Books I've Read / Random Musings / Why YA?

Reminiscing High School Romance

boy and girl holding hands

A friend and I were discussing past romances today. Specifically, past romances from our high school days. The time of first dates, first kisses, first dances and first everything (for some of us, that “everything” implies more than others, but my friend and I were fairly innocent).

It got me thinking about one of the reasons why I enjoy reading YA and want to write it. There’s something so fresh about love when you are 16 years old, when it can be just about the romance and butterflies and not about balancing your monthly budget and/or rock-paper-scissoring over changing poopy diapers. I mean, can you imagine how tedious Twilight might have been if Bella and Edward had discussed the impending increase of property taxes in Forks? Or how utterly NOT romantic Anna and the French Kiss might have been if St. Clair said to Anna, “There are better things to spend money on than movies, you know. What about investing some of that allowance in mutual funds?”

And sure, adult romance novels don’t necessarily focus on the daily grind either. When I think back though, if there was ever a time where real life could have closely mimicked the idealized romance of fiction, it was in high school. And those memories are simultaneously swoon-inducing and cringe-worthy. Here are a few my friend and I look back on fondly. 

1.) Cheesy lines that worked

I actually LIVED this moment:

Me, resting my head on boyfriend’s chest: I can hear your heart beating.

Boyfriend: It beats for you.

No. I’m serious. That totally happened. And I thought it was SO romantic at the time. Now I kind of giggle, of course, and offer my past self some crackers with my cheese.

This one happened to my BFF, with her BF, while dancing at prom (of course). It might just win the John Hughes Could Have Directed My Life Award:

BFF: Do you think you know what love is?

BF: I think I’m looking at it.

Ack! Did your toes just curl up a little? Mine did!

2.) Cliché city

My friend and I both had boyfriends pull the yawn-turned-arm-around-the-shoulder trick. Or how about the old, I’m-going-to-leave-my-hand-on-this-armrest-nice-and-accessible trick? Or the oops-did-I-just-“accidentally”-touch-your-boob trick? There were obligatory dances where we wore ugly crushed velvet dresses (oh yes) and we had to fumble our way through pinning boutonnieres on boys. Making out in movie theaters? Did that too. I cannot tell you how the movie Outbreak ends. I was too busy playing tonsil hockey.

3.) Making stupid decisions in the name of love

I once switched my school schedule around so I could take first hour speech class with a boyfriend. I was supposed to take debate but I changed it for him. He did pass me football-folded love notes in class. And the cool girls talked to me when I was with him. So, ya know, it was totally worth it.

I used to think I could get away with anything. Which was true sometimes. Skipping class? Calling in sick to work? Yep and yep. But not true other times. You might think you’re getting away with something naughty under that blanket on the band bus, but in reality your friends are all watching your boyfriend cop-a-feel while you pretend to sleep. You are not so smooth as you think you are, high school Erin.

4.) Really, truly romantic moments

The summer after our senior year, BFF and her BF went to Switzerland on a vacation together. I KNOW, right? Their hotel overlooked Lake Geneva. He pulled her onto the balcony and asked her to dance to the sound of the waves. Le sigh. 

At my senior prom (I was so cool I went to three proms, haha!) my boyfriend had to come home from college to go. An older boy. Fancy. He told me he’d had a crush on me since he saw me at my very first prom, my sophomore year, in my red dress. I must admit, that dress was my favorite of the three too. Something about knowing he’d sort of pined for me for two years made me feel all kinds of special.

Of course, since neither BFF or I are married to any of our high school boyfriends, it goes without saying that high school romance eventually became high school heartbreak. But let’s end on warm and fuzzy right now, ok? Then one week from today I will do another post “Reminiscing High School Heartbreak” and we can talk about all the drama that wasn’t (that was a plug, by the way, so check back and stay tuned!). 

Do you have any cringe-worthy high school cheese you’d like to ‘fess up to? Or how about sweet and romantic moments? Tell me your stories. I’ll ooh and ahh and laugh in all the appropriate places. Promise.

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11 thoughts on “Reminiscing High School Romance

  1. Okay, this isn’t cheese . . . but wouldn’t you like to get back all the money spent on birthday, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day presents for high school sweeties? At the time, it seemed like $50 spent on a gigantic teddy bear holding a heart that said “Luv You” wasn’t too much. The dozens of roses, the jewelry, the chocolates, the expensive dinners, etc. were expressions of the deep love you knew you would feel for a lifetime — or at least until next Tuesday.

    As an adult, I think if I had invested that money in a good growth stock fund, I wouldn’t be worrying about how to pay our property taxes or take a vacation next year. Oh well! All in the name of young love, right?

    • Ahh, yes. The giant teddy bears. Who made up that trend? At least spending that money on dinner & a movie would have provided nutrition and entertainment for the night, instead of a useless stuffed animal that collected dust. Haha. There was a phase too where my friends and I would give our BFs giant teddy bears wearing boxer shorts. Like in order for the teddy bear to be cool it had to be wearing underwear? At least those were practical, I suppose. LOL.

  2. Ahahahaha!!! OMG this post cracked me up Erin! Will definitely tweet this one! The cheesy lines are hilarious!

  3. The giant homecoming mums with ribbons flowing from your chest to knee. Now, that was a trend. (Maybe just a Southern Oklahoma thing…)

  4. I dont have any hs cheese moments, but I will confess that my hubs is a total cheeseball. You are talking the GIANT obnoxious V-day cards and all.

    • Cheesy romance in marriage is a good thing too. Someday I shall have to post about all the crazy, cheesy things that happened when my husband and I were dating. Acutally..pre-dating…courting? Whatever, it was embarrassing. Yet here we are, married with three children. LOL!

  5. Pingback: Reminiscing High School Heartbreak | Erin Writes

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