People have a habit of attaching great significance to firsts: first kisses, first touch, first dates, the first time you see her naked, the first time your baby walks – the list is lengthy. As with most things in life though, the list of sad firsts is almost as long, if not more than, the list of happy firsts. You and I are all too familiar with what goes on that list so I won’t get into it.
My first heartbreak coincides with the earliest memory of myself crying. Regardless of how it happened, the bottom line is all that matters: I was too young to care whether or not a girl liked me, and despite this indisputable fact I took the rejection to heart and bawled my little eyes out in the school bus until my dad came to pick me up. I believe part of the problem in that particular situation had been that I was “the nice guy”, and there had been a bit of a bad-boy antagonist in the story. That was back when all kids had was land line telephones. I’d call this girl up just to say hello, just to talk to her, yet at the end of the day she chose the one guy who was sure as hell to use her and leave her.
Even as a boy, I knew that there had to be more to girls and dating than experimenting, discovering and meeting one’s sexual “needs”. Honestly, what twelve year old has “sexual needs”. A few months after the embarrassing event we had our class trip. The boy she chose led her upstairs at the lodge we were staying and they spent a while making out on one of the beds. Unbeknown to her, several boys had been hidden away in the closets and under the beds for the sole purpose of watching her and this guy kissing. My own first kiss only came four years later, and maybe it’s self-righteous of me to say this, but I believe I wouldn’t have put her in display like that.
I believe I was haunted by that first rejection for a long time. High school wasn’t kind to me either on the relationship front. I was frequently defeated when I attempted to win the affections of the girls who caught my eye. I was too nice, too boyish and as such I was always rebuffed.
I am a grown man now, and still somewhere in the back of my mind or maybe even deep down in my heart, I question how worthy I am of any sort of love and affection. Once in a while I’ll do something stupid or say something stupid, and my girlfriend won’t talk to me for a while as she cools off and I remorsefully ruminate the length and breath of my idiocy. Social psychology would have you think that women are the complex ones and Men are simple when it comes to love and relationships, and I’ve never believed anything to be further from the truth. At the end of that silent treatment, she or whoever it is I’ve been alienated from has one crucial task before them, which often goes unattended – she or they have to make me feel wanted.
I don’t know what issues other men have but these are my issues; the scars of rejection are deep and hidden, until they’re not. But why did I title this ‘black squares’? Because I have a calander sitting on my desk right now. Every morning I shade out the box that represents a day. I do this because for two weeks running, I haven’t felt wanted. I look forward to the morning I don’t have to black any more boxes.