The Crush: (Not) Daydreaming of Relationships Future


The Crush: (Not) Daydreaming of Relationships Future2.24pm, Wednesday 22nd January
Oh, I had forgotten what it felt like to have a crush. The daydreams, the wistfulness, the magic, the near-blindness of it. Wondering if he meant to brush his knee against mine, and in the corner of my eye, did I catch him looking at me for just a moment longer than usual?

When I was twelve, maybe a little older, it was oh so fashionable to have a crush; to fancy someone. My friends and I would practically make lists, counting them off on our fingers as we waited for the bus. Several at once! And if you only had one crush, you must have it real bad, with all the appropriate swooning and the numerous notes passed across desks, not one of which actually dared bare the words “will you go out with me?” And then real lust kicked in, and crushes just weren’t quite as de rigeur as they once were, what with sex being a far more interesting subject, and yet a little more hush hush.

Much later, during that Summer when the teenagers of our little village had become so raucous the police intervened and banned raves across the entire county, we were far less virginal, and in place of bright-eyed lust, and shy, blushing crushes, we had a hunger for experience. An obsession with the superficiality of sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll; though we were ‘middle class’ so the sex was protected, the drugs clean, and the rock’n’roll auto-tuned.

After that, when we all went our separate ways, my romantic life took a more grown-up turn. I became Harper, and sex was sex, and relationships were supposed to be healthy, and I fucked up a lot, and one way or another, the logistics of it all became a bit serious, leaving crushes by the wayside. If anything, crushes were irritating! They made me swoon for no good reason, and instilled in me a nervousness I did not find becoming.

For the past year – since I started identifying as ‘non-monogamous’ in fact, – crushes have become both more complex and more simple. I don’t get them very often; I mean, I fancy my partners like crazy, but to me a crush is really that almost unattainable person who stands just out of reach, and smiles, and makes you nervous, and makes you aware of every inch of your flesh as you sit beside them. They aren’t necessarily the people already standing beside you; a definition I should, perhaps, have offered up at the beginning of this article. But I digress.

It feels different now. The conversations I would have to initiate in order to turn a crush into a relationship, are so much bigger. So much more complex. Asking someone out, now, is, potentially, asking an awful lot of someone. On the other hand, it’s easier to have a crush without expectations. Because of the potential difficulty of that transition, I’ve come to expect practically nothing. I might daydream about kisses, or somewhat-ill-advised fucking, but for the most part I get to sink into the pure, decadent joy of lust and conversation, without getting caught up in the “what-ifs” of the future.

09.25am, Thursday 23rd January
And, in the end, you may not wish to look too close anyway. Crushes can blind you to faults, and thereby allow you to indulge your imagination and your wishful being; as soon as you begin to wipe the mist from your glasses, there’s no knowing what you might discover. So perhaps it’s better this way, enjoying the love and support of my partners, and whilst sitting in class on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, I can still allow my thoughts to drift to other places, safe in the knowledge that he will always look better as I wonder, than he will when I know.


Harper Eliot is a writer and podcaster whose work mainly centers around eroticism and social observation. You can find an archive of work, and links to all her other projects, on her website Harper Eliot. Harper lives in London, but rarely sees her own house, spending most of her time on public transport, listening to podcasts and tweeting too much. Her vices include cigarettes, lubricant, Earl Grey tea, opera, nail polish, and pinwheels.


  1. Clarence Callahan on

    Nice writing, reminds me of my long lost crushes that I had as a teen. I was sure that it was true love, but it often faded because of avoidance and even rejection, but the fervor always produced those wonderful feelings. Excitement, sweaty hands, hesitant conversations, erotic thoughts all of which were wonderful as they would arise and then fade.

    I am now 70 and its been a long time, but occasionally someone will stir those long lost feelings and I leap back to the sweetness of teenage love.

    • It’s a funny thing, isn’t it? Because you feel like it’s so important and so dramatic and so wonderful and so horrible all at the same time when you’re a teenager… and even with less than 10 years hindsight, it makes me smile. But it is lovely to immerse myself in those feelings.

      By the way, it’s pretty cool to get a comment I can so relate to from someone so much older than me. Thank you for reading!

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