I miss the days when a woman’s smile could turn me into a gelatinous, incoherent mess. Perhaps it is merely the balancing of hormones that comes with growing into my twenties, or maybe I just have enough self-confidence to be less easily flustered, but either way, I feel like another part of my youth is peeling off of me.
My first real crush. For five years, I had a crush on a girl who, in the interest of not furthering her embarrassment any more than I already have, shall remain nameless. We talked often—that is to say, I would throw crumpled pieces of paper at her head or startle her by hiding behind doors, and she would ask me to stop. Still, I was not easily dissuaded in those days, and continued to write coded messages to her and spell her name in my alphabet soup.
The incubational period of infatuation shortened rapidly as I moved into my college years. The entirety of my next crush lasted about as long as it took me to get over my first—a little over a year. Shortly after this panned out, I wound up in an actual relationship, which lasted for a few months.
After the break-up, I had a few crushes that lasted a few months each, again, each one shorter than the one before. Then, right around senior year, the pain of rejection stopped. For close to two years now, I haven’t been painfully devastated to discover that feelings were not as mutual as I thought. Disappointment and embarrassment, yes, but not that lonely ache in the pit of your stomach.
And now, it seems like these feelings rarely last more than a few minutes. “Out of sight, out of mind” seems to be my new romantic philosophy.
And yes, it hurts less, and I bounce back quickly now…but I can’t help but think that the pain and the awkwardness and the overpowering embarrassment were results of caring what a particular girl thought of me. Now that these symptoms have faded, I have to wonder if I’ve stopped caring at all.