There’s an interesting dynamic between my four older sisters and me. It’s not just because I’m the only boy sibling, it’s because of the huge age gap between us. All my sisters are roughly a year to two years apart, and then I came along 8 years after that. When I was a kid, my sisters were quick to point out that the large gap indicated that I was an “accident”, but since I was a boy, I countered that I was the best “accident” to ever happen to our family. My parents wholeheartedly agree with me to the chagrin of my sisters. To be fair, my sisters have been more than kind to me throughout my entire existence, but it doesn’t seem to make the dynamic any less weird. When I was a kid, my sisters were dating, and I kind of unknowingly became a pawn in the game of chess between my sisters and their suitors.
Obviously, when you date someone, you want to make a good impression on their family, so it would make sense that at some point, these guys would want me to approve of them. Since I was literally just a little kid, I find it odd that I’d been taken out quite a few times (I have lots of sisters, it’s not that they dated a lot of guys). My sisters weren’t going to take any feedback I had about the guys seriously.
“Was he nice to you?”
“What’d you guys do?”
“He bought me ice cream.”
“Do you like him?”
Unless a guy punched me in the face, I was probably always going to say I had fun and the guy was nice, so I doubt that it was my sisters’ idea that I needed to be wined and dined, at least not with these not-so-serious boyfriends. The serious boyfriends, I could understand. Perhaps they thought I was some sort of guard dog that could smell shadiness. There’s Something About Mary hadn’t come out yet, so I don’t think they viewed me that way, but I never asked. I think their money would be better spent on my other sisters (closer in age, more likely to have an opinion) than a boy who doesn’t even understand how babies are made, but that was their choice, and I definitely reaped the benefits of it.
I particularly remember one prospective suitor, not because our time was particularly interesting, but because he wasn’t actually dating my sister, he was just interested in her. He went to our church, so it wasn’t like a stranger wanted to take me out. He took me to the mall, he bought me some frozen yogurt, and then he bought a bouquet of roses for my sister. There might’ve been more to the day, but that’s all I remember. My sister never actually dated the guy, which is kind of sad. I know she had valid reasons, and I’ve never questioned her judgement (she’s happily married now). He wasn’t a loser, he was just kind of a dork, who happened to like my sister A LOT. Even I picked up on that.
As kind of weird as it was in retrospect, I give that guy credit for trying to score points with my sister with the gesture of taking me out. His intentions were clear, he executed his plan, but unfortunately, he just came up a short of his goal in the end. I don’t know what he ended up doing with his life, I hope that he ended up with a life that he was happy with and that he doesn’t live with any regrets about my sister (my sister is in a healthy and happy marriage so don’t be a creeper). He was able to give it his best shot and he was able to state his case.
In my life, I try not to have many regrets. Failure is a part of life that everyone experiences, so it shouldn’t be something to be ashamed of. Most of my regrets stem from not being given a chance, not because I tried and failed. While no one in my family keeps in touch with this guy, I don’t think this guy was a failure by any means. He didn’t achieve his goal, but he took a risk and put his best foot forward. He may not have been able to earn my sister’s hand, but he was able to gain the respect of a young boy. He may have thought of himself as a reject and a loser afterwards, but as sad as it sounds, he was probably more of a man than most of the people that have passed through my life since.