We all have them. I HAD one.
That one girl/guy who got away – who we never exactly closed the deal, or we did close the deal that one time, but things never materialized for one reason or another. That gal we spend hours, days, months looking at on Facebook and Instagram after drunken nights at the bar – examining every detail of every picture. Is it cold in that picture? Is that a nipple outline I see? Wait. Is that a guy in this picture? Is she leaning into him? Does his arm seem TOO comfortable resting over her shoulder? That whore! Is she having sexual relations with him!?! What does his LinkedIn profile tell us about this douchebag!?!? Does his employer have a contact number so I can anonymously call and tell them about his child porn collection? Does he have a physical address to where I might be able to track him down and Tonya Harding one of his kneecaps?
Typical things. We all can relate.
I recently hung out with a girl who has occupied the top slot of my crush bracket for the last four years. We had gone out once – before she moved cross country. Then, hung out again in another city where we both happened to be vacationing. And in the ensuing months and years, we kept in sporadic touch on Facebook and in increasingly rare phone calls. But no matter who I dated, she was always in the back of my mind as the ideal gal of my life. Arguably one of the prettiest girls I knew - yet alone gone out with - she was fun, smart, successful, had a rockin' body, and spent almost more time than I did traveling.
Then it came to a crashing halt.
She came to the Bay to visit a friend and we hung out for a night and a day. Prolonged conversation poked holes all over the armor I had built for her. She didn't want a traditional wedding. She could see an end point of going out and getting drunk. Which almost put a dagger in my heart right there. But the main thing was that I felt she was a space cadet. All over the place. Jumping from topic to topic, with nary an inquisitive question towards me. How could I not have noticed this the first two times around? Probably because we were busy getting drunk, and I tend to move onto dancing, singing, and running away from cops, rather than deeper conversation.
After dropping her off, I was crushed. This was a girl I had idolized for four years. The pedestal. The Julia Roberts of My Best Friend's Wedding. "He'll always have you on a pedestal and me in his arms." That bitch, Cameron Diaz! So smug. Go sing some karaoke!!! Anyhow, I had no pedestal anymore. For as long as I remember, I've always had some girl I was crushing on. Sometimes I attained those girls. Sometimes another took their place. Sometimes they got a restraining order. But I had no backup this time. I was on empty.
In the movie, The Princess Bride, Wesley asks Inigo Montoya what he plans on doing with his life after he killed the Six-Fingered Man and Inigo goes: "You know, it's very strange. I've been in the revenge business so long, now that it's over, I don't know what to do with the rest of my life."
It was quite a sentimental, dramatic moment, but it's exactly how I feel. I've been in the crush business for so long, now that it's over, I don't know what to do with my life!!!
Who else am I going to hope sees the gratuitous picture of me with my shirt off on Facebook? The one where everyone else has their shirt on - some in jackets and sweatshirts - and I'm there casually flexing (but pretending I'm not), while grilling some burgers (which I didn't grill, but hoping it shows that I am a man and do manly outdoor-type things). Or those pictures I post holding babies, when in actuality I know neither the baby nor the parents, but have bribed the parents to allow me to hold their baby for a photo-op, so that it might show tenderness, responsibility, stability, and family values. You know, all traits that I do not possess.
In a way, this is alleviating. It's refreshing to have a clean slate. It's like I'm a kid again. All the optimism in the world. No crush in the back of my mind. Free to fall in love. Or face plant into a car.
Can you imagine being Van Gogh, Picasso, or Botero and having to paint on someone else's half-finished piece of art? I'd imagine it would be much better to have the freedom of a blank canvas. The sky's the limit. Even for a bush league amateur, who's still just trying to color within the lines... It might be the perfect setting for some smiley-faced stick figures.