My Pitiful Class Crush: UMass Edition

I walked through the narrow row and chose a rickety, wooden seat with a rickety, wooden desk attached, in the back-middle area of the open lecture hall. I sat just to the right of the center of the room because I like that cliché, subtle asymmetry. I arrived early and looked around briefly at the faces sitting far from me. We all appeared adrift but this was one of my first college courses at UMass Amherst. I was a freshman transfer student and this was second semester in Math 104.

When he came in, I felt my organs sink to the pit of my stomach. I tried not to stare but his nonchalant strides commanded the attention of the room. He sat down five rows in front of me, but a tad farther to the right. He rocked “Blue Steel” harder than Ben Stiller in Zoolander.

As painfully embarrassing and pathetic as it was, I admired this boy from afar for the entire spring semester. I called him “Abercrombie Boy” because of his stern, striking yet innocuous stare. Sometimes we’d make eye contact, but the relationship never progressed much further than that.

He must be a senior. If not, he’s definitely a junior.

He was far too sexy to be an underclassman.

Sometimes when class was over, we’d be in close proximity, squeezing through the small door along with the other 200 students trying to escape. When we occasionally crossed each other’s paths, I’d look up, give a half smile and manage to wrangle a “oh, sorry” out of me before I hurried to the exit. He had a wide smile, cleanly combed brown hair and sometimes carried a longboard into class. I knew I’d never find the courage to talk to him so I accepted the fate of our silent, sultry relationship.

I mentioned him to my girl friends and would point him out when I rarely saw him outside of class. I’d get all giddy, my cheeks blushing and a smile wider than the space between our seats in lecture. He probably had no idea, or maybe he was so utterly aware and disturbed he pretended to act like he had no idea.

When the semester ended and I deemed I had fewer balls than my neutered Yorkshire Terrier; I admitted Abercrombie Boy was out of my league and far too cool for a meager freshman like myself, and I was okay with that. Chances are, I’d never see him again and I’d find another crush to temporarily obsess over.

Junior year, my friends and I were waiting at the bus stop in front of the Studio Arts Building. It was dark and windy and there were at least 50 other students waiting with us. A friend of mine saw her roommate a few groups away, so we walked over in the height of the bus stop suspense. We were all mindlessly chattering when I looked up and saw him. Abercrombie Boy was standing with a group of guys, his face still painted with that chiseled stare. He appeared to be waiting with our friend’s group of friends.

I wacked my friend on the arm and gave her that same giddy look I had all of second semester freshman year. We found out his name, which I mustn’t dare to divulge, and that he was actually our age. He also played in a band with his dorky friends from home and was really just a humble, quiet kid. But to me, he still rocked “blue steel.

After that, him and I were properly introduced at a party, but I never told him about my estranged infatuation, and I still haven’t. We’ll say hello and catch up if we pass each other on campus, and we’ll occasionally “like” each other’s Instagram uploads, but that’s as far as it’s gone. I’m pretty sure he has a girlfriend now.

Maybe I’m the only one and maybe I’ll be dubbed “Stage-5 clinger” from now on. Maybe it’s absurdly pathetic that the “senior” I was crushing on was actually a freshman at the time with a girlfriend two years younger than me, and that I got sort of excited when we both awkwardly ended up at the same random on-campus networking event this year. Maybe he’ll never know this was about him or maybe he’s reading this now and is even more skeeved out by my already blatant weirdness. Regardless, I’m a pitiful college crush-er-on-er and I’m proud.