I am heading to Texas for the first time ever tomorrow morning, to hang out with my sweetheart’s family & friends. January is a good time to get the hell out of Chicago for a few days, yes? So I won’t be posting regularly for about the next week.
In the meantime, per someone’s request in one of the many recent threads, this is an open thread about crushes and the concept of Limerence. Have you ever had a crush that just felt unshakeable and like it was making you stupid? What cured you?
True story: Over a decade ago I had a longstanding crush on a very close friend. We were one of those inseparable pairs. We worked together, did everything together, people constantly mistook us for a couple. Despite ZERO sexual chemistry, I drank the “What a good couple we would make! We already do everything together!” Kool Aid and decided we should be soul mates. In my defense, it was Washington D.C. in the 1990s. If you’ve ever watched the West Wing, you’ll have an idea of what the dating pool was like: Deeply unsexy workaholics who never stop talking. I know those characters have an avid fannish following, which, okay, cool if that’s your thing, I guess? The whole “I am convinced everything I say is vitally, deeply important and you should listen while I speak in paragraphs” thing really doesn’t wear well on 25-year-olds fresh out of the intern pool. I found one chill, not-ugly dude who had interesting things to say in his paragraphs and seemed interested in my paragraphs to the point of eating lunch with me every day and hanging out with me both days of every weekend (and eventually living 2 doors down in the same building); I was going to hold onto him for dear fucking life.
My strategy for making this shit happen was vast and complex. It included:
- Dramatic sighs.
- Dropping hints and badly timed sexual jokes that were not answered in kind or received with anything but patient forbearance or kindly pretending that whatever I had just said hadn’t really just happened.
- Long meaningful glances….that seriously made him ask one time if I had something wrong with my eyes because I was not blinking sufficiently to lubricate them.
- Having long, involved discussions with all mutual friends about the depth of my feelings and how this person and I should obviously be together over the course of years, plural. How my friends did not euthanize me and feed me to the animals in the Woodley Park Zoo, I will never know.
- Getting interested in things I had no actual interest in for the sake of spending EVEN MORE TIME together. Like, going to mass with him every week. In Spanish. A faith that I had long ago abandoned and language I do not understand or speak.
- Trying to turn our hangouts into stealth dates by taking him to dimly lit romantic places, where you recline on cushions and eat while watching belly dancers and then watching him like a hawk to see if he had reactions to the sexy belly dancers that might possibly be transferred to me. NOT AWKWARD AT ALL.
- Totally ignoring the prospect or possibility that anyone existed, because this was obviously the person I was meant to be with and I was going to prove that I was the most loyal and patient person in the world and will this into being!
One day, after years, plural, I could not handle my feelings in silence (by which I mean painfully obvious “conveying” and hinting and also talking about them at length to everyone but him), so I wrote all of them down in a very long letter on good stationery. Then I recopied the entire thing so the handwriting would be nicer and there would be fewer ellipses.
You’ve read my blog posts, right? Imagine the FEELINGSMAILS I am capable of generating. Comprehensive, funny, heartfelt, sexy, and above all supremely logical cases for why you and I should be together, In My Pants, Love Always, Me.
Instead of sensibly setting this letter on fire, I put it in an envelope, walked to his house, hung out with his roommate for a bit, excused myself to go to the bathroom, snuck into his bedroom, and left the note on his pillow.
Because nothing says “We should be together!” like “I snuck into the place where you sleep and left you a surprise you didn’t want!“
It gets better, you guys. Because we worked together. (We were friends first). I left the letter on a Sunday. So on Monday, I would go to work and see him, right? And he would have read the letter? And he would Finally Know the Depth of My Feelings. And hopefully he would return those feelings, or, at the very least, accede to one experimental banging to see if those feelings were real and a good idea (I had presented this as a logical possibility in the letter, because, did I mention the part where we had zero sexual chemistry or flirting? I wanted to make sure that that would be present if we were going to really take this to the Next Level!) So I’d be guaranteed to run into him and at least be put out of my misery.
I checked my email. Nothing.
I checked it again. Nothing.
I checked it every minute for approximately 180 minutes. Still nothing.
As lunchtime approached, I waited for my extension to light up with the daily “Lunch?” phone call. Nothing.
The day passed. Nothing.
Towards the end of the day, I began to get extremely anxious. And also, a little angry. You guys, I’d poured my heart out. He couldn’t even acknowledge it when his best friend in the world poured their heart out? He couldn’t even acknowledge receipt of the letter? God, what was his deal? How could he be such a jerk as to not even answer me? Was I not owed a response?
Finally, I could not take it anymore, so I called him on his work extension and breezily asked him a fake work question. We worked in totally different departments and had zero overlapping duties or projects. But you guys, I had been going to la iglesia every domingo for muchos años, and I could fake interest in a thing. So I asked him the work question, which, after a very long pause, he dutifully answered, and then I said “Did you get my note?” and he said “…
And I said “Sorry if I freaked you out” and he said “It was…unexpected” and then he apologized and said that he did not feel the same way but hoped we could continue as friends and I said “Of course, thanks for telling me” and then we never spoke of it again.
We eventually did resume a pretty good friendship because we were actually good friends who cared about each other. But if he had avoided me for the rest of time, I could not blame him.
And that’s why I think using your words sooner rather than later, before you get too invested in someone and the fantasy of how it could be is a good idea. Years, plural of longing and angst could have been averted with one five minute conversation about “Hey, you seem to want to spend all your free time with me. Is that because you want to date me? Because if so, let’s try that. No? Okay then.” It is also how I began to learn that you can not persuade someone into loving you back using logic, though I would need several lessons before that really sunk in. This is also where I wish I had learned the whole “no answer IS pretty much THE answer” thing.
Give us your awkward stories, people. I know I’m not alone in being a reformed Nice Girl(TM) with acute One-itis and a love of stalking and fine stationery.