And not much about a crush has changed since high school, especially when the crush in question is in your neighborhood, on your daily path. You do the dance of trying out conversation, the sparring of questions, the teasing with a twist of flirting. There’s acting like you don’t care because on some level, you actually don’t (it’s a crush after all). There are phone calls (and in this modern world, text messages) as you suss one another out. There might even be drinks (these days only, honest, mom) or hang out sessions where he agrees to watch a movie he doesn’t love (thank you Joel, for watching Ferris Bueller’s Day Off with me when we were 16). Perhaps there’s some kissing (okay, that happened in high school, too, mom). And like good things, somewhere in the blurry verse between non-datingship and dating it ends. A come to Jesus moment is always appreciated, but more likely than not it’s as simple as Joel asking another girl to Winter Ball, insinuating yes, whatever that wasn’t is over.
Crushes can reveal a lot about a person – not in that “if he’s a good guy” sort of way (though that too) but more in a who that person really is versus who they wake up and wash off, pretending to be someone else to the world each morning. It happens in both teenage-crushing and adult-hood crushing: a chance to peak behind the facade before they shut you out.
I find the loss of that authenticity the truly crushing part of a crush. Once you know someone, you know what their act is; what the wax is that they coat themselves in, when it’s been applied liberally, and when they’re giving you that waxy self. As you go through the heartbeat, the wax melts – and then it gets reapplied, stronger than ever.
I hate getting glimpses of genuineness when all I’m finally offered is falsehood. Knowing their realness, for better and for worse, is what makes me want to understand someone more. So having that pulled away feels like the final knockout. I struggle to let their authenticity go, even though it’s run its course. And what’s more confusing is a wax-self is still real on many levels. Those who are happy to cover themselves so very few people know them is a choice, a realness in and of itself.
Perhaps why I hate this so much is because I’m borderline incapable of a cover. On a very raw level, I ask to be known. Hell, I don’t ask so much as beg. Or demand. I demand to be seen as I am. I’m not sure if this is good or bad, right or wrong (if “right” and “wrong” even exist here). Should I care less about being seen as I am, and more about knowing/being content with myself?
I don’t think veneers are a bad thing. They can make people seem nicer. Kinder. More lovable. And I think that can make a slightly better community and world (insert rousing rendition of We Are the World here). But are veneers, on some level, fool’s gold? At least authentic people are easier to make a decision about in the datingverse. You have the facts, and you decide, based on truth not fiction.