I’ve mentioned previously that I’ve had a crush for a while on someone who clearly has no interest in me. Furthermore, I now believe he has a girlfriend, one who is so 180 degrees different from me in appearance that no guy could be attracted to both of us if looks were a factor.
I could deal, except that I see this guy fairly frequently, and I end up either acting like a complete ass in front of him or doing my best to be cool, an attempt I think my kids would say is “awkward,” or the word “fail” would be involved.
This brings to mind a similar situation that was much more stressful for me, from when I was in my 20s. I was working as a freelance computer graphic artist when the agency sent me to work at Lotus to make slides. Lotus was at the vanguard of software companies in the ’80s, not because of its products, but because of the type of company it was. Apart from being the first company in the area to offer spousal equivalent benefits, they offered free soda…and tampons. They also had bona fide security, with swipe cards to get into your floor. My first day, I called for Scott, the guy I was supposed to work with, from the security desk, and was sent to the floor where he would meet me by the elevators and bring me in.
Though it’s 20-something years ago, I remember the moment we met, including what we were wearing, because we both had on the unlikely combination of green and black. But the truly memorable moment came when we made eye contact. His eyes were so blue—bluer even than mine— I literally felt an electric jolt, almost as if our blues had gone external and created a form of energy when they met in the middle. I don’t mean to be overly dramatic, but really, that’s how it felt.
That sparked what turned out to be a huge crush. Scott was two years younger than me, and I’m sure at 23 he must have thought a 25-year-old could have been his mother. I saw the girls he went for, and they were little things, and one thing I am not is little. I was not even on his girl radar. For him I was as sexless as a Barbie doll, my girl parts just stuffing that filled out clothing.
He and I worked together in a small office—just the two of us—practically sitting in each other’s lap, every day for a four-month period. Sometimes we had no jobs and spent the time gabbing, or creating animations with our software to entertain each other, or watching the construction site below, which was oddly poignant, with its mother and baby steam shovels. We philosophized and rambled, talked about our thoughts and plans for the future. We got along well, considering we breathed the same air for the entire work week, and often in the evenings with the rest of a small gang of friends.
My feelings for him grew uncontrollably, despite my awareness of the futility of these feelings. Only our friend Eddie was aware of the agony it was for me to be so close to the object of my desire day after day like that; he was endlessly amused by my plight. The worst of it came one night when the Scott, me, and the others were partying after work. We ended up at Scott’s house, where his roommates were having a party. None of us had eaten and were drunk and starving; there was no food in the house so four of us shared a tahini sandwich, giggling (as best we could) at how our mouths were all but glued shut by the combo.
We were all too stupid drunk to drive, so Scott had us sleep over. Since as far as he was concerned, I was as hot as his own sister, he said I could sleep in his bed with him. And I spent the night lying chastely beside the man who drove me mad with desire. He never laid a finger on me; he never even brushed up against me. I could have been a rock, for all he cared about the voluptuous form that lay, aching, beside him.
Next to that, having to say, “Hi, how are you?” through a stiff smile to this other fellow pales by comparison, now that I think of it. I can deal.