Unrequited lust in the 21st century

Word of the day: slimsy

flimsy; frail.

Slimsy is an Americanism. It is a combination of slim and flimsy.

Example: “Nice girl . . .” he mused, “but sort of thin and slimsy and delicate, not robust and hearty like the kind of girl you ought to have on a farm.”
(Bess Streeter Aldrich, A White Flying Bird)


Unrequited lust in the 21st century


What happened to unrequited lust? It came out of fashion when the nineties bowed out. Last time I spotted it, I was watching Four Weddings and a Funeral. And much as I love Andie MacDowell’s bouncy hair, it wasn’t her I was batting for. Hugh Grant and L’Oréal may well agree that she’s worth it. But it was Kristin Scott Thomas who stole the show. She had the bad flowery top and the hats and then suddenly she was amazing and beautiful in a sober black dress and gold bangle on the top of her arm and then we really saw her at last. Hugh Grant didn’t though. She was too smart and sophisticated for him. But the funny thing was she’d pining for him forever. Since the very first time they met, “across a crowded room, she says with an embarrassed laugh, when she finally comes clean. “It’s always been you”. Painful scene to watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAufqxmyCQA.

In fact, I can’t even write ‘unrequited love’, it’s too embarrassing. It used to be all Shakespeare ever wrote about. And the rest of them. Perhaps clue number one is in the name. I’m not Shakespeare. The secret is out.  I’ve had more unrequited crushes (telling typo here: I wrote: ‘crushed’) than I care to remember. But no one else seems to be having them anymore. It used to be considered a selfless thing. Lusting after someone without expecting to even have sex with them. Now it’s just embarrassing.

If I had to establish a pattern, I would say a fair number of crushes have tended to be focused on my – younger – brother’s friends. I blame my parents for making me the eldest. I should have had an older brother. Still, my brother is generous and lent me one of his friend for half a year. But that doesn’t fit into the unrequited crushes section. My latest unrequited crush was essentially a real estate accident. I happened to move in next door (randomly, I swear) to one of the more attractive of my brother’s friends. Let’s call him SK. And promptly developed a crush. Which SK may or may not know about. (I blame my brother. I have been conditioned to have crushes on his friends.) The first time SK came over for tea (yes, that really is what he wanted to drink – perhaps everything I ever needed to know was right there in that first one-on-one meeting unchaperoned by my brother) my then-flatmate, let’s call her Helen, walked in mildly inebriated (suffice to say that she once bought a book called ‘Are you an alcoholic and you don’t know it?’) and illuminated us with her younger self’s theory that you could eat whatever you wanted because your body knew to poo out the excess.  SK gently tried to suggest (several times) that men liked to pretend that women didn’t do that. Poo, he meant. He couldn’t even say it.

We’d been having a lovely English polite and boring cup of tea. But when she didn’t take a hint (from him) and lots of frantic signalling (from me), he couldn’t get out of there fast enough. I walked him out. He suggested lunch, I said yes. And kept the victory dance inside.

I ran back to the garden where Helen was having a cigarette. And said very loudly (very unlike me): “Is it wrong that I have a crush on him?” I was barely a second too late realising SK was probably exactly at the level of our garden. To his credit, it took him nearly a year to move to another country.

But still, I didn’t take a hint. Aided by his absence, the crush developed. Not that I didn’t date other people. I’m not that crazy. But a year passed and I caught myself thinking: that wasn’t that long. And another year. I caught myself thinking: only one more year. But I’m not waiting. Of course not. Only a crazy person would. I stopped that thought right there.

Nearly another year passed. I didn’t allow myself to even think it.

Then there was a thing. I bought a dress for the thing. Eight months before the thing. Of course I wasn’t buying the dress because SK might be there. Of course not. It was a just a really good sales bargain. And I needed the dress for the thing. Because my wardrobe isn’t full of dresses.  I bought another dress. A gold one. But it wasn’t for the thing. And I had a backup. But it wasn’t for the thing either. It was a week-long thing. So I packed for three weeks. Only because I like to look good.

It was at the thing that I finally understood what ‘unrequited’ means. It means that he prefers girls with skinny wrists. (As you may have guessed, SK stands for Skinny Wrists. And I should say: I don’t have fat wrists. Bones and other such impediments mean that I will never have skinny wrists, but I do not have fat wrists. I have perfectly normal-sized wrists. In fact, so normal that until recently I had never given them this much thought. )

‘Unrequited’ means he is delighted to make out with a slimsy girl with skinny wrists and have you guess it/hear all about it. It means he doesn’t know when he hugs his mate goodbye (you) and says cheerily “see you soon”, that his mate’s heart is… Well, that’s the point. You can’t say it. Not in the 21st century, you can’t.

And that is how you find yourself recovering from – don’t say it – on a week-long ‘alone-time’ retreat in the countryside, listening to the soundtrack to Ally McBeal (and you just know you’re getting dangerously close to being her, except the skinny wrists), Baby Don’t You Break My Heart Slow on a Friday night with a glass of Amaretto writing a blog about unrequited lust instead of having sex with the object of your (unrequited) affection.

For the same reason, you find yourself saying ‘XOXOXO’ because you Googled (yes, you did) ‘how to lose chin fat’ and one of the most reasonable-sounding answers was that there are muscles in our necks that we don’t exercise much (maybe that’s just those of us who mumble? My father has always accused me of that. Now I know why I have a weak chin) and saying the letters ‘XOXOXO’ over and over again will get those muscles raring. It does. Try it. I did. I do actually have muscles in my neck. I know that now because they hurt. (I’m in the countryside. No one can hear me say my ‘XOXOXOXO’ mantra like I’m in a text-talk sect.)

And why do I want to lose the neck fat? Because SK sent me his favourite pictures of me at the thing. And I had no chin in one of them. Not much I can do about my wrists. So I’m working on my chin. SK didn’t mention anything about chins, but my guess is girls with skinny wrists have a chin. They don’t have breasts. They don’t have a bum. But they probably have a chin.

I forgot to say SK doesn’t like smokers. I’m working my way through a pack of twenty. For the second time today. Moral of the story: unrequited lust is bad for your heath. Next time you see me: you won’t be able to see me. I’ll be that skinny. In fact, thanks to the cloud of smoke in front of me I’ll be completely invisible.

Not much of a change then.