All of us have that moment we look back on and recognize it as the exact moment we learned our place in the dating world.

For you, it may have been college where you finally grew into your own. You might’ve learned your place on the totem pole in high school when you were turning down dates left and right. Or maybe it was in middle school and you were the only one not asked to the fall formal.

For me, it was the third grade. I’d been handed a note from the cutest kid in our class. I was ecstatic. I unfolded the paper football, ripping it in my excitement. There were those two options: yes or no, under a very important question: Will you be my girlfriend? That was hitting the third grade Jackpot.

I looked at him, beaming.

He was shaking his head, pointing to the girl next to me.

Confused, I looked toward her. She snatched the note from my hands, circled yes with her sparkly, purple gel pen, folded it back into the perfect football, and flicked it at him.

That’s when I should have learned my ranking. But I was eight, so being naive was excusable.

A week later, I found the cute kid sitting on the swings, sad and alone. When I asked what happened, he said the girl broke up with him for the cutest kid in a different class. I told him not to worry and to not be sad, because even if he couldn’t have her, it’d be okay, because I loved him.

He cried.