Re: I love you baby, but I just can't smile.

1

At that same age, my only friend was this psycho chick from California who would ask me to go to movies with her, but really we were meeting up with her 18-year-old "boyfriend" in the military. We were 11 at the time.

There were a lot of "wild girls" in my elementary school, and by "wild girls" I of course mean "victims of pedophiles." When I was 16, a friend and I ran into a girl we'd known until 5th grade, when she disappeared from school. She was happy to see me, and asked what I was up to. I told her about my laboratory job, choir, theater, etc. Then she introduced me to her five-year-old son. Because in Kansas, when you have a baby in 5th grade, you've got to be prepared to raise that baby.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 10:02 AM
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OMG! I'm sure I would run far far away and hide rather than play such a game to this very day.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 10:03 AM
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I always wanted to play those games, but came to the conclusion they didn't exist.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 10:05 AM
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Sorry -- 1 is a downer story about pedophilia! What I meant to say is, I didn't get around to playing spin-the-bottle-type games until I was in college. I totally missed out on early pubescence.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 10:05 AM
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3,4: I guess I missed out on early pubescence too, but in the Cryptic Ned way, not the AWB way.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 10:08 AM
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Never encountered games like that in the wild myself, but never particularly wanted to. I was the poster child for the Freudian latency period, though -- I don't recall having any sexual interest at all until about fourteen. Oh, I was interested in romantic/sexy bits in stuff I was reading, but not in a terribly personal way.

I still get kind of thrown by people talking about making out when they were eleven or twelve -- not that it seems terribly uncommon, but it seems completely alien to what I remember of being that age.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 10:11 AM
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I think the critical component for something like this is that you're being supervised by someone who's young themselves. Camp counselor, older sibling, etc. No supervision and the games don't materialize, or they're more explicitly sexual, like spin-the-bottle, (which I never played.) Older supervision and the games aren't so ludicrous.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 10:11 AM
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I always wanted to play those games

There are risks, Ned.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 10:13 AM
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I was the poster child for the Freudian latency period, though -- I don't recall having any sexual interest at all until about fourteen. Oh, I was interested in romantic/sexy bits in stuff I was reading, but not in a terribly personal way.

Pretty much ditto. I wasn't even sure I liked girls, in that sort of way, until 13 or 14. And then it was like a lightbulb being turned on. I actually ended up being earlier than most of my friends to get into dating and relationships with girls, but the rest of them had been faking it for ages whereas I hadn't.

I do remember games of that type, but older, aged 16 or 17, when there was alcohol involved, and much more of an edge, since the people involved were largely already having sex.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 10:18 AM
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I don't even have a latency period.

Seriously. It was a bummer.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 10:20 AM
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I thought a boy in my third-grade class was very handsome. In fifth grade I had my first all out crush. In middle school I had tons of crushes, getting progressively more excruciating, and peaking in sheer emotional torment in 9th-10th grade.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 10:22 AM
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Yes, 11! I was tortured by love at that age. It was sad to me that, by the time I finally lost my virginity, I was too emotionally exhausted to love that way anymore.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 10:25 AM
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I was too emotionally exhausted to love that way anymore.

Or just grew out of it? Don't we all just sort of get used to things that used to be super intense?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 10:26 AM
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I remember my first "boy-girl" party was in 4th grade. Truth or Dare, Seven minutes in heaven, etc. Pretty chaste smoochie face stuff, except that the girls convinced me to take my shirt off. "It's ok, we've seen you at the pool" says the Alpha. The girls were much"faster" than the boys at that time.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 10:29 AM
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We played this game. At church camp in particular, which made the sitting on laps and such (in order to make the other person crack first, you see) rather .... well, what they say about church camp is probably true. I can't testify to it myself but it seemed that way for everyone else. (Probably because I wasn't actually a congregant.) However, I think ours was actually something along the lines of "I want to marry you baby, but I just can't smile."


