Nina Malkin
swoon & swear about nina malkin contact frequently asked questions
other writing links news & press news & events nina malkin blog
BLARGH: "My First SWOON" by Micol Ostow

Monday, June 29, 2009

"My First SWOON" by Micol Ostow

So now you know just how bad a boy you magnetize. Must be something in the water. Or your genes. Or you jeans.

Racing headlong now towards the culmination of first SWOONS. Remember, you still have two more days to comment back with your own first SWOON and be entered to win a signed copy of SWOON. And you still have two more days to nag me about submitting my own rather awful admision...

Today we have a swell SWOON from the indomitable Micol Ostow, author of The Bradford Series of novels and ultimate how-to, self-help tome So Punk Rock (And Other Ways To Annoy Your Parents). I know Micol was on a guillotine of a book deadline, yet she still made good on her promise to dig deep into her past and pull out this plum. Thank you, Micol, for SWOONING, and for the best sub-title ever...

"I Was A Pre-Teen Cougar"

His name was Jerry.
Or maybe Matt?
Or possibly Adam.
I dunno; it was a long time ago and anyway, I’m changing names to protect the innocent.
(Yeah, that’s it…to protect the innocent!)

So anyway—Adam.
He had red hair buzzed into a crew cut that begged to be run against the flat underside of my palm. His cheeks were dusted with freckles and he probably weighed less than I did.
I was eleven. Adam was ten.
We were campers together at a Jersey day camp one summer. His “bunk” (we had no bunks—day camp, you see, but whatevs) sat one level below mine in the amphitheater each morning for daily announcements. Hence my spectacular view of the top of his head.

May I just say: swoon.

Adam was my first dry-throated, rapid-fire blinking, don’t-open-your-mouth-‘cause-Gawd-knows-what-senseless-insanity-will-pour-forth crush.
Was it the nylon soccer shorts? The tube socks pulled up to his ankles? The fact that he stubbornly refused to sing along to our morning sing-alongs?
I’ll never know.
But what I suspect is that it was all to do with his age.
You see, in addition to Adam being my first crush, he was also my first introduction to that elusive species known as The Younger Dude. We were only a year apart chronologically, sure, but everyone knows that girls mature more quickly than boys. Between us lay vast oceans of cognitive dissonance that our budding chemistry couldn’t possibly bridge.

Still, though, I tried my hardest.
I recall early experiments with “lip gloss” (ChapStick) on our camp overnights, and knock-knock jokes hurled blindly in Adam’s direction with no regard toward timing or punch line.
I may or may not have tripped him during Jump the Brook.

Okay, my technique could have used some perfecting.
But puberty was washing over me like a bubble bath set to boil, and one thing I realized about guys—that is to say, boys—like Adam, was that the younger ones?
They flat-out worshipped an older woman like moi.
(And who could blame them?)

If I played my cards right, I quickly, learned, Adam bore his Jump the Brook battle scars with pride, laughed at my jokes and sought me out with one-liners of his own.
Younger men were impressed with me simply because I was older.
They were easily flattered, they didn’t tend to argue much.
It was a lesson I internalized quickly, completely.
And it wasn’t until some twenty years later that it occurred to me that there was a flip side to all of that immaturity coursing to and fro.

I gave up my real estate in Cougartown and set about finding someone who was my emotional equal.
Only to discover that at 33, as a young adult writer, I left my brain somewhere back at sweet sixteen.
Luckily, my One True Lurve is totally a kid at heart, as well….

And, um—at exactly one year and three days older than me (gotta love a Taurus), he is the source of all things swoon-worthy in my quasi-grownup life.

Micol Ostow is the author of The Bradford Series and So Punk Rock (And Other Ways To Annoy Your Parents). Visit her at


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home