Creepy Philip

After reading this post by Aussa at Hacker, Ninja, Hooker, Spy, I had to write about an obsession I dealt with in high school.

It should come to no surprise, given my nerdy ways, that I wasn’t part of the popular crowd. As a matter of fact, I like to say I was second to last in terms of the high school hierarchy. My clique was made up of all the people who didn’t belong and some of the people who managed to belong everywhere. I was part of the former. An awkward kid who always had a book in hand and always wanted to dive deeper into topics than others. When a teacher assigned a 3-page paper, I was the freak of nature who raised her hand and asked “is there a page limit?” #nojoke

On the very bottom of the totem pole was one man. I’m going to call him Philip, because I have the Maleficent trailer stuck in my mind. It doesn’t fit at all because this guy was anything but a knight in shiny armor.

He was really creepy. You know they guy who always looks greasy with shifty eyes and ungainly way of speaking? That’s this guy.

I thought I was going to avoid his advances. Throughout high school, he was always around my group of friends. I can think of two or three people that he seemed interested in for a period of time. The height of his obsession came when he set his eyes on my best friend at the time. He must have asked her out every other day for over a year. She couldn’t bear to just cut him off with a “no, I’m not interested,” so she made excuses. “I’m too busy,” she’d say. “I’m just not looking for a relationship now.”

That was all a lie because she did eventually start dating someone. During on particularly awkward encounter (for her), Philip sat across from her and her boyfriend, looked at her and asked “What does he have that I don’t?”

I forget what her reaction was, but I can tell you that, if I were in her shoes, I would be horribly embarrassed. What do you say to that?

Her boyfriend answered on her behalf. “I have her.”

Well, that’s kind of sweet if you’re into all that romantic crap stuff.

Then, it was my turn.

I was involved in the publications class which produced the school newspaper and yearbook. To this day, I am 99.9% sure the only reason he signed up for the class senior year was to be closer to me. I knew what it was like to be a loner and have people laugh behind your back, so I wasn’t about to act cruel. All the same, there are not words to describe how uninterested I was. Creepiness aside, I felt like the last choice. He had gone through my friends and failed.

It’s too bad. If he would have approached me during my freshman year, my self-esteem would have been low enough that I would have said yes to anything. Instead, he waited until I was a senior. By that point, I had gained enough confidence to say no. I’d rather be alone; sorry man.

He tried really hard to engage me during the class. He’d have me review his articles and I took no mercy with my critique. If you’ve ever studied journalism, you should know that the red pen is an editor’s best friend. Honestly, I felt bad. I tore some of those stories apart. That’s how you get better though. Someone has to tell you what you’re doing wrong so you can figure out what to do right.

Then, during P.E. one day, I saw him pull out a folding chair at the end of the gym with a camera. He was in charge of the P.E. page in the year book, so this wasn’t really that big of a deal. I admit, his creepy nature may have made me more susceptible to discomfort in this situation. That said, I am 90% sure he spent more time just watching (with the camera on the floor beside the chair) than he actually did taking pictures.

I quickly told all my friends the secret of avoiding yearbook publication: Don’t show him your face.

In the publications class, we weren’t allowed to use photos if they didn’t have faces in them. No backs allowed! Soon, it seemed like everyone was turning their faces away when he walked down the hallways, camera in hand. If you followed a few feet behind, you would hear a chorus of “I hate that guy.” “I hate that guy.” “I hate that guy”. “I hate that guy.”

I felt bad, but I also didn’t want him to have any photos of me. If other people didn’t want their pictures taken, they had a right to avoid facing a camera, too.

This resulted in some pretty harsh criticism when I was asked to review his yearbook pages. Word must have spread fast because it seemed like none of his photos had faces in them. I wasn’t beyond saying “Well, you need to rework this text and get new pictures. You know we can’t use ones with no faces.”

I think I was wearing him down at this point. I’m really bad at sugar-coating things. I’m just going to say it as it is. He tried really hard to be cute and flirt in that creepy way of his, and I wasn’t having it. Also, I had no idea that’s what was happening. If you come to me with puppy eyes begging me to review your work, I’m going to rip it apart and watch as your puppy eyes turn as red as the paper I just marked up. Do you really think I’d tell you that bad writing was good just to flirt with you? Even if you were Prince Philip himself, I would have sent that page back bleeding with red ink.

At the end of the day, it all worked out, because he took this one awesome picture. He walked into a class one day and everyone laid their heads on the desk as if sleeping. *snap* That picture made it into our yearbook. Apparently, nothing says high school like sleeping in class.

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16 thoughts on “Creepy Philip”

  1. Hahaha poor creepy guy! I love how this story ends with all the fake-sleeping students.
    Girl, you sound like a kick-ass brutal editor, I love it. I like people who don’t sugar coat things… it’s so so refreshing.
    Also… Thanks for the shoutout!

