I don't know where it came from, the notion that a man's opinion carries such weight.
My earliest memory of wanting a boy's attention goes all the way back to kindergarden. I was five years old, and apparently not very good at hiding my feelings. The older kids on the bus noticed that Amy had a crush. They noticed, and they teased me for it. To them, it was probably no big deal, just a silly little joke. But to the little kindergarden girl, being made fun of by the "big" kids was far from "no big deal." It was big enough to be remembered, nearly twenty years later.
I remember in 4th grade when people started having "boyfriends". I'm not quite sure what exactly they did with these "boyfriends," besides pick each other whenever we did popcorn reading in class. I think we all knew these relationships were almost as real as playing make believe with our dolls. But looking around at the girls with these boyfriends, it sure felt like they were real. And even if they weren't, I wanted a fake boyfriend of my own. Someone to call mine. Or rather, someone who wanted to call me theirs.
Once we got to middle school, the boyfriends started seeming a little more real. People had actually started touching one another, by holding hands or hugging. And they'd actually go on dates, to the movie theater or to our high school's football games. The relationships started lasting longer than a week, and I remember when all of my friends started having their first kisses. I would complain at sleepovers that everyone was having their first kiss but me. It was the familiar feeling of being on the outside of something that I desperately wanted to experience for myself.
I started believing that my worth went down if I didn't have a man to feed my mind with affirmation. I have no idea where this came from, your guess is as good as mine. But it was real, and it had a powerful grip over me. You can only imagine my excitement when I finally did get that first kiss (truth or dare in a limo, talk about romantic), and that first boyfriend (it lasted a month, I broke up with him over the phone, and then dramatically threw my phone on the ground).
But once I finally did get that affirmation? Well, you can probably guess that I did not want to let go.