December 4, 2011

Girl Crushes

[Author's Note: I originally wrote this post in mid-June.]

Step 1. Tell someone I’m questioning my sexuality (see a future post on how this goes)
Step 2. That person asks if I have a crush on a girl
Step 3. Tell that person, “No.”
Step 4. That person asks if I have ever had a crush on a girl
Step 5. Tell that person, “I don’t know.”
Step 5½. Sound stupid.

The questioning process has raised well, a lot of questions for me. I’ve spent a lot of time examining past crushes (on boys) and past friendships (with girls). I’ve thought about my current friendships, with both boys and girls. I’ve wondered about the many (female) role models I had while growing up.

All of that said, I can’t actually tell you if I’ve ever had a crush on a girl. Maybe it sounds ridiculous for someone who has never had a crush on a girl to be questioning her sexuality. In fact, I remember the first time I told someone I was questioning and they asked me about my crush history. I knew it didn’t really add up. But not having crushes also doesn’t really add up.

So I thought that maybe I had crushes that I just didn’t recognize as crushes, for whatever reason. Maybe I experienced the same feelings that others experience when they’re crushing on someone, but don’t call it a crush. Maybe I had a crush on a guy at some point, but brushed it aside. Maybe I had a crush on a woman and didn’t know because I wasn’t open to feeling those things.

Well, I feel pretty confident that I haven’t recently had a crush on a guy. I have a little more experience with those, and think I’d recognize it as familiar (for instance, five year old Risa was pretty fond of her brother’s 3rd grade best friend, Kyle. And if you're wondering, recent facebook stalking has proven that five year old Risa had great tastes and a keen ability to project future looks).

On the other hand, all of my friends who are queer women have told me that after coming out they realized that they had a crush on such and such a person (or x, y, and z people). But I don’t really know how I’m supposed to know that. I don’t remember ever feeling sexual attraction for my childhood best friend(s) or any other woman in my life—but admittedly, I wasn’t super open to the idea when I was younger (since I thought I knew I was straight). I don’t know how I’m supposed to remember exactly what that friendship was like, so many years after it dissolved, and I don’t know how I’m supposed to know whether whatever those feelings were would constitute a “crush.”

What does it even mean to have a crush on someone? There are tons of people (both men and women) in my life about whom I am crazy. With all of these people, I am invested in their lives, they make me laugh and smile, I’m always excited to see them, I like talking with them, I trust them, I admire and respect them and I want them to have a role in my life for as long as I live. Would I make out with those people? Yeah, probably, sure, I guess; if they started it. But I don’t have any desire or need to do that with them. “Yeah, probably, sure, I guess; if they started it” isn’t exactly the kind of attitude I imagine someone having about a crush.

This exercise of reflecting and examining left me without many answers. And then I read this blog post by a woman who realized what all of her past relationships were missing: “The Ripping Off His Clothes Factor.” She dated a guy who she loved to be around, talk and laugh with, but with whom she didn’t have any sexual chemistry. Now that she is dating another man, one with whom she loves to be around, talk and laugh with, and for whom she has a desire to rip his clothes off, she understands that the personality characteristics aren’t enough on which to base a relationship. (Apparently) there is more to a crush than thinking someone is an amazing human being who compliments you in life. Her wisdom led me to conclude that all of these amazing women in my life are just that—wonderful women and fantastic friends—and that the few men in my life with whom I am close are some of the best friends I could ask for.

So, have I ever had a crush on a girl? Not that I know of.
Have I ever had a crush on a guy? Yes, but not in years.

Which, in short, is why I’m “questioning.”


  1. I like the point you made about crushes! It's always something to analyze and as humans we naturally try to sort things (not necessarily for labels, but if only for consistency sake) and then you start wondering, "Are these the same feelings, should I hold his/her hand, what should it be like to go out to this place, would I enjoy spending time doing nothing together with him/her.." Pretty soon the game becomes more about what you "should" be feeling, or what the "right" or "specific" feeling is, and less about the fact that you have a bond/attraction, etc. to this person. The older I get the more I realize that as soon as I try to verify what means what with romantic emotions, sometimes I get even more lost. Sometimes you just have to go in cold, and hope for the best. And that part is definitely the hardest!!

  2. Risa!!!

    Awwwww. This post is great! It made me laugh out loud (again) after reading parts like, “Yeah, probably, sure, I guess; if they started it” isn’t exactly the kind of attitude I imagine someone having about a crush."

    I remember when you showed me the "Ripping his clothes off factor"-and I really like that article, I think it makes a great point!

    Thanks for putting yourself out here on the blog and sharing such personal insight and experiences. :)

  3. Such cool perpective you have, RI (even if it's a mindfuck for you ;) )

    I've been waiting for this to be posted forrreeevvverrrr. I'm going to make "Step 5 1/2" a Thing.

  4. Yay Risa! I thought this post was really cool, you display a unique perspective, which is really cool to read. You should definitely do this more often.