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 10:31 AM
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13: I couldn't handle it. I had super-strong feelings, and even tried to act on them, and got rejected a lot. I think it made me realize that just because you love someone--even if you think you love them a lot--doesn't mean they ever even think of you. It wasn't worth it. Maybe I "grew out of it," but now I'm sort of pathologically cold in my relationships. I'm not mean--just 100% lacking in a sense of romance. I knew what it was when I was 12!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 10:31 AM
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except that the girls convinced me to take my shirt off

It was mere happenstance that your chest was oiled-up.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 10:32 AM
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I think these games were kind of designed to weed out the kids who take themselves too seriously from the ones who are cool, man. Somehow I wasn't exposed to them much, which was good, because (surprise!) I was in category A. We played a few of them the few times I went to temple youth group stuff, and we did have this game "psychiatrist" that we played at the dorkwad parties I went to. I don't know if that one was something we made up or not.

10: For god's sake, Alvy, even Freud speaks of a latency period.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 10:34 AM
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I nwver knew this was a boy-girl game (and that has nothing to do with being a tiny protolesbian at 11) but simply an acting game, though that probably says more about the few people who were friendly to me in junior high than anything else. It was the sort of game we'd play on the bus on the way to science camp, y'know.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 10:34 AM
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I was the poster child for the Freudian latency period

I, by contrast, was the poster child for the Freudian theory of infantile sexuality. I liked girls in That Way as long as I can remember, i.e. even at pre-school age, and certainly well before I understood any of the mechanics of copulation beyond kissing. I was tortured by physical longing -- sometimes inchoate, sometimes directed at a specific girl -- long before puberty. Unfortunately, I didn't actually get any action until midway through high school, apart from a time or two kissing the slutty girl at camp or at a school dance.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 10:35 AM
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(Oh but wait, I'm thinking of teen years, not tween years.)


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 10:35 AM
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Oh Knecht. We know how you pine for the thin girls with the see-through shirts and no bra.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 10:37 AM
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18: We played a few of them the few times I went to temple youth group stuff, and we did have this game "psychiatrist" that

Today's stereotype is brought to you by Mister Smearcase.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 10:38 AM
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"Psychiatrist" rings a bell. What was the deal with that one, Smearcase?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 10:39 AM
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I went to temple youth group stuff

Every once in awhile the effects of growing up around a Mormon population rather than a Jewish population becomes clear to me; I just had a moment of going, Mister Smearcase is Mormon! I didn't know that! And then realizing that's not what that meant at all.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 10:42 AM
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The irony of the situation is that I was a rare exception to the rule that the kids everyone thinks are gay in school are the ones who really turn out to be gay. I was part of a group of friends in junior high who lacked, in one way or another, some of the locally recognized hallmarks of masculinity. All of them turned out to be gay except me.

All of us were subject to homophobic teasing at the time, which I perceived as terribly unfair, not because I thought there was anything wrong with homophobia (that idea was completely foreign to me), but because I felt so heterosexual that it seemed a terrible injustice. I was genuinely surprised to learn in adulthood that these friends were gay. I just thought we were all victims of the same mean-spirited slander.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 10:42 AM
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Please substitute "thinking" for "going" in the above sentence. My inner Valley Girl is trying to emerge.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 10:43 AM
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Ha, no "psychiatrist" was not about enculturating young Jews to the couch and the 50-minute hour. It was played among an ecumenical set of geeks.

You'd sit in a circle around one person who had never played. The people who were in the circle knew the two rules to the game, and the person in the middle had to ask questions to people in the circle and try to guess the rules. The questions usually devolved into that other dreary teen ritual of self-representation, the purity test.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 10:44 AM
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9: I am ttaM. Well, to the extent that that was my experience as well.

It occurred to me last night as well in the prom, and dances in general, thread, that nothing like slow-dancing or 'dating' at age 11 or 12 was in the cards personally, as I'd just relocated to a new town then: I was the New Kid in a town full of kids who'd known each other and/or each other's families since kindergarten. There was no way anybody was going to dance with me, and having coming from a background (military) in which moving around and making new friends regularly was normal, it took quite a while for me to stop freaking out over these weirdly clannish and suspicious people.

