Essentially, the subtext of this blog is: I NEED SOMEONE TO TAKE ME OUT FOR A DRINK, PLEASE.
Last night, I found myself having a conversation about crushes. Not the "squeeze someone until they can't breathe" sort of crush, but the "OH MY GOD, I WANT TO SQUEEZE HIM" variety.
And yes, before we go any further, let's face the facts: I'm 28 (plus three... Okay, so I'm 31. Ugh). I am way too old to be all gooey eyed over someone I barely know, right? WRONG. You're never too old to have a crush! To suggest that there's an age limit to getting all excited about seeing someone who makes your knees go wobbly is just ridiculous. Frankly, if there is, then whatever the cut-off point is, I don't want to get there. Stick me in a time-manipulating vortex when I get close; I'll stay one year below that age forever.
Anyway, I digress... The fact is, chatting about crushes made me reminisce over a few of mine. Bizarrely, my first sort of crush was on Boy George. Yes, Boy George. I didn't fancy him, I hasten to point out, what with being about two or three years old at the time. I just loved him deeply enough to name one of my dolls after him and to sing Karma Chameleon to myself constantly. My first proper celebrity crush was on Matt from boyband Bad Boys Inc. Followed swiftly by Richie from Let Loose...
Looking back... Yeah, I approve of my taste, back then.
And then there comes a point in a tweenager's life, when he or she has their first real-life crush. I'll be honest, mine was on a boy called Robin, who I went to school with. I was about 11 and he sat on the same table as me. Ooh! It was clearly destiny. Except it wasn't, because when I discovered that my family and I were moving away, I realised, with shocking clarity, that I hadn't actually had a crush on him at all. I'd had a sneaky crush on a boy called Martin, who I thought I only saw as a friend. Only when I was driving away (well, my dad was driving; I was 11, keep up kids...), never to see him again, did my pre-adolescent brain treat me to the truth: It was him I liked all along. Let me tell you, dear readers, there is nothing more dramatic than an 11 year old girl, sobbing over her own lack of self-awareness, where these things are concerned...
I'll go out on a limb here and say that huge, hormone-fuelled crushes during your teenage years are possibly more of a girl thing than a guy thing. Ask most women over 20 and they'll be able to reel off a list of popstars, rockstars, actors or - shock, horror! - people they knew in REAL LIFE, who they privately fantasised about, or obsessed over. It's something of a rite of passage; an awakening of feelings we might not have experienced fully before. Crushes are confusing, a little bit scary and amazing all at the same time.
Of course, they can be a bit devastating as well. I remember having a crush on a boy called Matt in the year below me at school. Looking back on it, he was a bit of an arse, because he'd happily hold my hand and say nice things to me, but when asked one day whether he and I were "going out" (I was about 14 at the time), he laughed, called me ugly and pulled a face that made me concerned that he might be violently sick at the idea. And that, friends, is the story of why I spent an entire French lesson, scribbling over the lovehearts I'd drawn in my homework diary. Bastard. It's also why I largely stuck to having crushes on unattainable popstars...
Yes, I practised signing my name "Emma Brennan." I was OBVIOUSLY going to marry Lee from 911.
The thing is, I've always been quite shy when it comes to this sort of thing. Whilst I'll happily dance like an idiot on a night out, or play the role of the chatty, sociable one in my friendship group, or impress virtual strangers with my (awful) jokes, if you put me in front of someone I have a crush on, one of two things will almost certainly happen.
1. I will develop a severe case of verbal diarrhoea and talk at the poor boy. This usually involves me saying the most ridiculous thing my brain can possibly conjure up, only to then attempt to dig my way out of whatever silly statement I've made, in a vain attempt to appear "normal." In almost all cases, I fail miserably.
2. I will become almost mute. Any sentences I do manage to form will be punctuated with a dazzling array of "ums," "ers," and "aahs." Hence the title for this blog... Well, okay, it was inspired by the Touch And Go song, but also the mute thing.
TWO THUMBS UP, EM. WELL DONE! HOW ARE YOU SINGLE?! No, that's not my real hair...
So yeah. I'm really not good at the whole "I like him, therefore I shall ask him out" thing. In fact, I'm atrocious at it. I can flirt like nobody's business, but only if I'm either not so besotted with the guy that it may require waterproof mascara should he turn me down, or if I'm fuelled by alcohol or hyperactivity. Basically, what I'm saying is: Plonk me at a Manics gig, or send me to Alton Towers to ride on a rollercoaster or three, hand me a glass of wine and then watch me go into THE ZONE. But under normal circumstances, expecting me to actually speak to another human whose face I like? ARE YOU CRAZY?!
There is, of course, a serious issue to this whole thing. I'm not a confident person when it comes to my looks/bodyshape etc. We live in a society where women are kind of expected to be stick thin, with massive boobs and shiny hair and perfect skin, thanks to the ridiculous images the media happily pump into our brains. Add to that the fact that my last relationship was abusive and therefore it took a while for me to even want to be with anyone else and you can kind of see why I'm not the type to sidle up to someone attractive and just slip him my number. At least not without running away, shrieking, which would totally ruin the moment... "CALL ME! AAAAAAARGH!"
Crushes are a safe way to feel things that you don't always get to feel when you're single. As long as you're prepared to accept that nothing may come of them, they're an enjoyable distraction from the world. There's something genuinely lovely about feeling a bit light-headed because someone you secretly fancy has smiled across the room at you. It might have meant nothing. It might have been wind. But in your head, it can mean the start of something fabulous. And that's okay.
Frankly, I think we should embrace our crushes (literally; that would be nice!). Life can be amazing, but let's face it, it can also be full of things like working when you've got a stinking cold, or having to pay bills you'd forgotten about. Allowing your world to be brightened, even in a small way, by the secret object of your affections, is quite a nice break from the norm.
And whenever we feel sad, because we'd like a crush to be something more and we're not sure it ever will be, we can at least console ourselves that the version of the person we keep in our heads will never hog the duvet, force us to watch something we don't want to watch on TV, or fart. Ever. Everyone's a (slightly lonely, slightly sad) winner...
And just in case my crush is reading this: "I've noticed you around. Um... I find you very attractive... Um..."
Worth a shot. ;-)