This is it, Sparklebutts: the conclusion to my (potentially) award-winning series on ULS (that's Unrequited Love Syndrome, for the uninitiated). If you’re still reading, it means one of two things:
A. You ran out of Doctor Who episodes to watch.
B. Unrequited Love Syndrome has got you by the throat, and you would kill a member of your own family to uncover the secrets of winning your crush’s heart.
Well, you (and your family) are in luck: these last two steps should give you just the push you need to cowboy up and have an amazing conversation with your crush—a conversation which, if you play your cards right, could lead to yet another conversation. And we all know what second conversations lead to. Pregnancy.
JUST KIDDDDDING. They lead to third conversations. Who doesn’t love third conversations? Nobody, that’s who. So let’s get down to business and finish beating our handy fire metaphor to death.
Step Three (you can see the first two steps right here!): Prevent a forest fire.
In this case, a “forest fire” is a full-on mental breakdown, one doused in a chocolatey syrup of insecurity and topped with a whipped cream of crippling panic (trust, us there’s nothing like a good ice cream/fire metaphor to get a point across). You attempted to initiate contact with your crush, but instead of making a killer joke about cafeteria food or the dorky pool lifeguard, you blushed, stammered, and foamed at the mouth, all while shaking violently and muttering, “Say something funny, SAY SOMETHING FUNNY!” under your breath.
Does that make you a gigantic loser? A lost cause? A grave-robber-in-training? No. It makes you a NORMAL PERSON. Don’t beat yourself up if your first (or ninety-first) effort at chatting up your crush is a momentous, miserable failure. Sure, some people have the ability to charm the opposite sex with endless jokes about the legal status of meatloaf, but those people are basically mutants. The rest of us are filled with an unspoken dread that our every interaction with our crush will be fraught with awkwardness, sweating, and, the most fear-inspiring of all nouns, rejection.
So next time you try to flirtatiously ask your crush for a pencil and end up saying “Hey Scott, I—*choke on your own spit*—do you—*wheeze*— have a, um—*curse and slap yourself across the forehead*—that writing thing…-* throw up on your shoes*— oh, yes, a, um pencil?” DON’T WORRY. We’ve all been to HumiliationVille, and some of us have beachfront property there. The key is to keep trying, and to continue telling yourself that no matter how many times you barf on your shiny new sneaks in front of the school bombshell, you’re still a champ. Irish playwright Samuel Beckett said it best: “Ever tried, ever failed, no matter. Try again, fail again, fail better.”
So throw your self-loathing-flavored ice cream sundae at your little brother, get a tattoo of the above phrase across your forehead, and storm the cafeteria for Contact Attempt #92. You’re ready to rumble, you awkward, amazing son-of-a-gun.
Step Four: Fan the flames.
Now that we’ve confirmed that you aren’t the biggest failure in the tri-state area, let’s move on to the final step in courting your crush: keepin’ that crushly fire a’burnin’. This doesn’t entail constructing a life-size macaroni statue of your crush, soaking it in kerosene, and lighting a match. Nope, we’re talking about stoking the flames that ignite after you finally succeed in having a first, second, and third conversation without puking even once (sweating and stammering, however, are allowed and encouraged).
Once you’ve bypassed the vomit-inducing, tortuously awkward phase and started speaking to your dreamboat of choice on a fairly regular basis, it’s time to up the ante a little. Keep the positive momentum going by increasing the amount of time you spend with your crush: sit together at lunch, warm up together at track practice, or shoot massively slobbery spitballs at each other in the library. Even sending a funny text message once and while can help ensure that you stay on your crush’s mind—just don’t come on too strong, and try not to reek of desperation.
In no time, or in 5-7 years, you and your crush will be well on your way to building a friendship, and one day, if the chemistry is there and the stars align, to having a relationship.
It won’t be easy to conquer ULS, and the task isn’t for the faint of heart. But it ain’t easy to eat 37 Hot Tamales either, and you didn’t back down from that one. Whenever it starts to seem like these steps are impossibly hard, just remember: Harry Potter had to face a giant fanged snake, wear insanely dorky wizard robes, live in a closet, defeat truckloads of Dementors, constantly gel his unruly hair, battle Lord Voldemort to the death, AND ask Cho Chang to the ball.
Comparatively, you’ve got it pretty good.
SO, are you going to cowboy up and talk to your crush? COME ON, IF HARRY POTTER CAN DO IT, SO CAN YOU.