Monday, April 23, 2007

Straight "Girl Crushes" & Therapy

So...I think my friend Nikki got me a date with the hottest woman in the law school?! Or a "date." It's funny how things start and lead to something you totally couldn't have seen coming. Here it is:

I wrote about some of the women I like, both in the media and in "real life," at the end of this post, one of them being this gorgeous dark-skinned black female in my program who is from an African family. She's a year ahead of me in school, which means...she's about to graduate. I can't decide whether that's good or bad...well, let me just tell the story.

I was at work, and Nikki stopped by and chatted with me for a long time. I think we were talking about TV shows when just randomly she mentioned that a character on one of her favorite shows was her "girl crush." I was surprised to hear her mention this freely, and then she dropped another bomb on me--the hottest woman in law school is also one of her girl crushes. Now, it seems like that word has different meanings, but the base meaning is that of a heterosexual woman being attracted to another woman in some way. This post, as well as this one, I found explains pretty perfectly how a lot of straight women tend to think of girl crushes.

I think of it as a little bit more, because there are women whom I'd really like to get to know but I don't think of it as crushes--I think of it as a general interest. I had recently concluded that my definition of a girl crush was the phenomenon of a heterosexual woman thinking of another woman in a semi-queer fashion, i.e. her reaction to that woman is similar as to how a queer woman would react. I don't know if that's true--though this article kind of supports my definition--or if it is and heterosexual women just don't want to admit it. I guess, on some level, that definition does not differ too much from the posts I just linked to above. I had started developing the belief that the majority of straight women have these kinds of girl crushes--a hot woman who comes along and makes them stop and question themselves for just a bit somewhere in the back of their minds, i.e. a physical, but not necessarily sexual, attraction. And my take on the approachability factor is...when is a crush ever approachable? That was my whole problem, as a queer woman, with LA Girl! Either way, I'm coming to find out that, whatever "girl crush" truly means, it is, in fact, true that quite a few straight women really do get them.

I think shifting the term from "girl crush" to "friend crush" in those posts was more accurate. Whenever I've spoken to my straight friends about other women and their crushes, I'd always gotten the sense that the way they thought about these women matched my definition, for the most part. Sometimes my friends talk about wanting to be that person, but other times they just make it a little difficult to tell them apart from lesbians. When Nikki and I talked about the hottest woman in law school, it was mainly in terms of the physical with a side of personality. It wasn't about someone being unapproachable or wanting to get to know them better, because Nikki knows this hot woman and even went to her birthday party, I think. I, on the other hand, almost never see her and wouldn't approach her even if I did because I'm the kind of person to whom people must come. Plus, she's not like LA Girl is for me, for whatever reason--the thought of approaching this woman doesn't totally freak me out.

However, when Nikki announced that she was going to tell the hottest woman in law school (HWILS) about the crush we both have (Nikki thinking mine is like hers since I'm not out to her), that was a-whole-nother ballgame. My definition of "girl crush" being what it is and since I didn't know other people have more tame definitions for it, that kind of freaked me out. I told Nikki I hoped HWILS wouldn't take it the wrong way, i.e. that I'm romantically or sexually interested in her, which I haven't been since I don't know enough about her to have been. I still don't know if Nikki told her about both of us or just me, because when she told me how HWILS responded it sounded as if she only mentioned me.

I found this timely post by Bernie about how someone else's interest in you can spark an interest in them where you previously had none. And, again, the article I linked to above is on point:

Ms. Zimmer, when a reporter told her about Ms. Tyler's feelings, said: "I was very surprised. Sometimes, when you don't have a direct relationship with someone, you don't really understand how they're observing you."

And while Ms. Zimmer did not say she had a reciprocal crush, she did say that she considers Ms. Tyler talented and grounded and that "it's exciting to work with someone who has shown that kind of interest." She added, "It's a mutual respect."

Once a crush is revealed, it can change the dynamics of a relationship.

I think this is where Nikki got me by telling HWILS. When I asked her if she told HWILS about the crush, she said she had and her response was like Ms. Zimmer's, i.e. "but we don't know each other" kind of thing. And Nikki says that she told HWILS that I was worried she'd think I was weird (which I never said, because I am weird--everyone knows that), and apparently HWILS said she doesn't.

