Do you remember your teenage crush? You know the one, where you pretty much never spoke to them but every so often you’d, like, get the seat next to them on the bus and your entire body would catch fire like a big ol’ horny catherine wheel and your brain would short out?
OK so now push that feeling forward into your 30s. You’ve got a life and a job and bills and you wear high-waisted underpants but still you’ve met this person who sets you alight. And you have zero idea how to tell them how you feel.
For the record, when things get too Real, I tend to slip into second-person. It’s a distancing mechanism.
To be clear: I AM LIT UP LIKE A BIG OL’ HORNY CATHERINE WHEEL.
AND I HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO TELL THE BOY I LIKE THAT I LIKE HIM.
This has been happening for a while now. I guess I always kinda thought (or hoped) that adult relationships would be easier to manage than teenage ones. This is not easier. In fact, between navigating two people’s work and social schedules, watching my crush jump in and out of other relationships, and coping with that underlying sense that My Time Is Running Out, this is much much harder. And, as catastrophic as my teenage crushes might have felt, the very idea of confessing any of this to my crush’s face remains completely, gibberingly terrifying.
It’s worst when the weather turns cold: he’s got a beard and a penchant for big hugs and whisky and chunky jumpers and the whole thing is like Kryptonite to me in winter. It also means we’re more likely to catch up for warm, snuggly indoor activities, and every moment that we’re not smushing our faces together feels like horrible agony. We played board games with a bunch of friends recently and when I gave him a hug at the end of the night it was… OK so imagine the worst possible thing and the best possible thing happening simultaneously, and you’re pretty much there.
Remember how I mentioned how catastrophic this all is? I know I’m being ridiculous. And, sure, I don’t live my entire life in a perpetual state of torture. Some days I don’t even think about it at all.
But then I think about it. And I think about how long I’ve harboured this crush, and in fact every crush I’ve ever had. And I think about how I’m a bottled-up stony tough girl who doesn’t even actually like people all that much and is pathologically restrained, emotions-wise, and it’s actually terrible, all the way down.
Because: how do normal adults deal with crushes?
How do I confess this to the actual real lovely smushable face of the man I like? How do I make it so I’m not just a blathering weirdo every time I see him? How do I gain some fucking chill?
And, given that I’m the Queen of Saying Things Perfectly, what is the right way to say all of this?
These questions aren’t entirely rhetorical. Tell me, internetizens: how do I do the thing?