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Having a crush is the only anti-aging technique.
Sometimes what doesn't kill you makes you linger
First of all, let me just say, having a crush is not a casual thing. It’s a full-time job. And it’s extremely time-consuming. And it’s not as easy as it may appear to some people.
A crush is a joyous, hopeful thing, wrapped up in the barbs of your romantic anxieties and uncertain reciprocation (the latter often getting undue attention). A crush can dominate your mental, emotional, and sometimes physical acumens. Horniness is plentiful and without discretion. It will make your anxiety heart-shaped. It will hijack your brain chemicals and toss them around like an egg. It is a sickening pendulum of hope and despair, fueled by the kinetic energy of horniness.
Having a crush is fundamentally inconvenient, which is how I can understand why most people don’t bother. Our society has moved past tolerance for any inconveniences, minor, major, or imagined, including the sexy kind. Everyone loves to extol the virtues of a hot girl something but in truth, I have it on good enough authority that not as many people be fuckin as they like to purport they are. We are all just thinking sexy thoughts and telling sexy lies.
However, in all the turmoil of our horniest anxiety — all the longing, the melodrama, the feeling that you’ll die if they just look at you — one thing remains unequivocally true: having a crush is the antidote to death. And I know, you’re like: how can you say that when having a crush feels like I’m gonna die? — but! BUT! That common feeling that you call “like dying” is actually perhaps the most alive you’ll ever feel.
I mean, if you think about it, we are all dying a little bit, all the time. And as time times on, we’re made more aware of how much more we’re dying than we were yesteryear. I’m not the physical specimen I was in my 10-years-ago youth or even my 5-years-ago youth. I am slower, more tired, less bendy, more rumpled, and white hairs have started loitering on my scalp to the point where I’m about to call the cops on them.
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Yet. Year after year, nothing puts a lil pepé in my cacio like a cheeky little crush. Makes me feel like my teenage self when my cheeks fill with the blood of crushing. You don’t have to do a crush with the absolute and inelegant clumsiness of a teenager. No, no, you can crush as casually and idly as you like, projecting your romantic ideal onto a hot stranger or random acquaintance. Like the local barista who gives you a croissant on the house. Or the dude at Whole Foods who gave you a lil smile in the cheese section. Or that hottie you shared a little sidewalk salsa with when crossing paths. Casually crushing is a very effective way to inject romance into your most mundane routines. It gives you a little something to look forward to each day when you would otherwise not have anything to romanticize.
Some people develop a distaste for crushing due to user error. They go at it too hard and let it take over and ruin their lives. Or they crush crush crush without doing due diligence of reining in their intrusive, catastrophic thoughts and rumination. Amateur moves. Remember: It’s just a little crush. It’s not like everything you do depends on them!
But the ideal level of crush, the point at which it optimizes your zest for life and joie de vivre, is somewhere in between romanticizing attraction and attempting to realize those fantasies. A crush thrives in ephemera; to have it realized would almost be taunting devastation because nothing vanquishes desire like satisfaction. Think of crushing like tossing a coin in a haunted fountain — just a minor ritualistic investment in the unknown. Its uncertain nature is the very bellows in its sail. It is the bell in your heart, threatening to break it with every ring. I mean, even in the depths of love’s despair, nothing is boring — even misery! Everything has weight, meaning, symbolism. Sometimes it takes heartbreak to remind you that romance is ageless.
And if you find yourself utterly uninspired by what and who is around you… well, you can flip the script. Someone out there (maybe multiple someones) may be crushing on you! This can sometimes be more potent than crushing (but also risky if you find yourself susceptible to flattery bias).
As a serial casual crusher, this is something that is fun to wonder, as all people who spend far too much time by themselves do. Am I someone’s source of anti-aging anxiety? Do they also overthink the careless things I say, or look forward to when they might see me again, or get anxious when I don’t text back immediately, and try to find the just right dynamic of around but not too around? When I look at them, do they die a little bit inside too? Will we both live to see it through?? After all, sometimes what doesn’t kill you makes you linger.