The Joys Of Having A Shame Crush

Do you know what a shame crush is? It’s pretty self-explanatory but let me give you the basics just in case you’re not familiar. A shame crush is when you find yourself liking someone who’s totally not your type, someone who might even be a little embarrassing. The seminal Avril Lavigne pop hit,”Sk8er Boi” explored The Shame Crush with its star-crossed love story. (He was a punk. She did ballet, remember?)

Shame crushes come in all shapes and sizes and your first instinct might be to think that they’re all just hideous eyesores with lovely personalities but that’s not true. You can be ashamed of someone for reasons other than their subpar looks, duh! One of my ultimate shame crushes would be a yuppie type living in Midtown who plays “Hey Soul Sister” during sex — someone who clearly isn’t from the same “tribe” as me, but whom I adore anyway. Basically, you can rate a crush’s shame level based on how “WTF?!” your friends are going to be when you introduce them. Honestly, your friends are the main reason why shame crushes even exist. Think back again to Avril Lavigne’s “Sk8er Boi” or the amazing Nicolas Cage film, Valley Girl. Do you think the ballet princess or the Valley girl would’ve minded so much falling in love with an alterna-teen (especially if they were as hot as Nicolas Cage in the ’80s) if it weren’t for their friends being judgemental divas? Even though we hate to admit it, their opinions mean a lot to us, especially when we’re younger and more insecure.

The funny thing about shame crushes is that they’re often the most fun kind of crush to have. When we find ourselves attracted to someone we would’ve ordinarily been repulsed by, it’s exciting and sexy. It’s like, “You’re kind of chubby and balding and I’m 99% sure you go see Dave Matthews Band at the summer festivals, but I want to have SEX with you more than I would a supermodel and I have no idea why.” Oftentimes, we go through life dating the same kinds of people and have little success. We gravitate towards people who look good on paper (and in photographs) but actually fail to excite us in real life. They’re too obvious. (This is the part where I try to avoid saying “OPPOSITES ATTRACT, OMG!”)

Okay, I didn’t want to have to bring this up but it seems to be unavoidable. You guys know the most famous shame crush in pop culture, right? It’s Charlotte and Harry from Sex and the City! I know, I didn’t want to be on that Carrie Bradshaw tip but bear with me because it’s relevant. Charlotte spent most of her time dating the kind of men a WASPy girl from Connecticut was supposed to be dating: Stoic, wealthy bores. But when she met Harry — a hairy Jewish lawyer who was a total slob — she was like, “Gross slash come have sex with me.” Initially, Charlotte was shaming hard about her shame crush and couldn’t figure out why she was so attracted to them. Eventually though, she stopped questioning it and gave in to the shame.

Let Charlotte York be a lesson to all who have struggled with shame crushes before. In my experience, the more puzzled you are by an attraction, the more awesome it is. Sometimes it’s the ones we can’t figure out that end up making the most sense. So embrace the shame and stop worrying about what your friends think. No matter what happens, it’s important to note that shame crushes usually bring about the best sex anyway. TC mark

image – Valley Girl

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.


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  • Em

    I love this so muchhhh hahaha relevant to my life! I love you more, Ryan <3

  • Sean

    “Sometimes it’s the ones we can’t figure out that end up making the most sense.” best. quote. ever.

  • alabama

    Steve Buscemi is my shame crush.

  • Fie

    Great article, GREAT timing.  

  • Brandon h

    I’ve been known to want to fuck a few dirty hippies and even the occasional full-on douche nozzle (complete with sideways cap, turned up collar and lots of “Bro” and “Dude”).

  • Jordana Bevan

    Pro-tip – never confuse your shame crush for relationship material!

    • spinflux

      Yeah, wouldn’t want to end up happy or anything. 

  • MS

    my shame crush goes to the same art school as me. he wears a green polar fleece jumper every day, gross pants that are too short for him; most of the time exposing his ankles, and school shoes. he also looks like nate archibald and is completely unaware of how beautiful his face and luscious hair actually are. i think i love him.

    • Anonymous

      This paragraph really said it all.

  • Kai

    Does it count as a shame crush just because he’s an asshole? Because he is, but he’s also reasonably attractive and intelligent and can actually be a good friend. He’s just a jaded asshole on top of all this.

    And yea, I guess *I* count him because I’m ashamed to crush on someone who could be such a douchenozzle sometimes.

  • Paul S

    My Shame Crush is Ke$ha – sure, she’s annoying as all hell, but I bet she fucks like champ!

  • Mung Beans

    I prefer the hate crush

    • EarthToNichole

      I prefer hate sex.

  • nope

    what about shame RELATIONSHIPS/ flings?

  • EarthToNichole

    Thought Catalog is my shame crush.

  • indi

    my shame crush of the summer was a crustpunk heroin addict  with a rainbow mowhawk that lived next door to me who just also happens to be a brilliant musician and poet.  


  • Jake

    when i am “like”ing these things its not going to my face book page is it?

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