Dear Dr. Brilliant Cliché;
I go to a high school which is very cliquish. I like Steve, who is part of the upper crust- he is really cute, good at sports, and his parents have money. I am part of the group that is known as “the artists.” I am in the drama club and I write stories and I have a lot of my work displayed in the art showcase.
I feel like I can’t even think about getting together with Steve because we just don’t run with the same crowd. I had a friend who had a crush on this other guy from Steve’s crowd. After one date, his friends started pressuring him into dumping her. It got to both of them and they just gave up.
I know it sounds petty, but you can’t imagine what the social pressure is like at my school.
It really bothers me that I feel paralyzed to follow my feelings; but my intellect
keeps sending the message that I’ll just be setting myself up to be hurt.
My friend was humiliated by her experience for weeks. I don’t want to go through the same thing and I’m pretty sure that’s what would happen. But I don’t want to let peer pressure keep me from even trying either.
Last night on NPR there was a program on cliques. They said that Harry Potter couldn’t have been written in America because Harry was a nerd and a jock at the same time.
Why are you interested in Steve? Because he is cute and popular? Cliques aside, from what you describe you have nothing in common with him. How would that work as a relationship? I would hate to think that the only point of connection between you and someone you crush on would be sex. That is often the case, and a recipe for disaster, as your friend discovered.
The really important question here is- are you happy being yourself? If you are not, having a popular boyfriend is not a solution. The story of Romeo and Juliet is probably ingrained in your psyche as the standard for true love; but that is pure horse manure. Romeo was a superficial playboy type who dumped his current girlfriend after a single glance at the pure physical perfection of Juliet. In other words, he followed his dick. Juliet was just fed a lot of sweet talk. Romeo was handsome, popular and different; and he told her what she wanted to hear about herself. This is not the basis for a grounded relationship.
Your intellect is smarter than you think. If a lake looks deep do you have to jump in just to make sure? Your head is warning your heart that it is about to be stupid.
There are, and always will be, cultural stereotypes, cliques, disparate religions, socioeconomic class distinctions, and body type variations. You will encounter them over the course of your entire life. It is very difficult to live with another human being who is different from you. So if you want a relationship to be anything more than painful chaos, you had better both have good communication skills and a mutual picture of the future; as you are going to have to work many issues out together. Romantic love isn’t a skill it is a feeling. Romance is like looking into a mirror, and the reflection is your own desire. Feelings come and go. Love from mutual respect is a more grounded type of bond because it is based on reality.
Not all experiences need to be lived in order to learn. That is what your imagination is for.
Dr. Brilliant Cliché
Granny says: This sounds more like a dare you have given yourself than a real attraction. What is it based on? Imagination from afar. If this guy was your mother’s gardener, I’d advise you the same way- wise up! There is nothing real here to fight for. You are having a dream.
The class distinctions in high school can be brutal. But they have nothing to do with whether or not you should pursue this fantasy. Just say no! Don’t ever put your emotional energy into anyone unless there’s a real connection and you know that your attraction is returned.
We’re encouraged to believe that if we “take a chance” we can find our one true love. But this is like walking around on the street asking total strangers for a ride home before you even know if they have a car. On the one hand, it’s dangerous. On the other hand, it’s also futile. Just like half the people you meet might want to go out with you, but they don’t have the ability to have a relationship, i.e. “give you a ride home.”