When Shoshanah Rabinowitz came into my life, I already had two girls with their sights on me…and a bunch of other girls who had silly crushes on me because of how I looked. That’s when I learned that, if you have a whole bunch of girls who are after you, some of them are gonna get jealous when you finally do get yourself a girlfriend. Shoshanah wasn’t the very first girl I ever went out with: my first real date was when Gardner and his girlfriend set me up with a friend of his girlfriend’s who had a huge crush on me…which was when I learned that going out on dates with girls who had huge crushes on you isn’t very interesting. That was one of the things I really liked about Shoshanah…she didn’t have a visible huge crush on me, although she did eventually admit that she noticed me the first day I walked into English class and was psyched when our teacher paired us up for a couple scenes from Romeo and Juliet.
At least Maryville High’s resident mean girl, Ashleigh Renfroe, made no secret of the fact that she was persecuting Shoshanah for being my girlfriend. And she did a good job of it, too. But it was totally different with my stalker Becky Landry: she campaigned against Shoshanah from the shadows. She worked in the office a couple hours a week, and that gave her the chance to fuck with the schedules in the school’s computer and make sure that me and Shoshanah didn’t have any classes together…and, counting homeroom, Becky and I had four. At the time, I was still clueless enough to write that off as a coincidence.
Y’all may remember that the situation with Ashleigh reached critical mass when she somehow got hold of one of Shoshanah’s really personal locker notes to me and posted it on Facebook. What I didn’t tell y’all was how she came by the note in the first place. It was Becky who stole the note out of my locker and put Ashley up to posting it. I reckon we should have known it was her, since Becky knew more about my locker than I did, but me and Shoshanah were both so upset that the note had been stolen and made public by Ashleigh that nobody thought right away about getting mad at the person who stole the note in the fist place.
Then Becky basically lost it. She went from goofy and mean to creepy and fucked in the head. Like she started coming to every baseball practice – which was way more than anyone ever did, even the team’s most devoted girlfriends. Finally she really did start stalking me and Shoshanah: if we went to get a pizza, she was there somehow. Practically no matter where we went, there was Becky. It got weirder and weirder until Melanie Kate noticed one day that Becky had our house staked out from across the street.
In retrospect, I know I let it go on too long, but that finally got me to go to someone at school to tell them what was happening. After I told the assistant principal what Becky was doing, he freaked out himself and called the police. We were all minors still at the time, so the law wasn’t the same if we’d been adults. (Becky was older than me, so it would have been possible for her to have been stalking a minor. That’s aggravated stalking in Tennessee and a felony.) Becky could still have been in a shit ton of trouble if I wanted to press charges. Mom and Dad both felt sorry for her and their advice was that we drop it. They left the choice up to me, however, but I decided they were right. I didn’t want Becky in trouble…I just wanted her to leave me and Shoshanah alone.
Before I decided not to press charges, however, there was a police investigation. It came out that she had a shrine to me in her locker hidden behind pictures of Nick Jonas. I still don’t know where she got all the pictures for it. Then it turned out there was an even bigger shrine in her closet at home. Becky’s mom had no idea what was going on, but she worked two jobs and so Becky had a lot of time without adult supervision.
Ultimately, the solution reached by everyone – parents, teachers, administration, cops, social workers, a psychiatrist and, yeah, me – was to move Becky out of Maryville High and to send her to school in Knoxville, which is where her dad was living at the time. We all heard that that involved renegotiating the custody agreement between her mom and her dad, and, well…if it sounds like it was a big deal, that’s because it was.
Know what, though? The person who got blamed for the Becky Landry situation turned out to be…wait for it…me. It wasn’t everyone, but there were people who, even when they admitted that I didn’t lead Becky on (and pretty much everyone gave me credit for at least that) felt that it was still my fault. And that really did piss me off…there’s nothing I could exactly do about how I looked.
But at least Becky was finally gone from my life and the BOYcott got Ashleigh to leave Shoshanah (and every other girl in the school) alone. By the time baseball season got going, things at Maryville High were pretty normal and drama-free, which meant I was able to concentrate on being a starting varsity shortstop. I batted .334 that year and even came away team MVP.
