Friends, not to sound like the sage old woman in a Disney Princess film, but I am about to truly tell you about a tale as old as time: the girl crush.
It is a long tradition forged out of the social pressures to view other women as either competition, a source of jealousy, or a model of success to which we can never approach. The age-old question: do I want to be them, or do I want them; do I want her pants, or do I in fact want to get in them?
All valid questions, and just to prove it, here is a list of all the thoughts we have when blessed/cursed with our first girl crush (for some it is a genuine sexual awakening and for others, merely a way to simply enjoy the beauty of the fairer sex for a hot minute; both are enduringly valid)...
1. "God, she's hot" (swiftly followed by one of two responses, either:)
2. "Why can't I look like her?" - a wonderfully tough pill to swallow as bequeathed to us by our patriarchal predecessors that insist upon the fact that two women can't simply be friends without things getting catty or jealous /or...
3. "Wait, am I gay?" (yep, it happens to the best of us when we're minding our own heteronormative business and presuming that we're straight. When you see a woman so damn good-looking that you question everything. For this case, be kind to yourself, maybe experiment with what you do or don't like, and whatever you conclude, slay queen)
4. "Her HAIR!" - we love to hate our own hair; we see it on another person, boom - a goddess is in our midst. I'm not sure how the science of it works, but I reckon it's something about the smell and general glamour of it all.
5. "I'm not sure eyes like that should really be allowed" - you whisper this conspiratorially with your best friend as you compare your latest roster of crushes. Because, logistically speaking, eyes that blue with a yellow fleck just defy all laws of nature. You say this admiringly and in the vague distanced tone of looking at something at the zoo.
6. "... and she's clever too?" - you might think this is bitterness, but really it's incredulity, for you have lain eyes upon one of those MultiTalented People. We can't do anything about that, just bask in her glory.
7. "wait she's funny. That's it, I give up" - we've reached the boiling point of the crush, the peak of ridiculous attraction that you feel for a person will either solidify into something more substantial or fizzle away into apathy, or morph into jealousy. It's best to try to avoid the latter and continue the rallying cry of 'Girl power' as long as feasible.
8. "Have I seen a more fashionable, arty, and well-informed person in my life??" - we're in fully-fledged girl-crush territory here, folks. Now we're moving through the superficial looks and appreciating their tastes, hobbies, and interests. Even, perish the thought, their political inclinations become something of interest to you.
9. "They have HOW many followers?" - okay so apparently you aren't the only one with a crush on this Wonder woman, because (having, through no fault of your own, stumbled upon and gently stalked her insta) her 8000 followers also seem to agree. You feel strangely put out and yet vindicated as you press the follow button and dig your grave even deeper.
10. "Ew, that's the boyfriend? She can do better" - directly resultant of the insta stalk, you have concluded that the hapless male stood next to her in every fifth picture is an inadequate form of human life and is punching so far beyond his weight that he might as well be in space right now. No, we're not bitter.
11. "How is she so tall?" - again, at this stage the crush can devolve back into a fairly shallow jealous/admiring circle, or it can fester a little negatively as this woman unknowingly consumes you. Note, this stage doesn't tend to materialise if you know the woman personally. Learning about people tends to predispose one to be kinder to them and finding common ground - It can, however, risk the following...
12. "Am I in love?" - this is pondered at 3 am with no small amount of panic as you lie awake and unable to sleep. Have you gone and done it and fallen in love with someone. Idiot.
13. "Should I do something about it?" - we ask this question at all stages of the crush, and mostly early on the answer will resoundingly be 'no', however, there comes a point where, if the interest is genuine, that it's worth shooting your shot and seeing what happens. Respectfully, of course. We're all praying for you if you do.
14. "Fantasy stage" - whether you asked the goddess out and it didn't work out, or your attention slightly fizzled out, you may find the life cycle of your crush expiring and being filled in with mindless fantasies. Or simply because you're embarrassed at having liked one of her pictures from a family holiday 400 weeks ago. It happens.
15. "Fine, she's great, but I also like me, too". The perfect ending to a compelling crush, the recognition of traits that you admired in the person, that you shared, and all the flaws in between can often allow you a moment of perception and reflection on how you are as a person. Interesting, compassionate and open, and, generally speaking, great.
p.s. I know the heart is a foolish thing, but whatever happens, make sure you make your way to Step 15, even if you have to skip a few on the way.