It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single, young woman in want of a boyfriend, must be in possession of a crush.

— me, channeling Jane Austen

I recently reached out to my social media circle for crush stories. I heard back from more people than I anticipated, and you can see reflected back in these recollections just about the entire spectrum of the crush. I even snuck a couple in myself.

These stories are in a random order. Names have been changed at times to protect the innocent and/or guilty. The ratings were assigned by me. The songs were offered by the crushers. Enjoy!

Note: this post is in coordination with HappiMess Media, a crush of mine. She is posting crush stories all month long, so be sure to stop by if you have not already. I am even sneaking one on there this month!

Armand – by anonymous

Soul-crushing: 3
Shallowness: 10
Song recommendation: “Haunted When the Minutes Drag” by Love and Rockets

I first noticed him in the hallways of my high school. I had recently re-read the Anne Rice Vampire Chronicles, and this boy was precisely what I imagined Armand to look like: a beauty for the ages whose tastes were ever-so-slightly out of place. Kind of classic-looking. He seemed sophisticated and carried himself with pride.

He had very long, brown hair that he mostly kept in a low ponytail. He wore simple clothing – usually jeans and a plain button up shirt. He had the biggest brown eyes you’ve ever seen.

I never knew this boy or any of his friends. I asked around a little bit and eventually learned that he was an opera singer, something completely foreign to me but totally consistent with Armand. I learned he was strong and fairly well known in our school weight lifting circles, also foreign but still consistent.

Two things happened to interrupt my shallow Armand fantasy.

We did not use the same parking lot, typically, which limited how frequently I saw him. But one day I saw him ahead of me down the long hallway to the parking lot I used, so he would arrive outside before me. While he should have just disappeared or perhaps been carted away in a horse-drawn carriage, I saw him pull away driving a garish Festiva.

Another day I was coming up the stairs from the parking lot to the school as he was walking with some friends down those same stairs. So we made eye contact as we passed each other, as was our wont. I heard someone on the sidewalk yell, “Hey Joe! You got your money?” He sort of laughed and said, “Why?” while still looking me right in the eyes. Making it clear he was Joe.

These things broke my heart in a way. My Armand, immortal and dignified, who I had admired from afar for so long now, had become Festiva Joe. We never spoke and I never learned anything more about him. I did see him several times after these incidents, and they always made me smile. As a good crush does. And then he was gone, presumably graduated and off to better things. My loss, I am absolutely sure.

Book Guy – by Casey

Soul-crushing: 6
Shallowness: 4
Song recommendation: “Falling In Your Sleep” by Faraway Martin

I first saw “Book Guy” during orientation my first year teaching. Technically, I first saw him in a news clip during the summer about an event at that school. This Enchanting English Teacher – because, duh, men who read books are sexy – had bright eyes, smart attire, a mysterious smile, confident walk, and very alluring voice.

When I was working on a reading initiative to hang in my classroom the first week of school, “Book Guy” knocked on my door. I froze. He was 1 gajillion times hotter than on the news. Simply Stunning. Could he become a work friend??? Or more??? As my mind projected matching Christmas pajamas, quoting Dickens under the mistletoe drinking tea, decorating the tree with our eight children, spooning by the fireplace as our arms and legs twined together, he said with a wink, “Heyyyyy, you’re new and I wanted to say hi and let you know I think we live in the same neighborhood so if you would ever like to grab a coffee, chat about school, have dinner, go bowling, whatever, just ask.”

My eyes are staring and my brain is spinning SURE! YES! Our first daughter can be named after your sister. Wait…coffee, dinner, bowling. “Um…thanks, I look forward to it all,” was all I squeaked out like blurb blurb blurb durr durr. He chuckled, turned to leave, and saw my reading project. “Oh, this book! Let me know how it ends!”

So, I took a “Flirt With Books” approach and brought him a different book by the same author, with a doodled post-it note attached with coffee time and day, and left it on his desk. The whole school year we worked together here and there on this and that. We made a great academic team because his poise always reminded me to chill out and enjoy learning alongside students. My Crush deepened.

We eventually had coffee and once we even carpooled, his invite! It was heavenly to share in his space those days. I even got a hug sometimes after work – and oh, his scent. I’m still crushing after all this time, as old as we both are now, and I am happy when he will pop up to say hello and ask how it is going.

He’s still energetic and enchanting to me and I hope to always know “Book Guy”, no matter where his literary wings take him.

The song “Falling In Your Sleep”, a new song from Faraway Martin, is about spooning and snuggling and all that other good stuff. The song will always remind me of the happiness I found my first year of teaching with and crushing on “Book Guy”.

