Rules of the crush

Never underestimate the power of crushing to add spice to your dry times, but you've got to know the rules

Rating: NNNNN

It’s been a while since i’ve had a crush. And I mean a real crush, not the “Hey, he seems like he might be an interesting person,” but the “I’d-really-like-to-know-what-you-taste-like” kind that tends to consume your daily life. I had thought my crushing days were over once I entered my 20s, but sadly (or gladly), this is not the case.

I developed my propensity for crushes in my youth. I recently went delving into the past when I looked through some junk from my childhood, now resting comfortably in my parents’ basement. What I found amazed me: several letters written to past crushes extolling their virtues while lamenting my inability to confess my love to them. It was painful and yet comforting to remember this part of me that had once indulged wholeheartedly in crushing but had since simmered down with age and time.

I had a few crushes during my university years. There was my history TA during summer school who was middle-aged and fairly unattractive, but who had recently come back from eastern Europe. He was a brilliant talker, and I spent most of the class in a glaze, listening to him talk about his experiences as a journalist in the newly democratized region. My thesis supervisor in grad school was equally crushable – he talked so effortlessly about issues related to gender and culture that I couldn’t help but crush. I entered into a long-term relationship afterwards, and didn’t seem to feel the need to crush any more. And when it recently ended, I’d begun to worry that my ability to really dig someone was a thing of the past.

Or so I thought. My current crush has taken me by surprise. Our first chance meeting a year ago left me with the impression that he batted for the other team, so to speak. Our reacquaintance a month ago revealed that this was not the case and that my gay-dar was faulty. We share a workspace, which makes things easy in terms of indulging crushing behaviours: stopping by the office to chat, e-mail conversations about absolutely nothing, lunchtime walks downtown, using any excuse to go to his office to talk.

It’s also easy because there is no chance of anything more between us then just casual friendship. He appears to be happily married, with two small children. He’s the best kind of crush, really – emotionally inaccessible, physically unavailable and completely off-limits, yet deliciously real and eminently castable in my daydreams and fantasies. Until I find someone to join the cast permanently, my crush’s recurring role in my romantic life adds much-needed spark.

Some people have told me they think crushing is a bad thing – time wasted mooning over someone with whom there’s no chance. My reply is that that’s exactly the point. A crush unrealized will never disappoint you, cheat on you or cruelly eject you from his or her life. Your crush has a role to play, albeit a temporary one. A friend recently asked if I had any intention of revealing my crush to my crush. I scoffed at the idea and her obvious ignorance of crushing etiquette – she clearly didn’t realize it would ruin everything.

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