Friday, 17 December 2010

My School Crush

Way back in my second post I wrote about my slow start to dating and interacting with girls/women in general, and I briefly mentioned the one girl whom I'd sat next to in school for any length of time - but to me at that time she was so much more than that. My imagination for blog nicknames must be faltering because I'm going to call her My School Crush.

I'd had other crushes at school, generally one per year. For the most part it was an enjoyable experience - I would feel a rush of excitement when I saw them and even more so if we had any kind of interaction. They would brighten up the day. My mind may have invented my attraction to them for exactly that purpose. I never told them or tried to get closer to them - I'm really not sure what I would have done had one tried to get closer to me.

My School Crush was the last of the lineage and started out in much the same way. I admired her from afar and assumed that this would be the extent of her involvement in my life. But times were changing. I was gradually changing - rather than being 11 or 12 I was 15 and starting to learn (later than most) that talking with girls wasn't such a strange thing to do. My School Crush happened to be in three of my classes - Maths, Science and Economics. I can't quite remember how it happened, but occasionally I must have actually talked with her and got to know her a bit. It probably helped that we had a Mutual Friend in the Economics class - a guy who was much more adept at socialising than I was.

But the big development was to come in our Maths class. Maths had always come quickly and naturally to me and I'd flown through it all the way through school. For the last few months of our two years together as a class, the teacher (who was very keen on maximising the exam marks of his classes) split the class into the Nine top-achieving-kids-to-push-even-more and Twenty-odd kids-who-would-do-OK-but-weren't-worth-bothering-with-too-much (maybe I'm doing him a disservice but it did seem a bit like that, particularly to a friend of mine in the Twenty section.) I was in the Nine and so was My School Crush. Before long I ended up sitting next to her and she would ask me questions about our work. Finally it was paying off to be good at Maths! Test scores and praises and prizes are one thing, but an attractive girl being interested in me (in some way at least) seemed rather more valuable at that point!

I wasn't normally a massive fan of school or of organised learning in general, but funnily enough I really looked forward to those lessons. I was lucky enough to be at a point where I didn't need to worry too much about the actual work and I could concentrate on soaking up this intoxicating new experience. The more time I spent with her, the more I liked her. This was uncharted territory for me - my distant crush was suddenly right up close and even more attractive than before. I had no idea what to do next. I needed more time. I really didn't want those last few months of Maths classes to come to an end. But, of course, they did.

The summer holiday came and went. I knew that our classes would be changing around completely on our return in September. I would be going into some kind of even-more-Maths class and I hadn't seen her at the induction for that. But as far as I knew we would both be taking Economics again (as would our Mutual Friend) and there were only to be two different Economics groups.

I bumped into My School Crush on our first day back and we compared timetables. Bad news - she and our Mutual Friend were in one class and I was in the other. I couldn't switch without changing my other subjects drastically. I still remember that moment of sinking realisation. She said "Well then, I guess I'll see you around." All I could think of to say in reply was "Yeah, see you around."

I did see her around occasionally, but less and less. I made an effort to speak with her at those times - it may have been obvious that I was trying a bit too hard to keep some kind of connection. It never really looked likely to work. I debated whether to tell her - without being quite sure what to say - but often she had a boyfriend, which made it seem inappropriate, and at other times I came up with other ways to talk myself out of it.

...but one day she and I were walking, just the two of us. We were walking through some kind of forest and we came to a clearing and I thought: I should tell her how I feel. Here and now. As we faced each other I started to speak but she simply put her finger up to my lips and said "I know." And then she kissed me. It was wonderful and I felt so full of happiness...

And then I woke up. Waking from that dream and realising that it hadn't actually happened left me in a bad mood for most of the following day. These days I like the idea of trying to enjoy having had the dream rather than begrudging reality, but at that time it felt like I'd just had my greatest wish granted and then almost instantly snatched away.

As time went by and I saw her less and less, the Out Of Sight Out Of Mind effect gradually took my thoughts away from her and readied me for the fact that we wouldn't be walking around the same school forever. By the time school finished I was ready to let go of My School Crush and free my attention for my impending move to university. Apart from a fleeting glimpse in a local shopping mall the following summer, I never saw her again.

