One of our names begins with T and the other with A – we’re a magical combo representing the front and the back, the best of both worlds, the humps and the lumps. We’re women with similar life paths, who came to Los Angeles ages ago and earned our stripes looking for love among the Hollywood hipsters. We are here to share what we’ve learned with you, with the charm of Southern gals and the smarts of city vixens.
A has dated so many LA guys that she couldn’t come close to naming them all, and sometimes doesn’t recognize them in public.
T has managed not to kill her boyfriend, somehow.
This time, we take on our very first reader question. We’re so excited.
From our Facebook page, a reader wrote:
“Help … I need some advice. I’m in love with one of my classmates in school. Problem is, potentially I’m gonna see them around for the next two years. What should I do?”
(Our reader also asked questions about getting aroused by an iPhone app and being allergic to feathers, but those are issues for another column.)
The T Side:
Like you, every fall, I got together my best sweater, cutest hat and scarf and then I’d scan my new classes for that face that would get me through the semester – you know, the one to gaze at, zone out to, that would make me forget what the teacher was saying. Screech: I usually didn’t find anyone, so in this you’re lucky already. I had one of those in fifth grade – he was hot as can be for a fifth grader. Saw him on a mutual friend’s Facebook recently – frightful.
Now, you have to make sure this is not mere infatuation. Do you just like the way he/she looks, or is it her lofty ideas? Or just the cool autumn breezes infiltrating your mind? This can get you pretty far; but I’m guessing you might meet someone else who you can get a little closer to, someone you don’t see all the time. Having separate lives with your significant other is good.
The other thing is, if you did take action with your classmate and something went wrong, can you or she get over it quickly enough to not let it encroach upon the bigger goal of getting the degree you’re both going for? Maybe wait until closer to summer to make a move? Then you can suss it out and have a lot of non-class time to test the waters.
I was just reading Summer and the City. SPOILER ALERT: In it, one of young pre-college Carrie Bradshaw’s classmates hooks up with the teacher. It goes wrong, she drops out and moves away, bad idea. Also in this book, Carrie hooks up with a classmate at the end of the writing program, someone she didn’t like at first. Or look at it à la The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon Cooper and Amy Farrah Fowler work well because they’re in different fields: he physics and she neuroscience. They don’t burn out on each other.
My boyfriend and I currently have the luxury of having our working quarters on different floors of our loft. We go to different schools, different majors. However, we still get together for creative pursuits. He helps with idea generation and I go on and execute projects. This totally works for us.
For young love, it’s easy to want to be with that person all the time, but pause and think about it- would you really want to bring them to work, discuss all your work with them, eat meals with them, etc.? There’s a chapter in Being a New Urbanite that goes over some couples who work well together- they figuratively and literally make music together or run a clothing company together. There have also been couples who are successful writing partners. The overall thing to remember is if you have joint interests, educational and career goals is to—retain your personal identity. Keep it at two separate people with some separate friends and personal time and space, not one four eyed drooling love sick monster. Make sure that the person whose whisps of hair fly up so cute-like when he/she turns his/her notebook page isn’t someone who you’ll want to administer death by paper-cut in a dark corner of the library some day.
You are in a precarious state because you’re in a cohort and will have a handful more classes with this object of your affection, not just a one-semester awkward thing where you can avoid each other on a big campus afterwards. And think about whether you two are too much alike because you’re into the same stuff all the time. Tread lightly and remember that timing is everything.
The A Side:
There’s an entry in my first-grade diary that goes: “Today Mike Duncan pushed in my chair for me. I like him.” Thus began a crush that lasted up through sixth-grade band class, when it became clear that he (a trumpet player) would soon become one of the popular kids, and I (on oboe) would not. It had also become clear that I was smarter than him, so we shifted into different academic tracks. After that, our paths rarely crossed and my burning flame of pre-pubescent desire soon died. (Hey Mike Duncan, if you’re reading this, you missed out!)
You may be wondering what my elementary school escapades have to do with your all-too-pressing collegiate problem. Here’s my point: while it’s true that absence can make the heart grow fonder, so can presence – and not always in a good way. Going to school or work with someone you have a crush on provides all too many opportunities for “chance” encounters in the hallway, getting assigned to projects together, furtive glances in the cafeteria, overnight field trips – in sum, an unhealthy level of obsession-feeding almost-interaction, especially if your love is unrequited or rejected. It’s the real-life version of reloading your crush’s Facebook page every hour.
That’s not to say that scholastic romance isn’t possible – many a relationship is forged over pencils and books. But the wisdom of that pursuit depends on your own capacity to deal with having the object of your affection across the room when you’re trying to write an A+ paper or say something intelligent in class. From high school up through grad school, I never went out with anyone from my own institution, and it worked well for me. School was school, not an extended date, so I was free to make friends and keep myself entertained with a wandering eye. When I did develop a classroom crush, my studies were inevitably derailed with library stalking sessions and meetings for clubs I’d joined just to get closer to them.
Maybe you’re capable of making a move and staying too cool for school if it doesn’t pan out, or if you split up next semester. If so, go for it. But, I get the impression you’re already pretty far gone. In that case, try to dial down your feelings, focus on your work, let things develop naturally and, like T said, reassess toward the end of the year. In that time you might find out that this person you think you like so much has really awful breath, is secretly not into your sex, or is a date-rapey asshole who wears black socks with sandals. True stories – don’t let it happen to you.
Got your school yard, play ground, classroom crush stories? Let us know what happened.