So no spin-the-bottle or If You Love Me Baby games. Either that or I was slow to develop in that regard.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 10:45 AM
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We know how you pine for the thin girls with the see-through shirts and no bra.

The very existence of such a thing was beyond my imagination growing up. "How you gonna keep 'em down on the farm once they've seen Paree", indeed.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 10:45 AM
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25: Until last year, I'm not sure I knew a single Mormon. And then in the last year I have fixed that right up.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 10:48 AM
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I do hope 29 doesn't sound bitter or angry in some way: not at all. I don't want to derail the thread with that tone. I just keep having this reaction in threads like this about what people were doing with their peers at ages 11-13 or so like: wow, really? It sounds like a movie!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 11:04 AM
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20: Me too, exactly. And not just the little girls in my daycare. I remember getting funny feelings down there from Daphne on Scooby Doo. Also during Batman and robin when the giant clam was eating Robin, but, well.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 11:04 AM
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32 gets it exactly right.

I think the critical component for something like this is that you're being supervised by someone who's young themselves. Camp counselor, older sibling, etc. No supervision and the games don't materialize, or they're more explicitly sexual, like spin-the-bottle, (which I never played.) Older supervision and the games aren't so ludicrous.

Oh, I meant games like this one OR spin the bottle or seven minutes in heven. Seem to be in the same category.

I did play spin the bottle at a party at college. I was surprised that some people had actually done it as kids since it seemed like "let's do this thing that only happens in movies, but for real" to me, like the slow clap.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 11:51 AM
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29: Oddly enough, that's also right around the period during which I was yanked out of the familiar environment of friendly multicultural diplomat/aid worker kids and UMC Tswana and dropped into an insular little place full of people who'd known each other since forever. The closest I got to anything along those lines was being pinned against a wall by a girl bigger and stronger than me and forced to choose whether I would take her or her friend to the dance. She wouldn't accept "I'm not going" so I picked her friend and then just avoided the both of them until after the dance.

The upside is that when we returned to Botswana everyone had already gone through the worst of the awkward phase (including myself, somehow), so I dropped back into a familiar situation in the position of being the slightly exotic and new guy who managed to fit right in without a hiccup. That was awesome, except I was still to shy to make much of it. That and I hadn't yet figured out that just because someone is serious about their religion and it forbids extramarital sexual activity doesn't mean they won't fuck your brains out. I still have difficulty with that, actually. Not just realizing it, but also once realized it leaves me feeling like I can't trust the person. If they'll cheat on God how the hell can I trust they won't lie to mere me?


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 12:06 PM
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funny feelings down there from Daphne on Scooby Doo

Lynda Carter playing "Wonder Woman". Angie Dickinson as "Police Woman".


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 12:08 PM
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Spin the bottle in college seems a little, er, retro or something. By college age, people were just going straight for their crushes, without any note-passing or spinning of the bottle. Again I'm thinking that there's a, um, group-think here -- maybe some kind of processing of the crush(es) through the group's mill first? -- that I wasn't privvy to, or just bypassed. To this day I become somewhat incensed if people try to crowd in and adjudicate my affairs relationships people.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 12:09 PM
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We were big on playing "I Never" during my first year in college. We were kind of immature and conventional but what the hell, it was fun.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 12:11 PM
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Lynda Carter playing "Wonder Woman". Angie Dickinson as "Police Woman".

Eartha Kitt as Catwoman. Diana Rigg as Emma Peel.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 12:15 PM
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35: I still have difficulty with that, actually. Not just realizing it, but also once realized it leaves me feeling like I can't trust the person. If they'll cheat on God how the hell can I trust they won't lie to mere me?

