Way back many years ago there was a young singer named Tommy Sands. His ‘people’ for a time tried to hype him as the next Elvis. He was a good looking lad and didn’t have a bad voice, but something about him failed to capture the public’s attention and he, deservedly or not, faded into oblivion. His only other claim-to-fame, aside from his brief career as an adolescent crooner is that he was, for a while, married to Nancy Sinatra. And then one day her boots “walked all over” him.
I only mention Sands because I was thinking of possibly the only semi-notable song of his; a ditty called Teenage Crush. The message of the song is that the elders should not insult teens by passing off any protestations of love for another as “just a crush.”
I agree with whoever wrote the song. The word ‘crush’ is demeaning and insulting and, from my experience, the raptures of adolescent love are the most bittersweet we will ever experience in our lives. Some foolish and stuck-in-the-past people never get over them.
Starting from the time I was about 16 I had the crush of all crushes on a classmate. In fact it was my mother who referred to it as a “crush.” I knew better. This was the love of all loves. This was Romeo and Juliet stuff and parents and elders sometimes forget that R&J were barely in their mid-teens. With this girl, Sandy (Her real name. I doubt that she reads my blog so I think I’m safe in using it. Anyway, I am only going to say ‘nice’ things about her.)
Sandy was the real goods to me. She was an enchantress, and I was besotted, mad for her, and gobsmacked and my callow heart went pit-a-pat every time she walked into a classroom.
Her eyes are like heaven,
Her lips are divine.
Young love is tender, gentle and fine.
And everywhere I go, there you will find,
So went a popular song of the day, and it was so painful to listen to it because that was where I wanted to be – at Sandy’s side.
She was a pretty girl. A brunette. She wore adorable pink angora sweaters and had a painful to speculate upon figure. She was a doll. The doll of all dolls – in my esteem (see photo above of me in an all-too-rare close encounter with the object of my desire, and I believe she’s wearing a pink angora sweater). Actually, later, in looking at old yearbook photos she was relatively ordinary. Cute but not really outstanding. But to me, at 16, 17, and 18, she was heavenly. And, she had major creds. She was smart enough, had a very nice personality, was friendly and — major points here at that time in history — was head-cheerleader. In other words, she was considered a primo catch in a school of about 1,500 students. So I, of course, masochist that I am, went after her and only her.
Did it work out? Of course not. And it was painful; so very painful. I would become depressed. I could think only of her. I drank too much beer with a buddy one night and sobbed out my passion for the one-and-only Sandy. He advised that I should tell her about my feelings. The thought petrified me, but he suggested, “What the hell could it hurt? At least she’d know. You’d be no worse off than you are now.”
He was right. I acted upon the suggestion. Sandy was a good enough friend that she met me for a walk one day after school in my senior year. She looked a bit surprised when I declared my love. And then she hit me with: “I really, really like you and you’re a really nice guy and deserve just a great girl, and I would like us to be (wait for it) really good friends.” The unstated message was “we’re never going to be more than that.”
Ultimately my Sandy session was cathartic and it cleansed me a bit, and I moved on and within a few months was going steady with that absolutely “great girl.”
I ran into Sandy about a dozen years later – quite by chance. We had a pleasant chat and it was good to see her.
And, you know, I didn’t feel that much of anything other than the delight of running into a long-ago friend.
But, there was a time in which she was Cleopatra, Lady Godiva, Rita Hayworth and Marilyn Monroe all rolled up in one pink angora package. And don’t tell me those feelings weren’t true. To this day I know they were.