1. 7 years old: Mom tells me I can't write "your body curves like a poorly-placed reservoir" in a love poem, intended for my 2nd grade sweetheart
  2. 10 years old: The school librarian rebuffs my advances, unwraps the book I have gifted as a token of love, puts it back on the shelf.
  3. 11 years old: Mom tells me Madonna will never date me and I can't wear Gaultier to "build rapport with Madge".
  4. 12 years old: I give my lover an 18-karat gold ring, the product of saving for months and visiting a rare-gems mall kiosk. She gives me a stage magic kit, filled with cardboard "illusions".
  5. 12 years old: I learn that my internet girlfriend is not real.
  6. 12 years old: I go in for my first kiss. She burps, giggles, and mouths "chili night".
  7. 12 years old: A childhood sweetheart allows me and my best friend to touch her boobs. Weeks later, she doesn't agree that we are "meant to be together forever".
  8. 15 years old: A hand-holding-partner leaves me for a guy with a dirt bike. I shout after her "I taught myself Calculus".