Ciao, Crush

I called him The Italian Boy. He was an exchange student, truly Italian, at the college where I went. It was sophomore year and I smitten. Too-long bangs, Mediterranean blue eyes, always accessorized with a soccer ball. Of course I had never tossed a single Buon giorno his way or screwed up the courage to push my tray along next to his in the dining hall. But I knew his class schedule by heart and would often race to stand outside of his building and then follow behind at a good 30 paces as he made his way to his next class.

“Did you see Italian Boy today?” was my roommate’s usual greeting.

I grew up in a Waspy suburb of Connecticut and anyone who spoke with an accent—Italian or otherwise—was beyond exotic to me. I once dated a guy who took me to dinner at an old-school Neapolitan joint in Hartford and asked the waitress what Mary-nary was. It took her a while to figure out he was confused about the marinara sauce topping his spaghetti.

Italian Boy wouldn’t have those troubles. He was perfect.

Until I met him. It turns out Paolo was eyeing me as well. He asked me on a date to see The Graduate, playing on campus, and had the nerve not to like it (did it get lost in translation?) Then invited me back to his room where I sat at his desk and he played every single song with “Cathy” in the lyrics on his guitar. I had never realized how many songs contained my name. The night was endless.

I avoided him the rest of the year and he ended up scrawling a totally bonkers note on my door that ended with, “You, you, never again.” I have a photo of it somewhere. It’s a reminder that a crush is always better from a distance. Because meeting them in person sometimes can be crushing.

– Cathy Alter





Who Was Your 1st Celeb Crush??

On Jyst  we hear a lot about the one who got away, but as the new book CRUSH: Writers Reflect on Love, Longing and the Lasting Power of Their First Celebrity Crush  reveals, it’s our first crush that has the power to rock our young hearts and linger through adulthood. And often those first crushes involve celebrities – a fill-in-the-blanks kind of love that says more about us than them. James Franco had his eyes opened to acting by River Pheonix.  For Slate’s Hanna Rosin, Mick Jagger was IT.  Emily Gould was overwhelmed with longing for Jared Leto (but when she saw him on the street years later, not so much.)  Writer Stephen King’s first crush?  Kim Novak.

This month Jyst and CRUSH partner to explore that #1stcelebcrush. The book, by memoirists Cathy Alter and Dave Singleton, has a slew of must-read authors ‘fessing up about their 1st celeb loves. Jyst asks its audience to share their #1stcelebcrush. Who will get the most mentions? Download the app and find out. 

And stay tuned for news about Cathy and Dave, who’ll be answering your Crush Questions live on Jyst.


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