A crush makes everything more fun. It gives you a go-to daydream, a white-noise hum of excitement that provides a subtext for quiet moments. A crush gives you the best of both worlds: The high-stakes feeling of every moment meaning so much, along with the actuality that you’re not really under any kind of microscope. Crushes are innocent and exuberant. They don’t need to go anywhere. Sometimes, though, they do, and that’s the best.
In 2009, I was 24 years old. I lived in Boston and taught preschool during the day. At night, I performed standup comedy. Every Monday, I hosted an open mic at a bar called Sally O’Brien’s. The performers were a mix of established comedians, brand new comics, weirdos, and the homeless.
One week, three students from a local college came in, two guys and a girl. The dudes were very comedian-y. Shaggy, wearing plaid shirts. The girl was very cute. Big brown eyes, glasses, and a huge, bright smile. Plus, she was funny. I was crushed, in the best possible way. At the time, I had a girlfriend, and I had no intention of cheating, so there was no pressure or weirdness. I just had a new friend that I could be excited to see.
Then she moved to New York, and we didn’t see each other much. I started reading her blog, which consisted mostly of impassioned feminist rants. We talked every once in a while. We cheered for each other through writing projects and relationship problems. It was nice to have someone who always encouraged me. Plus… those big brown eyes.
In the summer of 2010, my girlfriend and I broke up. No one was at fault; we just wanted different things from a relationship. My big takeaway was that I needed to be with someone who fully supported my career, even though I live a totally unreasonable lifestyle. I didn’t know whether that was possible.
Five weeks later, I was in New York performing on a show with my friend/ crush. After a long night of flirting, a thing I had nearly forgotten how to do, we kissed.
When our lips coincided for the first time, it was new and exciting. But it was also the natural, sensible thing to do. That’s the duality of the crush again. It’s something vibrant and dynamic, but hyper-reasonable. How often do you get to say: “It would just make so much sense if we were together,” and have it actually happen?
But we did it, guys. It’s a year and a half later, and we’re still together. She’s still beautiful and supportive and brilliant and talented.
And I still have a crush on her. And it’s still the best.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Gaby. I love you.