Ask Jono: Dating Someone Who's About To Graduate
Hey Jono, (How do you pronounce that??)
Anyway, I'm on my school's coed varsity swim team. As expected in a sport where guys are half naked all the time, I have a blooming crush on one of the guys. He is only two years older than me, super funny, super cute, and I've caught him looking at me directly a few times (not exactly staring). Now here is the problem, I am a freshman, and he is a graduating early junior. I'm afraid if I approach him I will end up in a doomed relationship when he graduates. Also I have no idea how to talk to someone. (We were in the same lane once and I got so nervous I couldn't talk, which almost never happens even around guys I've had crushes on.)
Should I go after him? Or watch him from afar over 13 hours a week at practices and events. Anyway thanks for your column, it's so funny that I choke on water sometimes while reading or remembering past comments.
(It's Jon and then O. Like "Oh, Jon," but in reverse.)
Normally, when I'm not positive how to answer something, I consult a random sampling of humans who are more responsible than I am (pants-wearing, real jobs, etc.) just to be sure my advice isn't so incredibly bad that it will hospitalize you. But this time, everyone had conflicting opinions or no opinions, so what you're getting is advice that comes entirely from my own stupid head. I'm flying without a net here. I'll try not to advise you to to eat a battery or something.
Anyway, here's my thinking: you should go after this guy, because you already have stuff in common with him—e.g. constant partial nudity—and a context in which you regularly see each other. This makes your task much easier than it is for lots of people, who have to awkwardly discover whether or not they have anything in common ("That's a cool shirt! Do you like... shirts?") only after inventing a context to bump into each other ("Oh, fancy meeting you here, in the bushes outside your house!"). If there were no extenuating circumstances here, this relationship would be a no-brainer, if only because half the work is already done.
But of course there are extenuating circumstances—your shortened timetable. For my money, that shouldn't keep you from pursuing him anyway. Granted, I don't have any money, but I'll wager my no dollars against your no dollars that approaching him is worth it (where "it" is some positive number of dollars).
Look, nobody enters into a relationship thinking that there's a clock on it, but realistically, all relationships have a timetable, especially high school ones. Everyone graduates eventually. Realistically, you probably won't date your first boyfriend for ten years and then get extra-married in a flowering meadow where your bridesmaids are unicorns. Even friends go their separate ways. (A friend of mine just got a job doing sciency things involving a manned mission to Mars. Does this mean my friend is going to Mars? I have no idea.)
If it sounds like I'm being a fatalistic crankypants here, I'm totally not. Exactly the opposite. I'm saying that you have two choices:
- Potentially have a really fun few months, or
- Do nothing, stare lustily across the pool for a few months, possibly watch this dude date some girl you despise, spend the next million years wondering what might have been.
Take it from me, a dumb goon who's had my share of rejections: getting rejected and breaking up both suck, but they bother you for a while and then eventually fade. If you never even try, well, that might have been the best relationship in the history of the human race, but now you'll never know.
So swim on over to him one of these days and be like "Hey, doesn't it suck when you bonk your face repeatedly into the wall because you can't see anything without your stupid contact lenses and everybody laughs at you?" (Or you could substitute actual swimming-related talk; my experiences with your sport are obviously not very good.) Just come up with something—making a flirtatious approach isn't hard, especially when you have an activity in common. Start small—just converse with him at first—until you're comfortable enough to flirt without going "Hey I like your gllbglbg" and drowning out of awkwardness. And if this does result in a relationship, head into it with the realization that it's not going to last forever—it's a short-term relationship, where two humans who like stuff about each other decide to do stuff together instead of not doing stuff together. End it on good terms so you two remain friends; until then, just enjoy the time you have.
Do you agree with Jono?