Every year from ages 8-18, I would spend a week at a sleep-away non-denominational Bible camp. I loved it. I got to see all my friends 24/7 for a whole week and eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted and could stay up super late without consequences (or at least, no disciplinary consequences).
One year, at about ages 12-13, my friends and I (during the aforementioned stay up super late eating times) had come up with a list. And not just any list, but a list of the “hottest” (I’m cringing rn at the use of “hottest” but in the interest of full disclosure, that’s what we called our list) boys at camp. We went back and forth with our arguments for each boy, shooting each other down or agreeing wholeheartedly. “Not [name redacted because REASONS] because his hair is too spikey,” or “Definitely [name also redacted because REASONS] because of his sparkling green eyes.” And so on.
I mean, we cranked through the list as if our livelihood depended on it. Once the list was complete and safely in one girl, Hallie’s notebook, we thought nothing more about it. A few days later after dinner one night, the announcements came on. Our camp director, Jeff, notified everyone that a notebook had been found at the chapel.
“Not just any notebook,” said Jeff into the bullhorn. “But a notebook with a very important list.”
My face began growing red. That seems odd. I thought, but Hallie’s got the notebook. I tried to keep my face as expressionless as possible. Which is difficult for me.
Jeff kept going, “And just because this has never happened before, we’re going to have each of the guys on this list to stand up when I call your name,” He held a dramatic pause. “First up on ‘The Hot List’ is…”
As Jeff went line by line, I shrunk further and further into the cafeteria bench. Our brain trust was not holding it together. One of the girls kept beating the table loudly with her hand while her face was beet-red. Hallie, the keeper of the list keep glancing around nervously saying, “I am so sorry guys, I don’t know what happened.”
I kept hissing, “Play it cool,” as I was trying to feign laughter with the cafeteria of people roaring each time a dude stood up, but due to being flanked by a bunch of girls who would NOT hold up under a CIA investigation, I don’t think I was all that convincing. I’m sure afterwards, our counselors got together with the boys’ counselors to rat us out and then had a really good laugh.
And then I crawled in a hole found five dollars. (JK, that’s how we used to end our stories that fell flat among our friends in high school.)
But seriously, that’s when I found out that: a) not all lists are good and b) pre-teen girls should not be allowed to write down their thoughts about boys because nothing good ever comes from it.