Hey, you. Here’s the deal. I kinda like you, like a little itty bit. You don’t know about it yet, and you probably never will, because I have no intention of spilling my proverbial guts and letting you know the things I think about you in my head. Ever. See, for a while now I’ve been crushing on you, and I’ve realized that in general I actually much prefer the dreamy crushing part to the stark reality of instigating/dating/relating/breaking up that will inevitably result if by some miracle of nature you reciprocate my tender yearnings. And let’s not even go into what will happen if you rebuff me with cavalier impunity, or even worse — let me down gently (ugh!).
To get paradoxical about it, until I let you know how I feel, our hypothetical relationship can be seen as either dead or alive or both, much like Schrödinger’s cat. You could turn out to be the best boyfriend a girl could ever have; light of my life, fire of my loins, or alternatively, a whiny douche of a man-child who makes me want to scrub my brain with bleach rather than explain to you again why metaphorically peeing all over my Facebook page is not the sign of a well-adjusted relationship. Why ruin things by letting the cat out of the box, when I could live forever in a happy fantasy land where nice things happen to me, and you could even be one of those things?
Looking back over my past 27 years on the planet, the happiest times for me have always involved a spicy, unrequited crush somewhere in the mix. For three years of middle school, I had an epic crush on a boy who used to throw sweets and bits of paper at me. I didn’t mind because he looked like a young Will Smith and who wouldn’t want to get with that? School times were fun times because he would be there and I would be there too, with painstakingly applied makeup and perfectly straightened hair, which he could hardly fail to notice as long as I made sure to pointedly ignore him RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM. A shared class trip to Paris sent thirteen-year-old me into paroxysms of idealistic romantic joy. This is the stuff dreams are made of. Of course, I vehemently denied my obvious interest in him, because full disclosure would have completely decimated the magic.
Now, in my twenties, and after a string of dull, cumbersome relationships that have left me feeling at best drained, and at worst, utterly despondent toward the improbable prospect of my ever finding someone I can tolerate long enough to propagate with, I find myself looking back at my swooning tweenage self and thinking, hmm, perhaps I WAS a bit consciously naïve, but damn it, was I ever happy.
Perhaps what this all boils down to is that, like many women my age, I’m feeling the overwhelming and, frankly, quite ludicrously insulting societal pressure to immediately pair myself with another human being in order to validate my worth and desirability. And my mulish dedication to childish crushes are a way of rebelling, of actively choosing not to participate in this endless cat-and-mouse game of awkward OK Cupid dates, religiously upholding the three-day rule, and wondering if I will end up what they call a ‘geriatric mother’ (defined as age 35 and over, ladies. Ruminate on that one). Or perhaps I’m just pathetically craven, too scared to let anyone know I like them lest they dent my fragile ego irreparably. But you know, things get hotter after a slow burn. Only once in my life has one of my crushes been dragged, blinking and bewildered, into the true light of day, when a guy I had nursed a secret desire for over several years one day just up and took my hand and told me he liked me. I had long been feeding furtive tidbits to this crush like it was an illicitly kept pet I was raising in a dark cupboard, and all of a sudden I had everything my little heart could hope for, and it was like a million fireworks going off simultaneously in every part of my life. We were like Jess and Nick in New Girl. We were like a Kings of Leon song. You know the one. I’d do anything to feel like that again. That isn’t something you can find on OkCupid. Trust me.
So, in conclusion, let me crush on you. Pretend you don’t know what I’m thinking even if, (or in fact especially if) you do. Please, don’t ruin this for me. If you’re not going to throw a little gasoline on this flame I have a-smouldering for you, then you may as well just leave me well alone, boy. Leave me to my dreams. I’m happiest there with you.