I have a crush? When did that happen?

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This feels surprisingly weird and unexpectedly awkward, but let me be flamboyant about it: I have a new crush.

I’m not sure how people have crushes nowadays, like how and when does it even start? When do you realize you have a crush on someone and pinpoint why you have a crush on them?

It’s a crush based on what? Exceptionally good looks? Amazing personality? Striking abilities? Common interests?

This new crush feels weird because I don’t get crushes on people I don’t know and I don’t know him. In previous times, I get crushes on people I go out with, people who are my good friends. People I know through work or school or in an organization of which I am a member of. That’s why guys who come up to me randomly never catch my attention. They don’t stand a chance. “Hello? Stranger, get away from me! Now! And fast or I’ll call the cops!”

It also feels awkward because if you have been following my previous posts, I was just swamped and crumbling from a broken heart a couple of weeks back, yet here I am jumping up and down because of this new crush.

I’ve seen him a few times at salsa. It’s funny how, now, when I think about it, I can remember vividly the first two times we danced because it was on a really fast song.

When I dance salsa with a guy for the first time, I get nervous because I don’t know his moves, I’m not sure when he’s going to turn me around or pull a shine or decide to let go for an improv.

I obviously cannot remember all the first dances I had with every new guy. In fact, I don’t remember any at all, but for some reason, I remember the first couple of dances I had with him. I didn’t even have a crush on him at the time.

The first one happened at Bellini’s on a Tuesday. He asked me for a dance and I was like “hmmm, this is a fast song, nervous nervous nervous.” But the whole night was just spent dancing with my usual dancing partners and friends after that first dance with Mr. New Crush.

The second time was at Portobello on Friday the same week. I saw him coming to me and I was like “this is the guy I danced a fast song with and he’s walking towards me on the queue of another fast song? Give me a break!”

The thing with salsa, it’s difficult to appreciate the dance and the dancer when it’s fast. It’s like you are short-changing all the moves and just putting your mediocre, off-beat ass on the floor.

So, after the second dance I told him I remembered how the first time we danced was on a fast beat and the second time was the same. I told him we should dance on a song that is in a comfortable beat and I’m glad that we did.

It was a good dance and I finally get to appreciate his style. He is a good dancer (at least in my standards.) He gives me this feeling that I am safe in the dance, that I shouldn’t worry about getting off balance, that I should just enjoy it because he won’t let go and he won’t let me fall face flat on the floor. (Believe me, I’ve seen that happening to other girls before, like their dancing partners just throw them for a turn and forget to catch them, oops!)

Since the first two dances, we have been dancing frequently but I will not put any color or meaning or imagination to it. I guess we dance a lot because 1. We are already familiar with each other and 2. There’s not a lot of people to dance with.

We had a few conversations here and there about usual introduction stuff-where are you from? What do you do? What do you think of Egypt? When did you start dancing salsa? You get the picture. (Kinda tricky to do when you are at a salsa party because people are usually there to dance, not to talk. Plus, the music blasting in the background is not really chat-friendly, but somehow, we managed.)

Well, I’m not sure what it is about him, but he just looks pleasant, like the kind of guy that you won’t run away from. Or maybe it’s his aura that seems to tell me it’s safe to get close to him, he won’t bite. Or maybe it’s the way he smiles and laughs in a conversation. I don’t know.

When I dance salsa, I usually have this automatic look-at-me-I’m-a-serious-salsera look on my face, but when I dance with him, I just find myself smiling throughout the song. I can’t help it because he is smiling too!

And tonight on my way home, I’m wondering if he noticed that I held his hand a little bit longer and a little bit tighter than usual. Well, I certainly noticed it.

It’s like a revelation. There’s a voice inside my head telling me “Jennifer, you’re dancing with him and you feel different. Happy. You don’t want the song to end and at the same time you can’t wait for the next song to start so you can dance with him again.”

And that same voice is probing me with endless questions. Why do you get so shy when you’re around him? How come when he’s surrounded with people you can’t come up and struck a conversation? Why has it been impossible to say hello when you see him enter the restaurant, while you can approach everyone else? Why can’t you manage to say goodbye before you leave when all the time you do it with everyone else? You are singling him out and chances are he’ll think you are avoiding him.

Voice inside my head, shush already!

I don’t know about avoiding him when I want him to be my first and last dance in every salsa party I go to. He turns the dance into something more, something that makes me smile (at least in my head!) He was my last dance tonight which makes me jittery. I asked if we can dance one last time before I go home and he politely said that I don’t even have to ask.

I think that’s what it is, he is polite and pleasant and there is this subtle tenderness about him. Now, I’m getting weirded out with myself considering I’m not really good at judging people. And what gives me the credibility to say that he is polite and pleasant and has this tenderness about him when I don’t really know him? I’m even having a hard time saying his name!

But that’s another thing though, I want to know him! And I want to know if maybe he wants to know me too.

So, there, I said it, I have a new crush! Wear your party hats on, blow those balloons, and pop the champagne!

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