Holding a candle for an unrequited love has its charms, says Ryan Dodge.
In the world of competitive pining, it's not an exaggeration to say that I'm a legend. My journey towards greatness began in elementary school, when I nursed a secret crush on the lovely Naomi for five long years, an All Saints School record that remains unbeaten. By the time I got to high school, I was so good at longing lunchroom glances that I was named captain of the varsity unrequited love squad. And I'm sure most of you know all about my Crysman-trophy winning college career. My years as a pro have been marked by great triumphs—the candle I held for a woman with a boyfriend is in the Pining Hall of Fame—but also monumental struggles. To be perfectly honest, it's hard to pine in New York City.
Here's the thing—during my school days, I was forced to spend hours in the same classroom/lunchroom/living room as the objects of my affection. Don't worry, I wasn't a creepy starer, but on the inside I was simmering with longing. On the one hand, it was absolute torture—if I had my druthers, the moment a girl breaks my heart she would immediately be transported to an alternate universe that is exactly the same as our own, except for the fact that I'm not in it (that's more generous than hoping she gets hit by a bus, right?). But for all of the pain, those experiences are still strikingly vivid in my memory. For instance, I remember exactly how I felt walking into Honors World History the day after my high school girlfriend broke up with me, moving my seat to the opposite side of the room and not looking at her once for the rest of the year. Mature, right?
Things are a lot easier now. When a girl gives me the boot, all I need to do is delete her contact info from my phone and let my already horrible memory get to forgetting. It still takes me an abnormally long time to move on, but the process is exponentially quicker than it used to be. Would I want to go back to those days? Definitely not. But I do feel like I'm losing something. When I get rejected by a girl now, I just feel kind of pathetic and unworthy. Back in high school, the prolonged suffering somehow made the entire experience profound and noble. Let's put it this way—in the throes of my adolescent angst, I felt like Florentino from Love in the Time of Cholera, who waited his whole life for the woman he loved. Now I just feel like George Costanza. Moving On Is A Mixed Blessing
What's the longest you've pined for someone? Do you agree that pining is rarer once you're out of school? Do you kinda sorta miss it, just a little bit?
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