Hayley Kiyoko sings a lot about crushes. Expectations, her debut album from earlier this year, is full of songs about unrequited ~ feelings ~ for tragically unavailable people. Yes, you could probably argue that that’s what 90 percent of pop music is about, but there’s something incredibly nostalgic and perfectly over-the-top about the way Kiyoko does it. Filled with songs called things like “Wanna Be Missed”, “Sleepover” and “Feelings” (yes, really) her album reminds you of all that obsessive futile longing that most people – especially us queers – have felt at some point, but probably haven’t indulged in since we were teenagers.
If you’re over the age of 21, chances are your first big romance played out over Facebook pokes and MSN Messenger. Perhaps you stalked them on Bebo, found out their favourite band was the Pigeon Detectives and spent a fortnight’s paper round money on a ticket to your local Carling Academy in the hope you might get to snog them in a crowd full of pork pie hats and skinny ties. Maybe you were grounded for a week when your mum found out that you spent £3 on a single text message from your Motorola PEBL to one of those Love Calculators you saw advertised on MTV. Maybe it was worth it though, because it turned out you were 92 percent compatible with Jason from Year 12 (who came out two weeks later).
These days, fancying someone isn't such a relay race; you can just like their selfies and watch all their Instagram stories on your alt account from the comfort of your own bed. It's much less convoluted, sure, but also arguably not so fun. Which is perhaps one of the reason's Hayley Kiyoko’s music is so popular.
Anyway, when we heard she was playing a London show at Islington's O2 Academy last week, we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to get nostalgic about the kind of all-consuming crushes Kiyoko makes music about. So we asked her fans to share all the awkward details with you, a stranger on the Internet. Because hey, maybe Jason from Year 12 will see it and maybe he’s actually bi after all.
“She was just so mysterious and arty”
Noisey : Who was your first crush?
Alexandra: When I was six years old, there was a boy in my primary school class called Bartek. But I was maybe a bit too young so I don’t know if I’d call it a crush. I had my first proper crush when I was 13, on this girl called Malgosia.
She was just, like, so mysterious and arty and I just thought she was really cool haha.
How did you meet?
She wasn’t actually in my school. I think she messaged me because she takes pictures – she was into photography and she wanted to take my picture.
That definitely sounds like a flimsy excuse to slide into the DMs. Did anything happen?
Unfortunately no. I think she knew I was crushing on her though, and I think maybe she was crushing on me a little bit too.
Do you still know her?
Yeah, I do – not well, but we’re still in touch. Nothing would happen now though, it’s definitely in the past. We have very different lives.
“It was just the little things, like her voice and mannerisms”
Noisey: Hi guys, tell me about your first major crushes.
Lois: Mine was a girl called Emily from school when I was about 15.
Abbie: Mine was in high school too, when I was 13 or 14 – a girl called Beth.
Tell me more...
Abbie: She had curly hair. I like girls with curly hair. That sounds like a silly reason to crush on somebody, but I’m not really sure why I liked her apart from that.
Lois: I dunno, it was just the little things she did, like her voice and mannerisms and stuff.
You’re getting giggly about it even now! Did anything happen?
Lois: Nope, absolutely nothing.
Abbie: Nooo. I didn’t tell her, I would never have told her haha, I was veeeeery in the closet.
I feel that. Do you still hang out?
Abbie: No I have no idea what she’s up to now; haven’t seen her for ages.
Maybe she’ll read this and get back in touch.
Abbie: Oh god, let’s hope not.
“I listened to some McFly and got over it quite quickly”
Are you both romantics?
Sophie: It’s a bit embarrassing to say so, but I guess I like a bit of romance!
Tell me about your first big crush.
Sophie: Oh no! [giggles hysterically]
Liv: Mine was in Year 4 on a guy called Reece in my class. He was really pretty, haha. I told him and we had a cuddle – it was nice. But that’s pretty much it. It was pretty PG.
I’d hope so, if you were only eight. Did the relationship last long?
Liv: Well, I have him on Facebook still. But no, I haven’t seen him since I was about nine. It was more of a fling than a long-term relationship.
Such a shame. And you?
Sophie: Mine would be Aaron, in Year 4 as well.
Didn’t realise Year 4 was basically primary school Love Island. Did you tell Aaron how you felt?
Sophie: I didn’t tell him but my friend did. He didn’t reciprocate. I remember being pretty sad about it, but I was only nine years old so I listened to some McFly and got over it quite quickly.
Of course, what else can you do in that situation except lock yourself in your bedroom and stick on some McFly?
