fuckyeahhistorycrushes
fuckyeahhistorycrushes:

I considered cutting this down, but she’s just too fucking awesome. 
Milunka Savic. In 1912, at the age of 24, she got bored of her regular life, chopped off all her hair, dressed in men’s clothing, and volunteered for the Serbian Army to help fight the First Balkan War and drive the Ottoman Turkish Empire out of Europe forever on a tsunami of bullets and brain matter. Since nobody realized she wasn’t a dude (or at least they didn’t give a shit if she was or wasn’t) they handed Milunka a rifle and a helmet and a couple of hand grenades and sent her on her merry way to blast the entrails out of the enemies of the Serbian people with a chuckable sphere of explosives the size of a softball.
Savic face-shanked her way through the First Balkan War with a razor-sharp bayonet and a handful of 7.62xmmR ammunition, participating on the front lines of several key battles as the combined armies of Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, and a couple other countries smashed the armies of the crumbling Ottoman Empire and drove their shattered remnants back across the Bosporus and out of the Balkans forever. Unfortunately, however, this was just the beginning of some pretty fucking dark days in Southeastern Europe. You see, apparently some expansionist assholes in Bulgaria got their panties in a wad about wanting to add Macedonia to their Empire, but since Serbia is the one that captured it from the Turks they of course said take a long hike up the slopes of Mount Doom and dump your balls in the lava when you get to the top. The Bulgarians took this out of context, got mad, and sent their entire army into Macedonia to wrench it from the cold dead hands of every Serbian they could find, two million soldiers mobilized on either side of the border, and mere months after the Balkans had miraculously united in a common cause (death-hate for the Turks) the Bulgarian and Serbs went right back to beating the shit out of each other with lead pipes and pitchforks.
Pvt. Savic barely had time to swap the dried blood from her rifle before the Second Balkan War was on like Donkey Kong, and once again this estrogenocidal kicker of other peoples’ nutsacks was back out on the front lines lobbing grenades with reckless abandon like the Ikari Warriors or a tennis ball machine juryrigged by the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski. Positioned at the dead center of the Serbian lines during the Battle of Bregalnica, Milunka Savic and the now-famous Serbian “Iron Regiment” bore the brunt of the Bulgarian attack, withstanding the full might of their forces and then launching a desperate series of counter-attacks aimed at breaking their onslaught. On her tenth (!) combat charge leading a squad of men straight-on over barbed wire towards Bulgarian machine guns, artillery guns, and bayonets, Savic was hit by an enemy grenade and blown off her feet with shrapnel wounds throughout her body, and could only watch and bleed as her countrymen managed to carry this final attack, defeat the Bulgarians, and capture two divisions of enemy soldiers in the process. The badly-wounded Savic was carried to the field hospital, where the doc working on her was fairly surprised to learn that she had girl parts where her man-junk was supposed to be.
Oops.
Once she was healed of her wounds, Private Milunka Savic was brought before her commanding officer to try and explain what the hell was the deal with the whole not having a dong thing. She stood at attention and said, yeah, sure, I’m a girl, but I also just fucking charged face-first into artillery fire while spewing large-caliber rifle fire in every direction and dishing out hand grenades like parking tickets, so deal with it. Her commander offered her a transfer to the nursing corps, where she could hang back from the front lines and patch up wounded soldiers and let the real men handle all the messy bayonet-to-the-crotch work.
She told him she would not accept any position that did not allow her to carry a gun, charge into combat wherever it presented herself, and fight the enemies of her people.
He told her he’d think about it, and that she should come back tomorrow for his decision.
She stayed at full attention and told him, “I will wait”.
He made her stand there for about an hour before he agreed to let her stay in the infantry. He also promoted her to Junior Sergeant, because, fuck it, she probably had bigger balls than any man in her unit anyways.
The Second Balkan War ended in 1913, but even more nasty shit went down in Sarajevo Town on June 28, 1914, when the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s Archduke Franz Ferdinand – a man famous solely for his ability to be shot to death – was assassinated by a Serbian Anarchist named Gavrilo Princep. Certainly you’ve heard this story before, particularly if you’re a big fan of hipster music, but basically the Austro-Hungarians were good buddies with the Bulgarians, and Princep was like “fuck that” because his people had just been to war with Bulgaria, etc. Long story short, Austria-Hungary was pissed, and they invaded Serbia. Serbia was allies with the United States, England, France, and Russia, and Austria-Hungary was friends with the Turks and the German Empire, and the next thing you know you’ve got World War I on your hands and the Austro-Hungarian Empire is marching half a million jackbooted Teutonic goons with stupid hats and large rifles across the Serbian border to turn their entire country into a flaming inferno.
