Stanford Crushes is the slightly over-eager younger sibling of Stanford Confessions. The page–on which posts vary from sincere declarations of interest to shout-outs to praises directed toward vodka and chocolate–has over 860 likes and 890 posts with more than 100 crushes waiting to be posted. Spurred on initially by the freshman class, there are about 35 crushes submitted every day. Crushes target students across all four classes and even some grad students. When Intermission sat down with the student behind Stanford Crushes, it became clear that, while some may dismiss the page as utterly juvenile and unworthy of their time, it has brought a little bit of happiness to one student amidst the sorrow of heartbreak.
Intermission (INT): Why did you decide to start Stanford Crushes?
Stanford Crushes (SC): I saw how quickly Stanford Confessions was growing and I noticed that other schools had not only confessions pages but crush pages. So I thought, why not start one for Stanford? I went through a really hard breakup last quarter, so I thought that not only would this feed the fad and be an interesting thing for the school to do, but it would also be nice to see what romantic secrets people have here. It’s given me a little bit of joy among a lot of sadness that I was going through last quarter.
INT: What has been the reaction amongst the students?
SC: For a lot of people, it’s been nice to see their names on there and know that someone is interested in them that way. I think it’s a good ego- or morale-booster. I know that some people were feeling brought down by it and felt like it was attacking their own insecurities, but it’s for entertainment more than anything. Ultimately it’s just for laughs. I don’t want it to be taken too seriously.
INT: Do you think the posts themselves are genuine?
SC: A lot of them are silly or funny, but some are pretty sincere and I like those a lot. I secretly root for those people.
INT: The submissions are anonymous, but have you noticed any trends in demographics?
SC: I think that when guys get posted about it’s usually their guy friends posting about them. Generally the sweeter and more sincere posts are those aimed at girls. I also know that a lot people have been left sad because their crushes went abroad.
INT: Do you ever reach out to your users?
SC: I like to interact with my users sometimes. One time I was being encouraging, saying, “Just talk to them! It’s not hard, just one conversation can do it.” That’s what happened to me. If my friend hadn’t pushed me to take the initiative to send my ex a message on Facebook, we never would have dated. Just put yourself out there. You never know and there’s nothing to lose.
INT: Do your friends know about your role as moderator of Stanford Crushes?
SC: Less than 10 people know, and I only tell people I know won’t tell anyone else. My roommate doesn’t even know.
INT: What have been your friends’ reactions?
SC: It’s always an interesting reaction. One friend fell to the floor and started laughing.
INT: Have you ever commented as yourself?
SC: When I first started the page, I’d see my friends and like the posts. But Stanford Crushes isn’t supposed to like that because Stanford Crushes doesn’t know you! I have to wait half an hour and then like it as myself.
INT: What’s your opinion of Stanford Confessions?
SC: I love Stanford Confessions. I think that it’s a very useful social dialogue. It has hugely exposed how deep and prevalent the duck syndrome is here and how a lot of people are going through so much and nobody knows. That spoke a lot to me when I first started Stanford Crushes because I was going through a very hard time. You can’t really talk to anyone about it here unless you are really close friends with them. You are expected to look happy, but I feel like it’s a little contrived. I think that Stanford Confessions has brought a lot of that to light and that’s a good thing. It’s brought up a lot of important conversations among the student body. It’s serving a really good purpose here.
INT: Do you think the page contributes to low self-esteem?
SC: I’m Stanford Crushes and whenever I’m going through the long email thread on last.fm I look to see if my name is there, and I still haven’t been named. I don’t take it personally. Maybe I’ll be named eventually and maybe not, but that’s ok. I posted a little paragraph to all the users recently and I told them that what really matters is what the people around you think, what your friends think. It’s just Stanford Crushes. If somebody is meant for you they will see everything that’s special about you. It will be clear to them. We’re at Stanford. We’re all very different, and we all have something special that brought us here. If you are named on there then that’s great. If you’re not, it shouldn’t matter. What really matters is what the people you love think about you. It should be necessary to have your name anonymously posted on a Facebook page to remember that.
INT: What is your opinion of the Stanford dating scene?
SC: I personally don’t like it. I think that our hookup culture is far too prevalent. It seems as if most people don’t like the hookup culture but nobody really does anything to make it go away. If you do anything that isn’t just hooking up then people automatically assume you are in a relationship. You go to dinner with someone, and it’s like, oh, they’re together now. Why is there no in-between? Why is there no casual dating at this school?
INT: What do you hope to accomplish with Stanford Crushes?
SC: It’s mainly entertainment. I have no intention to be a matchmaker but if one person finds a connection I think that would be a great story. That would be enough for me to be happy with it.