crushes

Squishing and crushing, part 2: other times I say ‘crush’ instead of ‘squish’

I left a couple of potentially pertinent things out of last week’s post about squishes and crushes. The point I was making is true: I do sometimes use the word ‘crush’ when what I mean is ‘squish’, simply because the meaning of ‘crush’ is close enough in most contexts that people will get my point without me having to get into a deeper conversation about asexuality (which, shockingly enough, I don’t always want to do).

But there’s another place I use the word crush that is worth mentioning. Sometimes I will say to a romantic partner, “I have a crush on you”, and in that case crush is the word I want, and I am choosing it deliberately. I use it to mean “I am so into you [sexually]”. I am using it here to specifically point at a feeling I am having that is different from my squishes (that hard-to-define, non-sexual attraction I have sometimes to people), and that is unquestionably sexual in nature.

The way I use the word ‘crush’ in this context is also describing a feeling that, for me, can never be fully disentangled from the feeling of being in love. I don’t feel this feeling for people I am not in love with (which makes it different from what most people mean when they talk about crushes), although I don’t always feel it when I am in love either (which is why I differentiate the feelings at all). To some extent, it is one of the ways I say “I love you”, but that ‘s not entirely it.

For me its also a way of talking about a feeling that, in polyamory circles, gets called ‘new relationship energy’ (or NRE). There is a particular rush of goodfeels that can come with new romantic and/or sexual connections, full of endorphin-y goodness, that human biology simply can’t sustain over the long-term, for the most part. It doesn’t last forever, and in any long-term relationship, it is just about guaranteed to lapse.

What I do find, though, is that it can come back! It works like a cycle of periods of endorphin-y goodness, followed by less intense periods that are sustained by the friendship-y, caring, and less intense love-y feelings, until eventually, (always, for me), those super intense early-relationship feels come raring back all over again. And that’s when I am likely to start telling a partner all over again how much of a crush I have on them.

I actually think those feelings are the closest experience I have to a regular old crush, since it actually involves, like, pantsfeels for someone. If I imagine feeling that way about someone I was not in love with, I think that’s about what a crush is for many people?

Please let me know if I’m wrong or whatever.

Squishing and crushing

I really love the word ‘squish.’ Specifically, I love the word squish in its ace-communities-relevant sense of an intense liking or non-sexual attraction for someone, that includes a hard-to-articulate desire for them to return your hard-to-articulate feels for them.

I love the word ‘squish’ in part because it was specifically reading about squishes and their distinction from crushes that helped me come to the realization that demisexuality is a useful model for understanding myself. And I love the word squish aesthetically because it actually just feels right as a word to describe the feelings that I used to understand as crushes, even though they never really were the thing that most other people talk about when they talk about crushes.

It’s the right word to describe a thing I experience. It sounds right and feels right, and actually means the thing I want it to mean, and I can’t even explain how much I love finding those kinds of words.

But sometimes I still use the word ‘crush’ when I know I mean ‘squish.’ Partly it is out of habit – I spent well over a decade describing my squishy feelings as crushes before I even learned about squishes. But the other part of it is that if I use the word ‘crush’, most people will have a close enough idea of what I mean, whereas if I use the word ‘squish’ I might then find myself in a conversation I don’t necessarily want to be having about what that means, and get derailed into playing Ace 101 with someone (which is still new enough for me to be less boring than Gender 101 is to me now, but is definitely not always something I am in the mood for.) And particularly around things like celebrity squishes (i.e. people I do not and am not going to have any kind of relationship with), I don’t feel like the distinction is important enough to split hairs about.

I love words so much, and I want squish to become a more commonly known word, and so I use it sometimes, and I talk about it sometimes, but at others, not so much.

Communication is complicated, basically.