Once upon a time, Boyzone’s Ronan Keating was my ideal man. I loved his wonky teeth, his cheeky smile, his friendly, generous nature, and the way he said “God bless you” on repeat. And, oh, how he warbled! I recorded his every interview and music video off the telly and watched them over and over, sighing in frustration because I needed to be with him.
Cut to six years later when my crush waltzed in to the bakery where I was working. His posters no longer wallpapered my bedroom and I couldn’t even tell you where I’d stored those self-made videos. And he was married. And he had a child. And he was a lot shorter than I’d thought. And he’d had his teeth done. My crush had dissipated.
Still, for old times’ sake…
And then, not too long ago, these familiar feelings resurfaced. This time, for a guy in a class I was taking. He was cool and interesting and creative. His smile would light up a room, and his eyes twinkled with indescribable colours. He took my breath away. Literally. Like I was so winded I couldn’t even string a sentence together. I discussed him with friends, who enjoyed convincing me that he fancied me. I analysed his every move. My, he’s standing very close to me. He must want me. But though he had my number and my email and he knew where I worked and lived and socialised, he never asked me out. And when, one day, I heard that he was with someone else, I burst into tears. Irrational, I know. There was nothing between us. We’d never even had any one-on-one time together. Now, I look back and make fun of that tongue-tied, loved-up fool. I realise that this guy wasn’t all smiles and flirtations. He was just a person, with insecurities and imperfections. And maybe if I’d been real with him, and actually spoken to him as a human being, things would have been different.
It’s not called a “crush” without good reason. Thefreedictionary.com defines “crush” as: to press between opposing bodies so as to break or injure; to break, pound, or grind into small fragments or powder; to put down; to overwhelm or oppress severely; to crumple. Sound familiar?
A crush lights up your day. The tiniest sign that he might be interested in you fills you with hope and excitement- the slightest touch, the way he says your name or looks you in the eye. His dimples, his scent, and even his handwriting (girls are weird, I know!) make you classify him as the cutest male to have ever walked this earth. And then, one day, he crushes your crush by rejecting you or by not being all you thought he’d be. He doesn’t put his cups in the dish washer, he can be quite self-centred at times, he’s vainer than you are, his feet smell…
Here’s how to survive a crush (without getting crushed):
1) Snap back to reality
If you’re crushing on Zac Efron or Ryan Reynolds, that’s okay. Just don’t base all your future plans around becoming their blushing bride. It’s pretty normal for a teenager to swoon over images of soap stars in gossip magazines but if you’re still doing it when you’re in your thirties, you need to get out more. Find a hobby, hang out with friends, and spend some time around real live members of the general public. A fantasy won’t keep you warm in bed at night.
2) Test the waters
If you’d rather not spend your entire adult life mooning over a guy who may not even know you exist, why not cut the crap and tell him how you feel? Or you may feel safer engaging in the dipping-your-toes approach before plunging into that ice-cold lake. Mention that you’ll be down the local pub later and see if he shows up. Or give him a compliment. It’s not flirting unless he takes the bait and compliments you back. If he throws in a wink, you’re in there!
3) Learn to see the wood for the trees
You may think he’s staring at you when actually he’s fixating on the giant spider in the corner. You read somewhere that if he crosses his legs towards you or his eyes dilate as you converse, it means he’s into you. But first make sure he’s not eyeing up the hot blonde to your left. You wonder why he keeps showing up at your work place, but if you work in McDonald’s, have you ever considered that he doesn’t want to father your unborn child, and that he just wants an Egg McMuffin? You decide that he must like you because he’s on Facebook chat when you’re on Facebook chat. Has it ever occurred to you that the guy has other friends too? 213 of them! His world doesn’t revolve around you. Yet anyway.
4) Be yourself
If you’re acting all “school girl crush”, you’re probably just gonna annoy and/or freak the dude out. Unless, of course, you’re wearing the uniform. Guys really are suckers for things like that. On a more serious note, if you’re true to yourself and act accordingly, your crush may be attracted to such a genuine, down-to-earth gal. And if he’s not, then he’s simply not the man for you. And who said Princess Charming needed a man anyway?
5) Give your crush a break
Maybe you’re smothering him/her with your stares, your constant compliments on their new profile pictures, your texts that (not so) subtly hint at your single status, and the way you’re just always there. Take a step back and allow him/her to breathe. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Maybe they’ll miss you when you rein in all that attention you’ve been lavishing upon them. I know a couple who have been happily married for almost 30 years. The man had been pursuing the woman for weeks but she was after another dashing young man. However, when the first guy stopped showing an interest in her, it made her think about things and she realised that the man she wanted to be with was her now husband. Bingo!
6) Be careful
If you’re daydreaming about your best friend’s girlfriend, your boss, your teacher, your student, or even your little brother’s wingman, you’re treading on thin ice. It’s not a crime to indulge in the fantasy once in a while but it’s when you act on it that things get complicated and people get hurt. If acting on a crush may lead to a loss of a job or a friendship or a marriage, or if it may even get someone into trouble with the law, then it’s not worth it. You may think you’re in love but, trust me, remove yourself from the situation for a while and, like any craving, it’ll soon diminish or will be replaced by something else. Crisis averted!
7) Be confident
Confidence is sexy. Believe in yourself, your good qualities, and your desirability. If you’re happy with your own company, others will be drawn to you, including your crush.
Dimitri is a stud and he knows it. Check out how confident he is and how he goes after what he wants. Granted, poor Olga probably got his number blocked and possibly toyed with the idea of a restraining order…