...Well, I've never seen her in person again. But now it's 2010 and Facebook has firmly established itself as the way to sneak a peek at people from one's past. About six months ago I finally started to enter her name into the search box and was briefly shocked when Facebook flashed up her photo to me before I'd even finished! She doesn't have an unusual name - how on earth could Facebook know that out of all the possibilities in the world I was looking for her? Then I realised why it had given her priority: we've got a mutual friend - a different guy from our old Economics class. I haven't seen him since school either and I wouldn't claim to know him at this stage, but he sent me a friend request two years ago and I accepted (I had decided to accept any requests from people I'd known at some point even if we hadn't stayed in touch.) So that's how Facebook knew. I think I preferred the magical mystery actually.

So, here's what I'm wondering: I'm tempted to write to her and let her know that fifteen years ago I had a big crush on her and that she brightened my Maths lessons to the point where I wanted them to keep going. Would this come across as a nice thing to hear, or would it seem creepy? Of course, I could contact her and not mention any of this, at least at first, but that option doesn't appeal to me. I like the idea of using Facebook to say the things I never said to people in the past - I've already used it in that way several times (not in terms of confessing to crushes though.) I wouldn't be expecting great things to come from writing to her - I guess ideally I would be hoping for an acknowledgement of my message, and that would be fine. But I wouldn't want my message to be uncomfortable or worrying to read. What do you think? Nice message to receive or creepy guy giving too much information?

17 comments:

  1. Gosh, you really do think things through don't you. What's the worst that could happen? She doesn't respond and thinks of you as some face book stalker, so what you make the effort once and then leave it at that. There is a good chance in fifteen years she has got married and had children and is completely happy so she may not respond, mind you she may not have. My ongoing/offgoing relationship was after seventeen years and she had been married but wasn't happy. And she tracked me down through facebook. If you do meet up with her perhaps there won't be that attraction anymore fifteen years is a long time. Just do it, sending her a message saying you remember her from school and how is she doing, won't cause any harm - ask her what she is doing, is her work related to the studies you shared. Don't expect too much and you will be fine

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  2. Hm, tricky one. I agree with Toni that you've got nothing to lose really. I'd start off with just a friend request and see how it goes. If she accepts and doesn't say anything, then maybe not. If she seems friendly and wants to catch up, might make a joke about having a big crush on her then. I can't decide if facebook is saving the planet or turning us all into stalkers! Good luck :)

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  3. Did you stalk what info you could out of her? As these two chicas said, it can't hurt, but I wouldn't even start with a friend request. Just a funny and random message out of the blue, saying hi and casually mentioning the crush. Accompany that with the friend request.

    Here's an example:

    "Hey ____! Wow... 15 years later and still looking great- what's the secret? Oddly enough I was just thinking of you recently (listing out my biggest high school crushes, of course) and then saw you on Facebook. How's everything going? Married? Kids? I'm [basic info on you]. Have a great Christmas-
    Matt
    PS need any help with your math homework?
    Copyright Caleb Shreves 2010.


    That'll do it. Most likely she liked you too and will be excited to hear from you!

    And if not, eh. There's lots more out there.

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  4. Toni: you're right, I do sometimes overthink things and this whole question is not a big deal. I was curious to see if anyone would write a comment like "if I read a message like that I'd run for the hills" but nobody has so far...

    Lifebeginsat30ty: Uh-oh - there's that word "stalker"! Hoping to avoid that tag but maybe it's already too late! I find that friend requests often get accepted with no comment back - even by people I thought I knew quite well!

    Caleb: I like your message - totally out of character for me, but nicely written in terms of being upbeat and light while including what I wanted to say. Don't worry - if I copy it verbatim I'll leave your copyright message on the end - an extra talking point for her reply!

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  5. I like what Caleb wrote too - it just sounds so unlike anything which I would actually write! Maybe I can come up with a cross between Caleb's breezy humour and my overly serious and literal style. But first I'm hoping for more votes on nice vs creepy. If you received a less well-written and funny version of Caleb's message, would it feel nice or creepy?

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  6. I've had a lot of guys stalk me - I mean write me on Facebook. ;) They were only creepy when they said things like: "Wow. You look hot. Do you still smell like vanilla?" (I swear someone wrote me that). But if they just wrote something nice and told me I looked good and looked like I was having a nice life... that was really nice and flattering and made my day. Another true story - my old Girl Scout leader wrote me the other week to tell me that she has thought of me over the years and happy that things seemed good for me and that I was so beautiful. Seriously, it was a bit weird but it so made my day. Random and unsolicited compliments are always nice.

    I don't think that admitting to a crush would be too bad - although maybe you could save that for a second note - after she writes you back.

