18 June 2010

Girlfriend's Boyfriend

The song "Girfriend's Boyfriend" by Gwen McRae just popped up on my iPod and it brought back memories bwoy! This was my anthem for Michaelmas and Lent terms 96-97 at my boarding school in Sussex.

Have you ever had the misfortune of having a serious crush on a friend's man? If not then count your lucky stars! The lucky fella was J.E.- a pimply-faced, hair-in-curtains having, feet- dragging, thirteen-year old who was in a relationship with my good Serbian friend M.J. Now, typically for me at the time, I revelled in the whole unrequited love angst at the time. I used to listen to sad songs like "Nobody Knows" by the Tony Rich Project and devoted pages upon tear-soaked pages to this saddo in my diary. To make things worse, M.J. was a complete sweetheart so I couldn't even hate her to make myself feel better. I was also really good "friends" with J.E. and acted as their mediator whenever they had one of their (frequent) fights or break-ups.

Now in the Lent term of '96 I was enjoying some "wallow in your own self-pity" time in my dorm, chilling on the bottom bunk, writing in my diary all on some "I LOVE J.E" nonsense. "Pure Swing IV" (I can't be the only one who remembers these music compilations!) had just come out and the song "Girlfriend's Boyfriend" was on it. I was listening to the CD on my DISCMAN (remember those?!) and I couldn't believe my ears. Who was this person and why were they singing about my 13 yr-old life?! I listened to the song on repeat for damn near an hour and I was so engrossed that I didn't even notice that M.J, who slept in the top bunk above mine, was leaning over and reading everything I had just written on the page. Yes, the very same page I'd just scrawled "I LOVE J.E" all over. When I finally realised, "mortified" is not even the word to describe how I felt. To compound matters, M.J. was so damn nice about it! Patronising as hell, to be sure, but she kindly pretended that my crush didn't exist. She told me to forget about it and just kept it moving. In hindsight that kind of maturity in a mere 13 yr old is damn rare in some full-grown adults these days. Maybe it's because she had come from a war-torn Yugoslavia so everything else was a cakewalk to her....

My crush quickly died a deserved death after that and M.J. and J.E. broke up two weeks later but it left a real impression on me. I've been so damn paranoid of getting too close to any friend's man since. I'm one of those people that if I like you, I really like you so I just like to keep them "hello and goodbye" kind of relationships with my friends' boyfriends as much as I can to avoid any kind of potential drama. So as I leave you with the dulcet tones of Gwen McRae (I originally thought it was a man singing this song. A man who had fallen in love with his "Girlfriend's boyfriend" O_O), have you ever been in hers or my position?

"What would she do if she knew that I'm crazy in love with you?"


Nana Yaw Asiedu said...

I like your story, especially the way you told it. Warm, well-paced, not too much guilt or other sticky emotions.

I had a teen crush on my twins 'friend' once, but it hardly lasted a week. I also had a teen crush on my big brother's ex, but that was after I'd heard that she'd remarked to other people what a well-behaved young man I was. This was a 'distance' crush, and did not make me lose any sleep.

Afrocentric said...

I LOVE that song! And yes I still have those Pure Swing albums adorned with the sexy six pack on the front and yes I still listen to Girlfriend's Boyfriend.

I had a crush on my friend's boyfriens in year 8. Unfortunately, my crush did not share my feelings, but sure enough he though I was the coolest homegirl to hang out with.

And seeing as you have brought it up, I'm off to find my discman.

Nsoromma...Child of the Heavens said...

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Pure Swing! LMAO. Those CD's were so bad, had about 5 out of 25 good songs. @Afrocen' I remember the six pack on the cover too! Discman's, *sigh* so excited when I upgraded from walkman to discman, but I never did get a miniDisc player...

ANYHOO...Crush on a girlfriend's boyfriend, who didn't? LOL. But like you, I kinna like to maintain the distance from my friend's men because that whole kinna scenario creeps me out. I just wish that other people did the same!

Sankofa said...

@Nana Yaw Thanks a lot! I had no idea you were a twin. That adds a whole 'nother dimension to the crush dilemma. You were lucky it died a quick death though. Mine was painfully protracted. SMH.

@Afrocentric Remember how freaked out I was when I saw the CD in your bedroom?! Funny, they never seem to reciprocate our feelings. Bastards.

@Nsoromma My brother had a minidisc player. The.most.monumental.waste.of.money.ever. You could never bloody find the damn discs. I swear down only HMV had them and they slyly disappeared w/out a trace. Sony clearly dropped the ball there.

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