Sunday, January 21 , 2018, 9:55 am | Fair 50º


Louise Palanker: Age-Appropriate Dating, Gay Crush, How to Identify a Crush

Question from Lauren

OK, so I am severely crushing on an older guy and this coming June, when I turn 14, it will be legal for us to date. He is a junior in high school and I’m in the eighth grade. He is, however, liking my best friend who is also in the eighth grade.

I’ve had crushes before this, but this is my very first HUGE crush. I dream about him every single night and I’m constantly thinking about him. When he is away from his phone after I text or Snapchat him, I know I shouldn’t, but I freak out and can’t think straight and feel the urge to text him again, just in case he didn’t see the other one, even when I know that he did.

Please help me. I’ve never had feelings like this before. I just want him to like me back.

Signed, Lovesick


There are a couple of things going on here.

1. Stay away from a high school junior who is trolling for eighth-graders. That is EXTREMELY dangerous. To be blunt, this is how young girls get pregnant. He is in the power position. He is an older guy, which gives him a certain allure and so he hits your heart in much the same way that a celebrity would have you swooning. However, the celebrity is highly unlikely to get you pregnant. The neighborhood high school junior hitting on middle-school girls is a clear and present danger. He knows you would do anything to get him to like you and so he asks you to. It’s not remotely safe or OK.

There is a lot that is wrong with this picture. This guy could be specifically looking for young girls who will easily fall for his older charms or he may simply be on his way to becoming a pedophile. Meaning, he will continue to prey on very young girls. (Google Roy Moore.) You are 13 years old. Let’s assume he is 16 or 17. Why is he Snapchatting with you at all? This is not an acceptable age difference. If you give him a chance to harm you, this guy will harm you. He should not be dated. He should be reported.

2. Let’s talk about impulse control. Assume that one day you are crushing on an age-appropriate guy who is showing an interest in somebody else. Don’t text him. You are putting yourself on an emotional roller coaster that will occupy 99 percent of your attention and prevent you from fully investing yourself in your day and in other friendships, family time, interests and pursuits.

OK, now assume that you like a guy who is age appropriate and you don’t know who he likes or if he likes you back, but you have already texted him once. Stop texting him. He got the text. It’s his turn. Move on with your day.

We do hold the potential in our hands to push a button that will reach a person and alert them that in essence, “Hey! I’m here!” You do not want to repeatedly do that any more than you would want to stand in front of a boy yelling, “Hey! I’m here!” over and over again.

If patience and self restraint do not come naturally to you, then be hard on yourself and learn them now. The counter-intuitive lesson is that NOT pushing that button gives you far more power than pushing it. Let a guy wonder where you are. Let him miss you. Let him come to you ... PROVIDED HE IS AGE APPROPRIATE!

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Question from Caleb

Hi there, Weezy. Ok, so I admit, I think I’m in love.

First things first though, I’m gay, but not out yet, so that makes dating a whole lot harder ... Let me introduce you to my crush. We know each other from school — we’re in lots of classes together and we’re quite good friends. In May, on a school camping trip, I got to share a tent with him (oh, what a good night that was sleeping next to him!) and we go out every so often, maybe every few months.

Now, since it’s Christmas and we’re not in school, I decided to ask him if he wanted to go into town with me to the cinema or something, and he replied with a yes. We’re going out next Tuesday. This time, I really want to make a move on him, subtly, because like I said I’m not out yet, but enough so that I can test the water and see what’s what. Flirting I guess, just not too flirtatious ...

He’s got a very flirtatious manner anyway, and I can never tell whether he’s joking or actually hinting something to me. We get along well, and I’ve tried to hint my passion for him before (unsucceedingly of course ...)

He looks amazing, short blond hair, wide blue eyes and he’s just so laid back and casual, he makes me feel like I just need to loosen up and be as casual as him, too! His casual character, however, means it’s hard to read him and his actions. As you can tell, a million and one thoughts are flying through my head now that my “date” is arranged. I would love some advice on how to hint to him that I like him.



I think you should start by letting him know that you are into guys. That just clears a certain amount of air. He may then reveal more about his own preferences. Or he may not, but he will at least know yours.

You can do this by mentioning that you think a certain male celebrity is attractive. That sort of thing. If he still seems really comfortable and natural and flirty around you, and if you are able to learn that he also likes guys, you can say, “Hey, so are we just hanging out or is this a date?” Take the conversation from there.

You have a right to know where you stand. There is no shame in having a crush. In fact, it’s a compliment. We all crush. It is inherently human. So, information is your friend here. Seek it. Being informed gives you the fuel you will need to make excellent choices.

(YOcheckitoutYO video)

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Amy

So, how do I know if I have a crush on a guy? There’s this one guy who’s really cute and I think I like him. Forever, my friends have tried to find out who my crush is to tease me about it, and I’ve kept a reputation for not liking anyone. Do I really not like him or is my subconscious trying to keep up my reputation by suppressing my feelings? I don’t know. Help!!!


These are some really good questions and your raising them shows that you are ready to start understanding yourself better. Imagine that you went to a new school tomorrow morning. Your friends don’t go there. Your reputation has a completely clean slate. The only kid you know at this new school is the boy. Do you still like him?

When you are a little kid, you tend to think that now is forever. It’s not. Things change. You change. Recognizing that is an important step. OK, so you may have been a little kid with no crushes. You are probably becoming a young lady with a tendency to like a boy. Begin embracing that concept so that it does not continue to feel like you are betraying yourself.

YOU are many things. YOU are on your way to becoming many more things. One thing you do want to become is a person who accepts changes. In the world and in herself.

For example, you may have no interest in the news today. You may be obsessed with it by the time you are 30 because you may begin to see how it affects you. This boy and the way he makes you feel is starting to directly effect you. That is not only OK, it is to be expected. Always expect change. You will change. Things will change.

My guess is that if you took the time to send me this question you DO have a crush on this guy. Admit this to one friend. Laugh about it. Friends are designed to help each other through crushes.

Enjoy this and know that no matter how much you do change, the core of who you are will always remain the same.

                                                                 •        •        •

Got a question for Weezy? Email her at [email protected] and it may be answered in a subsequent column.

Louise Palanker is a co-founder of Premiere Radio Networks, the author of a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel called Journals, a comedian, a filmmaker (click here to view her documentary, Family Band: The Cowsills Story), a teacher and a mentor. She also hosts a weekly video podcast called Things I Found Online, and teaches a free stand-up comedy class for teens at the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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