I had entertained a crush on a heretofore unattainable man for 10 years when he wrote me out of the blue one day to see if I was interested. Suddenly all the latent Harlequin romance of my heart lit up like a pinball machine. At last, here was My Romance. At the time, I was living in Los Angeles; he was living in Maine. For our first date, he came to my mother's wedding in Colorado. On our second date we met in Las Vegas at Christmas (no, we did not get married). For our third date, I moved to the other side of the country.
Based on my relationship history, or at least on my history of crushes on unattainable men, this fit the pattern. My castle-in-the-sky construction of an unavailable man generally begins with a circumstantial meet (he was seated next to me in class or at the wedding of mutual friends, et cetera), not any actual planning. From there, generally a single factor makes him unattainable: geography, lifestyle, or a significant other. Notwithstanding, in my mind's eye, the unattainable man is always somehow "the One," and I hope he will begin to think of me the way I think of him—cycle and repeat. Of course, the first unattainable man I ever hoped would notice me was my father.
The first time I heard about daddy issues was when I was 23 years old and dating a man who was 45 and looked 65. People didn't think I was dating my father; they thought I was dating my grandfather. He was my second boyfriend (tell me about it) and when anyone suggested he was a father figure, I heartily denied it, but I knew in my heart it was true. Marrying A Much Older Man Made Me A Better Person
Memories of my father growing up are of a man drunk, absent or angry. When my father was at home, the family was either walking on eggshells or swept up in a maelstrom of wild tantrums and energy—cue the music for an abandoned childhood. For all intents and purposes we grew up without a father, and to this day when I see dads-in-action, I think it's a performance.
Although I said I hated my father, I also desperately wanted him to notice me—which sounds suspiciously like all of my crushes. If I could be the best or the fastest or the smartest, or become famous or funny or fabulous, or possibly just break my arm (I tried valiantly, never happened), he would notice me and (therefore) love me.