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October 14, 2013 | by  | in Features |
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Just Pash Already

Last week I stumbled across a Would You Rather that challenged: “Would you rather have a bell go off every time you were aroused OR have everyone know what your past internet searches are?” It got me thinking—what would people find if they trawled through my internet searches of late? There would be—incriminatingly—numerous searches for pirated versions of rom coms; given a history of hypochondria, searches along the lines of ‘shoulder ache = heart attack ?!??’ would certainly rank highly, but, without a shadow of a doubt, my number-one search trend would be making enquiries to Google about how to know when someone likes you.

Time and time again I have searched in vain for a fail-safe clue, trying both closed and open-ended questions; specific and vaguely worded questions, and search terms both in and outside of quote marks. Sadly, wikihow Yahoo Answers, and About.com are all pretty limited when it comes to answering the age-old question: are they even into you? Does she say “awwwww” after you cough, trip, or say something cute? She’s probably in love. Does he chat to you on social networking sites? Definitely down. Try making an inside joke with your crush! Only people who are keen for you make inside jokes.

What I really wish Google had told me, all those years ago, is that the fastest, easiest, and most genuine way to find out whether someone’s interested in you is to just ask. Only acting on your feelings, allowing them to reciprocate, and seeing where things go from there will tell you whether it’s ‘meant to be’—writing their name beside yours over and over again; trawling through every photo ever taken of them on Facebook, or checking your horoscope compatibility, on the other hand, will not.

Most people, just like you, invest most of their time focussing on themselves and their issues rather than you and yours. Chances are, then, that whoever you’re interested in has completely failed to pick up on the ‘clues’ you’ve been dropping: all your ‘awww’s, Facebook chats, and in-jokes have gone to waste.

Being honest about your feelings is never the easiest task, especially in New Zealand, where we are notoriously bad with talking about our emotions and no one has sex unless they’re drunk. You may consider ‘just asking’ akin to having a bell go off every time you’re aroused in terms of levels of embarrassment and impending social death.

But what, really, is there to be scared of ? It is unlikely that this encounter will land you with an anecdote ripe for the ‘How Embarassment’ pages of Girlfriend magazine—and if it does, then they’re probably not worth pursuing anyway. Sure, you have insecurities—we all do (Molly, 22, perpetually convinced that she has no friends)—but chances are (just as with your feeble attempts to drop more ‘awww’s per sentence) you’re the only person who’s taking any notice of them.

No one likes to be rejected, but refraining from acting on your feelings for someone will not help you to get over them any faster than if you tell them but they don’t feel the same way. In fact, the latter may ease you out of you tub-of-ice-cream-and-a-rom-com gloom even faster, as at least you will attain that much sought after c-word (nope, not that one): closure.

And, if you’re still not convinced, consider the alternative: after you’ve gone to all the effort of developing feelings for someone, boring all of your friends by talking about them all the time, and building a shrine to them in your cupboard, are you really going to throw it all away because you’re too scared to tell them how you feel? If you’re waiting for the apple of your eye to turn up on your doorstep one day, when it’s snowing outside and you’re only wearing sneakers and leopard-print underwear, and they’re on a ride-on mower playing your favourite song, holding up a series of signs that explain all the ways in which they love you, then trust me, it’s not going to happen. This is real life, not a mash-up of the closing scenes from all of my favourite romantic comedies.

One of the most glorious things about these brief, confusing, and often troubling lives we lead is that we get to muddle along with everyone else, who are just trying to make sense of this all as well. If you’re lucky, you’ll find that more than a few of the millions of other beings who make the muddling along a little more bearable, and if you’re really lucky, you’ll find someone who makes it all make sense, at least for a while. So when that does happen, by all means, seize the opportunity, and—plain and simple—see if they feel the same way too.

In short: just pash already.

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