My first crush was in first grade: a boy named Brian. I invited him home one day (he got to ride on the bus with me!) and I proceeded to adorn myself in my mother’s frothy “honeymoon bathrobe.” He was unimpressed. Probably a bit horrified, I imagine now! My mother tells me that we played separately for the rest of the afternoon.
This is something I can absolutely see my almost 6-year-old daughter doing, and it breaks my heart a little to look back and see myself with the same innocence and longing to be seen that I recognize in her.
Crush #2: a boy in my second grade class named Danny. I mostly ignored him, but liked him because he was “cute.” I ended up dating him in high school AND in college; also because he was “cute” and, probably more importantly, my parents liked him. A lot.
Crush #3? My camp counselor, during the summer between fifth and what should have been sixth grades, but my parents were holding me back because I was small. (Small? This doesn’t make sense to me now. I was also switching back to public school – hooray!!! – after three years at a horrid Christian school, where I imagine subjects like math and science were not as rigorous as they should have been. But I digress. I am happy I was held back.) So yes, my camp counselor. My female camp counselor. In my limited, moth-eaten memory, I think of her as a beautiful lithe butch girl; probably high school or college. She was a bit gruff with me, and I remember being paralyzed with complete awe for her. This memory burns much brighter than any of my other early crushes. It was the first time I remember recognizing that feeling of being “other.”