I had my very first real crush that I remember when I was in fourth grade, on the older brother of a friend, a person I had actually seen approximately once since I was 6—I didn’t know a single thing about him but I had these vague romantic ideas, probably based on the truly fucked up novels I was reading then, all taken directly from the “Adult” section of the library, like he was perfect in every way, funny, smart, thought I was amazing, wanted to kiss me, was being kept from kissing me because of no fault of his own, the usual stuff. It was my first experience with that most entertaining form of insanity: the hopeless crush. However, it certainly wasn’t my last.
Since I was 8, I’ve really honed my hopeless crushing skills. I’m way better at hopeless crushes than I am at actual relationships, mainly because relationships always end in years of horrible heartbreak, sobbing, questioning everything about your life, loveability, etc whereas crushes just sort of peter out, usually into new crushes. To help you optimize your crush, I want to give you these pieces of important advice:
1. Pick a song. Probably a Taylor Swift song. Listen to it on repeat.
This is step one, even if you don’t have a crush yet. A crush is really just obsessively making up an idealized relationship with someone that will never, ever happen and the best way to really feed this obsession is to give it an obsessive soundtrack. You only get one song and it will be on repeat for the entirety of this fake relationship, so pick wisely. I’ve got lots of suggestions, nearly all Taylor Swift-based, but this one, if you’re looking for one, will do just fine:
2. Pick a person to be ridiculously in love with for no real reason.
You will not find a good person to have a crush on on Tinder or OKCupid—those are places to find people to go on dates with, which is a completely different (terrible, real, uncomfortable) thing. Those places will give you far too much information. A hopeless crush should be a blank slate, someone you barely know. In fact, you may not know them at all. Some ideas: any of the baristas at the coffee shop by my house—they’re so cute and they’re ALL IN THE SAME BAND; a person who rides the bus with you every morning; anyone at an out-of-state wedding; a teacher at your niece’s preschool; the plumber. I recently developed a crush on someone based almost solely on one sublime high five. Basically what you’re looking for is a pretty, or at least sort of interesting, face. But not a celebrity. While it’s likely that your chances are one out of a million that this crush will end in true love, it’s important that you always retain that “so you’re telling me there’s a chance” mentality.
3. Find this person on every available social media outlet. But don’t follow them or at least don’t follow them EVERYWHERE.
Once I had a crush on someone who wasn’t on Facebook. It faded almost immediately due to the fact that there were no pictures of him on the internet for me to gaze at at every 15 minutes at work. It’s important to research every aspect of their life to give yourself the illusion that you know them. The truth is: you do not know them. You know what they look like in a variety of selfies and Halloween costumes and if they have attractive friends and/or siblings and/or significant others. You know if their grammar fits into your rubric of acceptable grammar. What you have is an outline for imagination. So why shouldn’t you actually follow them? Well, do you want them to know you are deeply in love with them? If you find them on Google+ and LinkedIn, they are definitely going to know what’s going on.
4. Do not speak to them.
The sad truth is that crushes can be wiped out by just a few words. What if, say, the cowboy on the bus opens his mouth and asks you which is your favorite Nicholas Sparks novel? You don’t want that to happen. To maintain the feeling of excitement every time you see the cowboy, put your headphones on and make eye contact only once a week.
5. Do not have sex with them.
Look, if you’ve developed a crush on someone because you’ve had sex with them already, this crush falls into a different category which I will call “chemically-induced.” However, a lot of the same rules apply here. Do you want to turn this crush into a friendship, an enemy-ship, or GOD FORBID a relationship? Then have sex with them (again—as the case may be), go right ahead. But no crush can withstand sex with its object more than once. Sex is a real thing. You’ll find out stuff that doesn’t fit into your idealized crush fantasy world, like that they don’t believe in oral sex or they are secretly racist or they smell like pears (that last one might be a good thing—you just won’t have thought of it yourself). Sex is the fastest way into reality, even if you have sex with no talking.
6. Do subtweet them.
Subtweeting is absolutely the only way you are allowed to communicate with a person you have a crush on. If you are a geezer who doesn’t know what subtweeting is, and/or are too lazy to click that hyperlink right there: it’s tweeting something that is a message for someone else without actually putting the “@trueloveperson” in the tweet. Some examples of acceptable subtweets are:
These are secret messages to the potential love of your life. Don’t worry if they are totally impenetrable: a crush is about you, not the actual other person you have chosen to objectify. Also, if they really are your true love, they will know EXACTLY what you’re talking about. Pro tip: you can subtweet people who aren’t on Twitter. Sometimes that’s the best kind of subtweeting really.
7. Read into everything they do.
When the cowboy on the bus grazes your backpack as he gets off at his stop THAT IS A SIGN YOU WILL BE TOGETHER FOREVER. Also a sign: all their tweets are subtweets to you.
8. Do judge everyone else’s real relationships based on your fake one.
A really good crush is actually the only way to get through the holidays as a single person. As your married relatives (i.e. every single other person in your family) bicker over their turkey dinners, close your eyes, hum your Taylor Swift song, think about how if your crush was here you’d be rolling your eyes at each other, squeezing each other’s knees under the table and leaving early to “feed your pets” which would really mean have perfect sex in an exceptionally warm, but not grossly hot, bed, probably in a fancy hotel. Your crush is always rich, rescuing you from another Christmas Eve on the blow-up mattress in the computer room.
9. Don’t be sad when your crush inevitably fades away.
When you break up with a person, after a real relationship, there’s a lot of trickiness. First, there is the sadness, previously mentioned, that can go on for an obscene length of time. Also, there is a person in the world who knows a lot of things about you, who has just rejected those things (or maybe you rejected their things but more likely it was kind of a mutual rejection—in some way, let’s agree you’ve been rejected). No matter how much you wish you were a total Buddhist, you’re going to spend a substantial amount of time going over all the possible failures of character, body and spirit which you posses that led to this rejection. Not so with a crush! A crush is just a feeling and it fades away like a light bruise: you don’t even notice it happened! Plus! You never talked to this person, they never saw you naked with every single light on! They never saw you get totally irrational when you were hungry! This is not a rejection! In fact, it represents a healthy moving on that maybe you should be practicing anyway. Now you can stop listening to that one Taylor Swift song on repeat. Now when you hear it, you can chuckle about that ridiculous 48 hour period when you believed in true love again. You were so young then, so silly. Good thing you never talked to that person, right? Great choice on not connecting with them on LinkedIn—you showed a lot of restrain there girl!
Now, moving on. First step: pick a new song.