Notes to self: When a crush turns you to mush

Globetrotting writer Gaby Doman reflects on the everyday ups and downs of being a modern woman

17:00 June 3, 2016

Obviously, I am usually a cool, calm and collected person. I think that’s clear for anyone to see. But, there are some things that push me out of my comfort zone and make me act in a way that could appear to the casual observer that I’m out of my mind.


Predictably, I have a huge crush on a guy in my gym. I say predictably because I’ve never not had a crush on a guy in my gym, wherever that gym may be. I’m pretty sure that, even in an all-women’s gym, I would develop a crush on the guy who came in to maintain the machines, or something.


When I get crushes, I revert back to my 13-year-old self. I still remember the first time Oliver Owens came strolling into my classroom. Portuguese and literally too cool for school, I thought he was dreamy. I remember the way he walked almost horizontally as if he was too chilled to worry about gravity, his leather jacket (swoon) and the way he pronounced ‘cotton wool’ because of his accent. I felt that, over time, I would grow out of those kinds of crushes where you can’t think about much else, and that, when they speak to you, you blush red with lust and self-consciousness. But, alas, no. I am still that 13-year-old girl.


While Oliver Owens is no longer on my radar, the latest crush takes me right back to those French classes when I used to get so excited to just be in his proximity. Ugh. I am a grown woman and I turn into a simpering teen when faced with flawless skin, incredible bone structure, muscley shoulders and lovely manners.


While the past couple of decades have helped in terms of confidence (I can, at least, manage a conversation with a guy I like now, for example), I am still profoundly uncool. I get what I’m going to call ‘face spurts’. A face spurt is when you are so excited to talk to someone, you just keep saying things, even if it’s absolute rubbish. Verbal diarrhea is another term, but it’s too gross to use.


Now, whenever I’m in the gym, I am face spurting rubbish at this guy. It kind of goes like this: “Hey, how are you? I’m good, my weekend was cool, I think I saw you on your motorbike and I waved at you, so if you saw a crazy person wave at you on Van Wou Straat that was me but I don’t think you saw me because you didn’t wave, so I don’t know why I said that hahahahaha” (manic laugh). I can make these long, rambling monologues go on for an extraordinary amount of time. Which would be fine, but if you chat for long enough with no filter, you WILL end up saying something terrible. You’ll talk about the fact you made another guy in the gym cry one time, or the fact that you had a dream about him or that you’ve thought about stroking his face. I say things before I think them through and, inevitably, make things really awkward for everyone. It’s as if the words spurt from my face, much like when you open a dodgy tap and water bursts all over the room. Except, in this case, it’s my sentences making a mess, rather than water.


Seriously, I’m 32 now. At what age will I get myself together enough to have a normal conversation with someone who makes my heart flutter?