A solid crush is the umbrella to most life’s rain drops. Ice cream truck changed it’s route? Netflix queue out of order? Soon to be the only Wal-Mart greeter with active menses in the history of the big box? Just look to the nearest XX chrome pairing for relief.
I was recently telling my therapist about a crush I had on a girl I didn’t know very well. I was like, “Yeah. I don’t know what it is. I like her tattoos, but she’s not really funny and I don’t generally like people who can’t make me laugh, and I definitely don’t like people who I can’t make laugh. She didn’t even LOL when I told her about the time I ran naked across a golf course when the security guards busted me for swimming laps in a water trap, but I still want to gay marry her and shit.” My therapist, who, after a year of hearing me couch bitch about not feeling like work should be necessary necessity for a lady of leisure such as myself, suggested that I was only crushing on this girl because I didn’t want to get a job. I was indignant. Suggesting that my heart shiver was a result of poor work ethic? Bish, plz. But once season two of Mad Men came out on DVD and I had hours to spend contemplating Peggy Olson’s bangs, I kind of forgot all about said crush and even had to pause for a moment when she called and think, Who? Did I give my number to a bar stranger again? Gotta stop doing that.
Despite seeking them everywhere from the cab driver to the produce stocker, I don’t actually get crushes all that often. But when I do, I get them hard. I read her texts and emails to my seriously-over-it friends. I contemplate the merits of last name hyphenation and adoption versus turkey baster. I become a hand-holding gayelle, a table-for-two gayelle, a sober sex gayelle. I really feel like a one-gayelle-gayelle when I’m in crush. It is lovely. It is also, however, temporary. This isn’t because I’m embarrassed by the term “partner” or even because monogamy makes me want join Fred Phelps on the battle lines. It’s because when I like a girl—like like her like her—I forget that she is a real person. I forget that she is Judge Judy about sleeping late, that she talks about money all the time, that she thinks it’s weird that I have secret ambitions to be a renowned slap poet. In my head, she is inhumanely perfect.
But then, reality. I slowly realize that I don’t know her, that the person I love only exists in my head, that we aren’t compatible as friends, much less as foster mommies. I realize it’s the idea of her, not the her of her, that has me twitterpated.
Example. A year ago, I met a girl who I quickly became junk-struck over. There was something about her, mostly that she didn’t like me, which is generally what I look for in a partner. I mean, she liked me enough to make out with me, but she wasn’t exactly trolling Women Seeking Women for a food stamper whose only ambition is to get through the year without a DUI. Also, I may have said something about how if she wasn’t so good at face-sitting I’d never hang out with her because Pisces is the Heidi Montag of the astrological calendar. I may also have referred to her as a dirty bisexual and maybe also as women’s studies gay. This didn’t exactly work in my favor, and after she expressed her nonnegotiable lack of heart color for me, I started acting like a monkey on salvia. Among other dramatic gestures, I cut off all my hair in a moment of solidarity with Britney Spears because at the time I really felt like understood what she was going through. A construction paper scissor haircut is never a good idea but is an especially bad idea when you work at a salon and your co-workers make you wear a hat for a month and start calling you Patches. The crazy thing? I didn’t even really know this girl. I mean, we’re pals now and I’d still take her up on a bathroom make-out party, but I also know that the girl in my mind a year ago is the not the girl reading this right now and wondering what the fuck I’m talking about.
Back to the title.
Meeting people can be weird. They might be close talkers or look a little too deeply into your eyes or say that you remind them of their friend Barbara who is seventy but has great skin. Meeting people from the Internet is, by definition, weird, and writing a blog about your life puts you in an interesting position when meeting these people. So when I met my Virtual Girlfriend in San Francisco after a prolonged textual relationship, I was hell of nervous, like the kind of nervous you get before smuggling someone else’s urine into your parole officer’s bathroom. It’s not just that I was meeting someone from the Internet, it’s that I was meeting someone from the Internet who knew a lot about me before she was anything but Facebook pictures and status updates to me. She knew that I think I look like Nick Jonas even though the only obvious resemblance is that we are both white. She knew that my neighbor thinks that my name is Kyle. She knew that I once cured a yeast infection by sticking a dozen cloves of garlic in my vagine and that the next girl I slept with after that was attracted to me because she loves puttanesca. She knew not just what I think about the world, but what I think about myself. That I desperately want to be 12 years old again, a little girl in a bowl cut who gets mistaken for a boy, still convinced that success is inevitable, that the golden cloud will always be there. And what did I know about her? That she makes one of three faces when she’s drunk and happy. That she works a real job. That she gives good text. But after meeting her, after seeing her actual face and hearing her actual voice, after knowing just a little about her and about her life, I want to know it all.
Is this real? Of course not. She exists in a series of ones and zeros, in emails and text messages and the stories we tell ourselves about the future. But she is no less real than the others, the ones who live nearby, the ones whose hands I can touch and whose scents I know, the ones who become the size of myths as my desire for something, for anything, grows. At least is it time and space, not the sad truth that person in my head is simply a fantasy born of the hope for something different, that will keep this imaginary. Because she does exist. In my head and on the Internet and maybe even in real life, she is real and she is it.