“Alison’s Starting to Happen” The Lemonheads #AtoZChallenge

“Alison’s Starting to Happen” The Lemonheads #AtoZChallenge

In some ways, I was always waiting for my first day of college.

Middle school and high school were not ideal for me. I never got the hang of fitting in.  A series of bad haircuts, glasses and the wrong jeans marked me as “Dweeb, Class-A.” By ninth grade, I was labeled “virtually undatable.”

My mom told me to wait until I got to college; everything would be different, better.  Nobody would care that I wet my pants in first grade or once took a sandwich made out of hot dogs for lunch.

Nobody would know me. More importantly boys wouldn’t know me. And that’s what I really wanted out of college; to meet boys, nay, men.

“Men” suggested maturity, good manners, the ability to see past a bad perm. “Boys” only wanted to talk about trucks, call each other “fag,” and blow burps in your face.

I was convinced my college campus would be packed to the rafters with intelletual men who liked The Smiths and looked like they were on the swim team.  I thought all I had to do was show up and take my pick.

While I waited for that time to come, I ticked the days off like an inmate in juvie and prepared myself for the idea of college boys like I was studying for the ACTs. I took myself to the school of R.E.M. Because that’s what college boys like, right? To talk about the Athens music scene?

My friend, Jonathan – who was the closest thing my high school had to a college boy – helped me out.  During play rehearsals and yearbook, he would hand me stacks of CDs by bands who took their names from obscure Monty Python sketches and made liberal use of the accordion.  He turned me onto groups like The Lightning Seeds, They Might Be Giants , The Soup Dragons, and The Lemonheads.

It seemed as if this “education” would pay off handsomely, because during my very first college class, who should walk in but a gangly, blonde-headed boy wearing a red baseball cap, Converse sneakers and a green canvas knapsack with a giant Lemonheads button on it.

I about fainted. The luck! I hadn’t even been on campus 72 hours and here he was…the embodiment of everything I wanted! In my Oral Communications class!

As we got up and introduced ourselves, things got even better. His name was Andy! How cute! And it turned out we grew up 20 miles away from each other! I wouldn’t have to worry about going home for the summer and leaving my college boyfriend behind!

Then things got eerie. We started to pick the same speech topics. For our informative speeches, we both chose dreams. For our persuasive speeches,  I picked the Lee Harvey Oswald second shooter conspiracy theory (which might seem strange, but I had spent the previous summer obsessed with the Oliver Stone movie JFK, so it was topical). And guess what? Andy picked the Oswald-acted-alone theory. I shit you not. It was a total coincidence.I also though it was fate with a gigantic “F.”

If movies had taught me anything, it was that this boy was going to be mine. We had the whole “meet cute” thing down…sort of. Technically, we hadn’t actually met.

I had no idea how to talk to him. I didn’t know what to say. The most obvious thing would have been to bring up The Lemonheads. I had spent all my time in high school preparing for a moment like this. But I was afraid. What if I didn’t I like them enough? What if he asked me a question about the band and I didn’t know the answer? I would look like a total poser. Besides, my favorite album at the time was the Boys II Men album II. Andy would see through me in a second. I stuck with my main move, which was to stare at him and hope he would  just figure out we were soul mates.

Before I knew it the semester was up, and the staring thing hadn’t worked. It was time to do something daring. A friend of mine suggested that I email him. This was 1994, so the idea that I could send a message to someone over the computer was a little mind-blowing. You could talk to someone without having to actually talk to them? Brilliant! This would do the trick nicely.

I kept the message casual – just reminded him of our mutual connection and said it would be nice to chat. He replied in a friendly “Oh,yeah, I remember you. Good talking to you” kind of way. I took this as code for “I felt a connection, too!”  We were definitely going to go out.

And maybe we would have if I hadn’t spent the second message listing out all the ways fate was telling us to be together. It was like I was following a movie script, but instead of it being the one for “When Harry Met Sally,” it was the one for “Fatal Attraction.” I didn’t hear from him again.

So my first attempt at a college love life didn’t go so well. I had wrongly assumed I could just show up and everything would fall into place, that liking the right band and following a rom-com trope would be enough. It was clear I had a lot to learn.

Until then, I would just go back to my dorm room and drown my sorrows in Boys II Men.


39 thoughts on ““Alison’s Starting to Happen” The Lemonheads #AtoZChallenge

  1. Boys II Men are the best people to help you drown your sorrows. We live and learn, yeah? I could see me go through this too…and I’m in my thirties:-)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this story and related to it all too well. Sometimes it would be nice if life could be scripted like a romantic comedy, although it’s probably better that it isn’t. It’s often the challenges that push us to grow. Looking forward to your next a-z post.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Cute post and song. I was late thirties around that time and spent most of my listening in rewind–rediscovering music, particularly the music of my youth. Never listened to Lemonheads before. Reminds me a lot of the British Band Invasion of the sixties, with a little bit of a punk beat. Fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish there was an actual video for the song because the lead singer Evan Dando was definitely channeling a 60s/70s vibe. California cool. Swoon.


  4. Great post; I was right along there with you. Those high school years were especially painful for me. Music is such wonderful therapy for whatever emotions we may be experiencing at the time and no matter what age we may be. Music is timeless.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. They Might Be Giants! My older brother turned me on to them many years ago, and now I have my high school kids singing along as well. I’m hoping my girls don’t have your first college love experience. 😂 Downright painful. Great A to Z theme!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We love They Might Be Giants in our house! They put out a couple of kids albums right around the time our girls were born, so they’ve been life-long lovers 🙂 Thanks for reading! And glad you’re enjoying Maui. It’s cold and cloudy in Iowa today 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I never really got into The Lemonheads as much as other people at my college, but I remember playing “Allison’s Starting to Happen” on my radio show, so I guess it’s my default favorite Lemonheads song.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! I worked at my college radio station for a semester. For some unknown reason, they didn’t have The Lemonheads, so I couldn’t send Andy subliminal messages over the air waves 🙂 Our signal was pretty weak. It probably wouldn’t have even reached his dorm room 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I must be a few years older than you; I lived to the Lemonheads and They Might Be Giants when I was just out of college. Presidents of the United States, The Offspring, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bare Naked Ladies…what fun! Great housecleaning music, as it turns out.

    Your method of meeting men (watching and wishing) sounds a lot like mine for years and years!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh the 90s were fun weren’t they? I clean house to it now, too. Much more productive than mooning over boys! Thanks for stopping by!


  8. I have tried to make my College Boy understand that by the end of the first date, girls have planned the wedding and picked out bridesmaids. It’s what we do.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. They Might Be Giants – Whenever I’d see that name in the captions singing the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse song, I thought, “that is such an awesome band name, too bad it’s just a Mickey Mouse thing.” Then my husband told me, no, it’s a real band and that they’re good. Shocker!


  10. Jean, what a strange trip down memory lane you’ve managed to dragged me. I’m not sure what “college boy” is supposed to mean. If it meant I didn’t wear jeans and a black t-shirt everyday I suppose it’s a compliment.
    I too wrote a letter to someone we went to high school with and expressed my undying affection for her. But once I realized I came off as more of a stalker than a potential date. I then made it worst by writing her another letter and apologized for being a stalker. Luckily she was a few years old than us and after she graduated my life returned to it’s normal state of boredom.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a compliment! Sorry if you read it any other way! I just appreciated having someone to talk to about movies and music. There weren’t a lot of guys at our school that I felt I could talk to about those things. You always seemed more mature …. That’s all 😊 I appreciated our friendship. Not sure I ever told you that.


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