I’ll go ga-ga over Daniel Craig and Ryan Gosling. Give me a square jaw and a piercing gaze and I’m as blissed out as the next girl. But it’s not only a pretty face I’ll swoon over. Some people have sexy brains. Their writing is exquisite and their oration thrilling, and they can make my heart flutter just as much as the hottie in the tailored suit gracing the covers of glossy magazines. It’s a special type of crush, and I call it a brain swoon.
I keep my brain swoons secret. I know I’ll be ridiculed. Why? Because they’re embarrassing. Because the subjects of my adoration are rarely attractive, and crushing on someone unattractive is basically taboo. Most of my friends would think I’m weird.
It started at university. I had a semester-long crush on one of my lecturers for a flora and fauna subject. He had a ponytail and wore khaki, and would walk around the front of the lecture theatre in shorts and bare feet. He looked like an elf, had the body of a stork and spoke like a Roman senator. It was love.
But they’re not only unattractive. They’re often a little older. To be honest, old enough to be icky. (Sometimes they’re so old they’re dead.) These aren’t the sort of guys you’d make out with at a party, oh no. I’m more likely to crave a candle-lit evening with them, draped in something out of Downton Abbey, gazing into their eyes and hoping they’ll Impart Their Wisdom.
The most recent bout of brain swooning was inspired by Alain de Botton and the tour promoting his book, Religion for Atheists. I saw him speak (twice) in his delightful British accent that smacks more than a little of Hugh Grant, if Hugh Grant could speak in actual sentences. He’s a rockstar philosopher. He’s inspiring. He’s evocative. He’s nearly as bald as an egg. I would have married him on the spot. I got up the nerve to ask a question of him at an intimate meet-and-greet and spent three excruciating minutes trying to keep a straight face while he addressed me and only me.