Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles They happen in the privacy of our minds, pretty much everywhere. At the pool, the conference, the aisles of a supermarket. The dynamic is always the same: Very little knowledge, indeed complete ignorance, combined with a deep sense of knowing them absolutely. And of being entirely certain, they would, if only circumstances allowed, be the one. It's been going on since early adolescence, at least, this madness. And even now, when one should know better, it happens. These crushes, they show off our capacity for knowing how to make the most of the smallest details. A wrist, a neck, an ankle, a pair of jeans worn a certain way. They instantly become whole people with whom we can imagine years of a life together, full of profound mutual sympathy, tenderness, and laughter. This blessed person will, we know, understand us and all the secret, complex, ignored parts of us. This capacity we have for elaborating a whole personality from a few small details, it's there when we look at sketches. This isn't someone who has no nostrils, eight strands of hair, and no eye lashes. It's a beautiful creature we feel we understand at once. The cynics say it's madness, this filling in of the gaps. We're just projecting wild, reckless fantasies, but that's too sweeping. We're probably right to be delighted; it's just not the whole story. Perhaps that remarkably thin wrist with the leather band around it really does belong to someone who is skeptical, alternative, delicate, intelligent, wry. The error of the crush is to go beyond that insight, to think this could ever be the whole truth about a human being. Knocked off course by the crush's power, we forget one central, inviolable fact of human nature. That everyone is crazy and trouble to be around. Everyone has something substantially wrong with them. Everyone is extremely hard to live with. You can't know what from an ankle or a wrist, but it'll be something. Time will reveal it sure enough, because life has messed all of us up. Because we all grew up inadequately parented, and have all ended up terrified and anxious pretty much the whole time. That said, we shouldn't give up on having crushes at any age. We just shouldn't believe in what they appear to promise anymore. Of course we haven't glimpsed complete perfection; it's just a pretty nice side or two coming to the fore.