Let’s talk about crushes. More specifically, let’s talk about heart-wrenching, soul-destroying, all-consuming unrequited crushes. You know the type (or else I’m just out here sounding like a crazyperson).
I’ve had mad crushes on people for as long as I can remember. There was Grade School Steph, tragically and hopelessly in love with the beautiful, popular boy with the impossible to spell last name (which didn’t stop me from doodling variations of our names together all over my Trapper Keeper). Alas, it was doomed from the start since Grade School Steph looked like a 40-year-old Hungarian woman (in case you forgot), and as much as this may shock you, I was decidedly not one of the cool kids.
In high school, I went absolutely bonkers for a dude who volunteered during my Grade 9 orientation. Thank fuck we didn’t have Facebook then, because if my stalker levels at the time were any indication (grilling my friend’s mom who taught there for information and pouring through her yearbooks), I would’ve lost my damn mind. I sang stupid little songs with his name (what is my deal with names??) and I wrote teen-angsty poems. Poems. That I then gave to him. What. The. Fuck. It was extra mortifying when he ended up at a semi-formal dinner as one of my then-boyfriend’s friend’s date a few years later. He told me he still had the poems, which elicited more than a few questions from the boyfriend (in hindsight, maybe I should’ve written him a poem).
Said boyfriend was actually one of my ridiculous crushes for the better part of a year before we got together. He fell into a special category: the work crush. I’ve worked at a lot of places, and I’ve almost always had a work crush. If we’ve worked together, odds are I had a crush on you (or I confided in you about the person I
obsessed over liked). Some of them turned out well, while others were painful and woefully misguided. Oddly enough, they became less advisable as I got older. The worst/best happened while I worked at Affairs R Us. Just to become a total cliché, I developed insane high school girl feelings for a married coworker. I never acted on it, but I’m sure he figured it out. I can be about as subtle as a brick sometimes. It was a good distraction from my dating life (or lack thereof), as were all of my crushes. However, I was still at home alone at the end of the day, while he was with his wife and kids. I can only live in my daydreams so much, even if they are so engrossing I still sometimes miss my TTC stop.
That’s the thing about these intense, unrealistic crushes: in the end, they’re no substitute for the real thing. I have to say, I haven’t had a mad crush in a while, and I think it’s because I don’t need them to avoid feeling vulnerable during actual human interactions. Putting myself in situations with the potential to turn into something is terrifying, but a hell of a lot more fun. The crushes were like a crutch, one I may return to in the future if I need time off to mend a broken heart (or a good office pastime). For now I keep my poetry to on-demand greeting cards and I prefer my feelings to be on the requited side, thank you very much.