Yesterday I posted a scan of an old photograph on Facebook… It was a photo taken at school, from my matric year in 1989, and featured thirteen guys sitting on a bench. We weren’t the closest of friends, but were a good bunch of guys who somehow banded together and talked shit on the field at break time.
I didn’t really have a set clique of friends that I hung out with. I never really did fit in anywhere, or sometimes I felt that I did fit in everywhere, so I hung out with different groups of people all the time. I was in a kind of limbo, neither popular nor unpopular – mostly average. As someone who always ended up in the “top set” of every class, but didn’t do any work or ever stand out, I didn’t feel like I belonged anywhere. I guess these guys were similar, and so in the last couple of years of high school, they were the ones I hung out with the most, even though I wasn’t close with any of them. But it is a good photo, in retrospect.
Here it is… Seventeen year old me is on the far right in the second row.
Through that photo, I got in contact with some people I haven’t seen in 26 years, but what really surprised me was a compliment I received from one of them. He confessed that all those years ago he had a huge crush on me and thought I was “the hottest guy on the planet”.
Wow. I didn’t see that coming. I can be quite vain (as well as shy and lacking self-confidence simultaneously – it’s complicated ), and always thought of myself as hot, to be honest, but I also always figured I was the only one to think so. I don’t know how I would have reacted if I’d known all those years ago… It would probably have been awkward. I don’t think I was homophobic (selective memory maybe) but I think I was ignorant. Thank you, buddy, for telling me now, after all these years. I am so flattered… that’s the best compliment I’ve received like… ever… and you really made my day.