Thursday, January 26, 2006

A livejournalesque post (complete with evasive second-person)

I’m a huge fan of “I used to like you.” For those not familiar with the concept, it’s when you confess a crush retroactively. The genius of “I used to like you” is, of course, its ambiguity. Does it imply a “…but not anymore,” or is it a cowardly confession of current interest? It is, in either case, a way to reveal a crush while making it perfectly clear you are no longer pursuing this individual (whom you never were, in any visible way, pursuing). By the time of the “used to like you” announcement, even if any interest remains, it’s subsided to the point where the previously distance-only object has become just another human being, from whom no possible response could be that interesting. Everybody wins, a net gain in flattery without any significant concerns of rejection.

“I used to like you” is ideal for the following situations: the person does not share your sexual preferences, religion, rung on the ladder of attractiveness, or, for people plugged into that sort of thing, social status. Or, better yet, all of the above. You would never have approached the object of desire in the first place; this was part of what made the crush so much fun. There was no danger of anything happening, while there was plenty of danger that, had the interest been reciprocated, you’d have lost interest entirely.

Stuyvesant High School is home to one of the great—if not the great—traditions in the “I used to like you” genre. At the end of your senior year, you and many of your classmates put up “crush lists,” lists of everyone you liked during high school, right there in the lobby for all to see. Teachers make cameos on these lists but, thankfully, do not put up their own. It’s a chance to find out which of your classmates are the most desirable—a revelation to no one by that point, as Stuyvesant’s conventionally-attractive population is notoriously minute. But more importantly, it’s when you learn something which will matter into adulthood: What do all these people you like have in common? Or, what’s your type?

I did not reflect upon my own list, other than that it was very long, very embarrassing, and very heterosexual (my preferences; the boys on the list were another story). A girl I barely knew, a junior, glanced at my list and informed me that I had “a geek fetish.” Yes, at the dorkiest school in the city if not country if not world, I preferred the geeks of the bunch. To defend myself, I should note that Stuyvesant had a large, silent population of still-geekier geeks, the kids who ran home right after school, too inept socially to join debate or science olympiad, on whom it would be very, very difficult to form a crush. In my defense, my crush list included only one of them.


Nick said...

Phoebe, you had a geek fetish in college, too.

Phoebe said...

Oh no, Nick, how dare you reveal my deepest, darkest secrets to all these many internets!

Gus Van Rant said...

Phoebe, I have a crush on you now.

BlogFighter said...

I dunno... but "I use(d?) to like you" kinda seems like a bitch move... anyone else agree?

Alimdar said...

Maybe this is too late to be commenting, and maybe you won't even look this far too see this, BUT TODAY WAS SENIOR CRUSHLIST WEDNESDAY AT STUY! is extinct and now, no one has anyway of really seeing who put who on whose list! So i don't know, i sort of figured that there would be an alternate site up to put up the crushlist but no, i came to your blog instead. the tradition is still running!