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Crushes on Strangers

That Girl

That Girl

“Guess who my new wife is,” my friend IMed me one morning. This was not an unusual way to begin a conversation. His previous wives had included Minka Kelly from Friday Night Lights, and Lenny Kravitz’s daughter, Zoe. None of them were his actual wife, whom he had been happily married to for years.

I did not know the woman in question, though her face was plastered all around New York at the time, and my friend certainly wasn’t the only one noticing. “Who is that girl in the T-Mobile ad” turns up 199 million Google results. That was his first thought upon seeing her, actually. Not, Wow, she's hot, but, Who is that girl? Do I know her from somewhere?

“I’m pretty sure it was the dress,” he says now. “She was wearing a really cute pink-and-white sundress.” The sundresses play a leading role in this story, as sundresses have quite a hold on the erotic imagination. Another guy I know refers with longing not to the first day of summer, but to the first day of sundresses. 

It’s weird. I could watch that commercial 199 million times and get nothing—no heat, no mystery. Girls are used to sizing up other girls, and few things vex us like a woman whose allure we cannot parse.

“I like the attitude she has in those ads,” he said. “She comes across as smart and confident, but also kind of coltish, the way she stands pigeon-toed, which is a model thing, I know.” At the end of the day, it’s not an algorithm. It’s just a feeling that washes over you and recedes like the tide.

A few months later I got another email from him. “The T-mobile girl has a new dress and my crush is officially over.” It’s not a heinous dress. It’s also pink, but more satiny.

“Your love is fickle,” I told him.

He responded, “The heart does what it will.”

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TMN Contributing Writer Sarah Hepola is the Life editor at Salon. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Nerve, and on NPR. She lives in Texas with a sweet orange cat who is not fat, he’s just big-boned. If you just read her story about Joseph Gordon-Levitt, she’d like to point that it is fiction. More by Sarah Hepola

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