a teenager — new and improved!

dawn in high school

I was reading Wil Wheaton’s post on a problematic issue he has with people associating him with the character he played on television while he was a teenager. One of the things he said was

Imagine having something you’ve worked so hard to create being dismissed out of hand, because of completely unrelated work you did when you were a teenager – work that you had no control over – and you may understand why this is so upsetting to me.

There are people in my life who have only known me as a teenager (isn’t Facebook grand?). And there are people in my life who still talk to me or treat me like a little girl or a teenager. I don’t even remember that time in my life, let alone still act like that person (or look like that person — I looked so young and cute, and my hair was still very red!). Life has ensued. I have changed (for the better, I hope).

I don’t think Wheaton is alone in this desire, although he may have to face it in an ongoing and more public way than most of us do. We reach a point where we want to be known for who we are now, the accomplishments we’ve had over our lifetimes, and the people we’ve grown into.

Which, I suppose, is a nice segue into my next item. I’ve been thinking about how, even as a teenager, I was never interested in the typical guy: the football captain, the all-round jock, or even the student body president. I was interested in those who were a little on the edge like I was — not quite in the center of things, but not quite outside of it all, either. I hung out with the popular kids, but was never quite one of them, and the men I liked were very similar.

I was speaking with someone on Friday about a friend. I said that being single might be a good thing when you’re working on your doctorate — there is so little time for much else. The person I was talking to looked at me and said he thought I should date men who have been working on their own dissertations or projects, locked away in labs and socially inept. I laughed. I’m attracted to geeky men, so it struck me as a funny comment.

But then I started thinking about it (or over-thinking about it, as the case may be). What did he mean by that? Did he mean that only socially-inept men would find me attractive? Did he mean that, like them, I’m socially inept so we’d fit together? Or did he mean that I’d be good for someone socially-inept? I have a feeling he meant the former two, and not necessarily the last. Hrumph.

I’m still attracted to geeky men. They are smart and fun and interesting. Who wouldn’t find that appealing?


  1. jana

    okay dawn- here i go- screw society- you are a beautilful person inside and out!!!!!red, blonde, brunette, whatever! i can barely rememgber high school myself- the bits and pieces i can remember. i can’t stand the word inept or geeky. those words are all in the eye of the beholder or unfortunately others that don’t mean a thing. accomplishments stem from change- and we have learned that change is painful, yet good. i’ve got a few accomplishments under my belt. when I saw “beauty” in some, others would say not so very nice comments, but it was my eye. so i say be true to your eye! i hope that we can get together again and get reaquainted. facebook is interesting- fun- but interesting. and you are so right about what people think or appear as…………. i surprisingly made it out of high school, got my bachelors and masters…and then some!! but i never forgot how i got there and the people that i might and those i considered my friends. you- being a friend. stick to your guns and have fun!

  2. Michael Faris

    I bet the guy you were talking to meant that finding someone else who is just as busy is probably good because you won’t have to deal with someone who’s always free and complaining that you’re so busy — and the socially inept comment was probably a value judgment on those men who are that busy in labs or offices, not on you. Of course, I’m guessing.

  3. Kati

    Dawn, I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. My older sister went to college the summer after my 7th grade year, and only recently has she started treating me like I am even close to 30. Last December my childhood friend found me again on Facebook. At first I didn’t know what to make of it because the last time I knew him he was my favorite person, but he was a little boy and now he is a man. I’m trying to get to know him again so I’m asking all of these questions. How do you get at the changes that happen to people? Maybe I don’t need to know that stuff, just that he is my friend again.

    By the way, I have never bought that “busy people should date busy people” thing. If that were ideal, it would be even harder to hang out. I think busy person + non clingy nice person, but isn’t that what everyone wants? And I love your Anne of Green Gables hair!

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