Growing up, I was rather skinny and that made me a potential target for bullies. I have only one memory
of being picked on in first grade or kindergarten. Then I met Paul – Paul Plourde.
Paul moved into the neighborhood where I was living when I was in 3rd grade. I also started to come out
of my shell, as it were, in third grade.
I remember I was sitting up in front of the class in Mrs. Felt’s third-grade class and a girl named Donna
announced that she liked me. I think I got a kiss on the cheek as well. It was embarrassing because, at that
age, I didn’t think we were supposed to like girls. I had not even thought that much about girls to tell you
I remember announcing that “I hate girls” as if that was the way we were supposed to act at that age.
Mrs. Felt didn’t help matters by stating “don’t they make such a cute couple” when another teacher was in
I would later think about how I should have not been so hasty at rejecting the offer of interest. I mean
later I wasn’t being told by any girls that they were interested in me.
Because of that, I never dated or had a girlfriend at any point in junior high or high school. By the time
we went to Junior High school, I had retreated back into my shell… the proverbial shell that all shy people
I was invisible, a ghost. If anyone thought I was being aloof, that was not intentional at all. I was just too
shy. I used avoidance as a coping strategy. I didn’t have sweaty palms or anxiety as I considered speaking
in class or making friends in school or even asking a girl out. I just avoided facing fears like this.
I wasn’t frightened, I was avoiding the situation where I was shy. It would require that I wait until college
to try to confront and overcome my fears.
Boy Doesn’t Meet Girl
I have seen the movie “Carrie” many times, but I always stop it at the point before they drop the blood on
her at the prom. There is a sense in which it is a feel-good movie if you leave that part out, the entire
I wanted to fit in.
Speaking from experience, it seems more natural to want to work in the helping professions as a
psychotherapist or counselor where you can help the outcasts, the scapegoats, and those with
emotional/psychological problems… those who once were picked on.
The idea of a girl, playing the role of Tommy for me, inviting me out, and being nice was something
appealing to me. I NEVER understood the entire notion of the guy or boy having to be the one who asked
out the girl. It’s a curse for a shy person like me. It also doesn’t seem very empowering for a society that
should allow both genders to have an equal say in how things occur on dates or in dating.
If you are not familiar with the movie, it’s about a girl, Carrie, that gets picked on by other girls in school.
In one instance the girls act like total assholes tormenting and ridiculing Carrie. It’s so strange and sad that
one of the girls, Chris, has this strange obsessive hatred for Carrie and wants to hurt her. Chris comes
across as a psychopath.
Anyway, another one of the girls, Sue, feels guilty for having participated in doing something really nasty
to Carrie in that instance that I mentioned. In fact, the gym teacher is shocked that Sue would have joined
the rest in mocking and ridiculing Carrie during that particular incident. So, Sue convinces her boyfriend,
Tommy, to ask Carrie to the prom.
I’m leaving out the entire supernatural angle to the movie because it is not relevant to my point.
I could relate to this movie also because Carrie was abused in various ways by her mother. The mother
might have “problems “but that doesn’t change the fact that she hurt Carrie. I could relate to that from my
own experiences growing up.
Tommy is incredibly good in the movie. You don’t see this until near the end when he takes Carrie to the
prom. He is persistent about getting Carrie to agree to go to the prom, showing up at her house, and
saying he isn’t leaving until she says yes.
The gym teacher was trying to protect Carrie and when she saw her outside looking sad, Carrie said, “I’ve
been invited to the prom.”
“So, why are you sad?” she asked. And when she said it was Tommy Ross, she said “he’s cute.”
Carrie answered, “I know who he goes with.” She was referring to the fact that Tommy goes with Sue
who had just done that nasty unmentionable thing earlier.
Then she took her into the locker room, in front of a mirror, and got Carrie to see that she was pretty. She
just gently pulled her long straight strawberry blonde hair to the side. She seemed to have a nice smile as
far as I can tell. Of course, inside the locker room, it was somewhat dark and grungy looking which seems
to be a way to convey that more work would be needed before she would look pretty.
I’m not saying that appearances are all that matters but it seems that they had to do something to make her
appear to be someone who would be an outsider. That being said, you would think that she was covered
The gym teacher was afraid Tommy was asking her to the prom as a trick. She confronted both Sue and
Tommy and Sue explained that she just wanted to help. And that was that.
So, they show up together and suddenly everyone is treating Carrie nicely. Some girls asked where she
got the dress and she said she made it. Instead of laughing about that they acted nice.
Tommy gets them a table and is very kind and not pushy at all. He begins to say “some of us are going to
…” and Carrie interrupts saying “if you want to go with your friends that’s fine” implying that he could
take her back first.
Instead, he says, “if you’d let me finish, I was going to say…” and he invites her to go to some hang-out
place in town. He says “great, it’s a date. For sure.” Carrie is genuinely happy, and her smile is so
amazing. I noticed how Carrie looked at Tommy again and turned away. It seemed to me that Sissy
Spacek had done a great job portraying a shy girl – the best I’ve seen an actor or actress portray.
Maybe I found Carrie attractive because I could relate to her in some way. Or maybe I was just feeling
good because I would relate to how I might feel having someone or wanting someone to notice me as a
For me, I had to wait until my senior year in college to get a first “date.” The person I asked out was shy
too. I was too shy to even use the word “date.”
Finally, Tommy persuades Carrie to come out onto the dance floor. It is so weird for me to say that I find
this a feel-good movie because I never did any dancing. I’ve always been too self-conscious. I think
Tommy was trying to do what might make Carrie feel good. It does seem that the way he holds her close
is sweet and it would feel good for two people.
So, when I saw Carrie out there on the dance floor and at first, she seems to step on his foot and her first
instinct is to run away, with an apology. But Tommy gently guides her back saying “it’s okay.”
Carrie says, “I can’t dance, I can’t…” and Tommy just keeps repeating “it’s okay.”
Then something happens. I noticed what Tommy noticed. Carrie looked pretty. She is thin. Shapely. It
occurs that we had already noticed that Carrie has enough breast development to create attractive
cleavage. It wasn’t just that she was made up a certain way as they might do in other movies. I suppose
how a person is dressed has something to do with this. If she was all covered up in dirty clothes one might
not “see” her.
What started out as a favor for Sue, his girlfriend was becoming something different. You get the
impression that he is noticing her in a way that was not something Carrie had experienced previously.
That’s what I liked… I would have wanted that same connection but with a girl.
Anyway, Tommy “sees” her and is attracted to her as a female.
I wanted a girlfriend, romance, and other related things.
People seem to wear their own sense of low self-esteem like a costume each and every day. We embody
our inner feelings and make them real.
During my high school years, I never dated. I never found the courage to ask a girl out. Unlike in the
movie “Carrie”, no one brave and outgoing made it possible for me to get a date or attend the prom. This
made me feel, at the time, all the weirder and certain that there was something wrong with me and that
others would figure this out.
You may know what I mean when you read “boy meets girl” – it’s a cliché. But for me, that story would
have to wait for years to pass.