By Holly A. Phillips — @OrangeJulius7
A 10-minute drive gets me to work for my part-time job at the mall. I take the same route, park in the same area of the lot, and walk the same path to the shoe store where I work four to five times each week.
On my way into work, I walk by one of those kiosks that sell gold jewelry. Nearly every single time, the guy working the kiosk says hello to me.
Well, it’s more like, “Hey…’sup?”
I didn’t register that it was a regular occurrence until recently. Some days, I’m hustling in, walking as quickly as possible in order to clock in on time.
Other days, I’m taking a leisurely stroll, carrying my pink owl lunchbox, because I’m just a little childish.
No matter what, the guy—let’s call him Goldman— says hi to me.
It was a rainy day when I started looking at Goldman a little differently. I didn’t feel like being sociable and the last thing I wanted to do was go to work. I shuffled my usual path and made an effort to avoid Goldman’s gaze, but he’d gotten out of his chair and into my path to deliver his greeting.
According to my estimate, Goldman stands about average height. He’s mastered the art of the scruff, and he’s usually wearing a hat, a white tee, and jeans.
But he’s got that swag. He seems effortlessly cool.
Enter: the stranger crush.
According to Urban Dictionary, a stranger crush is, “a crush on someone you see all the time, but do not actually know personally. Their name may be known, but they are usually referred to by some sort of nickname.”
There’s no way I’d notice Goldman if he didn’t force his kindness upon me nearly every day. Not because there’s nothing to notice about him, but probably just because I’m usually stuck in my own world with earbuds in.
When you think about it, stranger crushes happen quite often; it’s what makes waiters and bartenders attractive for an hour (I’ve been both, so don’t take offense to it). I’d argue to say there’s plenty of stranger crushes happening in college classrooms, apartment complex hallways, and vacation spots, worldwide.
Yesterday, as I approached Goldman’s kiosk, I told myself that I should just stop and ask him what his name is. At least then I could address him properly.
But I opted out of it.
That’s the whole allure of the stranger crush: there’s so much unknown.
I don’t even know his name, how old he is, or any part of his story. Right now, in my mind, he’s perfect. Knowing any fact about him could shatter that fantasy, and it’d make going to work that much shittier.
Perhaps Goldman has a stranger crush on me, too. He doesn’t know my name or where I work, although I’m sure he’s narrowed it down to our wing of the mall.
On the other hand, maybe he’s a complete psycho who’s playing the numbers game to get laid by passersby in the mall. That’s the thing about stranger crushes—you just never know.
A coworker of mine stopped by Goldman’s kiosk to buy some studs for her boyfriend. I told her about my nano-attraction to him.
“He seems really nice,” she said. “I mean, he gave me a $30 pair of earrings for, like, $10.”
Read more about cruising for strangers on Holly’s blog, TheBitterLemon.com.