This weekend I looked through old photo album because I wondered how I dressed as a teenager. In my memory I always had chinos and a polo, but in all photos I can find, I have surprisingly girly clothes. I think that it might be because the camera only were used on special occasions when my mother had supervised my choice of clothes more than usual. Other than chinos and polos, I remember my shoes. They were beige and navy blue suede shoes with lacing. My parents has always been practical about clothes for me when I was a child (apart from special occasions that for some reason always demanded a dress or skirt) and these shoes were in line with that, so I suspect that all three of us were happy with this purchase. But this is not the reason why I remember them so vividly. One of the boys in my class had shoes just like mine, he even had the same size! I didn’t realize this until after the purchase, but it made me love the shoes even more. I used them every day, even long after my classmate had worn out his. The shoes followed me in all of secondary school and upper secondary school/high school, when I was an exchange student for a year, when I met my wife, my first job, at university and all parties I went to. They were excellent dancing shoes and to this day I haven’t found anything good enough to replace them.
But one day, after ten years of faithful service I had to realize that they were beyond rescuing and fixable. To this day I still mourn them!
For me they were magic shoes (apart from actually staying in one piece for a decade). They gave me a sense of belonging to the boys in my class. That I didn’t enjoy the girls company with the girls discussions had been obvious long before. It was painfully clear that we shared very few interests and I both felt as an outsider and got treated like one. Not normal. Thanks to the shoes, I realized that I actually shared many interested with the boys. The small group of boys in my class became my lifeline in secondary school. We played table tennis, read fantasy, played with computers and discussed philosophy. No talk about makeup, clothes, celebrities, good looking guys and boring teachers. No stress about tests, but playing games at math class and having a fantastic joyful approach to life.
Unfortunately i never became really close friends with them and I’m still sad about that. Even though we shared a lot of interests, we never really had the same interests. We read fantasy books, but not the same fantasy books. We played with computers, but in very different ways. This meant that in upper secondary school, we drifted apart due to lack of a common ground to build our friendship on. I had contact with the girls a few years longer, but when we met it was always on their terms. I usually ended up sitting in the kitchen, in a corner or on a sofa – quiet while the other girls were laughing, telling stories and seemed to have a really good time. If I ever opened my mouth to say something they either abrupted me, or became quiet because no one really understood what I was saying or talking about – or cared for that matter. In the end I got fed up and stopped calling them. They never called back and that was the end of our friendship.
Today I’m happy to have friends that accept me for who I am, not for the person they think I should be. At the same time I miss the feeling of belonging I had with the boys in secondary school. I miss our talks and Change of thoughts. Sometimes I think of getting in touch with them again, but how do you do that without being weird? And even if I got in touch with them they might have changed a lot and might not be the same kind of persons I got to know back then. I know that I’m not.