High School, My Boyfriend, and Me!

My boyfriend and I went to the same high school.

We did not, however, go to high school together.

In fact we could not be further from having a shared high school experience. Though he claims he met me once when I was in eighth grade and was a tag-along to an away high school soccer game with my family, I can honestly say the only memory I had of my boyfriend in high school was reading an article about him in the Trojan News on how he asked his then-girlfriend to Prom. (Message in a bottle in her bathtub. REAL O-RIG.)

I love the fact that my boyfriend is from my hometown. I love that we get mutually homesick for the same things, namely Mike O’Shay nachos and Anderson Farms in the fall. I love that our holiday destination is the same quiet streets, and we grew up seeing the same Christmas lights on the same houses. I love that he knows my roots and I his.

But, on the occasion that we reminisce about our lives in high school, I must admit, I get incredibly uncomfortable. Because dating him is a constant, albeit unimportant reminder that back in the day, I was a dork and he was not.

My boyfriend and I have been together for over eight years. Literally double the amount of time we were in high school and easily quadruple or octruple times longer than any of my previous relationships, including my high school sweetheart.

It’s amazing how four years of your life can take ahold of you and never let you go.

Let me backtrack, because I don’t want to paint a picture that I was a “shoved in my locker”, misunderstood, total square high school nerd-alert cliché. I wasn’t. I didn’t get terrible zits and my clothes were… fine, I guess. I had a solid amount of friends and had a full schedule of hobbies I enjoyed. On the whole my high school experience was rich with the correct amount of fun, angst, and tall tales. I was a good kid.

My boyfriend was also a good kid. He just did high school better than me.

He had parties at his house when his parents were out of town. He dated popular girls, who also happened to be nice (like he dated those nice girls who deserved to be popular, which made you weirdly hate them more because you couldn’t actually hate them). He was a good athlete, a good student, he was liked by teachers and had a large group of lifelong friends, and I shit you not when I asked him about the pains of puberty he told me he never really went through it. I think he woke up one day tall and with a deep voice.

(Side note: Dude – I hit the high school jackpot, right?)

Most importantly, my boyfriend wasn’t a braggart. He didn’t boast about how he had it great in high school so much as after years of dating I stumbled upon these discoveries. At his soul my boyfriend is a truly nice and humble person, and it’s his genuine kindness that I love most of all.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to punch a wall every time we stroll down memory lane.

I never had parties when my parents were out of town. I had theme parties while my parents were home and we drank soda. I didn’t date for the majority of high school, I only had wildly fanciful crushes and went stag to half the school dances that I also helped decorate for. I was a terrible athlete (the butt of a family joke that has lasted FOREVER), I more inclined to do the OH SO HIP THINGS like sing in the choir and perform community theater, and while I was a good student, I’m fairly certain teachers merely tolerated me rather than adored me. (I was obnoxious TO THE MAX SAY WHAT?)

And, oh boy, puberty. Even though I had no zits, braces, or glasses I still managed to be an incredibly unattractive child. TELL ME THAT IS NOT AN ACCOMPLISHMENT, CUZ IT IS. (Btw, I know I’m going to get a phone call from my mother after this blog, assuring me I was cute. Don’t worry Mom, I got there. It just took four years of trial and error.)

Yep. My boyfriend and I were of different classes in high school, and not just because he was two years older than me. And as much as I want to be mature and look past that time, (I mean, IT’S BEEN TEN YEARS!) I still find myself subconsciously seeking my boyfriend’s approval, wanting him to think I was cool.

And I say was cool because it’s more about his thoughts on past Ali than present Alison. At present, I feel like I am very cool, or at the very least as equally cool as my boyfriend. We have a nice little home in LA, an awesome social calendar, are both at the start of our careers, and, well, we like each other a lot. There’s not much to prove when you’re in love. Blog high five!

Yet when we go home to Colorado for various family and/or friend functions, I revert back to “High School Ali.” I begin to feel like I did back then. I have this insecure desire to be accepted and liked.

I see his old friends and hope hope HOPE that they think I’m funny (and that group includes my brothers, by the way, so chew on that psychology for a hot sec). I wonder what people who knew me then think about me with him now, which is probably a big “we don’t give a shit” and yet I still care. I even try to top my boyfriend’s crazy high school antics with hyperbolizing silly tales of my own. At this point I’ve repeated and shifted stories so much that my boyfriend probably thinks, “Oh this time she added cops to that Emmie’s-cousin’s-basement-party-with-keystone-light story.”

I don’t know why it is so hard for me to know that my boyfriend was cooler than me in high school. It certainly wasn’t any of his fault or his doing. It’s not like he needs to apologize for his good teen years. And if I could go back in time, I wouldn’t change a thing in regards to my high school experience. In the end, it really was something special. Popularity and special aren’t mutually exclusive after all.

The other evening I had a Girls Night where we watched She’s All That and reminisced about our high school Prom. We all had these embarrassing and honest and funny stories. Some girls even had pictures and we rolled our eyes at the silly dresses and nerdy dates (or lack their of). It wasn’t until one girl pointed out that she was somewhat popular her senior year, and the picture showed that her dress was perfect and that her Prom was a great, cool time.

Cue the booing and the hissing! Cue the teasing and the envy jokes! Cue the bonding realization that the majority of us ladies never had what was perceived as a normal high school experience!

It was such an incredible moment, because it made me realize that my high school loser-ness was much more commonplace that my boyfriend’s coolness. This doesn’t make me better than him by any means, it just it made my chronic comparisons unnecessary and kind of obsolete. Even though I was far from normal, what my boyfriend had wasn’t normal either. Normal was probably somewhere in between.

And just like that, Past Ali has nothing to prove anymore. In fact, I am proud of that high school nerd with the theme parties. Mostly because I still am that nerd with the theme parties. Only this time there’s alcohol.

Besides – being a dork (currently and high schoolery) gives me so much more comedy material to work with! And let’s be honest, here in Hollywood it’s better for celebrities to relatably say, “Man I was a nerd in high school.” You rarely hear any famous person shrug and say, “High school went well for me. I was cool.”

Leave it to the trendiest city in the world to make uncool the new cool.

Hashtag hipsters.

So my boyfriend and I went to the same high school. No, Romantics, we were certainly not high school sweethearts. He was cool. I was not. Our paths may have never crossed during that time period buth in the end I am really okay with that. So okay in fact that maybe I’ll actually stop embellishing my rebellious party stories when we reminisce yet again.

Be proud of who you are and who you were. Past you has nothing to prove.

But the most important lesson here is knowing that I, for all intents and purposes, am going to marry up.

– One L

“They say high school years are the best years of our lives. I hope not.” – me giving my high school commencement address. Yes, I was dorky enough to want to give the commencement address.


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