My sister likes to tell a story about a boyfriend she had when she was fifteen. It was their first ‘date’ of sorts and the plan was to go for dinner somewhere romantic (meaning somewhere that was not McDonald’s). What actually happened was that somehow they ended up in the park and she plucked his eyebrows for him. Am I strange for thinking that for two fifteen-year-olds just getting to know each other what they actually did was far more romantic than what they had originally planned? I guess I sort of feel as though when it comes to teenagers, romance is found in innocence, and since ‘innocence’ is not so much a desirable trait anymore this kind of romance is being left behind. It makes me feel a little bit weird and a little bit sad to think that maybe dancing in a convenience store with your best friend Reality Bites style might be deemed ‘uncool’ by my sister.
Of course, once this guy had got what he wanted from my sister – perfectly shaped eyebrows – he terminated the relationship, and she was heartbroken. Understandably, because the past two weeks with the boy she loved had been so magical, so wonderfully romantic. People, I have found, love to disregard and scoff at these ‘petty’ and ‘meaningless’ relationships. They love to make fun of heartbreak like my sister’s because it’s ‘silly’. I agree with these people when they say that in twenty years, or ten or five or even one, girls like my sister will hardly remember the boyfriends that lasted two weeks, the ones they cried over, but I can’t help thinking that that is totally beside the point. I can’t help thinking that romance in its innocent form is of the moment, and wallowing in heartbreak is part of that; eating ice cream in bed and stalking his new girlfriend on Facebook and listening to Taylor Swift songs and reading the letter you wrote him that you never got the courage to send – it’s all so important a part of the romance of being young and innocent and open to experience.
In my opinion, when you’re young and teenage and more innocent than you think it is the best time to totally indulge in momentary romance. It is the time to make mistakes like letting your best friend bleach your hair (also my sister) and then hiding it by dying it blue. It is the time to kiss boys and kiss girls and fall hopelessly in love and get your heart broken and then do it all again. It is the time for dancing in convenience stores and plucking your boyfriend’s eyebrows in the park. When my sister looks back at this time in ten years and says ‘Oh man, why did I dye my hair blue???’ I hope she will remember that she did it because she was sixteen and she could, and so she did. And I hope she will understand that by doing these ‘silly’ things just because she could, she filled her young life with the kind of romance that ‘mature, grown up’ fifteen-year-olds that go on ‘mature, grown up’ first dates may never know.