It took me 22 years to have a proper crush. I never liked boys in the schoolyard because it’s hard to doge rocks AND still be attracted to someone. There were never any men in movies that were realistic enough to spark interest in me. (I thought I had a crush on Lucy Liu in Charlie’s Angels, but it turned out I just wanted to be her).
I never liked the guys I previously dated because I didn't think I had a choice. I just accepted whoever would have me. When it came to sleeping with men, I chose validation over connection every time. Then I met someone I liked, and now I want to die. Or at least disappear behind a cloud of my own tears and panic.
I randomly met this guy at a group outing we were both invited to. In typical me fashion, I got smashed and have very little memory of the interaction. However – according to photo evidence – we did talk while I was mounting a random girl. Romantic.
It’s been months since this first meeting, and the relationship is firmly set as ‘plutonic friends’. I love this because now I have a good reason to listen to Cher’s song 'For the lonely' and throw things at the wall.
If you’re awaiting your first ‘real’ crush, or are just interested in learning about the inner workings of an emotionally stunted twat, here are three things to expect when you have your first crush in your twenties.
1. You'll rethink everything
I was pretty set on living my life as a heartless cynic. I was far removed from thinking I could possibly be a romantic or be controlled by a feeling other than hunger. Now, I’m not so sure.
If I truly am a cynic, why have I begun planning our wedding invites? (I’m set on ‘Papyrus’ as the font, but haven’t picked the colour palette yet). Why do I no longer look at babies as a loud distraction but now some life-enriching goal?
How can one cute dude who is really nice cause this entire shift in my personality?
The cynic in me would prefer to tell people I took an untested drug or fell into a vat of toxins. Alas, just like the grinch, I’ve started to feel and it fucking sucks.
2. You'll realise you’ve been giving shit advice to your friends
I took pride in my role as “tough love” advice giver. I’d sternly tell friends to get over people, that rom-coms weren't real, or that their crush just wasn't into them.
I would like to formally apologise to anyone who received such heinous advice from me. I can't believe I once told a friend, “Just message her, it’s not that big of a deal”. I now have a dedicated notes page where I draft and redraft messages just to ensure they seem causal and not overly thought out. I assumed I was providing A plus advice, but it turns out my dumb arse was pouring salt into their giant, gaping wound also known as a heart.
If someone repeated half of the heartless shit I’ve dished out to me, I’d rip my face off and join an underground cult just to escape reality.
3. You'll become a fucking mess
You know what's sobering? Realising that children are staring at you on the tram because you’ve been grimacing for 12 minutes straight, thinking about how awkward the whole crush situation is.
When you’re 14 and fantasising about that cutie in maths class, it’s chill because so is everyone else. There are no real consequences. Fantasising in your twenties means your job is literally on the line.
I’ve stopped serving customers because I’m re-playing the last conversation we had in my head. I stress about whether I should have said “Hey” instead of “Hi”, or wondering if when I laughed at his joke, he thought was it a believable laugh? I mean, I think it was? His joke was actually funny, but I think I tried to emphasise the laugh too much which could have hindered the authenticity of the laugh. And now I’m rambling...again.
I don’t really have a conclusion because I still have no idea what the fuck I’m doing. I’m pretty sure the next step would be to have a conversation with this person, maybe I should just send him the link to this article? Then again, I’m a dumb bitch who isn't good with feelings so I’ll probably just start a support group for those inflicted by this shit too. All new members will receive a copy of The Holiday and a pillow to scream into.
Daniel Hayek is a twenty something living in Melbourne. He had to grow a beard so people would stop calling him "ma’am”. When he’s not panicking about bullshit and eating saturated fats, he can be found abusing filters on Instagram. You can read all of Daniel's articles here, and you can lurk him @daniel_hayek.