It’s an elite group, Katie’s Crushes. Not because I’m picky (I am) or generally hate most people I encounter (I do), but because I’m so bewilderingly astute at over-analyzing situations that haven’t even become situations yet that the cutting room floor of Katie’s Crushes is littered with men who did nothing actually wrong, but instead unwittingly gave me the impression that maybe in some far distant future they might perhaps acquire the statistical potential to kind of annoy me.
I will play out an entire relationship in my head before even giving a hint that I might be interested in one, and invariably the scenarios end in bitter, jaded heartbreak for both parties. BECAUSE I’M SUCH A ROMANTIC. Only those men who give me a bit of hope, rather than the typical existential dread, make it to the List of Dudes I’ll Giggle About With My Best Friends.
Except part of that’s actually kind of a lie, because if there’s one thing I am really bad at, it’s having a poker face. When I play poker, and I get a good hand, I do this thing where I gasp, and wiggle my butt in my seat, and smile a toothy smile, and then quickly realize what I’ve revealed and loudly yell “I MEAN MY CARDS ARE TERRIBLE UGH WHY WHO DEALT THIS UGH THIS IS SO BAD” and then slam my head on the table. I am a hot poker mess. So it’s much more realistic to say that while I’m spending my waking daydreaming hours playing out our first fight, the first time I introduce you to my dog, the first time you start to wonder if my face actually looks weird or if you’re just imagining it (it does, it’s kind of asymmetrical), very likely what you’re seeing in real life are some tell-tale signs that I probably have a crush on you. I will outline them here, and then post this on social media, because I’ve forgotten how to have shame.
I will ignore the fuck out of you. I play crushes like the chillest of fifth graders. But it’s not because I have some long-term endgame in mind, wherein my ignoring you somehow reverse psychologizes you into being more interested in me because I’m aloof and mysterious and probably spent time in juvie. No, it’s mostly because I know that if I make eye contact with you, all of my face muscles – normally at least marginally adept at working together as a team – will suddenly panic, seize up, twitch uncontrollably, and jump the proverbial neurological ship as my brain tries desperately to cajole them back into formation. MAYDAY! MAYDAY! My upper lip screams as it dives off my face into a wonky droopy lip thingy. I DON’T KNOW HOW TO EYE ANYMORE, my eyelid squeals as it flops over my eyeball in a sort of unintended and extremely unsexy failed wink. Don’t be too flattered; you’re not so desirable that you’ve rendered my nervous system useless; just think of it as my anti-lock brake system, keeping the rest of me from skidding across the dangerous, ice-coated intersection that is my gift of speech. Speaking of which…
I will say stupider than normal things, at louder than normal volumes. Honestly, I don’t even really want to explain this one because it’s so depressing. I’m a pretty adept socializer. I’m good in large crowds, I can tell stories well, and more than once I’ve been paid to stand behind a microphone and be entertaining. Ain’t no thang for ol’ Speech Team State Champion Katie Sisneros, first place in Entertainment Speaking senior year of high school and first place in the hearts and minds of at least my mom and the ladies she talks to about me at work. But in the presence of a dude crush, I go into full-on nuclear meltdown. Lights flashing! Warning signs blinking! Radio transmitter spewing chatter from the control deck trying desperately to get me under control. NOPE SORRY IT’S TOO LATE, the night watch has fallen asleep at the controls and the whole system is just barfing out strings of unintelligible code. Sort of got lost in my own metaphor there. Um…my point is, something that I’d hoped would come out sounding like this:
Oh hey, Mister. That button-up looks great on you. Want to grab a drink? I’ll buy the first round and we’ll just see where the night goes, yeah?
comes out sounding a lot more like:
HEY DUDE-GUY. YOU’RE WEARING A SHIRT! IT LOOKS LIKE A SHIRT! DAMN FUCKIN’ SHIT FUCKS I’M THIRSTY! BUY ME A MILLION DRINKS. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAWHISKEY. WHAT EVEN IS NIGHT? WHO FUCKIN’ KNOWS?!
Did I mention I curse a lot when I get nervous?
Believe me when I say, I ignore you for both our benefits.
I will only work up a modicum of courage via social media. Based on a standard of logic adapted from infants and particularly stupid dogs, if I can’t see you, you can’t see me acting like a total dumbass. I will Facebook message you something inconsequential, perhaps inviting you to some event but more than likely making a really dumb joke about string theory to try to impart to you the fact that I am both funny and erudite and failing at both because who the fuck makes jokes about string theory. I will say “fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck” to myself repeatedly as I hit send, and then immediately regret not just that moment, but every single life moment before it that has led me to that particular point in time (which is all of them. I will regret my entire life). Then, although I have no real right to expect anything at all in return, I will assume you never want to see my face again if I don’t get a response within ten, maybe fifteen minutes. Oh my god how do I even function on a daily basis.
I will be floppier than usual. This is actually saying something, because I’m a pretty floppy gal to begin with. My arms are about three, maybe four inches longer than would be proportional, so if you look hard enough I kind of start to resemble a tall white skinny hairless gorilla wearing pants. I’m kind of an ungainly stomper, I think maybe because I’m assuming my legs are heavier than they really are? I don’t know. Also, my spine is like an unruly toddler. And don’t even get me started on my lack of control over my facial expressions. All in all, these variables equate to a generally floppy gal, like a rag doll or lady-Pinocchio. Enhance that with me having to keep my all of me functioning at a near-human level in front of a dude man boy crush, ugh. No way. Not happening. There will be so much stomping and tripping and elbowing of walls and something that looks like falling over but somehow I’m not hitting the ground…yikes.
something like this.
I will be horrifyingly honest. Let’s say you happen to corner me with my feelings. Somehow, in some unlikely but still possible scenario, you and I are sitting there talking and it suddenly comes up that I might have a crush on you (GEE I WONDER WHAT GAVE YOU THAT FUCKING IMPRESSION). I don’t know what coy means, and I refuse to look it up in a dictionary. Yeah, I do probably have a crush on you but like, what does ‘crush’ even mean? Do I think about us spooning while we watch The Critic on DVD? Yeah, I do. Do I imagine that you’ll agree with me when I suggest that it didn’t get as long a run as it deserved, despite its dated jokes and repetitive humor? Yup, that too. Do I secretly hope that you’ll grow so attached to my dog that you’ll reconsider leaving the relationship we’re not even in just because you’re afraid to let Henry go? Sometimes. Have I imagined blowing a raspberry on your belly? I must admit yes, that thought has crossed my mind. Have I already judged you based on what I have assumed would probably be your favorite Monty Python sketch? YES OF COURSE WHO DO YOU THINK I AM. Look, can we stop talking about this now? And all the while you’re just staring blankly at me, because all you’d actually said was “Hey, shitty weather we’re having, huh?” and somehow that just came tumbling out of me anyway.
But I like to think, thanks to the Powers Vested in Me By the State of Being a Girl, that all of this will still somehow seem adorable.
–Katie Sisneros is only 65% exaggerating.