Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Crushes, continued

I probably could have explained myself better in my last post, but to respond to Amber's response, I suppose my main point was that I don't believe there's any use in dividing crushes into categories of authentic and inauthentic. Cultural and situational factors certainly do influence how much of the population one is primed to think of in terms of a crush. But since that's the case no matter what, how can it be that a prof-crush is artificial because it comes from young women's limited imaginations about relationships with older men? Isn't a young woman's crush on a man her own age just as much about seeing a world of limited possibility?

Time to get anecdotal: I never experienced the prof-crush as is now being discussed, just the less-racy phenomenon of prof-admiration. But I did switch from girls' school when I was 13 to coed school at 14. I remember that I was initially not sure what to make of all these boys, since from the perspective of a girls'-school eighth-grader, a boy is only relevant if he is a crush. I'd never had male friends, so the first male friends I did make I tended to think of in crush-like terms. Thankfully I soon got past that attitude. But that said, although I can today point to what was in retrospect a very obvious reason for why I formed my early high-school crushes, that they were situational does not mean that they were not actually crushes. They sure felt like it at the time, and who am I to argue with my decade-younger (gosh I'm ancient) self?

Because the question is, if those crushes were fake, when is a crush real, and not just a "model of behavior" adopted in error? Which brings me back to my original point, which is that the only time a crush 'counts' according to Amber's model is, by implication, when it forms on an appropriate, available target.


Amber said...

No, under my model a crush only counts if you actually want to jump him, as long as we're talking about young adults and adults here. If the idea of actually making out (or more) with your prof gives you the heebie-geebies but you flirt with him anyway, maybe your apparent crush is really coming from some other emotional/psychological place.

Phoebe said...

But there's a huge range from 'it would be icky' to 'it would be fun but shouldn't happen because it would not be appropriate' all the way to 'I want to jump him' territory. I'm thinking the prof-crushes that do not feel like regular admiration, but that are labeled "intellectual crushes," are coming from somewhere in that middle category.

Amber said...

I guess I don't see the latter crushes as being distinct categories. What differentiates them is not something intrinsic to the crush--it is an aspect of your reaction to the crush.

This is all wankery but I'm glad it happened, since it got me thinking about my entirely non-sexual admiration for my classics professor.

Petey said...

"If the idea of actually making out (or more) with your prof gives you the heebie-geebies but you flirt with him anyway..."

...then you don't actually have a crush on him.

Anonymous said...

Did you read that article in Harper's a while back - 'The Higher Yearning'