Wednesday, 12 November 2014

The Mechanics of Crushing

Weird things abound in my head these days. Too much time to think.

I swore off love, and that's going great. Precisely no one has fallen in love with me since then, and I've avoided that too. But I have allowed myself a couple of crushes, which is like pretending to be in love without any of the work that goes with it, such as mutual attraction, or having to talk to someone.

In the barmy magazines I read when I was a teenager, crushes were harmless practise runs for when your real big love happened and you got to float down the aisle in a puffy white dress. The assumption that you'd end up married was kind of insulting really, like the prize in life was settling down to watch football every weekend and bicker in the supermarket, ten grand in debt from the wedding. I never wanted that.

I'm not wired up right. I seem to approach things differently from most people. These magazines always had advice like "If he gives you his number, don't phone him straight away." Oh no, I swear I will wait the allotted seven days, four hours and two minutes before picking up that phone. "Don't look too keen." Next time I see him I will shun him or call him names! And my overriding thoughts reading these things was "Why? WHY?! What is the purpose of dicking people around like this?"

It's supposed to be a game, I think. And maybe the build-up is part of it - the uncertainty of whether you're going to get what you want. But I hate uncertainty. I loathe it beyond all things. I drove myself to tears trying to interpret the smallest gesture. Does he like me? Doesn't he? How can I tell? I'd read more of those stupid magazines. Then when I was 16 I ended up kissing a guy I'd liked for ages, even though he'd shown none of the designated behaviours, and I decided they were a waste of time and I was going to wing it.

Since then I've had varying levels of success with men. I've never succeeded when I've planned everything to the nth degree and rehearsed what I was going to say, though. I've kissed men in fields, nightclubs, taxis, the back of a van. I've been repulsed by slobbering, and floored by intense chemistry. And none of it was ever decided on beforehand. Winging it went okay. Some of those memories are very special to me, and I wouldn't change them for the world.

I never found lasting love, so now I have short and intense crushes on men I know I can't have, either for reasons of distance or because they're so far out of my league I would never consider approaching them. The uncertainty is irrelevant because it can't happen. I can't make an arse of myself with men who live miles away, although making an arse of myself never bothered me. Anything but not knowing. I've made the first move (go equality!) and although straight men don't seem to like that as much as they think they do, it worked a couple of times.

I feel like I've had my share, and would only get involved with another man under very strict circumstances. This is my way of appeasing people who say I shouldn't give up. I can say "Well, if this very unlikely thing and this other very unlikely thing happen in this very narrow corridor of unlikeliness then - and only then - I'll consider it." They seem happy with that; I don't think they consider the logistics too much. Why would they? Nothing has ever made me as miserable as love, but before it fell apart there was some happiness there. I'm keeping that close, and throwing everything else away.