Crushes on Strangers

A Short Taxonomy of My Crushes

A Short Taxonomy of My Crushes
Credit: K. Sandberg/Vintage Collective

In the 1989 movie Say Anything…, someone tells our brokenhearted hero, “All you gotta do is find a girl that looks exactly like her, nail her, and dump her.”

Except I usually don’t do any of that. I just feel the flutter in my heart, and wonder why this person, of all people, made it happen.

Brown-Eyed Charmer of Indiscriminate Ethnicity

I dated this guy in college who was half-Mexican, half-German. I was nuts about him, and he broke up with me unexpectedly; for at least a year afterward I let him in whenever he showed up at my door. I finally kicked him to the curb (translation: He stopped showing up), but my heart still ka-thunks every time I meet some handsome, brown-eyed, brown-skinned man with an easy laugh.

Damaged Funny Man

It’s a perverse twist of nature that the more some comedian broadcasts his anger and emotional unavailability, the more I begin to wonder, “Is he single?” I don’t know who did this to me, or how much therapy will fix it, but I arrived at the age of 36 a smart, self-respecting woman who listens to Marc Maron’s podcasts and thinks, “This guy has real dating potential.” This helpless, irrational swoon is what I imagine some women feel around scruffy musicians or swanky alcoholic ad execs who smell of single-malt Scotch and afternoon sex, but I’ll trade you Don Draper for Louis C.K. any day.

Pretty Boy Who Could Pass for a Lesbian

This is ’80s pinup syndrome, in which my tastes in men were forged by musicians who wore eyeliner and hid any chest hair under cascades of silk ruffles. Bieberheads of 2011, I am your future.

Sad-Eyed Janitor

This crush is part white liberal guilt, part romantic fantasy that behind the bored demeanor of the hot blue-collar guy in a dead-end job is a hot blue-collar guy who reads Michael Chabon novels and would definitely like my cat.

Smug Know-It-All

There should be a name for the despair a woman feels when she has been accurately described in The Game.

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