Flashback. Ninth grade. My first day of high school. I remember walking into my world history class and noticing two things. First, what I thought was the scent of pine trees (I later came to discover it was the classic hippie scent of patchouli) and second, a tall, brown-haired, brown-eyed, and absolutely gorgeous guy that the scent was emanating from. His name was Kirk, and he was my first high-school crush. He was a senior, and, therefore, pretty much oblivious to my existence. But still, each day I looked forward to coming to that boring class, just so I could see him and gawk at his perfect face and his infectious smile. The memory, even now, gives me butterflies. Though nothing amounted from this crush—and I can count on one hand how many conversations I had with him that whole year—it's still a part of my youth that I cherish.
Tenth grade. My first day of Spanish class. A blond-haired, blue-eyed, surfer-type guy sat only a few desks away. I was sure he was a senior, but when he answered the teacher's question about age with "Tengo quince años," I realized he was 15 years old like me! His name was Todd and, suffice it to say, he was my new "Kirk." He was shy and adorable and completely clueless to his physical appeal to the female gender. This crush was so intense that I even had my mom sign a waiver to put me in advanced chemistry my junior year so I could be in his class. (Sad, I know. But hey, I'm a go-getter.) Again, all that resulted from this crush was friendship, but he was an awesome guy, so I can't really complain.
Eleventh grade brought my first crush on a younger guy: a boyishly good-looking freshman named Tom, who played trumpet in both the marching and jazz bands. The fact that he was a musician and played baseball and had a sense of humor completely won me over. We kind of dated, but neither of us was ready for a commitment so we remained friends and even went to prom together.
Why this trip down Memory Lane? I was feeling a bit nostalgic after a crush I had on a guy recently didn't pan out. High-school crushes were so much simpler. If you liked someone, that was the fun part! You doodled their name all over your notebooks. You felt chills when you walked by them in the hallway at that same time each day (that you had carefully choreographed to look coincidental). Sure, there were times you would get down about them not returning your feelings. But somehow it was one of those parts of adolescence that was more pleasure than pain.
Nowadays, in the "adult world," everything is different. If I like a guy now, he assumes I'm in love with him and want something heavy. But a crush doesn't have to lead anywhere—in fact, it's often more fun when it doesn't! And yet, every time I show a guy a little more than a passing interest, he freaks out. All of a sudden, fewer texts get replied to, and he's too busy to hang out. Hey guys: I don't want a relationship. I just want those butterflies. I want to recreate the thrill of seeing Kirk in world history class. Is that too much to ask?