Anxiously Awaiting The Return Of Schoolgirl Crushes

Though new to the Internets, Tea to Friends is well on its way to cementing its place in the ladyblog world. We all thrive off each other’s insight and gain self awareness by penning articles on things we spend time thinking about but haven’t put into words. Best of all, we’re each other’s advocates without blindly touting the girl power message. Tea to Friends is a pleasant place to be.

And yet it occasionally reminds me of my own shortcomings. The other day, I gobbled up Leigh Moyer’s brilliant piece on the beauty of crushes only to realize how emotionally dead I’ve felt for the past year and a half — with regards to relationships. Moyer does the impossible by describing the awesomeness of liking another person beyond the point of control. When first sucked in, you welcome the wave of vulnerability, as it’s a reminder of the personal investment you’ve made in this person. There’s a lot at stake with such a risk, but you tell yourself that only something incredible could elevate you like that in such a small time frame.

A solid crush keeps your energy level high, inspires you to dress and eat well, allows you to take more risks, and gives you one of the most rewarding experiences of life. If someone else has ever clouded your thoughts in a good way, given you more stomach drops than a rollercoaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain, spiked your heart rate, or caused you to blush to the point where your face actually stings, you’ll appreciate her story. I’d give anything to relive the bliss Moyer is basking in right now.

There’s a fantastic line in underrated rom-com, The Wedding Date that comes to mind every time it dawns on me that I haven’t really liked anyone since 2010: “Every woman has the exact love life she wants.” While I think good old Dermot Mulroney is onto something with this, I need you to know that it takes a lot for me to fall for someone, and when I do, I always find myself stumbling over myself to make things right with the guy who cannot return the sentiment. Though I always come out with just one or two battle scars, it becomes harder and harder to have faith in potential worthy suitors after each new letdown. So I haven’t really had a crush on anyone in a year and a half. Sure I’ve had the chance to spend time with decent looking guys since unsuccessfully pursing Post-College Guy, but none of these “just OK” fellows ever cut it.

During phone conversations and reunions with family members and friends, I’m often asked whether I have any new love interests. I’ve used this stock response for as long as I can remember: “Not right now, there’s no one good enough, but I’m sure I’ll find a gem soon.”

“Yeah, it’ll happen when you least expect it to or stop looking,” the person says.

The thing is, I stopped looking a year ago. I occupy myself with other things — work, bar outings, gym trips, book writing, vacation planning — and before I know it, six months have passed since my last kiss. I haven’t had any romantic trysts since New Years Eve, but given the dry spell I had before Mr. NYE came to the rescue, the January 1 encounter feels like it happened yesterday. I would probably be fine without anything in that department until New Years Eve 2012, but why let my early twenties go to waste? I’m the first to say I’m not the prettiest girl in town, but I’m in the best shape of my life right now and deserve to have someone besides myself know that.

Considering my most recent relationship — which lasted two years — ended in 2007, many have argued that I’ve been picker than necessary the past five years. Maybe that’s true, but it’s because I know the joy of seriously liking someone and believe I’d be nuts to downgrade after that. I’ve been told the kind of love I want — best depicted in “The Notebook” and “Moulin Rouge” — is a mere fantasy and in no way a reflection of the average adult relationship. But I’ve had this kind of crazy connection more than once, so I can’t understand why I’m expected to settle for something unexciting and comfortable in the name of adulthood. Call me demanding, but I don’t want a guy who doesn’t send my heart rate through the roof when he catches me by surprise. I want a crush that I’m eager to gush about with my friends. Better yet, I want a crush I’m so intrigued by that I weave him into almost all my conversations. I want someone who brings out my passionate and energetic side. It’s been too long since I’ve lit up about a boy, and this concerns me.

Of course, I can’t meet this magical individual sitting around blogging. I need to go out more than once a week and hit the bars no matter how tired I am after work, because the more I venture into the jungle of New York, the more people I’ll meet. Will all of them be special enough to make me feel like firecrackers are going off in my belly? No, but there has to be at least one person in this city who can do the trick. I know it.

There’s a Reason They’re Called Crushes

I love love, I love being in love, I don’t care what it does to me.   – The Format

I have to admit something: I have a crush. You know, those things you got in high school? The emotional roller coaster when every single time he looks over at you in math class just might mean he is asking you to marry him, with blink-Morse code of course. Or when you spend every lunch period discussing how he styled his hair this week or the way his eyes change color in the sun. Yep, that’s me. Right now. All the time.

Five years ago, when I was still more of a high school student than a freshman in college, I fell head-over-heels for this guy I worked with. I think I loved him before I even knew his name. And in my defense, he paid way more attention to me than you average male coworker/friend should. But it went nowhere, and instead of letting our friendship and my unrequited love fade over time, I ended all contact. Let me assure you, cold turkey was not the way to go. I’ve since gone vegetarian. But I’m still not over him. And for years, I wouldn’t let myself feel anything for anyone.

Until now. You guys: I love having a crush. The sun shines a little brighter, the hill I have to ride up to get to work is a little less steep, and the artificial sweetener in my Earl Gray tea is a little more like sugar. Disgusting, right? It is so great. And he is so great. I like everything about him. And that I like everything about him is one of the things I like about him.

Not everything about having a crush is awesome. There is always that voice in the back of your head, reminding you that, more often than not, it doesn’t work out. That more often than not he ends up dating some yuck-o named Courtney or Monica. It sort of gnaws at you. You begin to second guess everything he’s said. Romantic comedies start to ruin your day, becoming a harsh reminder that your life isn’t a movie. Even Hallmark cards turn your stomach. Or maybe that is all the Ben and Jerry’s?

Until he texts you. This is my favorite part of a crush: the obsession. In its innocent forms, it is the endless conversations with girl friends about him. I’ve been on the receiving end of the crush talk many-a-time, so I know how little my friends care about what music he likes or what things his coworkers said last Wednesday, but still I share the news like its the next Harry Potter. But that is cute, even endearing; besides, who hasn’t been there? It gets a little more lousy when obsession rears its ugly head in other aspects.

My favorite is the tic I develop when he texts me. As soon as I send my response I have to check my phone, make sure it isn’t on vibrate. Then, if I look away for even a fraction of a second, I need to check. When the back light flicks off, the change inspires a new round of checks. And if time elapses between conversations, suddenly it takes an army of friends to console you to explain the slow turn around time. And to verify if it is way too creepy to poke him on Facebook. (Note: it usually is.)

Of course, boys have no idea. They don’t know that a girl can spend days dissecting simple utterances for any deeper meaning. That one word responses can ruin whole days. That comments on Facebook from other girls automatically makes them enemies.

And he doesn’t know why I always have I Want to Hold Your Hand stuck in my head when I’m with him. He just thinks I really like The Beatles. Which is fine, because he does, too.