Crushes Make Everyone Embarrassing, Not Just You

Once I had a crush on a boy with an Italian-sounding last name. He and his family were English-speaking Americans, yet in an attempt to prove my love to him, I taught myself (basic) Italian with Rosetta Stone.

This went over about as well as you’d imagine, but my questionable behavior persisted. Every phase I went through through my mid 20s was also a case of being too “down bad”: I rode my yellow beach cruiser around LA because I liked a guy who was into cycling, dyed my hair dark and cut bangs because the next one I liked “into French girls,” and moved to the same neighborhood to be closer to another after graduating.

If you’re thinking that some things are so cringeworthy they can and should stay in the drafts, know that nothing I’ve described is unique. Regardless of age, gender, or sexual orientation, almost everyone has done something foolish to get closer to a crush—and publicly admitting these acts has become a viral trend.

On TikTok, thousands of users are sharing their similarly embarrassing anecdotes of embarrassing or bizarre things they’ve done—and posted—because of a crush, such as pretending to be a dancer, dressing up like and lip-syncing to Ariana Grande, and going so far as to perm their hair. Intrigued, I asked my own followers, friends, and colleagues what they’d done in the name of a crush.

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“I pretended I was good at math and did my crush’s homework,” Lucy Weiss, a 25-year-old law student, says, while Chris M., a 33-year-old living in Boston, learned, lightly rewrote, rehearsed, and then performed the song “All I Ask of You” from The Phantom of the Opera in an attempt to ask his crush to be his girlfriend. “I thought it was the most romantic song I’d ever heard,” he tells Glamour. “It didn’t work.”

Jim S., on the other hand, was so committed that he learned origami. “With absolutely no background, I learned how to fold the Kawasaki rose, which is definitely not a form for beginners,” he says. “I folded enough to make a bouquet of them for my crushe’s birthday, which was equivalent to her new age.” Your move, Netflix.

One writer followed her crush to a different high school. “I begged my mom to let me switch schools because I heard a rumor my crush was going there after graduation,” Lily P. says. Clearly, having a crush can affect anyone, and it can drive us to do some questionable things. But why?

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According to psychologists, crush-induced brain chemicals mimic the feeling of actual intoxication. “When someone has a crush, they’ll experience the release of dopamine, causing people to feel pleasure and euphoria,” says psychiatrist Ashwini Nadkarni MD, an assistant professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School. “The release of another neurotransmitter, norepinephrine, is also triggered, which causes people to feel alert.”

Since having a crush is not unlike taking a drug, according to clinical psychologist Marcia Longley, PhD, a relationship expert at The Eternity Rose, it can “also cloud judgment and lead to irrational behavior, which can sometimes be quite embarrassing.” Hence the never-ending material everyone seems to have about our crush-induced decision-making skills.

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