“We’d both been feeling the same way for like a year”
Who wants to tell me about their first major crush?
Sophie: My first official crush was on my female best friend while I was in school. I went to an all-girls’ boarding school, which is obviously such a massive cliché. We ended up dating eventually, but there was a good year or so of crushing before that.
So who told who?
Sophie: It was completely mutual. We’d both been feeling the same way for like a year, and had just not said anything.
Do you still know each other?
Sophie: Loosely yeah. We were friends for a lot of years.
Sabrine: I think my first crush was before I realised that I liked girls. I was really, really obsessed with this girl that I met when I was like 13, and I just thought that I wanted to be her best friend, but little did I know I was gay!
Did you manage to become best friends?
Sabrine: No, not at all; she was just a random girl I met on holiday. We went swimming in the pool together and, yeah, clearly I fell in love.
I’m guessing you probably aren’t still in touch then.
Sabrine: Nope, we literally met for like one day so it was very much a summer romance. I can’t even remember her name!
Naomi: Mine was probably on this one boy in middle school that I had science with and I thought he was really funny.
Georgina: For a minute there I thought you were trying to say that you had chemistry together...
Naomi: No, there clearly wasn’t that much chemistry because I definitely don’t speak to him now.
Georgina: I can think of one guy who I liked when I was in Year 10. He had really nice hair and that was pretty much the basis of it. It was back in the days of the Bieber flick and he had a kind of blonde version of that.
Georgie: Yeah I definitely thought so.
“My PE teacher or my maths teacher”
Who was your first real crush?
Rebecca: I think it was my teacher!
Georgie: My PE teacher or my maths teacher. I remember hanging around them really unnecessarily all the time being like, “Oh, I just want to see what they’re up to, maybe they need help with their classes” because I wanted to chat to them. I didn’t come out until later on so I just kind of thought everyone had a kind of weird admiration for their teachers.
Rebecca: Haha yes same! It was my PE teacher. I was probably in Year eight or around that age, and I remember thinking like, “she’s fit”.
I mean you kind of have to be, if forcing teenagers to do the bleep test is your choice of career.
Rebecca: Exactly yeah. I still hated PE though.
“All I thought about was his hair and eyes”
So tell me about your first crush!
Dani: This guy called Leo, he was really cute. I was only ten years old, so it wasn’t really based on much, but all I thought about was his hair and eyes. And then in terms of like proper adult crushes... somebody I met at college who was non-binary, and they dressed in such a fun way and were just out there and that’s all I wanted to be. I just thought they were really cute and cool.
And you, Tara?
Tara: A girl who was in my history and maths class. We were friends but then she kind of found a new friendship group and we lost touch a bit. I just liked her because she was really confident and she knew what she liked, and I think as a teenager that’s quite rare.
“I’m going to meet her new boyfriend fairly soon”
Noisey: Tell me about your first major crush.
Georgia: It was on a friend in my school and I didn’t realise it was a crush at the time, I just really wanted to be super good friends with her and was jealous of anyone else hanging out with her.
This is a running theme today – you’re not the first person to say that.
Well yeah, Hayley Kiyoko in Twentygayteen; I’m really not surprised!
So what happened?
We’re still friends now, 15 years down the line, and I’m going to meet her new boyfriend fairly soon!
Yeah... I mean she’s very, very, very straight so there wasn’t really any point saying anything to her. And I went to an all-girls’ school so nobody really dared act on anything anyway. But she’s super accepting, we’ve just very much moved on from those days.
Sweet. Well I hope the new boyfriend isn’t a dick then.
“Mine was this family friend who was practically the only boy I knew.”
Who was your first crush?
Naomi: I think it was probably a Disney character…
Summer: Yeah mine was Ariel!
Naomi: I was just about to say Ariel.
Ariel was well fit. For a cartoon mermaid.
Summer: Yeah, she was cute.
Any human crushes that stand out?
Summer: I really fancied a boy in my class when I was in Year 6. It was probably quite young to be so obsessively crushing on somebody but I remember really, really intensely fancying him. I don’t even really know why... maybe because we weren’t that close. I was only vaguely friends with him and he was really cute, and I put him on a pedestal a bit. I don’t think I ever told him.
Naomi: I went to an all-girls’ school and didn’t really have much interaction with boys, so mine was this family friend who was practically the only boy I knew. He was quite cute, and he still is actually, but we don’t really talk anymore.
Hey, maybe you can send him this interview and see what happens.
Naomi: Erm, maybe. Might be a bit weird.
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This article originally appeared on Noisey UK.