If you’ve been following along with this blog, you’ve read a bit about my polyamorous dating life and how forward I am. Nowadays, whenever I feel like I vibe with someone, I ask if they wanna be besties, but way back when, I was asking people out and dropping my number left and right.
Word to the wise: do not ask out the local pharmacist if you’re not prepared to see them every time you need to pick up ointments for your various rashes.
I have literally always been a flirt. Having been raised by two funny, charming, and quick-witted people (no, I’m not trying to get anything out of my parents, why do you ask?), my immediate instinct when interacting with the outside world is to charm people and make them laugh. Am I ever not flirting? Ummmm, no, it is probably constant.
Editor Josh, who is often on the phone with me when I’m out in the world, has witnessed this several times. Some times are more successful than others…he still makes fun of the time I flirted with the local Starbucks barista by saying “I like your floppy hat.” Cue Josh cackling hysterically in my ear.
Since I didn’t really start dating until after college, I’ve always thought of myself as almost anti-romantic. I’ve never loved the idea of marriage or monogamy, and those things are usually intertwined with our idea of “romance,” so I thought I couldn’t possibly be a romantic!
However, while I may not be a romantic, I most definitely am, and have always been, a flirt.
When I was younger, I was constantly crushing on my classmates. And I mean constantly. My first crush was when I was around 3 years old. By the time I was in middle school, I had crushed on every boy in my class (as you’ll remember, I didn’t come out as bi until pretty recently). Some more than once, some weeks I jumped from one crush to another.
I actually took a quiz in the American Girl Library book A Smart Girl’s Guide to Boys: Surviving Crushes, Staying True to Yourself & Other Stuff (remember these books? They were so cool) about how boy-crazy I was, and I remember that my quiz result was essentially the “medium” result. The most boy-crazy result had a comic of a girl with a thought bubble that said “Boys. Boys. Boys. Boys. Boys. Boys…” The least boy-crazy result has one with a thought bubble that said something like “Shopping. Skateboarding. Schoolwork. Boys. Gymnastics. Friends.” Mine, as the medium boy-crazy result, read “Shopping. Boys. Skateboarding. Boys. Schoolwork. Boys. Gymnastics. Boys.” You get the gist. With all of the crushes that I had and how much energy I gave them, this seemed pretty accurate!
My elementary school friend told me that her sister kept a diary specifically dedicated to boys she had dated, and I decided to do the same. My friend commented that it wouldn’t make much sense considering the fact that I wasn’t dating these guys, I was just crushing on them, but this did not deter me! Crushing constantly was part of my identity (as well as recording everything for sentimental reasons) and I was too excited to write down everything about my crushes. The journal I bought for my crush journal didn’t have a lock, so I hole-punched the cover of the journal and the piece that snapped the journal closed so that I could add a little lock and protect my private thoughts. You can see it below in all its glory!
Since none of my classmates had any interest in me in real life, the only time they actually liked me the way that I liked them was in my imagination (which is where I spent and still spend a lot of my time) and my dreams. In fact, when I was younger and religious, I would pray before bed every night. You can guarantee that, at the end of that prayer, I was asking God to give me dreams about boys. Hey, if I can’t get any attention while awake, I might as well try every avenue I can to get attention in my dreams!
Speaking of escaping reality, even while watching TV, I was thinking about romantic relationships. I was always excited to see episodes of TV shows about people dating or crushing on each other. All of the other episodes were just filler until I could see another episode where there was some sort of romantic drama. They were always my favorite episodes, and I only realized recently that this coincides perfectly with this “flirt” identity I’ve always had.
Any time that my life felt like one of those TV episodes, I was living my truth. Every time I went to a school function or party, I always imagined being the center of some romantic drama. I loved spending parties flirting and wondering if my crush was flirting back. I found those parties to be some of the most enjoyable and memorable parties of my childhood.
I didn’t lose this flirty energy in high school and college, although I also didn’t have 40 crushes at once like I did when I was younger. I was crushing constantly, don’t get me wrong, but I was able to keep it to less than like 10 crushes per year, which is a huge shift.
By the time I reached high school and college, I was so used to not having a romantic relationship that I just felt more comfortable not having one. Monogamy scared me. I far preferred being a third wheel to being one of the two original wheels. Now that I’m in a monogamous engagement, I am thrilled to have Dan in my life, but I would still not consider myself a romantic. It’s true that I would be devastated if Dan and I split up, but I know that I can survive and be happy without a romantic relationship. Romantic entanglements just aren’t necessary for me, even if they’re nice to have and I’m a total flirt.
I’m not a romantic. I’m a flirt. There’s a difference!