The Austo-Hungarian Empire sent out 450,000 men from a hardcore, battle-tested, professional army that was equipped with top-of-the-line German and Austrian artillery and machine guns and drilled to lock-step precision in every aspect of military combat. The Serbian Army consisted of 250,000 citizen-soldiers, mostly volunteers, carrying cast-off weaponry handed down to them from the Imperial Russian Army (you know, the guys who had just lost a humiliating war to Japan and who were about to get massacred by the Germans). So, as you can expect, some crazy shit was about to go down.
That crazy shit was that the entire Serbian Armed Forces formed up in one place and full-on balls-out charged a force that was nearly twice the size of their own.
Sergeant Milunka Savic, commander of the Iron Regiment’s Assault Bomber Squad, charged into the Battle of the Kolubara River armed with her Mosin-Nagant rifle and three bandoliers of hand grenades – one across each shoulder and one worn across her waist like a belt. She single-handedly assaulted an Austrian trench, rushing across No Man’s Land (I feel like there’s an Eowyn / Return of the King joke to be made here) hurling grenades out like Mardi Gras beads and blasting the fuck out of everything around her, then diving feet-first into an Austrian bunker with her bayonet at the ready. Inside, she found 20 men, all of whom threw their weapons down and surrendered to her. Once those POWs were secured, she continued on, dropping bombs like a Predator Drone and smoking enemy machine gun nests from distances so impressive that from this day forth her nickname was “The Bomber of Kolubara”, stopping only when an enemy artillery shell landed next to her and planted a couple pieces of shrapnel in her head. For her exploits on the battlefield, Savic received the Karadjordje Star with Swords, the highest award for bravery offered by the Kingdom of Serbia, and the battle was such a success that the Serbs pushed the Austrians out of Serbia completely. They didn’t return for 10 months.
Well, shrapnel in the head or not, there was still a war to fight, and Sergeant Savic went right back into action just a few months later. At this point, Serbia was in deep shit – they were alone, without any support, badly outnumbered, and being attacked from all sides by armies from Bulgaria, Austria, Germany, and the Ottoman Empire. Savic fought like a demon as the Serbian Army scrapped for their lives, earning a second Karadjordje Star at the Battle of Crna Reka in 1916 when she attacked a Bulgarian trench, cleared it out with grenades, rifle fire, and a bayonet, and single-handedly took 23 Bulgarian soldiers prisoner.
But the war was going badly for Serbia, and with the vengeful Bulgarians and Austrians burning Serb cities the Serbian Army evacuated as many civilians as they could and began a long, brutal fighting withdrawal through the knee-deep snow drifts and snow-covered mountains of Montenegro, Albania, and Kosovo as they withdrew to the coast. Milunka Savic was wounded seven more times during this fighting retreat (bringing her total wounds to nine!) as she and her people desperately attempted to evacuate tens of thousands of civilians and save the core of her army.
When she reached the coast and was evacuated by French and British warships, she was one of just 125,000 soldiers left in the Serbian Army.
The Serbian Army withdrew to Corfu, then Greece, where they joined up with the French Army and continued the war against the Turks and Krauts and other assorted villainy. Serving in the Serbian Brigade of the French Army, Sergeant Savic continued commanding the Assault Bomber Squad, fought through the rest of the war, ended up on the front page of some European Newspapers, and ended up winning enough awards from her service that her ribbon board weighed roughly the same as a suit of medieval plate armor. She received the French Legion d’Honneur twice, the Russian Cross of St. George (awarded for “undaunted courage by a non-commissioned officer), the British Medal of the Order of St. Michael, the Serbian Milos Obilic Medal, and was the only woman from World War I to receive the French Croix de Guerre (the highest bravery award they have).
The best story from this time period, however, is this. While stationed on a base in Thessalonica, some French officer got word that she was fucking brutal with hand grenades. He laughed at the idea that a woman could be that badass, so he took a bottle out of a case of ultra-expensive 1880 Cognac, set it on a post 40 meters (131 feet) away, and dared her the rest of the case that she couldn’t hit it.
She drilled it on her first try. That night her unit blew through 19 bottles of the finest Cognac on Earth.
After the war ended and Serbia was liberated, Milunka Savic declined an offer from the French government to move her to Paris and put her up with a nice pension, instead opting to return to her homeland. She got married, had a kid, got a job at a bank, and adopted three children who had been orphaned by the war. When the Germans came through Belgrade during the Second World War in 1940, Savic refused an invitation to attend a banquet held in honor of the city’s New German Overlords – a feat that got her a ten-month stint in Banjica Concentration Camp. She survived that as well, however, and after the war she was offered a state pension for being such a ridiculousy-hardcore war hero.
Milunka Savic, the world’s most decorated female war hero, died in Belgrade on October 5, 1973, at the age of 84. She was buried in a famous cemetery there with full military honors.
Source: http://www.badassoftheweek.com/savic.html

