who was kissing me. It all just happened so fast. Every day in school he would write me a note and fold it into a square and pass it to me in the hallway. Apparently the Jocks were Jealous and so were the girls.

Our 1995 Yearbooks were being passed around in September. You know that time of year when everyone tells you what they think about you. Your best friends write the inside jokes and memories you know will last forever while everyone else just says "To Aimee, A really sweet girl. Good luck with Track, CC and Jason."

Jason took up a whole page and wrote this...

 

Aimee: 

It was two months ago yesterday we have been going out together. I hope these two months turn into 2 years and then more. Ever since that first day I saw you at Cross Country practice I knew something would happen between us. I remember sitting there staring at you thinking how beautiful you are and how I hope I could ever get the nerve to ask you out. I'm so glad I did because I'm in a relationship I never want to be out of. 

We've only been together 2 months but it seems as if we've been together much longer. In the 2 months we've been together you've helped me so much. You gave me confidence in all I do. Confidence is something I lack very much and you definitely give me more. If I have a bad race, bad grade or bad day you say it's alright, I had a bad race too or you tell me I had a great race when I didn't. That for some reason gives me great confidence in myself.

I also want to thank you for something. I really appreciate from the first day helping adjust to a new school. Ever since that first day you've been there to help me and I hope you always are. You introduced me to your friends, invited me to your parties, and asked me to rollerblade. This all means a great deal to me and I thank you for everything. 

Aimee, we've started a relationship that I know can last for a very long time if we're always working at it. I'm in love with you. 

Love,

Jason

 

That's what Jason always wrote to me. He'd give me a love note then get on the starting line on Saturday morning and freaking kill the field. The audience would be hushed like, how is that guy 100 M head of everyone else? Then Jason would cross the line in 1st place with the audience cheering and grab me, kiss me and say that one was for me. 

I didn't even believe in romance anymore. I thought it was dead after my parents affairs and Shawn cheating on me. But now I had this guy who wasn't afraid to tell the entire school how he felt about me and I had a pile of little white folded up pieces of notebook paper in a shoe box. I'd love to have all those old love letters and journals but after break ups we tend to burn our memories or get rid of them when we start a new relationship so our new significant other doesn't get jealous. I wish I kept them because 20 years later it is still important for you to remember your identity outside of "The One". It can help remind you that you're allowed to have more than one person love and care about you.

But a Yearbook will stand the test of time. That's all we had in the 90's. We didn't have social media accounts to share our feelings with the world.

In 1995 I turned the page to read more entries. The next one from Tim really hit me hard. Harder that Jason's love letter.

 

Aimee,

To a great girl that I really got to know better this year. I can't really write that I have known you for years and you have always been there so I won't. I do however want to wish you the best of luck with all you do and most of all with Jason. He is a great guy and you deserve whatever greatest comes your way. Good Luck.

Tim

Since it doesn't matter much anymore I figure I can tell you I had a crush on you this summer but of course never told anyone. But I'm glad you found Jason because it seems to me that the two of you are perfect for each other.

PS. You are never gonna drive my car ever again either. So suck it.

 

Ughh, what was I supposed to think? I guess it didn't matter. He didn't know I had a little crush on him too. Maybe that's a good thing so I didn't need to hurt Erica.

Then I turned the page again.

 

Aimee,

You dirty, dirty, ___ (you know how to fill in the blank) JK. I never really knew you or Andrea until this summer but I'm really glad we got to know each other. I know you had fun this summer with me because I made you. I took you to Jammers with me. To a Grove party and other places. And if you think this summer was fun, wait til next summer. I'll make it even funner. Hopefully we can be a little nicer to each other next summer :)

Like Tim, I also liked you very much this summer. However I wasn't in my "going out" mode. Luckily lately I've started to settle down (thank god) but I'm glad you and Jason are going out. From what he wrote he seems like he loves you very much. I hope me and him can become good friends during Track. (Oh yeah, did I tell you I was going out)? You and Jason are 2 runnin' fools. You remind me of Mr. and Mrs. Gump. But that's O.K. Tell Jason he writes like a girl. :) #23

Love you,

Brendon Benson "Chucky"

 

Okay let me explain. Actually, I don't have an explanation. This year book message really threw me for a loop 20 some years ago. You have to understand that Brendon was "that guy", the Quarterback of the football team (although maybe JV when he was still a sophomore). This was a message that got passed around the entire school while signing year books so of course I'm thinking it's a publicity stunt. A competition to beat Tim and of course play games with my head. I'm sure he wrote the same thing in other girls yearbooks so I never put much thought into it in 1995. 

I loved to pick on Brendon as much as he loved to pick on me. I always took his dumb, sexist jokes with a grain of salt but I never thought he actually liked me. It still seemed like a competition for likes.

Jason and I went to Homecoming together. He was becoming friends with the popular boys in my class and we started going on triple dates. Logan's parents were really wealthy so we'd go to his house and make out in the hot tub. He also had a tree house that was rumored to be the Mack Shack but I didn't want to go with Jason. Things were moving so fast.

Jason and Amy qualified for the State Cross Country meet so my dad took us all to Columbus for the weekend. It wasn't the same experience as it was with the big boys team, but this time my boyfriend was competing. I was so impressed and proud of him. He placed 34th in the State and my dad was really excited. I couldn't keep up with Amy anymore so if I wasn't making him proud anymore, at least my boyfriend was.

Then it all came to a devastating end. As soon as the season was over Jason broke up with me for the star basketball player and broke my heart. I guess I wasn't good enough or popular enough for him. Rummer had it he just used me to make friends and get in with the popular kids.

Love was bullshit at that point so I assumed Brendon and Tim were the same way. Was it a bet to see who could score me first? Tim started to pull ahead of the competition once Jason dropped out of the race.

So Shelby, who were those guys before you met Chad?

xo,

Aimee