A Portrait of Infatuation

He puts your palms together, curling his long, elegant, pianist’s fingers around yours, remarking on how utterly small they are. “Your fingers are so little, so delicate. So soft. Have you ever noticed that before?” He evaluates their respective sizes and shapes like two children meeting on a playground, comparing not for competition, but rather an honest appreciation of human differences. You are smaller than I am, I am stronger than you are. How fascinating.

And this is it, you think, in much the way someone feels when they solve for X in a particularly difficult equation–this is infatuation. That satisfying, fulfilling locking into place of an answer that is so simple and yet somehow takes so long to reach. This is that moment before the story cuts off in the fairy tales–before they live “Happily Ever After.” This is where people run through city squares, scaring pigeons, singing children’s songs, dancing to music only they can hear. This is what all those insufferable couples must feel when you move by them at a solid clip, thinking with detached disdain that they should get a room.

We are so quick to dismiss all around us those who are effusively, publicly, almost profanely falling in love–until we do it ourselves. And then, all of a sudden, we find ourselves on an empty street at 3 in the morning asking questions to prolong a conversation we simply cannot allow ourselves to end. Suddenly we are checking our watches and realizing that we have to be up for work in two hours, that we didn’t feed our pets, that we might have left the oven on. We were only supposed to grab a quick coffee, how does that last 7 hours?

Tripping over ourselves to give compliments, longing to take the other person’s face in our hands and force them to look at us head-on: “You are beautiful, you are incredible and, no, you’re not going to blush and ignore this one.” The way he looks around and fusses with his glasses when he thinks, the way she takes her hair down and it effortlessly falls around her shoulders like warm caramel. Whoops, there it is, we are infatuated.

And then, as if by magic, those couples who annoyed us, the metro that was never on time, the forecast for rain, rain, rain–couldn’t be less relevant. The way he slips his arm behind your back, the way she opens her eyes like a child on Christmas after she kisses you, that’s all that matters. That’s what we should really be focusing on.

We suddenly want to go up and give all those couples a high-five, “You did it! You’re in love! Good for you guys!” We suddenly want to stop everyone on the street who looks upset and tell them how beautiful the weather is, that the flowers are starting to bloom, that kissing on a park bench at night may be the single greatest thing about living. “You should try it, seriously.”

Kissing, kissing for hours, stopping at random street corners and leaning across tables in restaurants and even while clumsily walking. Inelegantly, beautifully attached at the lips. Those long, urgent, yet somehow slightly chaste kisses that take over us before sex has even come into the picture are the best in the world. Pressed against another body, eyes closed, trying to make a mental image of every rise and curve you feel–shaking your present on Christmas eve, approximating its size, shape, its texture, trying to take a guess as to what it could possibly be. Giddy with anticipation, stomach fluttering, a hand on the small of the back. Not tonight, not tonight, but soon.

The moments where you listen to a love song that you previously thought trite and overdone, hearing it again as if you’d never known it existed, longing to take out every note and hold it in your hands, examining it. Surely it must have some physical mass, surely something so beautiful and so universally true must have a shape and size. How did they know just the inflection, just the chord progression to perfectly describe how you feel when he kisses your forehead?

And examining your hands, pressed up against each other, a flawless representation of two people coming together–you swell up with excitement, and just a touch of fear. You realize that in these first breathless moments, where you are just blank slates, when there is no history here to muddy the water, this may be the best you will ever be. This is the honeymoon phase, and perhaps there is nowhere to go but down. You will fight, you will cry, this person will have a hold over you that you may not be comfortable with. And perhaps, one day, you will cringe when anyone mentions the city you vacationed in that one time. But just as you allow yourself to spiral into a bottomless pit of questions and doubt, you find out that you both love the same ice cream place that’s only a couple blocks away and you think, “What am I thinking? This one is different. Let’s go get some ice cream.” TC mark

Chelsea Fagan

Chelsea Fagan founded the blog The Financial Diet. She is on Twitter.


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  • federico

    s00000 annoying when people makeout in the street dannnnnggg bro

  • Jordan

    Good work

  • SisterRay

    And then five years later you find yourself stalking them on facebook and still hating the latest in their succession of significant others after you. Ah, so it goes.

  • xx


  • Ganjaman1010

    this is just conforming to the patriarchal, chauvinistic views of sex and love. you must n0t understand feminism or something — and don't “not my nigel” me!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-Timberman/922794 Steven Timberman

    Chelsea, this is gorgeous. Definitely just got a little dusty in my room.

    I think what makes it work is that you're not calling it love or talking about The One or grabbing wedding magazines two weeks into a relationship (hell, I've done all of those). It's just infatuation. If we're lucky, it grows into something more. And if it doesn't at least we had those moments, yeah?


    Does anyone else find it sketchy and maybe a little unethical that Chelsea Fagan's highly offensive article about the Slut Walk is no longer associated with her content on ThoughtCatalog, because they reattributed the article to “CE F” so that her Bio would no longer be linked with it? Chelsea, you wrote that article, you screwed up, but you don't get to denounce authorship of it. That's not okay.

    • ricky schitltiiz

      ugh stfu, go away, get a life, etc

    • internetinternet

      lol u mad

    • Totally Not Okay

      I completely agree. But I think it's probably more effective to email TC directly than to comment on this article and expect anyone to notice.

      • AaronWB

        You guys are completely ridiculous. Why don't you see if you can round up the other villagers and get some pitchforks and torches?

    • http://www.facebook.com/TomSmizzle Tom Smith

      Thank God there are useful commenters like you that will point it out in every article she ever posts ever in case anybody forgot.

    • Fake

      wow, your life must really blow if this is what you do with your time/that is what you are most moved to say after reading this. if you have a problem, write TC. or will you guys not be satisfied until chelsea's walking around with that article stapled to her forehead?

      this piece is beautiful. keep writing, chelsea.

      • Not okay

        I don't expect her to walk around with the article stapled to her forehead. Many of us, and many writers I respect, have written things that have pissed people off, things that, in retrospect, were offensive and wrong. But you fucking DEAL WITH IT. You either take a stand and stick by it or apologize for it, or you don't take the stand at all. You don't have it attributed to some anonymous name and try and ERASE IT from association with you. That you cannot see the difference between having a mistake stapled to one's forehead and simply owning up to having committed the mistake (let alone the fact that you can't think of anything else to say except that my life must “really blow” if I care about ethics) is a sorry reflection on some of the readership here.

  • ricky schitltiiz

    this is nice, really like the ending hehe wish i was infatuated im ~~~~too jaded~~~~

  • Wilf

    Just beautiful. Love the Christmas images.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000135790951 Matt Schultz

    i absolutely love this.

  • LDN

    i can imagine this article being a great present to say 'hey man, you make me cream'

  • Kala


  • emma

    this is freakin beautiful

  • Nicki

    This is it.

  • John

    Maybe you'd write better if you dressed more like a slut.

    • jessucka

      get over it

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