We, of course, need to mention Steven Morgan, whose hazel eyes and 6th grade charm meant that I was quickly under his spell. Even when he fell in love with the school beauty, Denise Hutchinson, and employed me as his deliverer of love notes to her (not the first or last time that happened, sadly), I somehow never stopped swooning.
Yes, folks, we’re talking an interesting journey down Infatuation Highway this Wednesday. Because other than devoting myself to writing, reading, and barely arithmetic, starting from puberty down to a bit into my early 30s (more on that later), my life was dedicated to seriously crushing on boys.
As you read above with the first one/blueprint, Darrell, it generally didn’t take much for me to think these boys were the bee’s knees. I mean, come on: he looked like Michael Jackson. In other words: the face. Others were nice, or funny, or listened to my dumb jokes, or whatever. But lest you think there was an open door policy in my heart and these guys came in and out every few weeks, I have to inform you that I was a faithful crusher. Like years with some of them.
There was Ricky Sharpes, who held my 12 year-old heart in his hand for a whopping 3 years. From 7th grade to freshman year in high school, I thought he was everything. Those overalls he wore with one strap hanging. (It was the 90s. You loved it, too.) Those chiseled features. That quiet intensity. One day, while hanging out in the mall with my sissy and a friend, imagine my sweet shock when Ricky and his older brother–even handsomer, if you can envision this–passed us by as they walked toward the exit. I mean, seeing him in school was one thing. Randomly seeing him outside of school was worthy of 8 hours of squealing. And if you’re wondering, yes, I thought the entire thing was divinely caused, the two of them simply walking by us. Again, everything. In the 8th grade, inspired by I suppose way too many John Hughes movies, I declared my love to him by way of a note surreptitiously slipped into his locker in between classes. I think it was 10 pages. I basically broke down why he and I were perfect for each other. Nothing came from it. I knew he read it because I would catch him looking at me strangely in our English class. But he seemed a bit more talkative after that unfortunate declaration of love, going as far as defending me when one of my lovely bullies felt the need to try and shame me in front of others in said English class. Yep, I nearly died. By the middle of freshman year, however, it was clear that my beloved Ricky was not a possessor of a working brain. That quiet, squinty-eyed intensity was likely a clue that he was trying to form an actual thought. It was over.
But not the crushes. The crushes weren’t over.
There was Dave, the talented actor who starred in our high school drama’s production of Fiddler on the Roof and quickly stole this adolescent heart. My goodness. Obsessed. Like buying him gifts obsessed. (Years and years after high school, he happened to walk into the bookstore where I worked. He came to my register. He said I looked familiar. I maintained, from beginning to end, that we didn’t know each other.)
(If you open that bookstore link, you’ll read about another crush. Le sigh.)
As soon as I began college, there was John Fontaine: dreamy, looked like Jordan Catalano, and wrote poetry. I was toast…until he asked me whether I used mushrooms for inspiration in my creative writing. Once I confirmed that he wasn’t referring to food (“what, you mean like actual mushrooms?”), it was over and out for that weirdo. True story.
On and on it went. As I got older and these eyes began to lose their rose-colored tint, I would tell myself to stop seeking crushes. I was tired of the low that entered after the high of the crush dissipated. I wanted to stop analyzing whether a simple smile or conversation meant more than it actually did. I mean, just because Juan accepted my friend request didn’t mean anything, did it? Did it?
But you already know how it all ended. After the bestie stuck me in the arm with a dose of reality, I became (and remain) determined to disallow crushing from popping its pesky head back into my life. Reminiscing is fun and always hilarious, but I want mutuality. The real thing. Crushing on someone who crushes back and wants to take it beyond those heady moments in the beginning. And until that happens, kindly refer to me as Mrs. Idris Elba.
*names have been changed, not to protect them boys, but to protect me. This is the Internet, after all.