So it happens like this: it’s my final weekend in the city and I’m at either a house party or a very distinguished lounge in Center City and I run into a bunch of my friends from college. We’re all dancing, drinking (responsibly), and basking in our personal style when I decide I need a break from all the flyness. So I go and grab a seat in a remote corner, or balcony, where I can still see all the action. It is when I take my seat that I notice a fellow peer from school eyeing me. We introduce ourselves to one another (because, of course, I only remember faces and not names) and we realize we have a lot in common but have never had classes with one another. Our interactions on campus have been limited to half-smiles and seas of waves over our Temple career. Then comes the one thing I’ve waited so long to hear…but too late: “I just wanted to let you know that I’ve been attracted to you for a very long time” or rather it’s “I’ve been kinda feeling you since the first time we met but I ain’t never said nothing.”
It is at this point that I smile through my frustration (because deep inside I’m screaming “WHY DIDN’T YOU DISCLOSE THIS INFORMATION A LONG TIME AGO?”) and say “I’m very flattered, but I’m leaving the country to go to graduate school.” Though I’m silently fuming inside, I’m really touched knowing that someone somewhere found me attractive enough to have some sort of crush on me. To return the compliment, I lie, “If it was meant to be, then I’m sure we’ll see each other again.” Then, in that same awkward, yet sweet moment, I am ambushed by a passionate kiss and realize I’m making a huge mistake by leaving Philadelphia and not pursuing this further. So we leave our surroundings, go take a walk on Penn’s Landing and talk about ourselves until the sun rises.
Or so goes the fantasy…
Since I’ve graduated from Temple University, I’ve always wondered if some student (somewhere) was enthralled by the idea of me. As superficial and self-absorbed as it sounds, I’m sure that I’m not the only person who has felt this way. Some would agree with me that during peak class hours, you are bound to run into plenty of people who you lust after, or want to genuinely get to know. For me, I take a liking to those people who “prove me wrong.” To prove me wrong means that someone’s actual personality countered my preconceived notion of who they were when we first laid eyes on one another (because honestly, that’s when the real opinions get made). I (unfortunately) develop long term crushes on the ones who achieve the “wrong-proving.” Why? Well…because it means there’s more to someone than meets the eye and it also means that one is willing to try harder to get me to see who they really are.
This brings me to the topic of crushes. To be honest, it kind of distresses me that having a crush can continue into old age. I would have thought that after high school (or maybe even my freshman year of college) that I would have myself in check so that I can keep my focus. But crushes have to power to make me giggle at a mere glimpse of a shadow. There have been times where I was supposed to go to class, but I knew that “my idea of a perfect person” would be walking past a certain location at 11:00. So I ran the risk of being late just so I could run into someone who caused me to flub up my words when I spoke. Once I realized how ridiculous I’d become (yes, I have flubbed up many-a-speech and made plenty of small talk), I begin asking myself, have we all lost our cool trying to be too cool for a school crush?
When I think about my perfect fantasy (see above), I think about my best friend, Treasure. Treasure, a lovely young woman who has had her strings of ups and downs in relationship-land, met the most recent love of her life in a similar fashion to the one aforementioned. He expressed his feelings to her as a post-graduate, they got to know each other pre-relationship, and now they are presently exploring what it means to love. I predict that they will last a very long time because I’ve never seen a relationship that functions quite as successfully as theirs (which is probably why I do not really want to be in one).
Treasure has told me so many times not to worry about crushes or anyone else because whoever is meant for me will show up. But I don’t believe in “Poof! Here I am” love. My response to her has been the same: “I know I’m not a bad catch, but for some reason, I know that I’ll never last with someone for a long period of time. I guess some people are just meant to be alone and that’s not a bad thing.” Our conversations about love usually end with her being optimistic and me being…well… me not expecting anything except what’s in front of me: an idea of my perfect crush.
In calling my crush perfect, however, I’m stripping away all existing flaws. For some reason, I overlook the fact that one has bad communication skills, another thinks being a goofball is a turn on, and another had would rather not be bothered with me at all. So when our crushes expose their blemishes, why is it that we, the crushers, feel the need to cover up? Are we embarrassed that we were attracted in the first place? Why are our dreams crushed under the pressure we exert upon our perfect ideals?
“A crush is only exciting for the person who has one,” my friend Matt says. This statement was mind blowing to me. I mean really…is that truly it? The adventure of the chase keeps us so preoccupied that, even if we never achieve our goal, it was fun while it lasted? That is sad…and unfortunately very realistic. Honestly, I have had more fun as a secret stalker (in an innocent crush way), than I have had meeting new people and trying to go through the whole “Let’s exchange numbers”, “Let’s plan where to have a first date,” “Let’s ask 21 Questions”, etc. The thought of building a relationship, to me, is just too much extra weight. A crush is overwhelmingly oppressive enough. To turn it into something else might feel like an anvil of trouble crashing down upon me and I don’t want no trouble!
I’ve figured that when thinking about a possible “we” situation, I’m quite content with the “just me” condition. I can never truly disappoint myself, I know what to expect from myself and I love me better than the next person will. So maybe a crush is better as a fantasy. Yes, the thought of being with someone of your liking can dominate your daytime thoughts but at night, the only weight I need to feel is the fullness of my “single and happy” heart.