for 5 September 1996. Updated every THURSDAY.



No Mess, No Fuss, Just Lust

Safe sex, safer sex, safest
sex...fuck sex. Relationships are
dangerous on both a psychic and
physical level, so why risk the
Scylla-and-Charybdistic debacle of
an actual exchange, whether it be of
vows or body fluids? Far be it from
us to recommend the joyless
joysticking of a cyberromance; we
wholeheartedly endorse the Crush as
the perfect antidote for emotional
No doubt, we're all familiar with the
garden-variety Crushes: the
Celebrity Crush, the Conference
Crush, and that favorite plot
device of romance novels and
afterschool specials alike, the
Damaged Goods Crush. Thankfully,
there's no need to limit yourself to
these pedestrian beguilements. The
crack Suck research team has spent
literally days, nay, hours compiling
this list of common, but hitherto
uncodified nonromances, all
helpfully rated according to length
of engagement, likelihood of
fulfillment, possible spoilers and
the point at which you've crossed
the line from harmless infatuation
to dangerous liaison.
Happy hunting.
The Proximity Pull
Length of engagement: Can last until
retirement, until you change jobs,
or until sexual harassment charges
are filed.
Likelihood of fulfillment: Probably
less than most people realize.
Spoilers: Too many possibilities to
enumerate here. The closer you work
with someone, the more you know
about them, and genuine personal
knowledge kills a crush quicker than
bad breath, which is just one of the
more unpleasant traits you may come
face to face with if you persist in
following the Proximity Pull.
You know you're stalking when: You
poke around on his/her desk. You
fake email from the boss, calling an
off-site meeting that - mysteriously
enough - only the two of you wind up
The Traffic Jam Crush
(Sometimes,"The Freeway Fancy")
A car is the ultimate accessory and
personality gauge. Between the
information contained on bumper
stickers and remembered from price
stickers, you can glean as much
about a person from their car as
from their resume, perhaps more. You
can guess political affiliation,
salary, musical tastes, occupation.
Of course, she or he could be
driving a rented car - or maybe even
a stolen one (not that this in
itself is unattractive; see the
"Damaged Goods Crush") - but this
illusion of intimacy is crucial to
feeding the crush that develops on
the road.
Length of engagement: Anywhere from
the time it takes the light to
change to the time it takes to cross
the bridge.
Likelihood of Fulfillment: Zip. Short
of feigning an accident or actually
committing one, you're doomed to
Spoilers: A man's car is his castle,
and the imaginary privacy of a
four-door sedan often encourages
drivers to engage in unattractive
grooming practices at the wheel.
Catch the crushee putting on makeup
or picking his nose? Time to change
You know you're stalking when:
You rear-end them once, hoping to
rear-end them again later, heh heh
The Supermarket Check-Out
You're instantly endeared when you
see that he's buying Hydrox while
everyone else is buying Oreos, or
that she's touching the honeydews
with a sensual confidence that
speaks of both gourmet predilections
and profound kinkiness.
The crush object may be carrying more
than ten items, but s/he's in the
express lane to your heart.
Length of engagement: Anywhere from
half an hour to an afternoon,
depending on length of lines, length
of grocery list and size of store.
Getting a crush in a bodega is not
recommended - the pace is too fast
for the leisurely pursuit afforded
by larger chain markets, and the
small aisles make actual contact -
perhaps even conversation - more
likely. The limited product
selection at the corner store plays
a factor as well, as few manage to
look sexy buying off-brand sodas and
dusty three-packs of ramen.
Likewise, because buying in bulk
evinces either a family or a
disturbingly unhealthy appetite,
there is no such thing as a Costco
Likelihood of fulfillment: Nil. While
lines like, "So, are those melons
ripe?" sound great in your head,
they will send most normal crush
objects running for the detergent
aisle. Your only real chance at
starting a conversation would stem
from working there, but even then,
there are only so many variations on
"Paper or plastic?"
Spoilers: Unfortunately, the market
offers untold opportunities for an
otherwise premium individual to be
downgraded to sale item. The
purchase of hygiene products is an
unpleasant reality check, and so
spotting condoms, Rogaine, tampons
or mouthwash in a crushee's basket
usually means it's time to cross
them off your list.
You know you're stalking when: Seeing
the purchase of hygiene products
only makes you want to collect the
used ones.
The Success Seduction
Somewhere between a ringing product
endorsement and Travis Bickle lies
the Success Seduction, the strong
feelings one can develop for a
person in the employ of a company
whose product you like very much
Length of engagement: Usually
long-term but low-level, the Success
Seduction flourishes in the
overcooled climates of trade shows
and launch parties, and is fueled by
press releases and industry
Likelihood of fulfillment: A factor
proportional to your relative
positions in your respective
companies. Figuring your position
with respect to that of the
crushee's, a one-to-one power/title
ratio means you may be able to
graduate from crush to mack with
nary a misty-eyed AltaVista search
between. But if she's the CEO and
you're a temping HTML hack? Hold on
to that pillow tight, my friend,
cause it's the only company you'll
be acquiring.
Spoilers: A buggy product release,
the acquisition of the company by
Microsoft, a stalled IPO.
You know you're stalking when: You
memorize the customer support
number. You become an expert in the
field, maybe even write a book or
two. Your expertise, however,
doesn't necessarily mean you develop
the ability to have a conversation.
Remember, crushes are safe, clean,
and convenient. Try to lure that
special someone into the sack, and
spend a lifetime paying back. Think
of all those derailed career goals
and ruined friendships, just for a
little touchy-feely that's sure to
end in heartbreak. Instead, why not
take a good look and daydream on
your own time? Believe us, the
cover's usually much better than the
Whatever the situation, it's helpful
to keep in mind that crushes stop
being crushes as soon as you act on
them, and that it becomes stalking
as soon as you start spending money
or start leaving a paper trail. We
don't recommend either.

[Zero Baud Archive]

Courtesy of
Ann O'Tate