And then...!

According to Nikki, HWILS is thinking about asking me to lunch after finals...! Seriously, we've only spoken to each other, like, three times (very much in a passing kind of way) since I've been at this school, almost two years! And Nikki tells her this one little thing, that I think she's gorgeous (or whatever Nikki actually told her--maybe I should ask), and look what happens!

Now, two things: 1) I am pretty sure this woman is straight, which is fine but I still hurt my jaws grinning all night after finding this out, and 2) I don't think this lunch is actually going to happen, which is fine but I still hurt my jaws grinning all night after finding this out. And then, on top of it all, she's graduating and moving really far away. So even if the lunch happened, it would be like, "Well...thanks for lunch...have a nice life!" Plus, I kind of feel as if it'd be best if this didn't happen and that it's best that what has happened so far took until right before her graduation, i.e. I won't have to face her. I mean, the thought of it does make me nervous. Let's face it--I am just not good with beautiful women. And last night, I wondered how I could even get through such an event without either grinning like a huge dork the whole time or being so freaked by the whole thing that I'd be incredibly boring and non-responsive.

The one thing this does have me thinking about is how much you miss out on when you 1) don't approach people, and 2) fail to utilize the power of compliments. Admittedly, I'm a pretty smooth woman, when I feel comfortable enough. I am very good with words and know how to make people feel better and good about themselves without that even being the goal. If gorgeous women didn't freak me out so much and if I weren't rather emotionally dysfunctional (i.e. not good at expressing emotions), I could say all the right things in all genuineness, because it's all there in my head...which, with the way complimenting and showing interest seem to work with some women, would probably get me a lot of women as friends and otherwise.

If I could take some of the confidence I have in other areas of my life and bring it to the social interaction department...we could have been getting to know each other ever since we first met almost two years ago, things with LA Girl and I probably would have turned out differently, and so on. Instead, I depend on other people to be outgoing and to make the effort with me. I'm not really sure how to change that, but I'm thinking this is definitely a topic to raise in my "therapy session" tomorrow...which I haven't written about yet.

I wrote in another entry a couple weeks ago that I was going to meet with the male leader of the coming out group in which I participated last semester. I've also mentioned before that he is a psychologist. But we met as friends. We talked about several things, mainly LA Girl, during that first meeting. And at the end, he noted that I have a lot of things going on in my life right now, which is one of the reasons for my lack of motivation with school. Then he asked if I might be interested in a few formal sessions with him until I leave school for the end of the semester. We didn't pin it down but decided to meet again the next week, which we did. I ended up doing something I usually don't do unless it's around that time of the month, i.e. I can't control my hormones, and that's cry while we talked.

He mentioned trying a session again, and so I agreed. And that's what we're going to do tomorrow. Even though the other times we met weren't therapy sessions, they were crazy! I ended up realizing so many heavy things (not ready yet to write about them) and walking away with a million thoughts rushing through my head, so much so that I really couldn't even function for the rest of the day--especially that first time we talked. So tomorrow, with it being formal, is kind of scary because getting to the root of things really will be the goal tomorrow, whereas before it wasn't but it started happening anyway!

I can't believe that someone with a psychology degree can sit and feel stigmatized about going to therapy, but I really do. I have not wanted to mention that on this blog at all! I know nothing is wrong with it, but I still feel as if other people really take that as a sign that you have serious issues. I do have my issues, as we all do, and I think dating or a relationship is the last thing I need right now because of that, particularly since a lot of those issues relate to those two things. I was also a little resistant to actual therapy because after talking to him last week, I felt talked out. And in just a week, so many things have happened and occurred to me that I don't even know how we're going to talk about all of it tomorrow. And I look forward to talking to him--I do still primarily think of him as my friend, the only one I really can just tell everything I'm thinking. I look forward to that, and it is quickly adding to the list of reasons why, even though I am excited about Chicago this summer, I don't want to leave where I am now.

Oh, well...I'll keep you posted on therapy, as well as the lunch invitation! ;)