“Crush” sounds like a school kid, doesn’t it? Remember those feelings of infatuation, exemplified by your hanging out at the crushee’s locker or outside the gym as he left practice? Or perhaps you were like me, not-so-subtly keeping score for the team on which the object of your desire played.
In high school, I gave hand-knitted scarves to my unrequited loves. Most were never worn. I baked birthday cakes for my make-believe beaus. Once, the oven rack was tilted, so the cake baked lopsided. Discovering this while removing it from the oven, I crafted a creative fix — raising the lower end with donuts secreted underneath, hidden by frosting. The recipient never mentioned the unusual composition of the cake.
At this point in your life, this seems so, well, childish, right? Crushes are for the emotionally immature, aren’t they?
Crushes can happen at any age.
The dictionary defines crush as “a brief but intense infatuation for someone, especially someone unattainable or inappropriate.” So this feeling is for someone not likely to return your ardor.
For example, a few years ago I developed a crush on my happily married ophthalmologist. He’s tall, fit, cute (with a cleft in his chin!), smart, successful (after all, he’s a doctor!) and funny. What’s not to like? Oh, yeah, there’s that part about being married. Ugh. But that didn’t keep me from ensuring I always looked my best and giggling at his funny comments when in the exam chair. Or fantasizing about what if he wasn’t married.
There are low-level crushes and intense crushes. The former is what I have on my auto mechanic’s office manager. Do I obsess about this green-eyed, divorced, midlife cutie? No. But I make sure to put on makeup and stylish jeans whenever I take in my car for repair.
An intense crush is when you drive by his house on the weekend hoping to catch him outside or see if his car is in the driveway. Or you just happen to be in his office building when you know he’s going to lunch. Or you join his gym even though it’s miles out of your way and plant yourself there during his workout times. That’s akin to stalking.
The positives of crushes are they rekindle your feelings of aliveness and romantic possibility. The downsides include spending inordinate time and energy focusing on someone who is most likely never going to return your enthusiasm. You are setting yourself up for disappointment if not downright humiliation.
Luckily, my crushees have either ignored my desperately craving their attention, or have graciously accepted my overtures without encouraging me. Perhaps that’s part of why they earned my adoration — they embodied kindness.
Have you had midlife crushes? How did you get over obsessing on the unattainable? Or if you’ve been the object of someone else’s crush, how have you discouraged them graciously?
Want to know more about infatuations? Download your copy of Real Deal or Faux Beau: Should You Keep Seeing Him?