When I approached the burlesque comedian known as KiKi Maroon about a crush to talk about, the results were unlike anything that’d come through. She faked a couple of crushes growing up and that left me wondering, had I ever done the same? Had I ever pretended to like…even a celebrity to fit in? I was left with absolutely no one coming to mind. This then left me stumped for some time on what to write about this week…then I thought, while I never faked liking someone, I spent a huge chunk of elementary school pretending not to like someone as to not be teased or worse – embarrassed when they didn’t like me back. So not counterfeit in the same way as KiKi, which – you’re going to want to listen to that one because we dive deep into identity, fitting in, and so much more – truly such a wonderful conversation. For now though, a crush of mine that was counterfeit in the way that I had to fake not liking them for years.
Our parents were friends so I’d known of him throughout my entire life because we were from a town the size of a dime, but we didn’t share a classroom until fourth grade. We landed in the same reading group and from there, there were hearts in my eyes. Looking back, he was the most stereotypical ‘90s crush a girl could have. I’m shocked he didn’t go on to be a college quarterback because he was that kid who all the girls liked, and rightfully so. There were a handful of boys like this but I remember every girl who liked boys liked this guy, even one of my best friends who wound up not liking girls. Thinking back…perhaps he was her counterfeit crush in the same way KiKi’s was? Nevertheless, know that this kid was like the Tom Brady of Cabazon Elementary School.
The crush didn’t stop that year, it went into hyperdrive come fifth grade. That’s probably because puberty struck me over the summer and my hormones were on the rise. That year, I realized that I liked him because he never fucked with the pretty girls. He could’ve easily dated the handful of popular girls that were very open about liking him or even tried to date the Hawaiian girl that the other boys wanted – but nope. He didn’t. It was like when I later fell for the guy in my Lost Crush story from last month. It was the fact that he didn’t fall for the whole coolest girl on the playground thing. He also didn’t fall for the fat girl who kicked his ass at multiplication tests either, but..whatever.
I remember every other girl being very vocal about how cute he was, but not me. I was scared shitless people would find out about my crush on him because of the absolute embarrassment. Duh. I mean, this behavior of keeping crushes on the down-low lasted throughout high school. I’d tell my closest friends but to make it known to the person that I liked them? HELL. NO. It wasn’t just me, I knew a lot of people like this. To this day, what…17 years after graduating, I wouldn’t dare tell them. I once thought about reaching out and interviewing my biggest crushes of elementary, middle school, and high school, and that fear of embarrassment rushed through my body. I think I was immobile for several days. It was wild. So yeah, that plan didn’t and probably will never pan out. Can you imagine talking to your major childhood crush on that level…today? I’d rather eat glass.
So this crush never went past fifth grade though because we had two middle schools and he went to one and I went to the other, BUT there is only one high school in our district. I was really excited to maybe have a class or two with him since I knew he’d be taking advanced courses. Unfortunately, he got his ass kicked the first day and his mom shipped him off to the school a town over. Now that I’m telling this story, I feel like MAYBE you’ve heard it before but yeah…that’s the time I faked NOT liking someone for a couple of years because admitting you like someone at that age (and even as a full-grown adult) is too much.