Average Jane

Orange Crush – Better in theory than in practice

OK, so apparently the jury is out on adult crushes. Perhaps that’s because the line between “crush” and “viable romantic interest” is so flimsy.

Crushes in general are harmless. You have a crush on your older neighbor as a kid, you have a crush on your hot teacher, you have a crush on your brother’s friend, etc. Nothing can come of them. Or, at the very least, no one is banking on it.

When I was a kid (and by this I mean up until last year), there wasn’t anyone looking at me romantically, so every romantic inclination I had was more “Crush” than “Attempt at Love.” It’s easy to pick someone out of a crowd and develop feelings. The feelings come. The feelings go.

Crushes were the training wheels of love for me at least.

So now, as an adult, I meet someone. Out of nowhere I am hit like a friggen ton of bricks with this surge of feelings for a person who I know I should not under any circumstances have feelings for. He is someone I knew in what we’ll call a past life. He is someone I haven’t seen in over 8 years and haven’t spoken to in longer. He came out of nowhere and will soon disappear. In order to protect myself from further damage, I put him directly into the crush zone, assuming that if he is there, I can’t get attached. See? I’m a thinker. Smart one, that Jane.

So the question was begged, “OK, maybe I’m just not getting it, but what the hell is wrong with having a crush on someone?!” (thanks INPY — always there to help a sister out)

Here’s the answer: Not a damn thing. Crushes in their own right are fine. But I think at this point there might be more to it than that. And I’m scared to pieces.

Ya know, College Grad Real World has been talking a lot recently about his curriculum in post-college life. And I could teach Defense Mechanisms 101. Sign up. It’s great. Seats are limited as only the truly fucked up can enroll. Here, a sneak peak: never let anyone get too close, never get too involved, and never let anyone know the real you (at least not anyone you plan on dating) for fear they’ll actually hate it. It’s easier to write off someone who ends up hating the fake you than rationalizing why someone would hate the real you. But I digress.

So in my thoughtfulness today I figured out the following: By dismissing the men I meet as crushes, I never have to get involved. Not emotionally. Not entirely. I can keep them at a distance and when they inevitably disappoint me, I can say with confidence that it doesn’t matter because they weren’t “real”.

Here’s the rub: I think this particular situation may be more than a crush and I’m scared. f-ing. shitless. Coming from someone who wrote the book on not letting people in, not getting up hope, not getting heartbroken, I feel myself getting attached. Getting excited. And it’s wrong. It can’t be. He’s young. And he’s leaving.

So what am I supposed to do?

A) Sit there any let myself be… vulnerable? Let him run the game? Let myself get hurt?


B) Turn my cowardly ass around and run as fast as I can?

Another poll? Maybe not. I have a feeling I know what you’ll say.

UPDATE: I don’t know why, but I wanted to have “the talk” with him… Outcome? It’s a crush. Officially. Nothing more. Nothing less. I’m making sure of it. Possible crisis of emotional attachment averted. Phew.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks


  1. * Carrie M says:

    let HIM run the game?? eff that. do what you want. yes, there’s risk of getting hurt – isn’t there always? but at least you tried.

    maybe I should take my own advice…it’s funny, I wrote something earlier today about defense mechanisms and not getting hurt…you’ll see it later.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 11 months ago
  2. * junomat says:

    i am with Carrie M.

    my advise to everyone with everything is never to live your life with “what if’s” – living in regret is worse than failure… you have to TRY!

    do it… if it doesn’t work, you’ve lost nothing. and you can still sing “if you want my body and you think i’m sexy” to the next fish.

    also practice makes better!

    ps. why are you not on IM!

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 11 months ago
  3. * junomat says:

    PS. Nice REM reference?

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 11 months ago
  4. * Carrie M says:

    your school compadres know best, Jane. 😉 Hey junomat! We graduated together, if you’re wondering about the random shout-out.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 11 months ago
  5. * Jo says:

    Funnily enough, most guys I’ve dated started out being crushes. Having a crush is just another way of saying you’re into someone. Sometimes, it’s not quite the right person to be atracted to, but unless you do something about it, it will usually fade into nothing.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 11 months ago
  6. * Laundro says:

    Jo, I am not sure they ever really fade. At least with me. I still have a tiny little crush on those people I had crushes on years ago. Even from like 8th grade – which is way too long ago to even think about. I am sure if I met them now, I’d not still have a crush on them. Perhaps it’s more a crush on the memory. Does that make sense?

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 11 months ago
  7. You’re a beautiful, smart, fun, cool woman. Why wouldn’t he want to hear that you’ve got a crush. Screw letting HIM run the game OR walking away. You want it? Go get it. It’s not SUPPOSED to be easy to let someone in close, AJ. He’s young? So what. He’s leaving? OK, a little harder but they have these things called FUCKING AIRPLANES and if it’s good and worth it and you’re feeling this moved…WTF?

    Dont get ahead of yourself…to start, you say “I dig you” and see where it goes from there. People overcomplicate this…

    OR you can get them drunk and jump their bones. I find either works.

    Big brother is always here when you need me, kiddo.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 11 months ago
  8. * mm says:

    Plan B is not an option.
    Put yourself out there halfway and if he meets you, it’s a done deal. Comprmise is key here. Don’t let him run the game and don’t try to take control either. A healthy relationship is all about give and take, after all. I think….
    If you get hurt, so be it. You can’t live in a protective bubble. Just think of it as a fun experience that may or may not last. If you go with plan B, you’ll always wonder what might have been. We all no that’s no fun.
    Good luck:)

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 11 months ago

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