    1. I’d be even better if I was a kick ass speller…. but growing up in a world with spell check has robbed me of that skill. I like to think I make up for it with good stories.

  2. Don’t you just hate it when someone brings out that bad side in you? Sheesh, makes me angry at myself, at the other person and so on, but then you know that you have to be that way to protect yourself.

    1. Honestly, I didn’t treat him any differently than anyone else. I told people what I thought of their writing and I didn’t care what impact my opinion had. They asked me for my opinion and I was going to give it honestly.

      Philip did it often enough, that I think he was just looking for a chance to talk to me. That’s great. I like talking, but the man was not a writer. He just didn’t have it in him. Perhaps my opinions came off as cruel because his end goal wasn’t to improve his writing…

  3. Howdy. Thanks for the follow.

    I was a little guilty of creepy in high school, but… no, actually, it was drama. I was voted “Most Dramatic” my senior year, and only part of it was because I’d been involved in theater somewhat. And supposedly, I was good at writing, but the one to clue me in was a creepy teacher. Ah well.

    I like to think I turned out okay. I still have good friendships from high school. Hopefully, Phillip managed to do the same, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if he didn’t.

    1. I understand what it’s like not to fit in. I have some bullying horror stories in my memory bank. That’s why I didn’t want to be mean to him. It’s probably why my friend didn’t want to just say no. Yet, our personalities did not mesh. I found the way he made advances on my friends odd and I found them to be ever more so when directed at me. I do hope he has found his place in the world. I know high school was not kind to him.

      That said, I wasn’t about to date someone out of pity (I did that before [sort of]; big mistake) and I didn’t feel like telling the truth was mean. The truth just is. I was more than happy to sit and discuss writing and way in which I thought he could improve. To me, the worst thing in the world was to have a paper returned with no red ink. How was I supposed to know what I could improve? So, I dealt out the red ink where I saw fit.

      In terms of friendship, I hardly ever communicate with friends from high school. Some of us drifted a part and a couple of us had a falling out. I can think of only one friend, though it has been more than a year since I have seen her, who I still communicate with. When we get together, it’s just like old times.

      1. I remember some of the things you described at Aussa’s… I have been married to someone rather like how you described yourself. But, I think my wife had a harder time than I did.

        My high school was rather exceptional. We had a few teachers that were awful– some football coaches that cared more about winning games than education, a band teacher that should have been arrested and jailed, but we did have some truly exemplary teachers. The head football coach stood up for the band (the students were throwing pennies at us at an assembly) and I later found him in the newspaper, filling in a role for the theater department. I had a writing teacher that was intelligent, thoughtful, and full of character. Anyways, that meant that we didn’t have much cliquish behavior.

        I never went to any of my reunions, but I considered the 10th because a friend from color guard was organizing it. I caught up with her a few Christmases ago at Wal-Mart. I was a little embarassed because my health had deteriorated– as I was fat, crippled and in a motorized cart, but she smiled at me saying I looked different, explaining that my voice was the same. It was indeed like old times.

        1. I had really good teachers in high school. It was my peers I didn’t fit with. I don’t know why it was so full if cliques. Recently, I was invited to a 5 year reunion and I laughed. If not for the lessons learned, I’d rather forget all four years.

          I live a state away from where I went to high school, so chances are slim I’ll run into anyone. They’ve probably all grown to know better. I doubt they would be as mean to my face anymore (not that I feel like finding out).

  4. I have a feeling every high school, if not every year, had a Creepy Philip. Their social awkwardness can be down-right frightening if you’re on the business end of it. Like you, I didn’t belong to any exclusive clique in high school (mostly because my high school, which was an international one, didn’t really follow set rules for cliques; no jocks, no cheerleaders… we did have stoners, though), but I was part of the sub-set that could belong anywhere. I think it was because of my being in one school from kindergarten to senior year, so people just knew me by default.

    Our version of Creepy Philip was someone who pretty much the picture of awkwardness, but didn’t know it. The more so-called “popular” kids would have a ball with it. He went through every single girl in the year, in attempts to get a girlfriend. At the end of freshman year, he signed my yearbook with a note asking me out, and attempted to do so for a good part of my sophomore year. I would always dodge the question. About a semester in, he got the hint. He moved away after the year ended.

    Recently, someone from high school found and got in touch with him, which led to a whole bunch of people doing the same. From the interactions alone, it seems like everyone has grown up. Not to mention, he’s quite the success in the start-up industry, which I’m happy to hear about.

    I do wish the original Philip the best, and hope he’s doing fine now.

    1. I hope he’s doing fine as well. If I remember correctly, he was pretty average grade wise. I’ve met some awkward people outside of college and some of them continue to have a hard time.

      All the same, I too wish Philip well. He may have made me uncomfortable in high school, but he was still aa good person. He deserves no less than the rest of us.

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