I’m usually juggling 8 or more crushes at once, perhaps as a defense mechanism so as to assure myself that if one doesn’t work out, I’ve got a little ensemble cast of potential abettors to keep my grace intact.
I’m a ticking time bomb. It is very hard for me to pretend that I don’t have a crush on somebody, and it is only a matter of a few weeks after deciding this person is a person I officially have a crush on that I begin the flailing process of trying to show them that I’m interested without freaking them out – which always definitely, certainly freaks them out.
We’re talking daily texts. We’re talking LOTS of flirty Emoji. We’re talking hugs and touching. Now, I do most of this with everybody in my life anyway, and my friends are adamant about telling me that I act no differently with people I have a crush on than with everybody else, because I really am just that handsy and insane with everybody. I’m totally fine with this, but it is also starkly revealing that what is going on in my head is very different from what I’m putting out into the world. When I send a text and end it with a pink or red heart, I am certain that I am indicating to its male recipient that I totally want to bang them. In my mind I have made a decisive, empowered choice, and now all I have to do is sit back and play the waiting game, since the guy most definitely caught on.
If you get a differently-colored heart Emoji, like blue or yellow or purple, you are NOTHING TO ME.
Sometimes, however, the guy is neurotic enough to read intensely enough into all of these little intentional actions that I am doing, and they get the hint. If there’s any positive reciprocation whatsoever, I get real and send some messy, flighty paragraph via text that confesses that I think they’re attractive and that it’d be fun to hang out as more than friends. Then, it either works out or it doesn’t. Which is fine. It’s not rejection that scares me – it’s how it will be handled. It’s the murky grey waters described below that make this difficult.
I guess it’s also my fault for only doing this to people I’m already friends with, and subsequently expecting them to pretend like nothing’s happened.
There was one boy who I did this to. Let’s call him Charlie. Rarely are these men super-receptive to these actions (note the “freaks them out” factor listed above.) Somehow, he still wanted to keep hanging out, and he actually always responded to my cute messages (for a guy in his 20’s in New York? This is exceptional. The bar is so low that mere acknowledgement must mean that we are totally serious about each other.)
After a few weeks of my ticking-time-bomb-esque actions, I finally just had to do it. The breaking point happened one afternoon while hanging out in the East Village. Charlie complained to me about his dating foibles. He said that he’s scared to make a first move with girls because he has upset girls before by doing this, and it makes him nervous, and that he’s more content with being alone forever than with risking freaking someone out. Swoon. I love misanthropic shit like this.
That night I texted him around 11pm if he wanted to hang out (another this is very obvious in my head he must see what I am doing, right? but actually no this isn’t that weird move) and he replied right away per his adorableness. He couldn’t make it, sad face. I then launched my missile AKA confession text. He could not have been sweeter about wanting to stay friends. I have a lovely little collection of rejection replies that I’ve gathered, and this remains as one of the better ones. The best one, though, is still the one where a guy used the phrase “so, so flattered.” TWO “so”s?!!?!?! YASSSSS. Almost better than sex with a person I’m attracted to!
Charlie really is the nicest of guys. I think he just wasn’t thinking when all of the following happened. I think he was, as my girlfriends say, just being a guy. They just don’t think as much as we do.
So why am I telling this story? Because of course something like this happened to me. Each week of my life reminds me why and how I earned the title of this site.
A few months after the confession text, Charlie and I planned to go to a show together. We had hung out and texted normally since the text, and everything was fine. It’s not weird unless you make it weird, you know?
We picked the date that worked for both of us for the show, and I bought my tickets. It was for a Sunday night. That Thursday, he texted me. “Sorry, I don’t think I can go to the show anymore. Sad face.”
I was fine. People bail all the time. I brought my other friend Ryan, and arrived to to theatre on Sunday. I got there early by myself to get a good spot in line.
Charlie was three spots in front of me in line.
With a girl.
Who he had his arm around.
I immediately furiously texted Ryan and about eleven of my other friends about this car wreck of a scene that was happening in front of me. So wait, he was still planning to come to the show all along? He thought that just telling me that he would rather go with a date instead would hurt my feelings? He thinks I’m weak? He thinks I’m too sensitive for the truth? So he pulled this GENIUS move of just going to the same show that we were going to go to but lied by telling me he can’t go and then brought another girl?
I ignored him. No way was I going to pull my usual pleasantry bullshit. It’s his job to come to me. He put himself in this ridiculous position.
I didn’t care that he was there with another girl. I cared that he lied to me and insulted my intelligence.
Ryan arrived and we picked our seats. Charlie and this girl were four rows in front of us. I literally could not see the show without seeing them.
After the show, Charlie and the girl left quickly, not acknowledging me.
I sat on the long subway ride home. Most of the ride was above-ground (Astoria, holla!) so I had full reception on my phone. I drearily slogged through my usual app check – FB, Insta, Twitter, Gmail, and then a loop back again and again until we arrived at my stop. I had two new Instagram likes and one new Facebook notification.
They were all from Charlie. Within the last thirty minutes – since the show ended – he had liked an older Instagram pic of mine, then my newest one, then my most current profile picture on Facebook.
Don’t ask me to explain. I don’t know what was going through his head. Maybe he thought that this was some sort of unspoken olive branch? There is no way that he didn’t see me in line at the theatre. And he knows me and my personality, so he had to know that I was upset. He would have been one of the people I would have texted angrily about this had he not been the scofflaw in question.
My theory is that he simply had two choices at each and every step of this incident, and unfortunately always picked the wrong one. He fibbed about not being able to come to the show, he pretended not to see me there, he left without saying anything, he tried to make me feel better by giving me vague social media approval, and so on. All the wrong choice.
Charlie is nice. I think all of these poor choices were well-intentioned. He didn’t want to hurt me, he’s 22, he’s scared, I made him uncomfortable by confessing that I was into him in the first place, etc.
He didn’t text either. I waited about a week and a half (you have no idea how long that is for me) and finally texted him. It was about something else completely random, I can’t even remember now. He replied to my initial topic, and then sent another text a few minutes later.
“By the way, I ended up going to the show last weekend. I kept trying to get your attention, but you left before I could say bye!”