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The Awkward, Delicious Magic of Crushes

Exploring the thrill of first crushes and “internet boyfriends”—plus the science of infatuation, and why it might even be good for us.

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In partnership with
Grown Podcast

For kids and teens, experiencing a first crush feels like a taste of grown-up life—nursing those burgeoning feelings for a friend or TV character makes you feel older and more sophisticated, able to imagine what your life might look like beyond its current iteration with school bells and curfews.

For adults, it’s the opposite—a ticket to travel back in time to your youth, when just the thought or sight of this person made your stomach drop and your grasp of language falter. It’s awkward, it’s humbling, and it’s delicious: What other feelings can break your grown-up brain out of the monotony of meal planning and work meetings?

So when The Moth set out to launch their new podcast, Grown, all about the challenges and joys of growing up, it was only natural for hosts Aleeza Kazmi and Fonzo Lacayo to focus the premiere episode on that magical, formative breed of infatuation.

To celebrate the launch, we brought together some of the internet’s best stories about the crushes that defined us, as well as how those feelings can influence our lives from the inside out.

Are your palms sweating? Let’s get started.

From our partners

Crushed: Heartbreaks, First Kisses, and Catching Feelings [LISTEN]

The Moth

Young love. Erotic fan fiction. Secrets spilled or slipped. In this episode, Fonzo and Aleeza get crushed by crushes. David Lepelstat tells us about his first kiss, and Sasha Im’s mom reads her diary. Plus, relationship talk—including an awkward reveal from our co-hosts.

The 14 Types Of Crushes, Explained

Pema Bakshi

The thrill of having a crush can add a lot to the mundanity of our lives. By going through our own histories in an excruciating process of self-reflection, we’ve filtered the list down to fourteen kinds of crushes that you might have had (or will have).

The Decent Man

Roxane Gay
Adapted from CRUSH

“If I have a first love, it is that man of good Midwestern stock. I loved him because he was always steady, true, handsome, courageous, strong.”

How the Internet Picks Its Boyfriends

Sulagna Misra
The Cut

To the extent that this phenomenon gets noted outside of the safe spaces of Tumblr and BuzzFeed, it tends to get treated with condescension — a time-honored way to play down the destabilizing power of female crushes since at least the era of Elvis.