Bad boys will always hurt us, blind us and drag our hearts through the mud. Our time spent with them will always be messy and painful. They’re not logical or practical. Your parents or friends will never verify that your relationship was “mature” and you will never find his name caught dead anywhere near the word “healthy.” Bad boys are only ever really okay during the formative period of your life. But that doesn’t mean we ever stop yearning (for lack of a better term) for them. A woman in her nineties still carries around her first experience with a bad boy in every swing of the hip. Bad boys are like arthritis, they even exist within your joints.
I was fourteen when I met my bad boy (every woman knows that there’s only really ever one that gets into your bones for real). He played basketball, showed up to classes late or not at all and smoked copious amounts of weed. He had about 3 different semi-serious relationships going on at the time that I had heard about. My thing with him started when he began to smirk at me across various rooms and moving vehicles. First it was the bus on the way to soccer practice while his girlfriend (one of them I guess) nuzzled her face into his chest. And then it was standing by our lockers. And then it was across the cafeteria. At first, I thought I was imagining it — maybe his eyes were just naturally slightly narrow, maybe his friend just said something mildly, maybe he has to poop a little. But after a certain point, there was no use denying it, it was a full-fledged sex-crazy smirk. If I had been smart, resilient or simply if I had known there were more hot, cool guys in the world than just those in my 5 mile-radius, I would’ve resisted his subtle flirtations. I would’ve flipped my hair, hiked up my backpack, threw up the finger and gotten the fuck out of that situation. Unfortunately, as most of these stories go, I didn’t and what ensued dragged on throughout high school like a tarring and feathering.
The truth is, we were never actually “together” in the serious sense of the word. He always had his other side girlfriends that were actually “serious” and all I ever really was was a “smirk-to.” Yet, this didn’t mean that I didn’t feel real, cold-hard feelings for this guy. I bawled my eyes out constantly about a non-response on AIM or the 32nd time he got back together with his GF from middle school. I got too wine drunk one night and cried to my parents about how no one would ever love me. I ruined a friendship with a best girlfriend of mine who actually dated him. I sulked through months of classes and family dinners. I wrote heartfelt letters. I made vows of silences. I stopped eating anything that wasn’t served on a rice cake. I ran miles. I burned bridges. I sang songs with a ukulele. I split all my split ends and created more. And at the time, this was all bad, terrible and rotten. I carried around “the sludge” (a sickly, anxious feeling) with me for four and probably a little more years and it was really heart-wrenching.
The positive side to all of this is that now, I look at my girlfriends going through similar situations in college and I feel liberated. It’s a been-there-done-that sort of relief that washes over me. I feel like I finally now have a handle on my self-worth. I know firmly what I don’t want from a relationship so that I can now know what it is I do want and can want. I deserve respect, love and affection not just an upturned smile from 40 feet away. I demand to be taken seriously. I don’t think about the boy who told me “I cared too much” often.The good thing about bad boys is that they will always teach us, in whatever twisted way they can, what we should never tolerate.