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ISSUE 120 VOL 6 PUBLISHED 11/3/2006

Everyday Amore: The Joy of Campus Crushes

By Jean Mullins
Executive Editor

Friday, November 3, 2006

You see them everywhere: at lunch in the Caf, while walking to your 9 a.m. class every Monday, while working out at your normal workout time at Tostrud, or in your Tuesday/Thursday history class. They are enigmatic – maybe you have never spoken to them, maybe you have only asked to borrow a pencil. You admire their style, their witty class comments, the adorable way they play with their hair or talk with their hands. You may be worried you are a stalker, trying to locate their profile on Facebook, attempting to glean information about them from your fleeting contact. You are not a stalker (until you are sleeping in the bush outside their dorm window); you have a campus crush.

Ground rules

Campus crushes are not ordinary crushes. You don't actually know your campus crush, you only know of them. Your communication with them has not gone beyond a little banter before or after class. Maybe you know their name, maybe you don't. These crushes are reserved for those people that you admire, but lust is too strong a description for your feelings. It is more innocent than that.

Perhaps you have found yourself saying to your friends, “This girl in my gym class is so hot,” or “I see this cute guy everywhere and we keep making eye contact.” That is a campus crush. It is anonymous: names and facts about their lives are an aside if you know them at all.

A campus crush provides a little extra motivation to show up to class, to look a little nicer than usual and to say something interesting or funny in discussions. A campus crush encourages you to put on some make-up to hide the bags under your eyes from all-night studying or to put on a clean shirt rather than pull a dirty, wrinkled one out of the laundry bag. Campus crushes encourage you to go out and be seen on campus in hopes that he or she will be there and you will finally meet.

But be forewarned: Once your campus crush becomes an acquaintance, he or she is no longer a campus crush. Perhaps your meeting with your campus crush has lit a romantic fire under your bum and your campus crush is now a full-blown crush, or your crush has dumped water on the fledgling interest you once harbored and is now just a friend or someone you met once.

Because campus crushes are so innocent, it is okay to have one if you already have a boyfriend or a girlfriend, as long as you do not touch. Once settled into a relationship, some find it hard to motivate themselves to put effort into their looks. The campus crush rekindles that desire to appear put together or at least pat down that cowlick.

Some may find the idea of campus crushes stalkerish and creepy, but be assured that they are much too innocent for that. As students we live lives of routine, a routine that gets monotonous after the first two weeks of the semester. Adding a little spice to life by having an anonymous crush that allows you to have an interest without the intensity of a real crush is an acceptable thing. In fact, many will find that they have had one at some point along their college path.

There are a couple variations on the campus crush:

The “Lesbian” or “Man” Crush

I have heterosexual girlfriends who develop a “crush” on other girls with great style or grace or wit. It is not a romantic sort of campus crush, but rather an admiration, gosh-I-wish-I-could-dress-like-her sort of thing. Maybe you think that other guy you see at the gym has really ripped arms and you wish you could achieve a similar effect. Maybe you wish you could rock the headband the way that girl in your art class does. And you really want to be friends with them to find out where they buy their shoes.

This qualifies as a campus crush because there is no communication, simply admiration from afar. If you actually meet them, then you would become friends, share all your fashion secrets or maybe work out together, but until then, they are your “Lesbian” or “Man” crush.

The Professor Crush

Did someone just hear Van Halen's “"Hot for Teacher?"” Your professor is so smart, says such funny things, and as it turns out, dresses very well. As the semester rolls on, you discover he or she loves children, adopts stray dogs, plays the bassoon, runs marathons. Now you might have a little crush on the professor. You are suddenly motivated to do the reading for class and ponder hopefully impressive, thought-provoking questions about philosophy, art, literature, science or whatever. You perhaps stop by during office hours to talk about a paper and stay on to ask a question about the previous week's lecture.

This crush is much more cerebral because you probably won't impress your professor that much with a new shirt. Rather, you strive to impress him or her with your intellect and dedication. Also, the anonymity can be one-sided: you know whatever the professor has shared with the class, but outside of your school-work, your professor likely knows little about you. Maybe they know your name. Maybe names are not their strong suit.

Tread lightly here, friends, because you can get in all sorts of trouble if this goes much beyond a campus crush.

The Next Day

So you were inebriated at the bar last night because it was your birthday. Your friends gave you a goofy “Happy Birthday” crown to wear and that cute guy who you had never seen before bought you a few drinks. You flirted, but it didn't come together at the end of the night. No big deal, except this is St. Olaf, where students are infamously awkward the day following a flirtatious night. Why can't we just accept that these things happen, acknowledge each other in the hallways with a “hi” and leave it at that? Instead you now see that cute guy, who you never saw before, everywhere. In fact, it turns out he is in your political science lecture. Well, just because you pretend like you don't know each other doesn't mean that you want him to think you are a slob.

So, just as you would for a regular crush, you don some lip gloss and try to say your most intelligent comment when you know he is listening. But this “crush” is really more about your own pride, making sure you still appear desirable, that those flirtatious looks were not the “beer goggles.”

You probably won't ever talk again, and that is fine. But you do have a little extra motivation to look a bit nicer and perhaps become the object of someone else's campus crush.

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