I used to believe people when they told me I was “just like them” in the Rodeo of Love. My friends used to assure me that they, too, found relationships tricky, and my oft-barren romantic landscape was not so unusual. But these days I’m more positive than ever that my experiences with romance are fundamentally different from most everyone I know. Here’s how I know:
I honestly don’t know what the hell you guys are even
talking about half the time.
In recovery lingo, “terminally unique” is not a term of endearment. A person who bangs the drum of “Yeah, but..” is written off as someone not yet capable of embracing true humility. And yet I can honestly say I know of no one whose 'experience, strength and hope' fit into my romantic paradigm.
Mine goes like this: It works when it works. And so far, it hasn’t.
There are those who think I’m in denial about being a lesbian. Well, for a while I tried faking it til I made it and it ended up feeling….fake.
Someone suggested I was, perhaps, asexual. If only.
I think those crazy kids these days would call me a demisexual: one who only loves women named Demi: Moore, Lavato… (Kidding. So dumb. I know.)
A demisexual is someone who is only sexually attracted to someone with whom they have a close personal bond. #yep
It’s only happened three times in my whole life. They were scattered all across the gender spectrum, and those were anything but asexual affairs for me. Sadly, all three were short-lived and ugly-tragic. Not-OK, Cupid.
Casual/pre-love hookups feel like a complete waste of time. I have more fun flipping through a Reader's Digest.
Therefore, I’ve decided that a more appropriate label for me is the QUEEN of RIDICULOUS CRUSHES. My heart acts like a court jester, parading in the most ridiculous, impossible and borderline inappropriate crushes for my heart to ogle, giggle at, and dodge.
And when I say crush, I don’t mean the kind where a schoolgirl phone call with a friend makes it go away. Hell, I don’t always tell my friends about these because they are so humiliating. No, these crushes are foggy epochs through which I secretly trudge. Then publicly post about...
Generally speaking, each ridiculous crush (RC) falls into one of three categories:
TOO YOUNG - MOVING ON
More often than not my crushes slant young - from the unconscionable early 20’s to the early-30’s. Ugh. So embarrassing.
If my entire internet search history had been saved, you would find an occasional “relationships with a big age difference,” query. I have occasionally implored Uncle Google to assure me that I’m not alone in my cougar-crushing.
I have a couple of theories behind this youthful crush demographic:
- Just as I do when making new friends and ingesting pop culture, I forget how old I am. My insides betray my drooping jowls. But by the time I surrender to how different our life stages are, I have already imagined what it would be like to watch Season 2 of Handmaid’s Tale with my too-young paramour sitting next to me on my couch. It’s an unpleasant wake-up call, for sure.
- Youth is beautiful, and I’m shallow.
THAT WOULD NEVER WORK, DING DONG
My most recent, serious RC was a south suburban man from the other side of the tracks, slightly younger than me with three pre-teen boys, an on again/off again GF who is nothing like me, and a host of heavy drinking buddies to fill out his already big, full, good ol’ boy life. Oh yeah, and a ridiculously kind, masculine vibe that works on me at all levels. Good job ya stupid-ass heart.
This one is the least offensive category of my dysfunctional diagnosis (also the source of my first real-fake heartbreak).
When I was in high school, I went to one of those Christian-lite summer camps with those dreamy college kid counselors. And there was this one we’ll call SH*ST.
I loved SH*ST as much as any demisexual high schooler could ever love a wholly unobtainable college boy from lower Alabama. I managed to snap one picture of him and I leaning against a gigantic summer camp beach ball. He was smiling like he did for all the pictures he took with braces-wearing, perm-haired tomboys wearing green marching band travel jackets. That picture went with me everywhere. If he knew about that how much I adored that picture, SH*ST would have been …..unfazed.
But our connection was real to my soft, young heart. I think I even believed that there was something there to be mined - a common side-effect of Ridiculous Crushes. When I heard he had visited my hometown for spring break - with his college girlfriend - and didn’t reach out to me, I cried on a bathroom floor all night long with a Big Gulp full of Diet Coke and Bacardi at my side.
But SH*ST was only a figment of an imagination thirsty for something beautiful with another person.
The Fantasy Crush actually happened again this past week. I’ve visited Branson almost every year since 2006, and there are a few “never miss’ acts down there. And there’s this one regular entertainer who fanned my heart open this year, if only for a couple of days. He was like a magnet to my steely heart. I know his story and I couldn’t keep my eyes off him. (The Fantasy Crush often mistakes the artist for their art.)
We spoke for a bit after the show, then I went back to the hotel and cyberstalked his latest musical efforts. It was fun, charming, and 100% harmless.
OSM NOTE: My inappropriate crushes never involve married people. Never. For a demisexual a commitment is sacrosanct.
I imagine a psychologist with lots of letters behind their name might argue that some primal wound in me is still broken, but to them, I would say I know you are but what am I.
And some might say I need to stop making excuses for myself, be brave, and try internet dating, to whom I would say Sure. And monkeys might fly out of my butt.
There is not a lot of empirical evidence in my life thus far out there to suggest that I’m destined for a union of any sort. Even so, these dum-dum crushes are little signals my heart occasionally sends out to my brain to let me know it's still in there, and that attraction towards others is still functioning on some level, so who knows what the future holds for me...
That's my piece, and that's my peace. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my silly words. It truly means the world to me. Carry on...