Be at a place in your life where you’re desperate for companionship. Your mind is starting to play tricks on you. You’re getting crushes on the person who works at your corner deli, your friends’ significant others, a beautiful elm tree. You’re so starving for love that you allow yourself to fall before there’s anyone even there to catch you.
Meet someone through a friend or at a bar or online and really, really like them. You know you can’t really trust yourself these days (Is this person really great or are you just eager to get into a relationship?) but dive head first anyway. Make jokes and bring your boyfriend or girlfriend game. Behave like an eligible person who deserves to be in a relationship. At a certain age, it’s assumed that if you’re still single it’s because you’re defective. You’re not though. You’ve just been unfairly passed over. So joke, joke, joke. Touch, touch, touch. Follow the script. You think you’re getting somewhere here.
Have the other person be hard to read. They do things like pick an eyelash out of your eye or pour you a glass of water without asking that makes you think that they’re super into you. Who picks an eyelash out of someone’s eye unless they want to marry them?! Right, guys?! You hold on to these flirty actions like they’re Jesus Christ. You subsist on them like a starving child who’s having their first meal in months. They fuel your delusions. They keep you happy.
Think about your crush constantly. Try to ignore the fact that you’ve only hung out like twice and you barely know them. That doesn’t matter. You’re thinking about what COULD be. You COULD be this person’s boyfriend. You COULD make them fall in love with you. It’s like they’re a blank sketch of a human being and you’re filling in the lines.
Analyze every little thing they do to you. Feel distant when they don’t talk to you for ten minutes when you all go out to get drinks with friends. Decide that this means they hate you and will never want to see you naked. Start to feel discouraged and wonder that they might not be into you after all. (Note: This whole crushing process has only been 7 days long.)
Realize that the only way you can return to normal is if you just ask them flat out, “DO YOU LIKE ME?” Do so over text message one day in the middle of the afternoon and feel like you’re going to throw up. Feel pathetic that someone you barely know can have this effect on you. Wait a few hours to hear back and wish you could just take an Ambien at 6pm and wake up in the morning to their text message.
Hear back from them right before bed. They’re not into it. No need to even go into the wording of it. The message is always the same: “I don’t want your penis in my vagina.” Feel a wave of sadness come over you and immediately be embarrassed about it. You don’t know what’s more shameful: Being rejected by a near stranger or being devastated by that rejection. Vow to toughen up. Vow to stop trying so hard. If you stop caring, you won’t be disappointed. But, wait, isn’t that impossible? Does anyone ever truly not care about finding love and sex? They say love happens when you’re not looking for it but that’s a silly joke. We’re always looking. It’s human nature to want to be found. It’s human nature to also get crushed by your crushes, no matter how pointless they seem. It’s always important to remember this though: Crushes are usually almost always about you. They form in your head, you water the crush plants, and then they wither and die in your head. It’s rarely ever about who the other person truly is. How can you truly care so much about someone when you never had them?