I just left a message for a friend where I talked about how I was easing myself out of a crush: "It's funny how a crush can be fun and scary at the same time."
I am so thankful that I don't get crushes like I used to, back when I was in my teens and 20s. I used to pick a guy—the less attainable the better—and tell myself that life was not worth living unless he returned my attraction. On some level, I knew that I had chosen the wrong person, but I felt totally helpless to control my feelings. Eventually I would realize my folly and my whole world would come crashing down—until I could find someone else and restart the cycle.
Now, in sense, I've gone the other way. If I take an unrequited interest in someone, I tell myself that I'm just going to enjoy the feeling and not expect anything to come of it. It's a clear improvement: Saved from my youthful nihilism, my feelings aren't as intense, plus God lets me know sooner, and more clearly, that I'm on the wrong track. But there remains danger, both earthly—that I can gain a false sense of security—and divine—that I can lose sight of what's really important. The latter is especially on my mind right now because I'm finishing C.S. Lewis's The Pilgrim's Regress, where Lewis introduced his now-familiar assertion that if one tries to hold onto any joy, it becomes an idol.
Another good reason for me not to have crushes these days is that I haven't written a good song in two years. What's the point of having a crush if you can't get a good song out of it? Some of the best songs ever written are based on real-life unrequited affection—like the Left Banke's "Walk Away Renee." Blonde dancer Renee Fladen went out with pretty much every member of the group except for 16-year-old Michael Brown, so he captured his feelings of resignation in poignant lines about empty sidewalks. Then he further immortalized Fladen with "Pretty Ballerina" and "She May Call You Up Tonight"—all without ever dating her.
I wonder what a Brooklyn teen like Brown would do today if he longed for a stunning, unattainable girl who dated all his pals. Probably confess it on his blog.