The Ex-Crush

A lot of teenagers can relate to the situations in YA books; that’s why they read them. But back when I was a teenager, I found it difficult to relate to some of the situations (maybe I wasn’t reading the right kind of YA?). In YA books, the main character’s crush usually notices them and ends up falling in love with them by the end of the book, and the pair ends up together forever (or so the author implies). This does not happen in real life. What usually happens is (1) the crush never notices you at all, and you eventually lose interest; (2) the crush expresses interest, but both parties are too shy to act on it, and they eventually lose interest; or (3) the crush expresses interest and you end up dating that person, but you then discover that your crush is nothing like how you had envisioned them when you had the crush on them, and you eventually lose interest (and/or get irrationally disgusted).

That’s where the concept of the “ex-crush” comes in. A few years ago, I wrote a story and posted it on a site called FictionPress. In the story, my main character had a crush on a guy that she thought was really cool, but they briefly got together and she figured out that he wasn’t her type AT ALL. So from then on, she began to call him her “ex-crush,” but she continued to feel more strongly toward him (mostly negative feelings at that point) than she ever felt toward anyone else (including the guy she eventually ended up with).

The odd thing about crushes is that, even if you never get together with that person, you still invest a lot of time and emotional energy getting over them when you discover that they weren’t the idealized figure you had envisioned in your mind. Usually, when you think of the word “crush,” you think of something light and airy and frivolous that you’ll get over in a couple of months (kind of ironic, considering that “crush” is also a violent term). I don’t think the depiction of a crush as something silly is entirely accurate. They can be pretty serious, even more so when you’re young.

If I Had a Tattoo…

I’m kind of fascinated by tattoos, and my fascination was renewed after going to the beach and seeing them on practically every person there. They’re interesting to look at (kind of like bumper stickers or vanity plates), and it’s cool to hear the backstory behind them. The scary thing about them is that they’re pretty much permanent unless you get them lasered off, which is supposedly more painful and costly than getting the tattoo in the first place. Tattoos remind me of the whole YOLO thing; your body is on loan to you for a limited amount of time while you’re on earth, so why not decorate it however you want?

Seems like the stigma regarding tattoos isn’t as bad as it used to be. I see more and more people with them all the time, and it seems to me that the only way a tattoo would prevent you from getting a job or making a good impression on an employer is if the tattoo was in an inappropriate place or depicted something obscene, lewd, or otherwise tasteless. But even that’s subjective… and some employers are bound to dislike tattoos on principle, even if the tattoo itself is innocuous.

I would never get a tattoo, not because I’m afraid of the pain but because I see tattoos as an attention-getting scheme (unless they’re in a place that isn’t seen by most people). If I got a tattoo, it wouldn’t be big and elaborate, and it would likely be of something that’s an inside joke that only I would know about, but there wouldn’t be much of a point to having a tattoo like that if people were completely confused by the meaning behind it. Even so, make-believe tattoo ideas are a fun thing to daydream about.

Millennials and Marriage

Lately, it seems that everyone my age is getting married: people I went to high school and college with, people I work with, family members, random strangers… but that’s apparently not true, based on statistics cited in this article. Fewer millennials are getting married than people their age have in the past. The article claims that marriage rates have fallen mainly because of the recession, but that’s not the entire picture. Some other reasons I can think of:

  • Marriage and weddings are expensive. Lots of people are trying to pay off student loans and buy necessary items like houses and cars. Sure, you can always go to the justice of the peace and sign some papers, but even when weddings and marriage aren’t financially expensive, they’re emotionally expensive. Almost makes me wonder if there’s a study about how many women turn into “bridezillas” upon getting engaged…
  • It’s hard to find a good person. Of course, this is true at any point in history, not just when there’s a recession. Finding the right person requires discernment skills that not many people have… and it’s so hard to tell whether you’re still going to want to be with that person 30 or 40 years down the road. You have to be brave enough to take that leap of faith.
  • Some people don’t see any benefits to getting married. To them, a marriage certificate is “just a piece of paper” that’s meaningless when they’re already in a committed relationship without being married.
  • Perhaps they fear divorce or “failure” in marriage. The divorce rate is still high enough to be significant, although a lot of the time, divorce seems like a lesser fear. I’ve heard people say something to the effect of “if I don’t like him, I can just divorce him later.” The way I see it, marriage isn’t a “test drive,” and those who do fear divorce (or are at least anxious about whether their chosen person is right) actually have a good point. At least they’re thinking ahead.
  • They may be busy building careers and/or finishing school. If they’re not busy finding a job, then they’re busy working at their job or educating themselves enough to get one. And that takes up a lot of mental energy.
  • Marriage simply isn’t the right choice for them. The majority of people will get married at some point before the age of 40, but for the minority who don’t get married… it’s not nice to assume that they’re all cat ladies or bums. Like any other life choice, being single is a valid path to choose.

Hearing that a lot of people my age are in fact not getting married doesn’t make me feel better or worse about being single. But it is interesting to think about the effect this trend may have on society if it continues.

Dog Days Camp Update

I’m keeping on track with Camp NaNoWriMo. Sure, my word count goal is a paltry 20,000, but I’m all set to win and continue with the story into August and possibly September. What I thought would be a shorter story (~30,000 words) has ballooned into almost 50,000 words and will probably be 60,000 or 65,000 by the time the last scene is written.

When I got the initial idea for the story, I was almost certain I’d run out of ideas because at first, there didn’t seem to be much involved with the plot. I was more or less setting up the background for another story that would take place after it. But I’m really good at racking up word counts, even though I know that 90% (likely more) of what I write will eventually be edited out. So the ideas kept coming as the story progressed, and I have 13 fairly long chapters planned that should take me through to the end of the story. I hope I will accomplish what I set out to do: set up the events of the story that’s coming after it (and get out of the corner I wrote myself into before).

How’s your Camp going? Are you going to win?

The Friday Four: Embedded Links

1. I’m sure you’ve already seen it or at least heard about it, but now I’m telling you: Weird Al’s “Word Crimes” is awesome and you should watch it. It’s a million times better than that terrible “Blurred Lines” song it was based on.

2. The only thing I have to say to the author of this article on why Stephen King supposedly can’t write is, “If you think Stephen King can’t write, you need to read a couple of pages of anything by Danielle Steel.”

3. This cartoon is an accurate depiction of many popular genres of music, but I would have liked to see what metal, jazz, and classical look like.

4. This post on Mere Observations reminded me of how I wanted to write about how tolerance is the supreme virtue today, and all I have to say about that is that the people who claim to be tolerant need to tolerate others’ intolerance.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!