One of my most memorable crushes from elementary school was one of conflict. I was in fifth grade and competing for class president. The night before I launched my campaign, my mom and I sat cross-legged on the carpet making posters and cutting out stickers containing my slogan: Haley Has High Hopes for Huff. I went to Huff Elementary. My hopes included nothing of note. I was sure I was going to win.
The problem was, I had the hots for my opponent. Thomas was cute, blond and British — a rarity in my school — and he was in a wheelchair after breaking his femur at a roller rink, which made him popular. We all signed his cast. A couple of my friends has crushes on him, too. We wrote his name in huge chalky letters in a nearby park: I LOVE THOMAS, read the asphalt, thrice and in a rainbow of colors. I made them swear they’d vote for me instead.
I don’t remember much about election day beyond the crushing news that I’d been defeated by my crush. I blamed his crushed leg — an obvious trump card — and used my loss as an opportunity to talk to him. We struck up a friendship, and a few months later, I was playing at his house when his pubescent brother called me into their garage and, to my horror, flashed me. And just like that, my crush was killed by association.
Crushes are weird. They can arise out of nowhere, often in spite of logic, and they can wither as fast as they grew. They can fill you with butterflies, drop you like a bag of sand, bond you to other people. They sometimes tap into the reptilian part of your brain and set up camp until something distracts you and you forget. They can be confusing, scandalous, telling. Or so fun you kick your legs in your bed like a five-year-old.
This month on Man Repeller, we’re going to explore crushes of all kinds: illicit ones, weird ones, edible ones, fantastical ones. We’re going to talk about the phrase “crushing it,” which might be the worst, and the term “girl crush,” which is curiously coded. We’ve got all kinds of crush content on the stove at Man Repeller HQ, but we want your suggestions, too: What would you like to read about on MR this month, crush-wise or otherwise?