    I actually think that Caleb's note would be better toned down. Like don't ask her about her personal info if she's married - you will be able to see all of that once she friends you.

    Let us know what you decide!

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  7. Thanks for your input - it's good to have examples of the line between complimentary and creepy! I can see the sense in leaving the crush stuff for a second message, but then if she doesn't reply to the first then I won't get to say it - but then maybe if she doesn't reply to the first then it was best not to say it anyway? I know I'm putting a lot of thought into this - I guess I've just got a bit of time on my hands at present! The outcome really isn't a big deal.

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  8. Send a Friend request and see what happens. She will probably accept - if she remembers you. Follow up with a fun/funny, short message, asking how she has been. If it develops into a proper dialogue you can flirtily mention the crush. This is the only context you should do this. Otherwise it might be a bit daunting. She may have a boyfriend, husband, family too.

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  9. Welcome Rebecca - thanks for sharing your thoughts. It's starting to sink in that there's unanimous agreement that mentioning the crush in the first message is a bit much. I'm not expecting to remain in touch with her or anything, but I guess that's no reason to be too intense in a message out of the blue.

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  10. BTW - I'm curious about your cute tall friend that you mentioned in your comment on my blog. Esp. curious about what criteria he didn't fit. It was a rather tough list...

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  11. I loved Caleb's note. I think a friend request accompanied by a nice note mentioning your major crush on her during Math class is totally appropriate - just make sure you don't sound stalkery or desperate. What I like about Caleb's note is that he suggested you lead into what you were doing. I would say to make sure you sounds really positive about where your life is and upbeat. That should definitely do the trick! Can't wait to hear what happened :)

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  12. Good call, simply. Upbeat and positive are the keys!

    Also, the suggestion to get all the info you can from her FB profile is a good one, but sometimes it seems weird when people know stuff about you through your profile. Like, did you read every thing on my page and look at every picture you creeper?

    And you're right- my note was probably out of character for you. It's hard to put yourself in another's shoes to suggest a type of approach!

    Just use some of your self-deprecating charm and sensitivity and you should be fine.

    Maybe these girls here can give you some pointers- they probably know what would seem creep/nice to them!

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  13. International Woman of Mystery: he's a great guy, but he's said he doesn't want kids, and he's not really career-driven. And he lives on the west coast, so not too convenient for Boston. He reads this blog, though, so I'll ask him if he has any plans to pass through your neck of the woods in the near future!

    simplysolo: Thanks for your thoughts - I definitely want to err on the side of nice, and well away from stalker/desperation territory! Positive and upbeat sounds good. I have no great expectations of what may come of this - I just wanted to say what I never said at the time, and ideally to hear that the message reached her.

    Caleb: I know it's hard to come up with ideas for someone else - I know I couldn't write crazy shit half as good as yours! We English are well-trained in self-deprecation - it's the only way to go when we can't win at any of the sports we invented. Creepy/nice votes are my main aim with this post, whoever the commenter - could some girl creep you out if she sent you a weird enough crush message?

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  14. I would definitely message her on facebook and mention your crush. Be sure to do so though in a very gentle and light-hearted manner (I also very much like the way Caleb formulated the message). Doing so will allow you to come across as sweet and endearing as opposed to creepy. I see no harm in letting her know that she was once someone you crushed on. If someone in a situation like this sent me a message like the one you are contemplating, I would probably be flattered and not creeped out.

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  15. Okay Matt, so I'm a little late commenting and too lazy to read all of the previous comments, so sorry if I'm duplicating anthing... =)

    1. Don't just send her a friend request - I hate RANDOM requests, even if we shared costumes in the school play.

    2. Do send her a brief "hey" message. Keep it light hearted and to the point. Nothing too corny and for goodness sake, don't mention the crush. Not yet.

    3. Don't dig too much with this first message, or divulge too much. There's nothing that is more of a turn off like hearing about a guy's messy divorce, his bankruptcy and how he's always liked me all in one intro message.

    Take it easy this first round of contact.

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  16. Michelle: Welcome and thanks - that's how I would be hoping to come across. I hope that she shares your views on this and that she'll receive it in the way which you've described!

    MyDatinghangovers: Welcome - glad to hear your thoughts. It's never too late to comment - that's kind of the theme of this post after all! I'm with you on skipping the friend request and keeping the first message quite light, but I'm still tempted to mention the crush because that's my main purpose here - I don't expect that we'll keep in touch and I'm not expecting to date her or anything.

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