Captain my Captain,
I’m twenty years old, I’m in my third year of college and for the first time I have a fat – no – a phat crush on someone. I’m not new to dating or youknowwhat (well, not extremely new anyways..) but I’ve never felt so hopelessly into someone before. I guess you could say this is my first real crush.
The problem isn’t that he *doesn’t know I exist* because he does, we talk in class and around school. I just don’t think he’s into me. I’ve seen the girls he’s dated and I don’t think I’m his type. Also we only chill at school, we’ve run into each other at parties once or twice but were really just classmates.
My brain is telling me “let him be! Find another boy! You can’t force these things!” but another part of me is ready to bend over backwards to become this boy’s type. All of the sudden I have urges to get new clothes and a haircut.
Also, I have a class with him and his recently ex girlfriend. Anytime I want to chill (…or flirt…) she comes swooping in…
Its silly. I want to either shut this whole thing down so I can concentrate on more important things (what I usually do, but this one has me hooked) or convince him that I’m actually a cool kid and move on to the next level. This secret longing bullshit is getting old. I met him a year ago! How do I move on? Or, is it wrong to change somethings about myself in order to get a dude??
– Hopeless Nerd
I love everything about this question, because:
1) Helping geeks ask people out is one of the reasons I got into this advice-blogging business.
2) Your question allows me to directly attack the dominant cultural meta-narrative around women, desire, appearance, and agency, which is one of the reasons I get up in the morning.
You’ve committed a couple of critical errors by getting way invested in this guy, doing research about what “type” of girl he likes, and letting this crush fester for a year(!) without speaking up, but some hope remains to you. Next time you see him, say “I always run into you in class or at parties, but we never get to really hang out. Would you like to get a drink with me this weekend?” “A drink” could be a diner breakfast, or coffee, or a movie, or an art show, or a study break, and “this weekend” could be after class – as always, choose your own adventure.
If he says no, you breezily say “Okay! I’ll see you around,” and get out of there. The timing could not be better – it’s close to the end of the semester, so you’ll have a few more weeks of awkwardly running into him and then a whole month or so for everyone to revert to the time before you dared disturb the universe.
If he says yes, you will possibly find yourself in a sexy adventure. Or you can start nervously torturing yourself with pre-date jitters. Up to you.
Either way you earn the “Finally Asking A Cute Person Out” badge (Intern Paul – we’re going to need another badge). Walk a little taller. You are now a woman who asks out sexy men that you like. You don’t need a makeover. You, my friend, do not give a fuck.
If you want to cut your hair? Cut your hair. If being at college has opened your eyes to some cute fashion ideas? Awesome – experiment with your own personal style. If you want to put on a flattering outfit in a pretty color on the days you have class with this guy because this crush puts a little sparkle in your eye? That’s what crushes are for, even the unrequited ones – they make you wake up and feel alive. You’re not ruining Feminism.
But you don’t need to do any of that to be worthy of this guy or any other guy, and your letter stank to high heaven of the Hollywood-Beauty Magazine-Advertising-Sexism Industrial Complex message that has been playing on every single channel of every single medium since before we were born: “You are not good enough, but you can be, if you hate yourself enough and buy enough things.” At least Procrustes had the guts to chop off your legs himself instead of using psychological warfare to torture you into doing it for him.
It’s totally understandable that you would fall into this trap because it’s so pervasive and automatic that it’s not something you can really outrun or outsmart even if you know what to watch out for. As soon as you get a healthy level of self-esteem some advertisement or TV show or anonymous Internet asshole will try to pull you back down, and you’ll watch the billionth narrative about how women don’t ask men out, they make themselves pretty so that they will be special and chosen or the billionth discussion of whether a powerful female leader has “cankles” just to remind you of where your place is and how you should lie down in it. To like yourself fine as you are can be a radical, powerful act. I recommend it highly.
You’re worthy if you think you are worthy. He may not like you back (even if you did undergo a transformation), but that’s not about your worthiness, that’s about his preference and agency because he is a separate person from you and you can’t know or control what’s going on in his head. Maybe your research as to his “type” was exactly correct and he only likes that one type of girl. Whatever! I only like people who are as least as intelligent as me and who have a little bit of sexy arrogance around it. Give me someone who is brilliantly competent at something (and knows it) and I’ll give you one ladyboner. You have “types” too.
Here’s the story I’d like to write for you:
Hopeless Nerd is cool, and smart, and nice, and she likes a guy in her class, so she asks him out because she is confident and sexy as hell. He says yes or no, and then some other stuff happens.
No makeover required.