Young love

I hopped on my bike and coasted downhill to the Starbucks. I had been practicing my Euro-hipster look at home on the couch, skinny jeans, faded t-shirt, carefully manicured shaggy goatee with a pretentious dog-eared novel in a foreign language, and after many months of carefully adopting a seriously casual leg drape with accompanying ironically intellectual scowl I was ready to try it out in the guppy tank of PV moms and one-percent financial advisers.

I checked the mirror and decided to add a knitted cap and my trusty hoodie for an accent of locals-only surfer elan, and practiced a couple of slouches to see which one most clearly hid the title of my foreign language novel while nonetheless exposing it to anyone who took a second look, which everyone in PV always does.

As I stood in line I carefully studied the off-menu coffee menu at Starbucks, which is secretly posted on a giant hand-chalked board next to the regular menu. The thought that I could pay an extra couple of dollars to have something called “Sulawesi” rather than “Pike” made me feel even cooler. The farmers in Indonesia were doubtlessly benefiting from my fair trade organic purchase and in a generation or two would be driving SUV’s and sending their kids to Harvard. I love saving the world through a specialty drink caffeine addiction in a global conglomerate chain cafe.

With my steaming cup of earth-rescuing coffee (eco-friendly ceramic cup only please because, pandas) I strategically positioned myself on the long table and spread out my hipster props which included an aged and rugged shoulder bag whose faded color and nicks and patches suggested days alone in the Himalayas even though it was mostly a lock carrier that I used when I went to the mall. I opened my pretentious foreign language novel and tried to read a page or two before giving up, as it was in a foreign language and therefore almost impossible to understand, and anyway I don’t like to read.

It was about 3:00 PM and the high school kids were filtering in from across the street. This was kind of a bummer, because whereas the housewives would instantly recognize me as hip and mysteriously suave Bohemian who was either unemployed or living on a trust account and be awed by my thick foreign language novel, the kids would only see, and wrongly so, a wrinkly old bum who hadn’t shaved in a month.

Two boys burst in, grabbed a table, and whipped out their laptop-iPad thingies. One of them was tall and rather handsome, slim but not skinny with a shock of black hair and intelligent eyes that shot around the cafe looking for someone. The other was shorter, with high cheekbones and brilliantly white teeth. They looked together out into the parking lot, scanned it, and then went back to their phones and texted madly, never speaking.

A few minutes later in walked two girls. The one in front had light brown hair and very pale skin. Her eyes were green and her features, although plain, had the stunning beauty of youth that you only truly see when you are old, too old to even exist for them except perhaps, if you’re lucky, in the category of “Grandpa.” Her hair was tied back in long braid with a pink ribbon on the end, and she giggled when her friend said something and glanced over at the boys.

The friend had an enormous bouquet of black hair that was restrained with ties and ropes and ribbons and things, and her mouth was arced with full red lips of the most sensuous kind. Unlike the demure apparel of her friend, she was wearing a tight t-shirt with a deep vee that fought to contain her breasts, and a pair of intensely short shorts that folded around her thighs and butt with the fierce force of the world’s tightest shrink wrap.

I pretended not to notice, being concerned about various laws and being exceedingly ashamed at my high degree of observance, but being invisible to them it was hard not to stare. No one paid the least attention to my foreign language book, and on reflection I wondered if they even knew what a paperback was.

The girls sauntered over to the boys and a lively conversation ensued for a moment or two. There was electricity in the air. Then the girl with the braid pointed into the parking lot and I heard her say, “Mom’s here.” The two girls went outside as the ridiculously expensive German car pulled up with the 50-ish matron dressed and surgeried to pass for 40. The matron, I thought, would notice my book.

As the girls said their goodbyes, the gentle touch of hands became a hug, which became an embrace, which became a fully engaged kiss, the kiss of lovers, the kiss of young lovers, the passionate embrace of seventeen that you only feel once if you’re lucky, as the girl with the braid stroked the forehead of the girl with the wild hair, there in public for all to see, unabashed, unashamed, accepted by their families and the world, as young love is supposed to be.



