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Published on Mommy Tracked (http://www.mommytracked.com)

Crushed.

A friend of mine was telling me today about her son’s tennis instructor: tall, gorgeous, Latin, twenty-nine years old, with a Stanford MBA, to boot.  She joked to her husband that she would leave him in a second if the tennis pro ever came on to her, and she confided to me that she always dresses up, just a little, on tennis lesson days.  I knew, of course, exactly what she was talking about, as I’ve had quite a few crushes of my own in the last few years.  Let me say, however, that when I talk about crushes, I’m talking about exactly that: a crush.  Not marriage damaging, I- want-to-throw-you-down-and-have-wild-sex-with-you lust, but harmless fluff; the stuff that seventh grade is made of.  I know you know what I’m talking about.

What’s surprising about my crushes, at least to me, is that my bar is set pretty low.  A guy doesn’t have to be smoking hot, or, for that matter, even mildly attractive, in order to get my crush on.  He just needs to be able to make me laugh and pay some attention to me, and I’m hooked.  Like my friend, the objects of my affection are typically instructors of some kind, because the only other men in my life are the husbands of my girlfriends (too weird) and the dads from school (no thanks).  And seeing as how my childrens’ schedules are fuller than the President’s, I tend to have a lot of crushes.  There’s my son’s music teacher with the shaggy hair and the sly sense of humor.  There’s my daughter’s preschool teacher with the surfer aura and the dry sarcasm.  There’s the toddler-gym class teacher with the tattoos and the spiky, bleach-tipped hair, who likes to make silly puns all through the class.  And then, of course, there are the teachers in my own life: the spinning instructor who likes to tease the class regulars (although he’s actually really hot, and I have thought about having sex with him), and the ski instructor.  Oh, the ski instructor.  Uros, from Slovenia, who’s about six-five, with the cutest accent ever.  I wouldn’t describe him as hot, but he cracks me up, and he flirts like a champ.  I don’t even like to ski, and I’m terrible at it, but Uros keeps me coming back, year after year.  When we’re on vacation, my husband makes fun of me for blowing out my hair and putting on makeup before my ski lessons. You wear a helmet and giant goggles, he says.  But I just ignore him.  When Uros and I take a hot chocolate break and the goggles and the helmet come off, I want to look good.  I want to look damn good.

Of course, it has occurred to me that perhaps Uros flirts because it’s good for business.  Because, like me, there are other long-married moms who are dying for a man, any man, other than their husbands, to notice them –  to let them know that they’re still attractive, that they’re still intriguing, that they’ve still got it – and that they, too, will pay ridiculous sums of money to be reminded of this by Uros and his cute accent.  I know, I know, it’s so very Dirty Dancing.  Ask me if I care.

One thing I’ve learned, though, is that crushes should remain in context, especially when it comes to instructors of any sort.  Instructors, I think, are such great targets for crushes because they seem so confident when they’re doing what they do best, and confidence, any way you slice it, is attractive. But once he leaves the world in which he reigns, a crush can quickly become just another loser in a band that’s going nowhere, a slacker who can’t handle responsibility, a rebel who can’t hack it in the real world.  Or a ski bum who will never, ever grow up.

I learned this lesson this hard way last year, when we were casting for the role of Andrew on Notes From the Underbelly.  We had auditioned what felt like every actor in Los Angeles, and still, we couldn’t find anyone who was right.  The producers decided that maybe it would be best to just try to discover someone new, and we were encouraged to bring in anyone who we thought might be right, whether he had acting experience or not.  At the time, I’d had a long-standing crush on a trainer from my gym.  He was gorgeous, and he had a magnetic personality.  His class was so full every week that you had to get there half an hour early just to get a spot, because every other woman at the gym had a crush on this guy, too.  He also happened to be an actor.  I told the casting agents about him, and they called the gym, got his number, and asked him to come in for an audition.  I was so nervous the day he came in – here he was, my hot, funny, incredibly knowledgeable trainer, auditioning for me.  I did my hair and wore an extra-nice outfit, because after all, he’d never seen me in anything but gym clothes and a ponytail.  But when he got there, he was sweaty and nervous, and he couldn’t act to save his life.  Not to mention that he wasn’t half as cute in regular clothes as he was in shorts and a tee-shirt.  And just like that, my crush was over.  Poof.

So now I know better.  In order to maintain the integrity of my crushes, I don’t ever, ever allow my worlds to collide.  I see my boys, as I like to call them, only at their best, and in doing so, I allow them to retain the aura of mystery and confidence that I find so appealing to begin with.  They flirt, I flirt back, it’s all very innocent and fun, and then I go on my way, walking a little bit taller, feeling a little bit sexier, and always – always – wanting more.  I could go on and on about it, but I’ve gotta’ go.  I need to book my ski lessons for December.


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