When I was in the sixth grade, I loved Jonathan Taylor Thomas.
Honestly, I thought we were probably going to get married. I watched him every week on Home Improvement, repeatedly on Man of the House, listened to his sultry voice over and over again in the Lion King, and wished SO hard that I was Rachael Leigh Cook so that I could kiss him in Tom and Huck.
I had all of the JTT posters from BOP, and Tiger Beat and SuperTeen, and 16 and Teen Magazine plastered on the walls in my room so that it was basically a JTT shrine, and I would fantasize about meeting him.
Had this exact poster actually. Framed. Right beside my bed.
In my fantasies, I was always a professional figure skater like Kristi Yamagouchi, only I looked like Topanga from Boy Meets World because I thought she was sooooo beautiful.
I am comfortable with who I am now, but in Grade 6 I looked like this:
And I thought Topanga was way, way more cool. So, that was who I looked like.
In my fantasies, I (Topanga) would be nonchalantly figure skating in my hometown arena, also known as the world’s smallest arena (seriously, it was tiny, and the slogan was “It may be small, but it’s paid for!” and it was written on the wall). I would just be being all superstar on the ice, and all of a sudden JTT would show up and be watching me in awe from the sidelines. He would say “I NEED to know this girl! She is so awesome!” And he would just be mesmorized by sweet skating skills and want to be my boyfriend.
I wrote JTT numerous letters. Numerous. Like I cannot count how many (well, I think three). I would write to him and tell him about me, only alter myself jussssst slightly, because I had read in magazines about him so I knew what to say. JTT was a vegetarian, so I would write “I am SUCH a vegetarian. I cannot STAND meat. I just love tofu,” even though the only time I was remotely vegetarian was when my parents cooked tacos and I would loudly proclaim I was a vegetarian because I was going to try my third taco without beef.
And I would rave on in my letters about how much I looooooved fly-fishing, because I had heard that he loved fly-fishing, so I thought this would give us something in common. It wasn’t a total lie. I grew up on a lake, so I did genuinely love fishing, and my mom was an absolute pro star fisher. But I had never tried fly fishing, though I figured it couldn’t really be all that different from regular fishing. I thought I could go with it.
Basically whatever I had in common, or could possibly have in common, with JTT, I would rave on about it in my letters. I sent him my phone number, and I emphasized that I was single. I would send him pictures of me holding my cats. I remember this one picture I sent to him of me holding my cats (Winnie! It was Winnie and her brother!) and I looked HORRIBLE in it. I had the biggest double chin of all time, and I was wearing my super cool Northern Reflections sweater, and my one-and-a-half-year-old brother Eric was in it and had slobber all down his face and all over his onesie.
Well here, I’ll show you.
So it was not an attractive photo of myself. But my cats looked damn cute and Eric looked insanely happy. So meh, I sent it anyway. Sometimes I wonder if I ruined my chances with him because of this picture.
I once even sent him a gold chain that was just randomly in my room. A GOLD. CHAIN. Even though he was far more rich than I was, I sent him this just to show my love for him. Dumb.
So I loved JTT. I believe I have set the stage here.
My neighbour Scott (who was the same age as me) was over one day, and I may have let it slip to him about how much I loved JTT and how I thought we were going to get married. I told him how I wrote him all these letters and he never responded to me, and how I was so upset about this.
And about a week later I got a letter in the mail. It was from JTT.
JTT did not have the best spelling or grammar, but I loved him so I was willing to look past this (I cannot look past this now). And when I look back on this now, JTT did not really say very much at all, but he did say that he thought I was beautiful, that he would love to be my boyfriend, and that he was going to call me. And that was all that mattered to me.
JTT was going to call me. I did not question this very much at all because I SO WANTED to believe it was true. JTT wanted to be my boyfriend? Um, yes. Yes, yes and thrice yes. Yes please. Say no more. I could die happy.
I showed the letter to all my friends. Like “Look! Look at this! JTT likes me and wants to be my boyfriend!” And of course my friends were slightly skeptical, but I believed it was him so badly that I was pretty convincing. I was all “how else could I get this?!” and it was typed and printed, and I didn’t have a computer at the time so I told them I obviously couldn’t have written it. And my friends believed me.
I was so proud of that letter. I kept it with me at all times and raved on about it to anyone who would listen. Any time someone was talking to me I would be thinking in my head “But I am more important. I am friends with JTT. He wants to be my boyfriend.”
And then, a week or so after I got the letter, I got a phone call. From a young male who asked for me and identified himself as JTT. I nearly melted.
Now please note, this was before call display, and even before star 69, so I couldn’t check up on this.
I don’t even know what I said to him except for “blaaaaaarrrrg,” because I was so nervous. JTT liked me so much that he sent me a letter saying he wanted to be my boyfriend, and now he was calling me! It was the absolutely best day of my life up to that point. I don’t know if I have ever been so excited even to this day.
So JTT and I had a nice conversation, and I asked him about fly-fishing and being a vegetarian. And he answered. And I ate it up. I ate it alllllll up. I felt like I was living in a dream. Except I was no longer Topanga. I was me, with my double-chin and my super cute kitties and my idiot little brother. And JTT liked it. I cannot even explain to you the joy I felt. You better believe I told all my friends. I went on and on about it for at least a week.
And then things started to feel weird. My neighbour Scott came over one day and he somehow knew about the phone call, even though I never told him about it. He asked me about it, and he asked about it in a weird way that suggested he knew what we talked about. So I questioned him. And he said that JTT was his cousin and had told him.
Wait wait. JTT was his COUSIN?!
At first I believed this, but as he talked about it more, things were not adding up in my head and Scott seemed like he was shady.
I didn’t want to believe it wasn’t real, and I didn’t want to question JTT, but in the end I had no choice. I questioned. And JTT turned out to be Scott. Scott was the one who had written me that letter, and Scott was the one who called me. Scott was a Dbag.
I was devastated. And so embarrassed. Just so ridiculously embarrassed. I had to tell all my friends that JTT had in fact never written me back, and never called me, and it was Scott all along. All my fantasies were crushed.
JTT was never the same in my eyes, and I took all my posters down and moved on to liking Devon Sawa.
It took years for me to live down the JTT situation, and my friends from elementary school STILL bring it up.
They’re all “Hey, remember the time you thought JTT wrote you that letter and called you?” Of course I remember, idiots. Do you know what it is like to have a dream so vividly in front of you and then be snatched away by your stupid neighbour?
My only consolation about this whole thing is that JTT didn’t age well. Not at all.
He did not make it out onto the other side of puberty okay. So…I feel like in the long run I am better off.
And hey JTT, if you ever read this I have one thing to say to you. I want my gold chain back.