I was young, and the feelings I had for these guys were rich and fun. I awed at the lives they lived, always on the road, always grabbing life by the horns, always active, though frequently into trouble, but I didn't care about that. Even though we never met, I knew them well. I had a crush on these guys, the main characters in my grandmother's favorite television show, Route 66. I think we all know that first crushes hit us at any age, and yes, I was very young for this one. But still, this admission really dates me.
Buzz and What's-His-Name were among a long list of crushes I had on people I didn't know. The fantasy of it probably made the crushes more exciting and more fun than if I, at such a young and inexperienced age, had fallen for someone I could actually talk to, sit across from on the teeter-totter, or shoot marbles with. That's one of the beauties of first crushes. They are whatever we make them.
For my oldest son, the light came on for a little girl in his preschool class. My other two sons seemed to watch a lot television programming for the Olympics at the time, but it turned out the attention was for gymnast Oksana Baiul. For my step-daughters, crushes came hard for the boys of New Kids on the Block, my memory tells me.
Crushes are a natural part of development, according to the online source KidsHealth. They're sort of an introduction to adult relationships to come.
"Crushes are a little bit like the romantic love adults feel toward one another. And in a way, a crush can help us think about the kind of person that we want to love when we grow up. They help us understand which qualities we notice and like in another person — and maybe a few that we don't like."
In my defense for falling for pretend people I'll refer to Kids Health again.
"You can't choose your crushes. Sometimes they sneak up on you and — wow — who was that?"
Another beauty of the crush on a stranger is the whole-body, out-of-body experience of it, minus any growly temper, bad breath, or inexplicable scratching we don't want to know about. That Hugh Jackman may pick his nose is unimaginable. Sure, Bradley Cooper sweats, but it's beautiful, glistening, and stink-free.
I didn't move on to real people crushes until fifth grade when a boy in my class and I proclaimed our love for each other. That relationship made my life worth living and lasted for most of the school year. He broke my heart when his family moved out of town.
I don't think we ever lose the attraction to people we'll never be able to enjoy a real relationship with. The larger-than-life unattainable guy we love to quietly lust after as we sit on the couch eating popcorn while our boyfriend or husband sit in a chair nearby. "No honey," we say, "I didn't notice his bulging muscles, take-care-of-it attitude, or amazing smile." And when he inquires about our irrepressible smile as we read a romance novel, he doesn't have to know that we're drooling over the hero's lazy drawl and amazing biceps and his way of creating a fireball in his massive hands. All of that is just some spice for us.
So I've spilled about my crushes, how about your first crush? Who was it? When you recall your feelings for that person, do you smile really big?