Casey is an Award-Winning International Music Educator at an American Academy in Doha, Qatar. She loves to cook and travel and read. She is an educational design and classroom instructional design nerd. Casey falls in love with nearly everyone she meets, makes friends easily, and will intentionally cross the street to pet a dog. She has quite a bit to say about love, life, and loss – and she wants her nieces to know not to ever give up hope. Follow her on Instagram at Kathleen.Riley and to find out more about what she has to say about love, life, and loss, check out her teaching/travel/inspiration blog here: 

The Patient – by Deb

Soul-crushing: 2
Shallowness: 5
Song recommendation: “Sugar, Sugar” by The Archies

In 1st or 2nd grade, I used to walk to school with a neighbor boy who was my age. One day, he mentioned having to have one of his molars extracted. I thought that kind of dental work was very mature, so I had a brief crush on him. Nowadays, I like it when men can keep their teeth.

Brian – by anonymous

Soul-crushing: 2
Shallowness: 5
Song recommendation: “Always Be My Baby” by Mariah Carey

One thing I liked to do when I was younger was drive around town aimlessly with my mom. As I got older and developed crushes I would have her drive me past their houses. I’m a stalker, I know. Also I couldn’t turn 16 fast enough.

However there was one flaw with this plan. Brian lived on a dead end street. Yes. Stalker concerns to the max. What should we do, just drive right past and turn around at the end of the cul-de-sac?

Fortunately I did have a shitty workaround for this problem. He lived close enough to the end that I could see the house, and backyard, from the street that ran perpendicular to his.

He was 2 years older and eventually graduated and joined the Air Force. For some reason, though, he did come to my house once, when my parents weren’t home. I think I was giving him a tour of the house and we ended up in my parents’ room. We did share one brief kiss then but that was it. It was like turning around at the end of the cul-de-sac would have been. It was not great.

Wade – by anonymous

Soul-crushing: 3
Shallowness: 7
Song recommendation: “May I” by Into Another

Wade was a brown-eyed boy in my high school. He was a foreign exchange student, very serious, and he looked like a Calvin Klein model. He was so pretty I wanted to cry. I noticed him when our eyes met in the hallway between classes, which happened three times a week when he stopped at his locker and I walked by.

I am not sure why Wade noticed me. Believe me, I was nothing special in high school. But he did, and I was immediately planning our futures together.

By the time we actually determined to speak to each other and actually hang out, I had tried to orchestrate this fun group camping trip. My mom always had a lot of trust in me, and she convinced his host parents that this would be a fun, friendly, chaperoned camping trip (instead of just a few of us, unchaperoned). The problem was, it was autumn and cold and so everyone dropped out of the trip.

So I have my crush in my keeping on a Friday night, and I couldn’t return him because I lied about the camping trip. We went to the local Happy Chef (a diner) and drank bad coffee and cocoa while we talked and got to know each other. And then we went back to my house to sleep, so it was kind of like camping? Except I was mortified laying on my bed, not about to sleep, while he slept on the floor next to my bed. It wasn’t normal and fun like we conversed all night and stuff. No, if memory serves me it was dead silent except when my stomach would growl or otherwise make a noise to fill the vast open space between us. It was horribly awkward.

I drove him home the next morning. For some reason he wanted to hang out again and we actually ended up seeing each other for a little while. Maybe a few weeks, or a couple of months or so. We got a lot less awkward, but ultimately we were not a good fit.

The Tutor – by anonymous

Soul-crushing: 1
Shallowness: 4
Song recommendation: “Chesterfield King” by Jawbreaker

I had a crush on a math tutor and once the answer was “six“ and I accidentally said really loud “the answer is sex”…. So I guess that’s a Freudian slip?

Jimmy – by Stef @

Soul-crushing: 3
Shallowness: 4
Song recommendation: “Some Day My Prince Will Come” by Adriana Caselotti

Mistress told me she’d never had a crush before. Say whaaaaat??! She said she wound up being friends with or dating everyone she ever was mildly interested in, which, as many of us know, isn’t the usual trajectory of a crush.

Sixteen candles where the dad says, "That's why they call them crushes. If they were easy, they'd call them something else."

As for me, rare were the times when I wasn’t crushing on someone. Unrequited love was my jam. In high school, Gypsy and I made each other mix tapes titled Obsession that were devoted to dudes who’d never want us back. I worked harder on collaging the covers of these cassettes than I did ever at attempting to actually talk to these guys!

I wasted no time on getting disappointed in love: I was younger than five when I had my first crush. My family lived in an apartment complex, and all the kids in the building wanted to hang out with my mom. She was goofy and young, and she humored them; she made them laugh and feel important.

