Tuesday, December 06, 2005

She's So Fine: The Anatomy of a Girl Crush And Other Issues

I got the picture for the post from "Boyfriends and Girlfriends",a k a "L'Ami de Mon Amie; My Girlfriend's Boyfriend". 1987 - France - Romantic Comedy/Comedy of Manners/Urban Comedy.

This post is very important to those who have issues that they cannot just wipe off with their Kleenex tissues.

Beware of the consequences of fatal attractions such as falling in love with psychos or weirdos.
"Mummy, I just found out that Elton is gay! And he is going to wed Justin!"
The sooner you find out the better.

Personally, I consider lesbians as girls or women who were rejected or spurned by boys and men and in utter frustration, they decided to make love to themselves as their consolation in dejection and rejection.

Please, if you cannot find a boyfriend or manfriend, let me know. I can help you.

She's So Fine: The Anatomy of a Girl Crush
by Cathryn Michon (Grrl Genius) (see more from this contributor)

A recent New York Times article postulates that one thing men and women have in common is that we both get crushes on women. This interests me greatly because I just went through a bad "girl breakup" that was the result of a "girl crush."
If you ever try to discuss the topic of girl crushes with a man, his eyes instantly glaze over and you automatically know it's because he is hearing the "do-wacka-wacka" of cheesy porn music in his head. Sometimes you have to clap your hands together really loudly right in front of his face just to pull him out of his catatonic state.

No, it's not that kind of "girl-on-girl action." A girl crush is where you meet a woman whose sense of style or brilliant achievements or personal charisma makes you kind of adore and worship her.

How It Happens
The New York Times piece quotes Dr. Pepper Schwartz, a learned and attractive author and college professor, who says she has been a frequent object of girl crushes, mostly from her students. I, for one, believe it, because in an odd coincidence I actually had lunch with her very recently, and I'm here to tell you she is prime girl-crush material. She's smart and funny and when she tells you her age you're shocked because she looks so fantastic.

A key element to the girl crush is arguably the appearance of the crushee, and yet the classic girl crush is decidedly nonsexual. (Attention, male readers: Did you hear me? Turn down the "do-wacka" music. Do I have to clap my hands again?)
I think the reason that looks or style factor into the crush equation has to do with the issue of role modeling. I love Oprah Winfrey because she's a true Grrl Genius, and also because she looked impossibly hot on her 50th birthday. On some level I feel that Oprah and Dr. Pepper Schwartz are paving the way for me to be interesting and accomplished and hot at any age.

Just the other day I developed a thing for that woman on CNN who flies around in the eye of a huge rainstorm, just because that is so unbelievably cool. She wore a fetching NASA blue jumpsuit, and she had her hair in a Gidget-style ponytail. My crush was born when she accidentally said, "That's affirmative" to the reporter because that's the kind of mistake you make when you spend the day flying around in a storm. Then she actually blushed from embarrassment.

Come on, how adorable is that?

If the object of your girl affection is famous, or even someone you are worshiping from afar, it must by necessity remain a crush.

Webster's unabridged lists no derivation for the origin of the word "crush," but I'm going to guess that it comes from a combination of "crazy" and "rush," because that's exactly what happens. Sometimes there are actual physical symptoms to a girl crush, and they are all unpleasant: sweating, trembling, heart palpitations.
There is also an element of fantasy involved in these relationships, and the idea of your crush usually falls apart when you try to consider it in reality. When I tried to imagine myself with the CNN storm-flying girl, I sort of pictured us both in those cool jumpsuits saying, "That's affirmative!" but I couldn't really figure out a reason why I'd be with her, or where I'd get my jumpsuit, and I started to realize how silly my girl crush was becoming.

When your girl crush does not involve a notable or famous person, it can often mellow into a friendship, and that is the best.

Parting Ways
Now, the dark side of the girl crush is the girl breakup. Whereas men (outside of characters in Tennessee Williams plays) don't generally get crushes on each other, they are also wise enough to avoid the dreaded breakup, because that's when every mutual friend you have ever shared with your ex-crush is forced to weigh in and take sides.

I have never once heard of guy friends "breaking up." They might have a big fistfight, but at least they maintain the dignity to let a friendship that is over just fade away. Women, on the other hand, usually turn it into a drama festival, one that often culminates in the ever-popular email tell-off. Jan Yager, author of Friendshifts: The Power of Friendship and How It Shapes Our Lives, advises against this: "Email has made it too easy to express thoughts and feelings that once you hit 'send' you may regret."

I had a friend named Ruth, who I once would have described as my best friend. Ruth was a professional mentor I had a girl crush on, who then became an actual friend. I admired both her giant brain and the coppery red hair that fell in perfect ringlets to cover it. I had never cared for her controlling, perpetually unemployed husband, but since I also had a controlling, perpetually unemployed husband, I didn't give it much thought at the time.

When I left my marriage, she was the only friend I had that was against it, and that was the beginning of the end. I should have seen that the friendship was partly based on us both having unhappy personal lives.

When I got into a new, healthy relationship, she couldn't bear to be around me. She had told me when I divorced, "I don't want to hear all your little stories of dating. Save that for your other girlfriends." Apparently if I wasn't going to stay unhappily married, as she was, I was to keep quiet about my new life. My personal happiness, which every other significant person in my life had celebrated, was keenly painful to her.

So she "broke up" with me. Oddly, it was more painful than my divorce, but maybe because I had seen the divorce coming. It ended with an email from her, in all caps, telling me to "STAY AWAY FROM OUR HOUSE!!!!" It was the email equivalent of screaming, and it was so unlike Ruth that it shocked me.

She's So Fine: The Anatomy of a Girl Crush
Keeping Girl Crushes in Check
So what did I learn from all this?
I think because my relationship with Ruth began as a crush, I was never willing to examine its inherent flaws.

That's just what I used to do with boyfriends, and then a husband.
So my advice is: Have all the girl crushes you want on amazing famous women. Imagine yourself flying around with them in the eye of a hurricane, if it helps you to get in touch with your fearlessness. Don't worry about whether or not you can find a matching jumpsuit ?- because it's all pretend anyway.
But if you have a girl crush in real life, and it becomes a friendship, make sure the junior high behavior ends there ?- and do the hard work to make the friendship work.

And never send a breakup email that's in all caps, ever. Unless you're ?- I don't know ?- 12.

No comments: