Few things are free in this world. However, if J. Lo taught us anything, it’s that “love don’t cost a thing,” baby! In a world where going to the movies costs $13 and a new pair of winter boots can wipe out your “me money” for the month, gazing adoringly at the object of your affection remains one of life’s last free and simple pleasures. But is it, really? Unless you’re some anti-feminist who expects your sugar daddy to pay for everything, dating can really put a dent in the bank accounts of gents and ladies alike. Not to mention that relationships require a lot of emotional investment that can be stressful, a huge time commitment, and– in my case– pretending to know how to do attractive things like cook or wear matching socks (a charade which I can usually only keep up for about 3.5 days). But you know what’s not stressful, takes no time, and is totally fun? Having a secret schoolgirl crush. Inappropriate crushes are truly one of the last free diversions on this fine-but-costly Earth.
The best thing about having an inappropriate crush on someone is that, well… it’s inappropriate. The object of your unrequited admiration is unattainable, and you know it. You’re even fine with it. The only thing you want is to ogle some eye candy, giggle at every (adorable!) move he or she makes, and have elaborate daydreams about the two of you spoon-feeding each other Ben & Jerry’s while watching old episodes of Oprah together (well, maybe that’s just me). It’s all the fluttery feelings of actually dating someone, without any of the expensive bar tabs and “where are we going” talks! Recommendations for inappropriate crushes include: your teacher, your co-worker, a celebrity, that hot barista who is way out of your league, your mom’s best friend who you refer to as “Auntie Janice,” or your younger brother’s friend who you once referred to as “little turd” but now secretly refer to as “Ryan Gosling look-a-like.”
I myself have had two inappropriate crushes: the first on (curly-headed mumbler/Hollywood actor in such critically-acclaimed films as 13 Going on 30) Mark Ruffalo, and the second on Professor Enrique Villalba. Enrique was the Spanish History instructor for my college study abroad program in Madrid, and boasted such smoking hot attributes as: a baritone voice that seductively lisped facts about the Hapsburgs, nerdy glasses, a cowlick that made his hair stand up in the front, and the ability to look good in orange sweaters. He was the Harry Potter-esque, ESL historian of my dreams, and I spent many hours imagining he and I lounging on the beaches of Ibiza and then jetting off on his Nimbus 2000 together.
My friend and classmate Leyli felt the same way about Enrique, but I didn’t care because it wasn’t like I was actually dating him or anything. Another great aspect of inappropriate crushing– instead of competing with your friends for the few quality singles on the market, you can have fun with the fact that you both have weird, YA novel-centric fantasies about the same unattainable babe! Since Enrique didn’t understand English, Leyli and I talked openly in class about his sexy professorial style, saying things like, “Mmmm, look at the elbow patches on that cardigan” and “I love it when you talk Franco to me, Enrique!” We were almost like two dirty NYC construction workers objectifying a girl in a skirt, but instead our prey was an unsuspecting, bespectacled Spaniard (who, looking back, probably did understand what we were saying about him all along).
Which brings me to my one caveat about inappropriate crushes– while a fun, free way to entertain yourself, they simply cannot enter your real life. These crushes are called inappropriate for a reason– don’t step into the celebrity stalker zone or hit on your older, married teacher! Of course, Leyli and I learned this the hard way when we posed for our Spanish History class picture. As our fellow students lined up for the dorky, traditional class portrait, Leyli and I ravenously pushed ourselves on either side of Enrique, giggling and batting our eyelashes at him. This is what resulted:
You don’t have to be a body language expert to know that crossed arms and an uncomfortable half-smile have “borderline sexual harassment” written all over them. I speak from experience: fantasize about being a Harry Potter-themed triple couple with your BFF and your History teacher all you want, but please don’t openly catcall him in a language that you’re only 60% sure he doesn’t understand. Super awkward.
In conclusion, inappropriate crushes exercise your imagination, get those hormones pumping, and help you bond with friends. They’re much cheaper than an actual relationship, and way less stressful… that is, unless they get too real. Like a game of Dungeons & Dragons or a Renaissance Faire, what seems awesome in the context of a fantasy world just makes people think you’re a total looney tune when taken to the streets. So crush on– but keep it quiet, ya hear?
Photo credit: For the Record