Sticky Situation

How middle school gum incident turned into a high school love story

You could’ve been forgiven early on for thinking things between Chris and Nicole weren’t going to work out.

The pair met as eighth graders, where their most memorable interaction involved Chris spitting his gum into her hair. Nicole ended up needing to chop off her long hair, and she didn’t speak to Chris until their senior year of high school.

As fate would have it, Chris and Nicole had three classes together that year, and as they spent more time together they began to fall for one another. Now college students, the pair are going stronger than ever.

Six years later, however, they still disagree over what happened with the gum. Nicole says Chris did it on purpose, while he insists he didn’t mean to.

“I’m sorry the accident happened, but I did her a favor because her hair looks beautiful short!” he tells Meet Cutes NYC. “She’s kept it short ever since.”

Here’s their story.

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How did you two meet? 

Nicole: I had moved to a new middle school in eighth grade. We had met through mutual friends in various classes. But it wasn’t until almost the end of the year where we had this incident where he spit gum in my hair. That was what made him most notable to me. He said it was an accident. 

Do you remember your first impression of him? 

Nicole: I was basically like Who does this guy think he is? I was very caught off card by the fact that he had done that. I still believe to this day that it wasn’t an accident. I think it was all on purpose. 

It was so hard to get out. I remember putting peanut butter and Coca-Cola in my hair to try to get it out, but it didn’t work. I just had to cut it off and get shorter hair. I remember the next day when I went back to school, he told me “I like your haircut” like nothing had happened. 

What happened with the gum? 

Chris: We were walking the mile, and I was chewing gum and I just happened to spit my gum out. And she was right in front of me and it landed in her hair totally on accident. 

Where did things go from there?

Chris: So a few years later it was the first day of senior year, August 2023, and I happened to have Nicole in my first period class. I knew she went to my high school, but I never talked to her after the gum incident. But the first day I walked into that class and I thought she looked really, really beautiful. We were able to choose our seats, so I sat next to her. 

Nicole: I thought of him as that same boy from middle school who spit gum in my hair. But when he sat next to me I gave it more thought. It was a little different because we were older now. At first I was holding onto what he did with the gum, but eventually I was like He looks kind of cute, I think I can look past it. I had a crush on him for a while. 

How did you start dating? 

Chris: We had three periods together out of the six class periods, and we sat next to each other in all of them. We were always joking, we were really close. I had a crush on her, but I didn’t think we’d move past being friends. But then one day in our fourth period anatomy class out of nowhere I told her exactly how I felt about her and that I’d been feeling like this for a while.

After that, we had a talk about us. Nicole said “Not this universe, maybe a different one.” But then I said “No, it’s this universe.” And after that, I tried to walk her to class and she was kind of looking at me a certain way, like Why are you walking me to class? And then later that day I texted her “Have a good day at work” and we started texting each other. And it was kind of history from there. 

What did you think when he laid all his cards on the table in the middle of class? 

Nicole: I was shocked. It was out of nowhere. I didn’t know what to think of it, I was like Is he being serious? 

But you had a crush on him, right? 

Nicole: I did, but I felt like it was too good to be true. And with him I felt like we couldn’t get past the whole being friends thing. I was too worried about losing a really good friend. We had so many periods together, we always sat next to each other, I didn’t want to ruin that friendship we built up.

How did things grow from there? What was your first date? 

Chris: We continued texting, and that led to flirting. And once we got back to school things felt very different. Our first date wasn’t really considered a first date. Her parents are very strict, and there was a school field trip to go watch the new Black Panther movie, and that was our first date. She told her parents that she was gonna go with some friends, but it was just me and her. 

Do you go to the same college now? 

Nicole: We’re in the same city but we go to different colleges. 

It’s a lot easier to date now. I have more freedom to see him and be able to go out and do things that we weren’t really allowed to do in high school. 

But it does suck because I got so used to seeing him every single day in high school, between our classes together and lunch and after school all the time. 

What’s the secret to dating with strict parents? 

Chris: Patience. A lot of patience and a lot of good communication. I think patience and communication is what keeps this relationship together. 

Nicole: I agree. Thankfully my parents trust us now. I think a little time had to go by for my parents to trust us to be going out and stuff. But it does take a lot of patience and communication with our relationship and also the relationship with our parents. 

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📊 Last Week We Asked…

  • [poll] “What's your take on meeting someone special in an unexpected place?

    • 57% said “It’s fate and meant to be”

    • 34% said “It’s exciting, but I’d be cautious”

    • 9% said “I’m skeptical about random encounters”

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Interviewed and transcribed by Nicolas Vega. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.