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35 thoughts on “Young love”

    1. I asked my son if there were many openly gay couples on his high school campus and he looked at me as if I’d asked whether or not it was dark at night.

      1. Yes, but not every school in Southern California. My child’s school, like your son’s, have no problem.

        However some of my child’s friends go to other schools and being openly gay would be controversial at the teen-social-drama student-to-student level. We’re not talking bizarro religious private schools either.

        The good news is it is changing. Being a teenager is tough enough.

      2. My daughters Jr High has plenty of gY couples and they are the only ones allowed to hug, kiss, hold hands etc. School is scared to death to enforce the anti PDA rules.

  1. Not sure where that was going. For a moment I thought this was a very roundabout way of asking Mrs WM to buy a schoolgirl uniform…

      1. I’ve got a used one I wore to a Halloween Cross Dressing party in Dublin, circa 1987….You can have it, but it fits someone 6’0 tall and 165.
        I was hot.

  2. Did you happen to notice Jeanine and I making out in the far corner? Things sure have changed. A gay comedian once said we should “go to the sides” of America. That’s where it’s safest and he was and is correct but things are changing everywhere. As soon as religion goes away, maybe we’ll all live in peace and harmony.
    I saw your book. I think it had enough illustrations in it that you really didn’t need to bother with words.
    Thanks for writing this.
    We are everywhere.

    1. What words?

      So then I asked my son what would happen to a kid who assaulted or insulted a gay kid at his school. “Well,” he said, “they’d throw him out of school, for sure. But that’s not the worst.”

      “What’s the worst?”

      “He’d be totally ostracized from his friends forever.”

      So yeah, it’s a different world from the one I grew up in.

    1. Let’s add to the controversy and put the guy in the super-short-shorts. Am I right?

      IMO, the acceptance is happening as shown in the story. I agree it is not fast enough and it’s ridiculous there ever was a social stigma to being gay.

      Sadly, for whatever reasons, some stubborn people will continue to refuse to acknowledge there is a whole range of “wired” human sexual behaviour.

      Change is hard to accomplish.

  3. East Coast baby seal

    Looking forward to the day when there’s no social commentary in that story.

  4. Or maybe they were just teasing the boys?
    I remember– girls used to do that, back in my generation.

    Anyway, here’s to young love of the non-unrequited kind. Forever grateful I didn’t miss out.

  5. Hello fsethd-san and All,

    Your ability to keep your essays fresh day in and day out has a tension to it …… when is he gonna miss? …….. sorta like waiting for that last snowflake to hit before the snow slides off the roof.

    I am wishing you will publish a collection of your published essays in paperback form that I can buy for my friends and enemies that are not hip enough to read you here.

    Perhaps with an index of key words …………



    +1 mph Faster

    1. Thanks, Neal. You can order a copy of Cycling in the South Bay on Amazon, hard copy or Kindle format. Thanks again for the kind words.

  6. “Cloak of Invisibility” Yes, describes me. I just did not realize it is a superpower. Good to have at times but if you let it……a bit ego busting in certain situations. One of those things post 50 men have to face unless you are, creepy old guy at a strip joint with C-notes hanging out of your pockets.

  7. Like they say in the Tui beer campaign (see…
    “Yeah right”. Those girls totally knew you were ogling them. They knew those young fellas were ogling them and they knew that everyone in that place was ogling them. The guys were drooling, the girls were seething and sneering. I’ll bet they were about as “gay” as Madonna and Brittany Spears.
    For the same reason they wore those tight, tight shorts and shirts barely restraining their blossoms, they kissed in public. TO GET ATTENTION. And in this case it definitely seemed to have the desired affect.
    These girls are not “openly gay” role models, they are attention seeking little slappers.

  8. Nice. Please continue with the story. Make up anything. You had me locked into that.

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