Jimmy was one of the kids who’d come over to our apartment to chat with my mom. He couldn’t have been older than nine. Not only am I unsure that I got even that vague detail right, I don’t remember anything else about him. Would I even recall how he looked, if it weren’t for a round-edged photograph of him sitting on my parents’ sofa with me beside him, gazing at him with shy adoration?

But I grew up with the understanding that liking boys was the thing to do. I was sold on Disney love from the get-go; I wanted to feel like a beautiful princess, and that obviously involved falling in love with a handsome prince.

More than that, though, liking someone was fun. It entertained me. It was something to strive for and gave me purpose, which, in hindsight, is unsettling. Did having crushes enhance my development as a person, or did it hinder it?

We moved when I was five, and I never saw Jimmy again. Google and Facebook won’t tell me where he is now or what he’s up to—I just spent way too much time trying to find him using the small amount of information I could remember. But maybe crushes are meant to go this route. So much time is spent, wondering what it’d be like to be with them. It seems fitting, then, to keep wondering about them, long after they’ve vanished.

Stef is an artist/writer/dog enthusiast. Her high-spirited, cartoonish art style incorporates bright colors, exaggerated concepts, skewed perspectives, mid-century influences, and zany energy. If she bursts out laughing while drawing, she knows she’s on the right track. She celebrates all things creative on her website, HappiMess Media, which features her illustrated blog and her webcomic, Produce High. She currently lives in Orlando, Florida, with her fiancé/honey bear and their 11-year-old puppy, Max.

Kyle – by anonymous

Soul-crushing: 7
Shallowness: 4
Song recommendation: “A Perfect Sonnet” by Bright Eyes

Kyle was interesting because I never got butterflies in my stomach when I looked at him. I just couldn’t look away.

I had a high school Photography class at the same time that Kyle would hang out in the common area with his friends. If I asked the teacher to let me go and get a soda during class, I could see him. So I did that sometimes. One of the times he even approached me while I was interacting with the vending machine. We said hi to each other and that is all, like idiots.

I also saw Kyle at shows (small, local concerts). One show in particular I wrote about in detail in my diary. He left his friends to go and sit next to me, and eventually they all ended up there around me for a bit. We talked only a little, but it was a kind of dance I suppose. I have it recorded in exquisite detail.

Another time we were both at a downtown cafe very late. We actually talked a bit, and I even tried on his fingerless gloves. We were really different from each other, but I was very interested in him. This particular evening I got to know him a little better and realized how much of a connection we really had outside of just chemistry. We were getting closer.

I knew Kyle’s family was planning a move, but there was a future timeline that I knew of. Then one day I saw him in the hallway carrying several books and some slips of paper. He informed me that he was moving more quickly than anticipated, and I let the dull realization of it wash over me while I stared at him, and his books, and his papers. I can still see him in this moment when I think of it.

I feel certain we would have gone out if not for the heartless variables of time and circumstance. I think he even called me once after he’d moved, but I was on a trip and did not have a return number. You win, time. You win, circumstance. You win, again.

Larry – by anonymous

Soul-crushing: 5
Shallowness: 3
Song recommendation: “Drop Dead Gorgeous” by Republica

Larry was clever and wicked, even as a young, young lad. I first met him the summer before junior high when we were probably thrown together by mutual friends and a mutual scene. Larry is one of my longer stories, and it’s hard to know where to focus. I have a thousand images of him in my mind. He faded in and out of my life over five or six years.

He faded in to chase me with hand fulls of peanut butter and ketchup and smear them all over my clothes, but also my hair. He faded in to set me up with a friend of his and then flirt with me endlessly. He faded out to date some random girl for a few months. He faded in to teach me guitar and steal my notes. He faded in to ask me why I always give him such a hard time. He faded out to attend a different high school than me. He faded in to take me to prom, equal parts tender and not wanting to be there. He faded in to put his arm around me and push my hair out of my face. He faded in to be my company on a long road trip, tangled up with me in the back seat to sleep and stealing me trinkets and candies at rest-stops.

Larry would fade in and out of my life over five or six years. Then one day he never really faded back in. He is happily living somewhere in the southwest with his own family. I like to think his adorable little kids have the sharp wit of their father.

Gary – by anonymous

Soul-crushing: 3
Shallowness: 3
Song recommendation: “I Try” by Macy Gray

His name was Gary. I was probably 19 or 20. I was going to technical school part-time and working full-time at a car dealership.

I became friends with one of my classmates, Todd. I remember he was obsessed with his car. He was nice and we’d get lunch together, sometimes alone and sometimes with other people.

He bought a duplex in a nearby town while we were going to school. He was going to live on the second floor with his friend, Gary, and rent out the lower unit. You can see where this is going.