I'd have trouble with that as well. I tend to avoid people who profess to take their no-extramarital-sex religion seriously in the first place. Either they're going to take that seriously, in which case they're not for me, or they're going to cheat, and what the fuck is up with that? That sort of false consciousness (to grace it with the most courteous name I can come up with) is not for me.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 12:20 PM
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Eartha Kitt as Catwoman

Julie Newmar was my catnip of choice.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 12:21 PM
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how the hell can I trust they won't lie to mere me?

Everybody lies. That's what you can trust.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 12:28 PM
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Well: Ginger or Mary Anne?


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 12:28 PM
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That is not helpful, Apo. Cripe.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 12:31 PM
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Did a quick but fearless inventory for childhood tv crushes. There was an outlying, theoretically-latency-age thing about Lt. Uhura, and then I dimly recall I maaaay have wanted Charles in charge of my days and my nights, albeit in some fairly formless way.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 12:32 PM
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Catherine Bach as Daisy Duke.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 12:34 PM
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44: Sorry. Maybe you could just choose to believe I'm lying in 42?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 12:35 PM
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Julie Newmar was my catnip of choice.

Racist.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 12:37 PM
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The less said about my childhood crushes, the better.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 12:38 PM
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Yeoman Rand


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 12:40 PM
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Saffy


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 12:42 PM
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48: Maybe. But I'm no John Mayer.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 12:45 PM
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47: My hippie self finds that agreeable.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 12:45 PM
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David Lascher is one of these guys who played a fourteen year old for about 20 years. At one point I was watching Hey, Dude (ie, the most painful, terrible show ever) at a friend's house and I decided he was so, so fine. Then he showed up in Blossom, 90210, Sabrina, and a ton of other stuff, perpetually playing a 15 year old.

Really, I think he played a 15 year old from 1989-2002. That's an amazing range.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 12:47 PM
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Mormons play the game described in the OP through college and sometimes beyond, I'm told.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 12:50 PM
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I love you heebie, but I just can't make eye babies.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 12:54 PM
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"just can't" should probably be "can't just"


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 12:55 PM
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Really, I think he played a 15 year old from 1989-2002. That's an amazing range.

Apo played a 19-year-old for approximately the same period.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 1:06 PM
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I'll see 42 and raise--
Everybody lies, but not everyone knows they are lying.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 1:08 PM
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I've never heard of this game, but nothing in this post strikes me as especially weird other than the description of this as "one of the most intense adrenaline moments I've ever experienced."

Really?? I'll completely buy that "you can't top tweenage years for emotional intensity", but I'd have surely thought that plenty else in your tweenage years would have topped this.

(Or maybe you forget to mention that all of you were naked at the time?)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 1:08 PM
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I played a version of Heebie's game in my early twenties as a drinking game (in the sense of a game to be played while drinking, rather than a game with penalty drinks) called "Nice Kitty." The person who was It pretended to be a cat, crawled towards their chosen target, and meowed, rubbed themselves against the person's legs, tried to crawl up into their lap and such like. The goal was to get the target to crack up before they could successfully stroke your head and say "Nice kitty" three times. Despite the beer and the face rubbing, it was a much more innocent game.

I could never have played "I Love You Baby" as a tween. I would have fled the scene in premptive mortification.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 1:11 PM
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||

This from E.D. Kain at Balloon Juice is an exceptionally good piece on health care reform as the changes roll out.

Per the WSJ, McDonald's is seeking an exemption from the portion of the new insurance regulations that requires that 80-85% of premium revenues be spent on actual medical costs. Kain walks through a comparison of the McDonald's plans with a typical new plan under HCR, and finds the former egregiously wanting.

Worth a full read, and dissemination. McDonald's is attempting to strong-arm here; I expect we'll see a lot more of this kind of thing.

|>


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 1:15 PM
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Lynda Carter playing being "Wonder Woman".

