What You Can Learn From Your High School Crush

As a freshman in high school, one of my favorite pastimes was to drool over the senior guys. They seemed so mature and put-together. In fact, I nearly expected to see them on the pages of People magazine. They were like celebrities to me, and I wondered if they even knew I existed. It’s funny how life comes full circle sometimes, especially when you live in the town where you grew up. The other weekend, I was at the bar with a friend from college who was in town visiting. I noticed a guy staring at us for a while, and I finally took a closer look at his face and realized he looked familiar to me. Suddenly, I figured out where I knew that face from. My friends and I had looked lovingly at him as he glided through the halls of our high school all of those years ago. Seventeen-year-old me would have been freaking out. Twenty-five-year-old-me? Meh. Mildly amused.

However, to honor my former self (and for my own entertainment) I went over to this guy and pointed at him. I wouldn’t have dared do such a bold thing in high school. Actually, I probably would have blushed and darted around the corner to hide. Except now things were different. We were on equal playing fields. We both had jobs (I’m assuming) and had hobbies and had life experience. No more high school social pyramid. After my abrupt point in his face, I asked Senior Man his name. He told me. My suspicions were confirmed. This was the object of my affection from high school.

For kicks, I decided to strike up a conversation with Senior Man. I wanted to see what 17-year-old me was so infatuated with, besides his looks. Turns out the answer is not much. I guess this incident proves why you shouldn’t meet your heroes (or insane crushes) because dude was, um, less than compelling. He was more interested in staring ahead, occasionally laughing at his friends, and snapping his fingers at the bartender. It was seriously like an ’80s movie. Except Jake Ryan would NEVER have behaved this way. Maybe he was really drunk. Maybe he’s actually a dynamic, fascinating person. But I somehow think not. I’m much more interested in my boyfriend who has looks, as well as one-liners and the ability to impersonate anyone (especially Dave Matthews. Seriously. I’ll try to get a video sometime).

This incident brings me to my next point: my life idol and spirit animal Bethenny Frankel once said, “Don’t worry about being the most beautiful girl in the room, be the most interesting.” Amen, honey. My little encounter with Senior Man just reinforced this point. Pretty eyes and good hair and nice clothes can only get you attention for so long.  No one’s going to want to stick around if you have the personality of a glass of water. So many girls spend hours upon hours with their curling irons and their fake eyelashes, getting ready to go out. All of that is well and good, but when you’re out there, you have to have some personality too. And not some “This is how I think I’m supposed to act” personality. Be who you really are, regardless of whether it seems like this guy is looking for that. If he’s not, someone else is.

In reality, looks can get you attention, but personality keeps it. Whether you’re a guy or a girl and whether you’re looking for guys or girls, you have to have some fire. Be unique. Talk about your hobbies, tell funny stories, really, truly listen when the other person talks. While your appearance counts (of course) meeting someone you really connect with is also about having some depth to you, and being someone with something to say. People want to be around interesting, exciting, energetic people. This applies to any situation where you can meet a potential love interest. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in a bar, at Starbucks, or in class. Believe me, 17-year-old me would have snatched Senior Man up so fast. Present day me realizes that a sense of humor, goals, interests, and compassion are much harder to come by than just a nice crisp button down and a good haircut alone.

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