By Richard Bleil
This has been a great weekend. This has been the weekend of the Renaissance Fair in Sioux Falls, my home fair. It’s small and intimate, and I had to miss it last year, so it has been a lot of fun.
It sounds very arrogant to say, I but I feel like a rock star at the fair. I’ve been with them for about fifteen years now (I’ve lost count) and volunteered to work for most of them. I know many of the organizers, ground crew, fellow volunteers, entertainers and I have many friends who attend the fair as well. And I adore all of them.
Truly, I do. They’re all beautiful, sweet, fun people. Well, they would have to be, wouldn’t they? They give of themselves throughout the year, work very hard to put on this volunteer fair for the entertainment of the guests, and let’s be honest, enjoy unusual things, just as I do. I truly love all of them.
But, there are those that have elicited stronger feelings. Yes, I have crushes, some small and some enormous, on certain women at the fair, and I had the opportunity to spend time with them. As I write this, I realize that I would call each of these women my friend, in the to even periodically spend a little time. I am familiar with their lives (some more than others), and for some of them, I am also friends with their spouse or significant others.
Let’s be honest about this; I have no chance with any of these women beyond friendship, and that’s okay. I honestly want them to be happy, and I’m glad to say that (at least for most of them) they are. But I thought I would take this opportunity to talk about what I have learned about crushes, and what they really are.
See, I’ve been afflicted with crushes (yes, afflicted, because I’ve been far too bashful to ever take a chance wit my crushes) for many many (far too many) years, starting with the earliest crush that i can still remember from fourth grade. Yup, I have been having crushes since before I was 10.
Crushes begin, of course, with some form of attraction. Typically it’s physical, but it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes there can be a common interest, or a personality trait, or talent. But, this attraction is, at this point anyway, superficial. The reality is that you couldn’t know the object of your affection well enough at this point, although the feelings are all too real.
If you treat her with respect, and work up the courage to actually speak with her, then you can get to know the person behind the crush. This helps to fill in some of the missing pieces. Some of my best and favorite friends have developed in this way, wonderful women who have shared at least some of their lives with me, and they are truly wonderful people. In these situations, this crush morphs into a friendship, and the type of love that friendship carries with it. In other cases, as I’ve gotten to know the object of my affection better, I’ve lost my attraction for her. It’s interesting how attraction can grow stronger or weaker (or disappear) depending on the type of person she is. There was a time that I thought my ex-wife was the most gorgeous woman in the world, but today I cannot see her as an object of physical attraction anymore since I have come to realize who she actually is. By the same token, I’ve come to truly love some women that I was not originally physically attracted to as their personalities came to light, and, yes, I have crushes on some of these women now as well.
But, even at this stage, I don’t know if, as a couple, we would be a good match or not. You see, I’ve never dated these women. I’ve become friends (in some cases very good friends) with them, and for some, I’ve tried to help them through some difficult times, but there is a distinct difference between being a woman’s friend and spending time with her in a more romantic fashion. I don’t know these women at their “worst” when they don’t want friends like me to see them, and I’ve never spent time sharing interests to see if their interests are even compatible with mine.
The reality, is that a crush is just a fantasy. You have some form of attraction, but even if you develop a history, you only know a part of who she is. What you don’t know, frankly, you make up. You fill in the missing pieces of your object of attraction with what you want her to be in your mind. She is your “perfect woman”, because you make her to be so in your fantasy world. She is not that woman. The proof is quite simple; if you think about your crush and the time you have spent in your imagination, you’ve never fought. She seems to always have the same tastes and interests as you do, the exact same interest in music and movies, the same interest in dates. This is not reality, and, in fact, it’s rather boring. If she were exactly like you, then you would have no opportunity for growth, no challenges, no chance to learn. Frankly, such “idealism” is not ideal at all. In very short time, you would fall into a rut, and the relationship would quickly stagnate and become boring.
Crushes are not real. They’re fantasy.
This would make a great ending point, but I would like to explain one last thing. See, I’m good friends with many of my crushes, and often with their significant others. I think it is safe to say that it is a rare feat, and many men don’t know how to convert such attraction into a true friendship, so it might be fair to ask how I’ve done this. The answer sounds like it should be simple, but, well, for many men it’s a difficult task.
Understanding the nature of my crushes, and realizing that there is little (or no) opportunity to be anything more, I come to the realization that I would rather have these women in my life as friends than not at all. I work hard to treat them as people, rather than as objects of attraction. I respect them, speak with them as people, get to know them and who they are. One of my first blogs, “Flirting with Waitresses”, dealt with this. In this day and age, I should not have to say this, but it seems like too many men need to hear it. Women are human beings, and wonderful people, not just objects of lust. Treat them as such and your life will be far richer for it.