Do you remember your first crush? I do, very clearly, and only partially because I stumbled across my helpless 13-year-old self’s diary when looking for inspiration for this article. To cut a long story short, I went on my first date (without parents!) with a tall blond guy with one of those fluffy ‘moustache’ things 14-year-old boys have to show off their manhood. I teased him for being soppy when he tried to hold my hand, then went home, did my homework and wasn’t really interested. I remember having this sick feeling in my stomach the whole time, thinking it was because I didn’t like him – but in hindsight, I think it was that scary feeling you get when you go on your first date with someone.
He continued to be soppy on MSN, and when I told him I wasn’t into him, he blocked me and that was that. Or so I thought. Three days later on my timeline, it popped up that he’d befriended one of my closest friends who, in all honesty, I’d always been a teeny bit jealous of. A week later, when I saw them exchanging private jokes on each other’s walls, the jealousy got worse and then, all of a sudden, I found myself infatuated by him. But he was over it.
I’d talk to him whenever I could, sign in and out of MSN over and over so he’d notice I was online, and use any excuse I could to meet up with him (which wasn’t as obsessive as it sounds, I promise.) The thing is, I used to fancy myself as a bit of a drama martyr, so didn’t say anything to either him or my friend and continued to hang out with them both as mates. One time, I even walked to her house for a sleepover so she could talk about her confused feelings for him, and through gritted teeth I’d tell her: “Go for it! You’re perfect for each other!”
Should I have told him the truth instead of hiding my feelings? Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I’d told him straight away, when he’d just met my friend and I realised I liked him after all. Then again, maybe it was the jealousy and the fact I had a secret that made my feelings seem stronger. All I know is that for months I kept it from him, while he flirted with girls on my friend list, and by the time I did tell him, he said he’d known all along and thought I was a stalker!
After crying my first tears over a boy, many crushes have followed, most of which consisted of tall, rugged guitarists, and each time I believed this HAD to be what love felt like. Of course, when I did finally fall in love, he was not a musician or someone I’d crushed over through my school years, but a guy I met while drunk at a party and thought nothing of until I realised we hadn’t gone a day without texting, and he’d suddenly ended up a big and special part of my life. The thing was, this time I didn’t need to keep it a secret and it wasn’t a question of whether or not to tell him – we both just knew.
After a long, messy and wonderful relationship, I’m now single again and although I’ve been attracted to other people, I wouldn’t say I’ve had a ‘crush’ for a while, because for me having a crush means relentless butterflies, making it your mission to get their attention and, from my experience, rejection and tears. To quote Jim Baker in Sixteen Candles: “That’s why they call them crushes. If they were easy, they’d call ’em something else.”
Yet, I think it’s this aspect of having a crush that makes it so wonderful. And not just because it makes it even better when you finally meet someone you like who likes you back, but because the butterflies and emotional rollercoasters are memorable years later. The embarrassing and treasured moments made me the confident and unsecretive person I am today.
What do you think about crushes? Can you remember your first? Let us know in the comment box below!
Words: Abi Prendergast
Image: Natalie Adkins