When I was at the airport a week ago, I was reminded how disorienting security checks can be. Take shoes off, pull jacket off, empty pockets, remove computer, dump backpack, raise hands, lower hands, hold breath as the x-ray machine scans, answer police with yes ma’am and yes sir, pick up backpack, insert computer, refill pockets, don jacket, yank on shoes. It’s enough to make a girl dizzy. And by the end, I sometimes don’t know what to feel.
Figuring out crushes is kind of like that.
I didn’t have my first real crush until I was seventeen. A little late, I know. It didn’t truly last, but now my brain is catching up with the reality of the huge switch that’s been flipped. My mind is still a bit shocked at this new fact…
that boys are cute.
Yeah, I’m a little behind schedule. I’ve realized this over the past few months, and I decided to make a list to help reorient myself as I figure out what all this means for me. Almost like the humorously entitled “Recombobulation Area” in the airport… a place to gather my wits, figure out how I feel, and get my feet back under me. A place to begin directing my thoughts toward the future and embrace this new season.
Here goes nothing…
- I do want a relationship… and eventually marriage. Dating will never be recreational, but instead always have a purpose, linked to marriage in distant possibility at least.
- There’s a difference between thinking someone is cute and having a crush. The first is just a fact, but the latter is something more real. A crush is also based on someone’s personality and character, not just looks.
- Kissing always sounds “bleh” (aka disgusting)… but that’s okay. Kissing will come with actually falling in love. There’s nothing wrong with that. The day I hold hands with someone will be a huge step–and truthfully, I like it that way.
- Dates are not as confusing or scary as they sound. Two people hang out on their own, and the guy usually pays for things, but that’s it. Nothing to shy away from.
- Chivalry is okay. Actually, better than okay. I have emerged from my hard core tomboy stage realizing that if a man holds a door open for me, it’s not an insult… it’s a complement. It’s not that I can’t do it on my own; he just wants to do it for me.
- Wanting to spend lots of time with someone and enjoying his company is a better sign of interest than how high he rates on the cuteness scale.
- I don’t feel the need to be as strong or as athletic or as tough as a guy I truly like; the ones I strive to impress in that way, I see as brothers. Someone I can be my true, goofy, Ashley self around… that’s different.
- Marriage means life forever with your best friend with something else thrown in… I think it’s called romance. A ring is freedom, not a restraint.
- The four criteria for dating material: a) He must be a true Christian. b) I feel completely safe around him. c) Attractive not only physically but in personality and character. d) I enjoy just spending time with him.
- He will talk about God with me and will not be afraid to be deep and real in conversation. He will appreciate my passions and value them even if they’re not his thing. He will enjoy my quirks. He will love me for being me.
- I’m not a girly girl, but I do like flowers. Stars and campfires seem much more romantic than a fancy restaurant and expensive clothes. The smell of wood smoke is better than that of perfume. Candles are good. Jeans and flannel shirts are comfortable and attractive. And I do love to dance. He will be the only one I’ll willingly wear a dress for, and he’ll understand the significance of this as soon as he talks to my mother.
- He will see me as equal but special. He will understand the power in a simple touch or a smile. He will help me get over my phobia of phone calls, simply because I’ll love to hear his voice. He’ll call me by my nickname, without being asked. He will have a goofy, wild streak. He will understand the power of adventure and spontaneity and the untouched, open places. He will know when to rough around yet how to always be gentle. He will know how to enjoy the comfortable silence between two open, happy souls.
- I’m going to get scared. I’m going to be that blindsided, deer-in-the-headlights kind of girl when asked on my first date. If I accept that now, it’ll be easier when it happens. I must never shy away from an opportunity because I’m scared, yet I must never do something stupid because I’m scared to miss something good. I’ll be a little slow, but that’s okay. Scary and exciting often go hand in hand.
- How he interacts with those who can give him nothing in return will say more than how he interacts with those who already love him. How he interacts with children and his elders will say more than how he acts around those his own age.
- I love you will be the most powerful words for us–never common, never trivial, never misused. His love should not be unlike the love of 1 Corinthians 13.
- He will make me laugh, make me smile, make me be silly, make me sing louder, make me dance faster, make me try harder, make me see more beauty, make me live fuller. Make me more than I am apart from him. We will be better together than apart…
And it will be good.
I think… I think… I think that’s called love.