Ask a group of seventh-graders how to conduct relationships, and much of their advice could apply just as well to adults: "Don't dance with another girl if your girlfriend isn't at the dance." "Don't hold hands with your best friend's boyfriend." "Tell your parents as little as possible." But middle school is generally when a person first tries the romance thing, and, as with most experiences, novice attempts little resemble the veteran versions.
Still, like anyone in middle school, she can thoroughly explain relationship etiquette, name all the couples in her grade (seven at press time) and capture in one brief sentence all that seems strange about middle school romance: "They ask you out, then they don't talk to you.Finding out that a boy likes you makes you feel pretty and popular boosting your preteen self-esteem.Finding out 11.4 days later that he is “so over you”destroys your self-esteem, affirming all of your middle-schooler suspicions that you are unattractive, awkward, and that no one really likes you.I don’t ever recall talking to either parent about these subjects, but I did hear “You better not come home knocked up.” So yeah, I knew not to get pregnant, but I didn’t actually know how one “got pregnant,” if that makes any sense. The last boy who attempted to cop a feel in the 8th grade ended up with a black eye.Instead, I learned everything I knew at the time from Judy Blume, Jackie Collins and Danielle Steele. To say I wasn’t prepared for that question was an understatement.