Senior year was a little different. Maybe my popularity dropped some because I wasn’t playing football anymore (the Rebels won the state championship for the second year running), because the girls pretty much divided themselves into two camps which, I’m not kidding, they called Team Hunter and Team Clay. Clay was a friend, though, and we got some good laughs out of what happened if we walked down the hallway together lol. But, remembering what happened the year before, teachers and administration were keeping an eye on things, which never got out hand as a result. There was talk of a ‘rivalry’ between me and Clay, although the reality was that we were buddies and spent a lot of time working out in the pool together.
Yeah, we attracted some attention that way, but it was nothing compared to what happened at our home baseball games in the spring. There was this group of like a dozen girls that came to every game and screamed and whistled every time I came up to bat. And it was pretty obvious that they weren’t screaming because I was batting .342 that year. It’s almost as though they were trying to psych me out, although Melanie Kate assured me that they were just my fans. Clay got exactly the same treatment from a bunch of Team Clay sophomore girls at his swim meets that year…and he had to put up with it wearing a speedo lol.
On the other hand, Melanie Kate’s best friend Briandra told her that my butt looked “adorable” in my baseball uniform. Don’t ask me what the heck an adorable butt looks like…
Ok, I’ll confess that that I took advantage of that kind of shit after my breakup with Shoshanah and the month I spent with a broken heart. That was when Hunter the Horndog was born, and I kinda slept with…not the entire senior class lol…but with pretty much the whole cheerleading squad…and a few other girls too. I haven’t admitted this to y’all as yet, but I was partly trying to make Shoshanah feel bad by showing her that I could get practically any girl in school…and could have had a lot more of them than I did if I hadn’t been in a relationship with her for a year and a half.
It may sound stuck up, but Joyce wants me to mention a conversation I overheard senior year between two girls, though. I walked by them, said hey, then continued around the corner, where I stopped to get a drink of water. They didn’t know I could still hear them…but I could.
First girl: “that Hunter Block…sometimes he acts like a nice guy…but then there are times when he acts like he’s [the Good Lord]’s gift to women.”
Second girl: “well…he is, isn’t he?”
Ok, and real honestly, I never felt like that. I mean, yeah, I knew girls liked me from before the time I liked them, so – I think this is the question Joyce wanted me to answer – no, I didn’t go through much insecurity about my appearance when I was in high school. I know that Turner and Gardner did some, but…I dunno…maybe you come to like what you see in the mirror when you realize that girls are looking at you the way they looked at me.
So I guess my high school experience was kinda strange compared to most people’s – if what Joyce tells me is true. Maybe I should have been more sensitive to other people’s insecurities; it’s something I really never got about Shoshanah, for example. But, when you’re 17, it’s tough enough to figure out what your own feelings are, let alone those of the people around you.
Joyce asked if I minded the attention…and the answer there, I reckon – since I’m trying to be honest here – is no, I mostly didn’t. Ok, it was kinda weird getting stared at when I was in the 10th grade, it was a definite pain in the ass when things with Ashleigh and Becky went out of control junior year, and there were times when it made Shoshanah jealous…but, certainly by senior year, I was pretty much used to it.
I didn’t take it for granted, though. Even during the heyday of my 30 chicks/30 days bet in college. I don’t think I ever assumed that a girl was going to want to go to bed with me if all I had to do was go up to her and say hello…but I did know that it was easier for me than it was for a lot of other guys. Just in case I was in any doubt about that, I’d periodically get shit for it, usually from a teammate. And I’m not so totally clueless a dude as not to know that guys call other guys “pretty boy” because they’re a little jealous of them. It still pisses me off, but it’s been a while since I’ve gotten in a fight over it. And I was a dang good sport over the whole ‘Heartthrob’ nickname in Hickory.
So, if I’m gonna be totally honest, it’s mostly been a good thing. And I hope I’ve been as grateful to the Good Lord for it as I should be.