Before I knew any better, I thought it was okay to like every boy who smiled at me. I was shy and a little self-conscious, but grew to like boys early in life. I never matured into the Violet Bicks of Bedford Falls, but like Violet, I learned early that boys are a good thing. Certainly, men are better. And now that I know better, I know that it’s okay to like every man who smiles at me. Or not. Not, being the operative word, as I’ve grown keenly more selective in my crushes.
In grade school it was like collecting jax stones. How many boys can you pick up at once, and how many can you hold on to? The first time a boy I liked didn’t like me back, I was, eh, crushed. How about that? My mom would explain to me that that was the origin of the expression. I was 8. It made sense. The cardinal rule of crushes, she’d explain. “Just because you like someone doesn’t mean he has to like you.” What a gyp. But, okay.
But notice how crushes got progressively easier, more frequent and more fun. It’s all fantasy that just plays out like a script in your mind exactly the way you want, as many times as you want, with whomever you want. Isn’t that just wondrous? I can have a crush on anybody from the captain of the team to the water boy. From the boy door to my sister’s boyfriend. From my lab partner to my lab teacher. From the Navy SEAL in the gym with the short blue shorts and the nice legs, to the Rock with the nice everything. A crush doesn’t have to be safe or even realistic. It just needs to be appreciated for what it is: A reason to day dream.
It may pass or linger. It can be pondered or acted upon, its only purpose to put a smile on your face, when he walks into a room, walks across a movie screen or crosses your mind. Get as creative as you want. No worries. No guarantees. They’re free, after all. Drama free. Guilt free. No pressure to reciprocate. (Turns out that cardinal rule is pretty handy to remember.) No obligation. Have as many as you want. Collect them. Share them. Keep them to yourself. The list goes on. Pure magic.