Teenage love was horrible: stop pretending otherwise
“I wish I had a romantic prom date!” A friend sighs, pulling a face. “I always felt I missed out on a real teen romance.”
Hate to break it to you, but no normal teenager actually had a real romance. You probably messed about with a few awkward youths and developed a few painful crushes. But be honest with yourself: was it really milk and honey? Did he pick you up on his motorbike, fight other guys for your honour or write you love poetry? No. Because he was too busy doodling castles on his maths book. Like you.
Because you were a kid. So was he. If you did anything it was because you were experimenting or copying something your cool cousin wore or read. Love is something in movies and there is unabashed astonishment when the 6th form ball sucks and Dave never asks you out at Freshers Week.
No one could dance like in Grease and the sex or fumblings were universally awful. Don’t feel bad. You were 18 and still wore leggings with t-shirts. And over straightened your hair with your mum’s ghds.
The expectation that by 20 you should have experienced erotic sexual frenzy and passionate spiritual connection is daft.
You are still working out who you are. You don’t know how to kiss without getting lipstick on his nose. Of course he’d rather play football on the school field than sit with your awful girlfriends discussing how beautiful you are. As for prom, no one enjoys it.
If you have convinced yourself you tolerate -you mean love- your date, you spend the whole evening itching with sequins being extremely bored. If you are single, you awkwardly dance with the ladies before slumping off to drink terrible cocktails because Hot Leo made out with Marcus. It was HORRIBLE. Why are you lying to yourself? I don’t think anyone found prom memorable, let alone romantic.
And boyfriends (or in my case, girlfriends and boyfriends, often at the same time) were ghastly. They weren’t bad people but the awkwardness, fakery and general scandal of being in the year 11 gossip column made it hell.
If you really loved someone - as I thought I did- it was probably obsession. Ridiculously melodramatic all consuming fantasy that never really happened. He probably can’t remember your name. Because it was 90% hormones. You’ll look back in 10 years and wonder what on earth was so amazing about the Justin Bieber lookalike in the year above. Or why you thought both of you doing art club was the basis for a strong relationship.
So don’t feel bad of you didn’t have a magical mystical romantic sexual experience at 17. Because it’s largely a movie legend.