Home > Red Spiral Notebook > [December, 1995] Secret Crushes Revealed! Part 1

[December, 1995] Secret Crushes Revealed! Part 1


I really, desperately, need to be studying for my Calculus Test tomorrow, but these past few days have been so so strange…

Oh Sally... oh, über-90's-looking velvet choker...

Oh Sally… oh, über-90’s-looking velvet choker…

It was probably more than a month ago that I called the Sally Jesse Raphael Show (the topic was revealing secret crushes). I left my name and number and pretty much forgot about it.

On Monday they called me back. I spoke with one of the producers and told him the Nathan story. He loved it, especially the part about how at first I didn’t find him at all attractive, but as I kept seeing how sweet he was, I liked him more and more. I asked what my chances were and Mr. Laurie said “pretty good” (for being on the show). I gave him the number to Record Rabbit and the next day Mr. Laurie called back (in the morning I was at school) and spoke to my father. He asked my dad if he wanted to attend the taping of the show and he said “of course” (not even knowing or asking what the topic was). Later that night I don’t him he couldn’t go, but assumed (since I came home too late to speak with him) that I’d be on the show.

I finally got through at about 3:30 the next afternoon and was told Nathan was so excited. That he asked “who is it?” and “what does she look like?” (Duh—of course they couldn’t tell him). So it was on.

I gave my address (a car would be picking me & Anita up) and was told to call the next morning to confirm everything.

Just before Anita and I left the Village, I called home and Dad told me the show (my being on it) was “in jeopardy.” 

Oy vey, where do I even begin? 

For one thing, it should be obvious that I watched way too many talk shows back in the day. Ricki Lake, Jenny Jones, Maury Povich, Montel Williams… I wasn’t even above watching Jerry Springer from time to time. It depended more on the topic than the host, though Jerry really was did go over the top more than the others and there were only so many times I could see dumb girls yelling at each other over an even dumber guy and trying to pull each other’s cheap extensions out. The other shows usually attempted to have at least a teeny tiny grain of integrity and once in a while actually were actually helpful, like finding runaway kids or showcasing drug and alcohol horror stories to show the nefarious power of addition. 

My favorites were episodes involving makeovers, reuniting lost loves, and of course revealing secret crushes. Sick days and long weekends—when I could binge on a full day of watching those trashy shows—were the best. I mean, I knew it was brain junk food and I tried to balance it out by watching foreign/indie films and reading tons of books and [insert pretentious activity here] but I won’t deny my deep and utter fixation on talk shows for a period of my teenage life. It’s probably why I don’t watch most reality TV today: between those shows and MTV’s The Real World, I got my fill of that “real life” drama back in the ’90s.

After asking out a couple of (popular—what the hell was I thinking?) guys (with no success) I guess I was building up too much of a healthy ego and felt the need to up the ante when it came to rejection. Why get turned down in private by a guy you like when you could do so in front of a studio audience?

I had no illusions that Nathan saw me in a romantic light, but here’s the great thing about those particular shows: if the person revealing their crush was turned down, they always got an enormous amount of sympathy from the studio audience and host for their honesty and stupidity bravery. Always. So I figured, I might not win the object of my (inflated and unrealistic) affection, but I did have a shot of getting some heartfelt “awwwwws” from the crowd and Sally Jesse herself. The whole embarrassing-myself-on-national-television aspect never really factored into it.


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