Lanny by
(188 Stories)

Prompted By The Crush

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Lanny was SO cute. We were in 10th grade Geometry class together and our lockers were close to each other. I barely spoke to him throughout all of high school, but he sat next to me in that one class. He was a wrestler; at that point, the lightest on the team, though eventually he’d wrestle at the 123 pound weight class and he was good at it. He was short and trim, like me. I am just 5′ tall and at the time weighed about 89 pounds (I am not much bigger now). He was my perfect size and I was ga-ga over him. I let him lean over and look at my work in Geometry. At least he came close to me.  I hoped he would ask me out, but the call never came. I don’t think we had much in common, but I didn’t care.

The next year I summoned up my courage and invited him to the big dance: the Girl’s Lit Club Dance, which was a girl-ask-guy affair, though also the spring formal. He said YES! I was out of my mind with joy and had my pretty pink prom dress cleaned. I had visions of a slow dance, having Lanny’s arms around me.

A week before the dance he called. It was probably the first time he’d ever called. “I can’t afford a tux”. My brain was racing. He was backing out. I was crest-fallen, and scrambled. “That’s OK, you don’t have to wear a tux…we don’t have to go to dinner…you don’t have to buy me flowers”. An air of desperation descended. Long pause…”I just really can’t go”. Cue the sad music. “Well, if you change your mind, just let me know…” My voice trailed off. I didn’t know what else to say or do. My hopes were dashed. There would be no slow dance. The tears flowed. It’s not like there was the basis of a relationship to fall back on. I just thought he was the cutest guy I’d ever seen. I knew nothing else about him except he was a great wrestler and needed to look at my work in Geometry. And that was that. I was heart-broken, over what, I’m not quite sure, since we had barely spoken to each other. He was just my fantasy guy.

I found him on Facebook recently. He still lives in Michigan, in the Upper Peninsula and 46 years later, he is still as cute as can be.

Profile photo of Betsy Pfau Betsy Pfau
Retired from software sales long ago, two grown children. Theater major in college. Singer still, arts lover, involved in art museums locally (Greater Boston area). Originally from Detroit area.

Tags: cute boy, heart break
Characterizations: funny, moving, right on!, well written


  1. John Zussman says:

    You’ve really captured that “ga-ga” feeling of a teenage crush. My heart (still) goes out to you.

  2. Constance says:

    Damn, and in those days it was a ‘no date, no dance’ thing. Here’s hoping that for every one that got away you landed other, better fish.

  3. Ouch, Betsy. Such a helpless feeling, watching someone slip away with nothing to do or say. Early lessons in the ruts our society channeled us when we were young, with out experience or means. But such an attractive image, Lanny and you sitting next to each other, cheating! Ha!

  4. John Shutkin says:

    Just a great, sad story, Betsy. And, like all good stories, leaves one wanting to know even more. Was he poor and embarrassed about it? Just looking for an excuse not to go with you? Gay? And what were you thinking was the reason then (probably, back then, not the third)?

    • Betsy Pfau says:

      John, I suspect he was shy, and just “not that into me”. Also, perhaps couldn’t afford the tux rental. Definitely not gay. I don’t remember what I thought back then, probably that he didn’t really know or like me, which was true. I was crest-fallen, but what did I expect? Clearly, he didn’t return my admiration. As I said in the story, we had little in common.

  5. Kit says:

    I love this story! It captures so much of that time. Crushes, hope, and heartbreak. I’m so glad I’m not a teenager anymore.

  6. Suzy says:

    Wow Betsy, this prompt brings up our stories from two years ago, and I am amazed to see that neither of us commented on the other’s story back then. I love this story, and I so relate to that HS feeling of being ga-ga over a boy who didn’t know you existed, except maybe to cheat off your paper.

    • Betsy Pfau says:

      Yes, Suzy, I didn’t comment on every story back then. I revised mine slightly this time around, but that feeling of burning for someone who barely knows you are there was a truly horrible part of the HS experience, but probably universal. I think he was quite shy, too, so making that call must have been difficult for him. There is research coming out now about neurology basis for attraction, which I find quite interesting. Obviously, I felt it quite keenly. Guess it wasn’t mutual.

      Now I’ll have to go back and look at your story.

  7. What great story, and so smile-worthy!
    EVERYBODY had a crush on Lanny. Poor guy….he was very, very shy.
    Thank you for a lovely walk down memory lane! xx

  8. Wow Betsy, ain’t the Internet grand for looking up old flames, I just posted my Google crush story!
    BTW glad you ended up with Dan!

  9. Laurie Levy says:

    Ah, Betsy, what a perfect story of those teenaged crushes so many of us had. I could really empathize with your disappointment and heartbreak when he backed out of your date. Been there, done that.

  10. Aw, that air of desperation…I hate that feeling! I actually once told a boy “You don’t have to love me, just let me love you.” Yikes…I cringe just thinking about it! Thankfully you (and I) eventually realized that if someone’s just not that into you, it’s not your fault…for whatever reason, it’s just not meant to be.

  11. Marian says:

    Aw, it was a real heartbreak, Betsy, and how awful that you couldn’t go to the dance because of it. We need a group hug to help heal from those experiences.

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