After four years of education in a girls school, I looked forward to life in a co-ed junior college. The GCE ‘O’ level results would only be announced in March, so for the first three months we were posted to a school based on our preliminary results.
The first day I walked into a class full of new faces, I was nervous without my regular friends by my side. But soon, I became chummy with a bunch of girls from other girls schools and we stuck together like glue. This honeymoon period was the best days of our lives as there wasn’t much actual syllabus. Pretty soon, we were sizing up the guys in our school. The boys from ACS were the most sought after, followed by those from mission schools like SJI (St Joseph) and the Saints (St Andrew's). As you would imagine, there were lots of secret admiring, cards exchanging, day dreaming, gossiping and giggling going on. We were convent girls unleashed for the very first time. But it was all sweet, innocent fun.
I received my first Valentine’s Day card from a SJI guy that year, along with an invitation to go on an ‘ice cream’ date. It was flattering and sweet. I used to joke with him and his best friend Ray and had no idea that he liked me. With some encouragement from my pals, I accepted the date on condition that Ray came along. It was funny, the three of us ended up eating the gigantic ‘Earthquake’ at Swensons. That was it! We lost touch after we were posted to different schools after that.
At St Andrews Junior College, we had only 7 boys in our class of about 30. They were either too sissy, nerdy, pimply or short….well, simply undesirable. So two unexciting years flew by. It didn’t help that my best friend at that time was a very attractive girl who strutted about with the confidence of a beauty queen. She was very popular with the guys but none of the girls liked her very much. Perhaps I felt sorry for her lack of friends and didn’t mind her by my side. It was a mistake because she dominated the friendship and I became an invisible lamp post during the 2 years.
My first real date was quite bizarre. My friend wanted me to tag along with her on a blind date. So we were at the mall, looking out for a guy K in a green cap. It wasn’t difficult to spot him at all. During dinner, I could see that no sparks were flying between them. As it turns out, my friend was starting to develop feelings for another guy. Somehow, K started calling me. We found that we shared the same birthday and had many common interests. He was in the army and we started going out for dinners and movie dates on his days off. Dating at that time was really innocent and sweet, so please cast all the dirty thoughts aside. Anyway, mum started getting all worried and anxious and told him over the phone that at 18, we should just be friends. We soon drifted apart and went separate ways.
I attend lots of ‘functions’ at that age. Some were just jamming parties at function halls or friends’ place. It is mandatory for our guys here to enlist in 2 years of National Service at the age of 18. So I was invited to a lot of army functions and passing out parties. Well, there were some admirers but at that time, I just wasn’t too interested in dating.
A guy friend once made a sweeping statement, “There are only 3 kinds of girls. The ones like you are like mass produced goods, they get taken up very quickly. Those that are left on the shelves are either very beautiful or very odd.” I thought he was an idiot.
For some reason, I had no lack of suitors. When my friend and I were doing vacation jobs at a fast food chain, the manager she had a crush on, started asking me out. It was flattering but I felt like a betrayer. When I joined an adventure club at the community centre, the club leader wrote me a long mushy letter saying that he could envision me being his wife. At 19, I had no interest in becoming anyone’s wife. One day, he showed up at my house on his bicycle. Too bad I was on my way out. I didn’t even offer him a drink after his tiring 30km ride. I think he hung around and chatted with mum because I returned home to find mum saying all these nice things about him. I retorted by saying “Why don’t you marry him then?’
I was quite wicked. Once I invited two suitors to a big BBQ party and ignored them the entire night. Looking back, I was a mean girl!