Fixed.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 1:24 PM
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Further to 62: Comment 39 (by Martin) in the linked thread is very informative, if you're interested in getting into the weeds of how all this is rolling out across the states with various kinds of health insurance plans. What I've heard on local radio here with our state insurance head honchos is of a piece: there's a great deal of regrouping going on, and the shitty, exploitative, or at least troublesome, plans are tending to be exposed.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 1:47 PM
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Really?? I'll completely buy that "you can't top tweenage years for emotional intensity", but I'd have surely thought that plenty else in your tweenage years would have topped this.

I'd say it was more intense than my first kiss, which was itself rather dramatically intense. But it wasn't on display for fifteen peers. And it wasn't embarrassing. For some reason, the idea of everyone watching me select a boy was the heart of the matter. I had to pick someone and they'd infer that I liked them, or they wouldn't, or who knows, but if the game selected contestants by algorithm, it wouldn't have had such a wildly intense effect on me.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 2:54 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 4:31 PM
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We played this at Girl Scout camp as 8 or 9 year-olds, but without any sexual overtones. It was called "Honey if you love me will you please just smile?" and mostly involved pretending to fart.

I definitely ran with a fast crowd, though, and most of us were getting nekkid or thereabouts by the time we were 13 (though it was mostly with the opposite sex).


Posted by: JennyRobot | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 5:57 PM
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I'll read the thread once I get to the train, but Becks-style I shall respond to the initial post first. In those tween years, I was so, so painfully awkward. I had no real crushes, having just changed schools. I was so, so unattractive. My self image as awkward and ugly was cemeted at that age (but smart!). Had drinks with a colleague tonight who reminded me of immediate post-divorce Di and how astonished I was at the suggestion that I was beautiful. And I thought, this was beacause I still saw myself as that late-blooming lass with a boyish body, an unfortunate haircut, and I. Disastrous do-it-yourself bleached mane. Middle school wasn't exactly traumatic, but oh did it not do good things for my self image.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 6:21 PM
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pretending to fart

Related, sort of, I learned today that, for no additional charge, my phone can talk to a satellite in the sky and, mere seconds later, have on it a big picture of a button, which button when pushed offers forth the sound of a human fart. This application is called Big Fart Button, and I'm pretty sure it represents a cultural high-water mark of some sort.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 7:36 PM
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The "on display intensity" part really resonates for me. I faked being sick on the last day of school in first grade, because we were supposed to do a dance for the parents or something. In some way, I don't really remember how, it had been decided in advance who would be next to whom (the dance was basically just all of us holding hands in a circle and perhaps performing one additional movement). I knew I was going to be holding hands with the girl I had a crush on, and was positive that everyone in the school would see on my face exactly what I felt for her. So the morning of that day, I convinced my parents to let me stay at home.


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 7:43 PM
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I have never played any of these sort of tween/teen games, and now that I'm in my thirties, it seems unlikely that I ever will. Stupid boring nerdy childhood! Even temple youth group was pretty tame.


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 7:46 PM
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Eartha Kitt as Catwoman. Diana Rigg as Emma Peel.

Wilma Flintstone?
http://technorati.com/videos/youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DzKy8CzX4TEU


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10- 1-10 2:16 AM
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Oddly, my daughters mentioned this game yesterday. I asked them where they'd played it (at a girls only youth group they go to) and said I'd only just heard of it here, and that heebie had found it excruciating. They said it was okay at Girls Brigade because it's all girls, but then the 13 year old agreed that it was much more awkward and embarrassing when she played it at her (mixed) drama group.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 10- 2-10 3:55 AM
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Somewhat related:
I play a similar game with my kids: can I make you smile in under 10 seconds. I try to make my son smile in under 10 seconds, no matter what is upseting him. Ive never lost.

That darn autistic daughter of mine beats me about half the time.

Nothing is off limits. Howling like a crazy wolf and mock biting her is my most successful method with my daughter.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10- 2-10 5:22 AM
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and that heebie had found it excruciating.

I'd say it was excruciating but also exhilirating. Just very, very intense.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 2-10 7:26 AM
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