The popular (senior) boys in high school were called The Crunchies. They were a mix of highly preppy, privileged stoners with major sideburns and long hair, though this was not the seventies, just 1998.
They listened to The Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Cream (and Eric Clapton on his own), and developed a love affair with Phish that they’ve sustained for life. They preferred bow ties and Nantucket Red pants.
The Crunchies were an interesting type of bad boy, and all of the freshman girls, including myself, were fascinated. The Crunchies, in turn, were fascinated with us. While we had the youth card to our advantage, we were our own off-the-cuff breed that diverged from previous generations of our prep school’s girls. We were loud and opinionated (and maybe, yes, cringe-a-little tacky), but we ruled.
Perhaps part of the appeal was the opposition. They brought introspective chill into our lives and we brought the festivity & flair into theirs.
The Kent Crunchies in their photo glory…
It’s hard to keep everybody’s secrets, but I am loyal and have only spilled when the confiding person threw a number on me.
Imagine not speaking to a soul about what you know. An abortion or secret love child from an affair (so many with infidelity scenarios), a reputation-harming fetish or sickness, the cheating on a major major major exam, money laundering, or (accidentally?!) killing someone (j/k, luckily don’t know anyone with that last one). What do you know about other people than you cannot share? And how does it haunt you?
It is hard to know things, but when you give someone your word, you give them your word. I have kept many secrets from daylight. Most are those I wish I had never known in the first place.
There are secrets that are merely gossip-worthy, and you need to unleash on at least one party not involved because that person has no one to share it with—or at least no one that matters where it would circle in the relevant circle. [Or you may just be an unloyal beyatch who has nothing to talk about other than gossip and needs to share it. Ya’ll are dumb and not part of my post so be gone.]
But the real test of being a secret-keeper is thinking before you speak when an unknowing third party mentions something uncannily related to the very secret you’re harboring in conversation. You cannot forget that your knowledge is secret and that an utterance of a single word will do plenty harm and no good.
Harboring is exhausting. It is shocking and hard to believe what some people have gone through/are going through. I need not add to their issues and talk about it. More importantly, people confide in me and I respect their trust in my loyalty. My lips will be zipped, but sometimes knowing is overwhelming.