Well I’m fairly certain that Todd had a crush on me. And he had a huge nose, strange mannerisms, and he’d often kinda froth at the mouth when he talked while excited.

One of the first times Todd invited me over, I think to watch a movie, I met Gary. Gary was cuter, sweeter, and funnier. We became instant friends. This did not make Todd happy. The next time I went over there was because Gary invited me. And then Todd decided to start being a dick to me. So that was great.

I spent the night there once, with Gary. Gary didn’t drink and I can’t remember where we had gone, but I got drunk. I remember laying in bed next to him and we talked most of the night. Things must have started heading in some sort of direction because I remember kissing him on the cheek and saying, “10,000 kisses” and then laughing.

At the time I remember we both thought it was really funny. But I don’t remember why. I must have stayed at his house again another night because I drove his car into my work for service. Poor Todd, he must have been pissed.

I don’t know whatever happened between us. Todd probably threatened to kick him out or something. Who knows.

The Campbell Soup Kid – by anonymous

Soul-crushing: 2
Shallowness: 8
Song recommendation: “Can’t You See I’m Soulful” by Eleni Mandell

I met The Campbell Soup Kid at a cocktail party I hosted at my apartment. In my early 20’s I hung out like a champion and I had a wide circle of friends and acquaintances that were a ton of fun. I only held a few different cocktail parties and they were all epic.

This was my first party. It was winter. A lot of people showed up, so much so that enough smokers spilled onto the sidewalk as to attract the attention of passers-by. One of those passers-by was The Campbell Soup Kid.

I gave him this nickname because he was so damn wholesome looking. He was wearing jeans and a turtleneck sweater. He had a goddamn matching scarf and hat. His hair was messy, and his cheeks were flushed with the exertion of riding his bicycle. He looked like the poster child for Winter in Minneapolis.

I was impressed that he would stop into a random cocktail party that he passed, alone, even if the friendly folks outside the apartment might have encouraged it. He tracked me down as the hostess and introduced himself, ensuring that he was welcome. I found him a clean coffee mug and a secret stash of whiskey and wished him well. We only spoke for a few minutes but he was nice and so handsome.

I always ended my parties early, much to the chagrin of the attendees. It can be exhausting to host and by 1 or 2am I was always done. Usually this involved a nice girl making the rounds saying, “Everyone is going to this party around the corner at [some random address].” My apartment would empty and people would make their way home after passing a dark house with no party happening. She is still a hero to me.

I forgot about The Campbell Soup Kid until I saw him sitting with a friend of his in a booth at a local bar a few weeks later. My friend Matt and I were “running the gauntlet” that night, drinking a pitcher of beer at each bar, slowly making our way home. So I was tipsy for sure, but I was fine. I chatted with The Campbell Soup Kid briefly and he gave me his number, asking me to inform him of any future parties.

I saw him again within a couple of weeks, this time in the morning at a coffee shop where I was also with my friend Matt, studying. At least this proved I could drink more than alcohol. I said hello, but I did a terrible job. My charm doesn’t really kick in that early in the morning.

Eventually some event came up that caused me to pull out his number and inform him of a party via voicemail. He never called me back, never showed up and was soon forgotten. I hope he remained youthful, forever riding his bicycle through the streets of Minneapolis in winter. They seriously need him this year.

David – by anonymous

Soul-crushing: 2
Shallowness: 6
Song recommendation: “Lovecats” by The Cure

I first saw David probably a year before we ever met. I would see him on the crowded bus as I went home from work. We would make eye contact, but it was always crowded. I’m sure we just wanted to get home.

One evening I worked rather late, working against a deadline. I finally caught the bus home around 8pm or 8:30pm.

And there was David. And an empty bus between us. I sat down for the ride home, but he immediately got up and walked toward me. He was a little unsteady on his feet, and I think he had been drinking.

We spoke for a bit, about nothing. When we got to my stop, he got off the bus even though I knew his stop was later. He wanted to get my number. We walked around a shop for a little bit longer, which only served to show how sober I was after all that work and how tipsy David was after all of whatever he had been doing. When I was satisfied he was not following me, I headed home.

I had given him my number, because our expectations get really low sometimes. We talked once or twice but nothing ever really happened.

I chose “Lovecats” by The Cure because it seems like the very thing that is going through all of our heads in those situations, like on the bus, but the reality is a much shorter, more disappointing song.

Crushes are year-round fun!

Please share your crush stories in the comments here! It’s so much fun! Alternatively you can send them privately to myself or to Stef at HappiMess Media. We will find them a good home.

But if I get at least three crush stories in the comments here then I will share at least one more of my own. Let’s make a deal!