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Crushes on Strangers

The Man of Action

The Man of Action
Credit: Victor Nuño

“What would you do if you had a crush on someone?” I asked Thomas. “Like a barista at the coffee shop?”

“Barista is tough because he’s at work,” Thomas said. We were chatting on IM, like we do every day, so technically he typed it. “I think I would find out where he hung out and try to bump into him there and make a move.”

I knew Thomas would have a plan. Thomas is a man of action, not a woman of romance and longing like me. I get a crush, and that is the end of the story. Thomas gets a crush, and he has a date on Friday night.

It’s not that he’s super-aggressive; he’s actually quiet and somewhat shy. But in this area, he is magically without neurosis and self-doubt, which may have to do with being a 20-something gay man in New York City, and may have to do with being Canadian, or with simply being Thomas. Once he showed me a text he sent to an old acquaintance he’d run into on the subway. “Good to see you,” it began. “I wonder if you’d like to get together sometime and casually make out.”

People actually talk like this to each other? I felt like he’d opened up his clamshell phone and shown me the surface of the moon.

It’s not that I can’t be forward with men. It’s just that it requires at least four glasses of wine. I wish everyone were half that clear, direct, and relaxed about what they want from each other.

“What happened with the guy?” I asked. “Did the text work?”

Of course it had. They hooked up a couple times. “He’s really nice,” Thomas said, “But he ended up being kind of crazy.” I guess that’s the risk you take when you are a man of action. You’re no longer locked in fantasy: You have to deal with the reality of the other person instead.

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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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