Thursday, July 11, 2013

Pottery Crush

Lots has been written about how certain aspects of social life as an adult are harder than they are when you're a kid or a teenager -- making friends, for instance. I consider myself extremely lucky that this has not been my challenge in life. However, one thing I do miss about being young is that up to my early 20s, I never had any problem finding people to crush on.

I got my first crush at age 4 (or maybe that's just the first one I can remember). It was on my sister's 7-year-old friend/boyfriend, and our mutual babysitter reported to my mom that I kept wrestling with him and sitting on him (it's always been hard for me to not come on too strong when I like someone). This was followed by a long string of crushes, most lasting several years. From ages 5 to 11 I was obsessed with my classmate, T, who had handsome dark eyes and a bad-boy reputation; these days he's my friend on Facebook and writes inappropriate comments on many of my photos and appears to work in the porn industry. During my senior year in high school I came home every night and talked incessantly at the dinner table about my high school English teacher, and signed up to do a month-long study of William Faulkner just so I could spend more time with him. I still have the photo my dad took at graduation of the two of us together. At age 18 I traveled to Italy and filled an entire journal not with my reflections about my first experience abroad or the difficulties of learning a new language or the great art I was exposed to or all the new foods I was discovering, but rather fawnings about my painting teacher, l'Artista.

In the summer of 2003 I moved to Brooklyn and worked at a kitchenware shop for a couple of months and fell for a handsome Puerto Rican who lived with his beautiful girlfriend and their kids in the boonies of Brooklyn. In 2005 I had a short-lived (except in my memory, in which he lived on) crush on a handsome Costa Rican man who worked at an ecotourism resort I stayed at and was one of many, many sons of the owner. I thought he was the most beautiful person I had ever seen and had trouble breathing normally around him, and I didn't want to believe it when my sister said that he was married (based on the fact that he wore a gold band on his ring finger -- circumstantial evidence, I told her).

Since then, there has been a long dry spell. I've met a few men on the way who I've tried to nurture crush feelings for, but really, you shouldn't have to force it. Crushes aren't a *necessary* part of life, of course, but they certainly add spice to it. The best ones are when you're friends with the crushee, there's a nice amount of flirting going on, you obviously find each other attractive, but you know nothing is ever going to happen.

Which is exactly the kind of crush I have these days: Pottery Crush. PC and I have been in the same class for the past year and a half, so we see each other once a week like clockwork. He's handsome and outgoing and very nice. He plays golf and works in real estate and is, in many ways, very conventional. We usually sit across from each other to make conversation easy (I don't like to sit next to him because I also have a pottery inferiority complex and it makes me feel bad to see our pots next to each other -- he's incredibly talented). He occasionally buys me a soda and always compliments me on my outfits at the end of the night, when I change out of my mud-spattered clothes. He loves music and recommends good concerts to me, and as far as I can tell there is not a single band in the world whose music he isn't familiar with. Sometimes he gives me rides in his SUV (one of several reasons we could never actually date). When a Boston sports team has a big win or loss, I think of him, probably watching the game from his front-row season ticket seat or perhaps from one of those huge, crazy sports bars I hate near Fenway (another reason we could never date).

Nonetheless, I am so very grateful for his existence. People are complicated and relationships are hard, and it's nice to once or twice a week interact with someone who you don't have a complex relationship with. Someone who you can pretend is perfect because you don't know him well enough to see his flaws, who you can put on a little bit of a pedestal and flirt with innocently, knowing nothing will ever come of it.

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