When you think about first crushes, what comes to mind? Etching their initials across your Lisa Frank notebook, making friends pinky promise that they won't tell the whole school, and leaving them an extra Fun Dip with their paper Sponge Bob Valentine? While first crushes are often remembered as fun and nostalgic, they can be more complex for queer people, who may not have felt supported or even safe in expressing their first queer crushes to anyone but themselves.
Regardless of age, when you haven't yet "come out" or don't fully understand your feelings, it can be uncomfortable — terrifying even — to shout a queer crush from the rooftops or gush about it to your best friends. While some queer people are born with a strong sense of who they are and who they want to kiss, others learn about their queerness over time — and by kissing the wrong people.
Since it's likely that many queer people may not have been able to express their feelings in the moment, Bustle asked nine queer angels to write a love letter to their first queer crush.
In the ninth grade, after the freshman basketball game, my high school boyfriend Jamie cheated on me with you. You made out at some party, and I heard about it the next day. I pretended that I was really upset, but really, I was jealous — of him. I wanted to make out with you at a party. I wanted to take off your May Day Parade shirt and get your eyeliner all messed up. You were my scene queen, and I will think of you whenever I listen to All Time Low. — Sam, 25
I am mesmerized by the way your hair blows so whimsically in the wind as I bike beside you. Giggling about whatever shenanigans we got into the night before, and dreaming up our next over coffee on Sunday mornings, makes me feel grown-up. I like that we can see those things in ourselves. That first night we biked through the orchards in 99-cent store wizard hats, I knew I wanted to collide with you and form a two-headed monster. I think of you fondly and often, my little mouse on the prairie. — Coop, 30
I remember just wanting to hold you. I was fascinated by the way you moved through the world. You read your poetry out loud to me before we kissed for the very first time, our hands tangled and attached. In that moment, you were everything to me. No one else existed. — Willa, 25
I always got forced to be the goalie even though it sucked, and I always felt like it was my fault when the other team scored. One day, we were losing by a lot, and I was frustrated and crying a bit. You kind of kissed my cheek and said something like, "It's OK, it doesn't matter if we lose," or something like that. I do not recall your name, but I was very smitten by this and by you. — Harper, 24
I'll never forget the summer we met. You had a septum ring, hairy 'pits, and a rock-climbing tattoo. I felt really nervous around you because I liked you, but I told myself it was just because I thought you were really cool. You were a vegetarian, so I became one, too. I did it to impress you, but I told everyone it was because I wanted to "do my part" for the environment (which is also true, but I came up with that reason later). — Rosie, 26
You were best friends with my friend from Orchestra. You added me on Facebook and said you were straight. But after three weeks of messaging me, you told me you were gay — and that was the only reason you messaged me in the first place. We talked for a while, and I really enjoyed it. You wanted to exchange dick pics and talk about sex stuff, which I was not ready for. I was too busy to be horny, staying inside and practicing my upright bass. — Leo, 22
You were the TA for my biology lab. You had pastel blue hair and wore Dr. Martens. I never read the pre-labs, so you would patiently sit next to me each week and explain how to use the different equipment in a soft, kind voice. Coffee after lab turned into dinner at Korean BBQ restaurants turned into sleeping in your bed. Then one night, after one of our dates, I turned to tell you that I loved you, and you told me you and your ex-boyfriend were back together. — Kylie, 24
I'm not sure whether or not you're still pretending to be straight, but regardless, I’m a girl now, so it’s OK! I should have acted upon your subtle gay cues at boarding school. I was too low in self-esteem to embrace your queer, queer love. Also, your roommate (who criticized my feminist club) was hot as hell. — Meredith, 26
I realized I liked you that night when our friends were snuggling on Tess' bed. I was spooning you, and you grabbed my leg with your legs and pulled it closer toward you. You had long curly hair, and I buried my nose in it. You smelled like coconut shampoo and menthol cigarettes and were the only one in our friend group who didn't have tattoos. I still wonder if you've ever gotten one. — Red, 25