People I Have Developed Deep and Abiding Crushes On Despite Little to No Actual Interaction:
Emily’s older brother: Emily’s older brother owns this category. My crush was born when I went to Wichita with Emily for a wedding dress fitting, and her parents put me up in his old room for the weekend. There is no easier way for me to develop a crush on you than to sleep in your childhood bed and read all of your old books about Norse mythology. Then, at the wedding, he cemented the crush forever when we were all standing around outside on this beautiful spring night after throwing lavender at the bride and groom as they ran to the getaway car, and all of the sudden he reached up and, without a word, brushed a little piece of lavender out of my hair. I think my heart stopped. I don’t think we’ve ever spoken more than three sentences at a time, but oh maaaaan that hair brush thing was like magic.
Secret train boyfriend: We’ve stood next to each other while waiting for the train nearly every morning for a year now, and we even switch to the 6 at the same stop, but we’ve never spoken. He sort of looks like if Prince Harry got his act together and started working for Merrill Lynch. I like his glasses and his ginger-colored hair and his cute flat-front charcoal gray pants, and watching his hands fold the Wall Street Journal gives my heart this fluttery little pang. I’m 100% positive he’s not my type. Also pretty sure he has a real-life girlfriend. We glance at each other, but never smile or even say “excuse me,” yet I have no doubt that he wouldn't hesitate a second to take a bullet for me, were there bullets for the taking. Sort of like those stoic yet devoted married couples from the 1950s who ate meals across the table from each other every day without a saying a word. What can I say? Ours is an old-fashioned love.
Subway sandwich artist who looked like Beck: I made Laura go to Subway with me every Monday night for two months in the fall of 1996 because I so desperately wanted to be near the guy behind the counter, the Beck look-alike who played old surf music over the speakers late at night and whose pale brown eyes spoke volumes to me while he wrapped my 6 inch ham and cheese on white in cellophane, but the minute I was near him, my tongue swelled up into my throat and I couldn’t say anything other than thank you. I thought I needed Laura for moral support, but this totally backfired on me, because he ended up asking her to come over to his house to “see some of his art.” I hate that guy.
Blue Eyebrow Man: He was the new kid my sophomore year of high school, and he was really tall and skinny, and looked really angry and really punk. He had beautiful black hair and black eyes that were so fiercely black they somehow made his eyebrows look blue, so, in one of those lame teenage girl nickname moments, I began secretly referring to him as Blue Eyebrow Man. I spent many a lunch hour trying to get him to notice that we wore the same pair of black Converse, which was clearly proof that we should be together. He never looked at me once. Funny twist: I found out years later, in college, that he was my good friend Kerry’s cousin, and that he ended up in jail.
Young bigfoot: This boy sat in the desk behind me in 8th grade English, and he was the tallest kid in our class, so he’d stretch his long legs out in front of him on either side of my desk, and they’d come up past my own. Something about this felt almost unbearably intimate to me, and I’d sit with my eyes down and stare at his sweet big feet all hour, my face warm. Occasionally I loaned him looseleaf paper. In my yearbook, he urged me to stay sweet, and “have a K.A. summer.” Tale as old as time.