One tough lady.

fuckyeahhistorycrushes:

I considered cutting this down, but she’s just too fucking awesome. 

Milunka Savic. In 1912, at the age of 24, she got bored of her regular life, chopped off all her hair, dressed in men’s clothing, and volunteered for the Serbian Army to help fight the First Balkan War and drive the Ottoman Turkish Empire out of Europe forever on a tsunami of bullets and brain matter. Since nobody realized she wasn’t a dude (or at least they didn’t give a shit if she was or wasn’t) they handed Milunka a rifle and a helmet and a couple of hand grenades and sent her on her merry way to blast the entrails out of the enemies of the Serbian people with a chuckable sphere of explosives the size of a softball.

Savic face-shanked her way through the First Balkan War with a razor-sharp bayonet and a handful of 7.62xmmR ammunition, participating on the front lines of several key battles as the combined armies of Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, and a couple other countries smashed the armies of the crumbling Ottoman Empire and drove their shattered remnants back across the Bosporus and out of the Balkans forever. Unfortunately, however, this was just the beginning of some pretty fucking dark days in Southeastern Europe. You see, apparently some expansionist assholes in Bulgaria got their panties in a wad about wanting to add Macedonia to their Empire, but since Serbia is the one that captured it from the Turks they of course said take a long hike up the slopes of Mount Doom and dump your balls in the lava when you get to the top. The Bulgarians took this out of context, got mad, and sent their entire army into Macedonia to wrench it from the cold dead hands of every Serbian they could find, two million soldiers mobilized on either side of the border, and mere months after the Balkans had miraculously united in a common cause (death-hate for the Turks) the Bulgarian and Serbs went right back to beating the shit out of each other with lead pipes and pitchforks.

Pvt. Savic barely had time to swap the dried blood from her rifle before the Second Balkan War was on like Donkey Kong, and once again this estrogenocidal kicker of other peoples’ nutsacks was back out on the front lines lobbing grenades with reckless abandon like the Ikari Warriors or a tennis ball machine juryrigged by the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski. Positioned at the dead center of the Serbian lines during the Battle of Bregalnica, Milunka Savic and the now-famous Serbian “Iron Regiment” bore the brunt of the Bulgarian attack, withstanding the full might of their forces and then launching a desperate series of counter-attacks aimed at breaking their onslaught. On her tenth (!) combat charge leading a squad of men straight-on over barbed wire towards Bulgarian machine guns, artillery guns, and bayonets, Savic was hit by an enemy grenade and blown off her feet with shrapnel wounds throughout her body, and could only watch and bleed as her countrymen managed to carry this final attack, defeat the Bulgarians, and capture two divisions of enemy soldiers in the process. The badly-wounded Savic was carried to the field hospital, where the doc working on her was fairly surprised to learn that she had girl parts where her man-junk was supposed to be.

Oops.

Once she was healed of her wounds, Private Milunka Savic was brought before her commanding officer to try and explain what the hell was the deal with the whole not having a dong thing. She stood at attention and said, yeah, sure, I’m a girl, but I also just fucking charged face-first into artillery fire while spewing large-caliber rifle fire in every direction and dishing out hand grenades like parking tickets, so deal with it. Her commander offered her a transfer to the nursing corps, where she could hang back from the front lines and patch up wounded soldiers and let the real men handle all the messy bayonet-to-the-crotch work.

She told him she would not accept any position that did not allow her to carry a gun, charge into combat wherever it presented herself, and fight the enemies of her people.

He told her he’d think about it, and that she should come back tomorrow for his decision.

She stayed at full attention and told him, “I will wait”.

He made her stand there for about an hour before he agreed to let her stay in the infantry. He also promoted her to Junior Sergeant, because, fuck it, she probably had bigger balls than any man in her unit anyways.

The Second Balkan War ended in 1913, but even more nasty shit went down in Sarajevo Town on June 28, 1914, when the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s Archduke Franz Ferdinand – a man famous solely for his ability to be shot to death – was assassinated by a Serbian Anarchist named Gavrilo Princep. Certainly you’ve heard this story before, particularly if you’re a big fan of hipster music, but basically the Austro-Hungarians were good buddies with the Bulgarians, and Princep was like “fuck that” because his people had just been to war with Bulgaria, etc. Long story short, Austria-Hungary was pissed, and they invaded Serbia. Serbia was allies with the United States, England, France, and Russia, and Austria-Hungary was friends with the Turks and the German Empire, and the next thing you know you’ve got World War I on your hands and the Austro-Hungarian Empire is marching half a million jackbooted Teutonic goons with stupid hats and large rifles across the Serbian border to turn their entire country into a flaming inferno.

The Austo-Hungarian Empire sent out 450,000 men from a hardcore, battle-tested, professional army that was equipped with top-of-the-line German and Austrian artillery and machine guns and drilled to lock-step precision in every aspect of military combat. The Serbian Army consisted of 250,000 citizen-soldiers, mostly volunteers, carrying cast-off weaponry handed down to them from the Imperial Russian Army (you know, the guys who had just lost a humiliating war to Japan and who were about to get massacred by the Germans). So, as you can expect, some crazy shit was about to go down.

That crazy shit was that the entire Serbian Armed Forces formed up in one place and full-on balls-out charged a force that was nearly twice the size of their own.

Sergeant Milunka Savic, commander of the Iron Regiment’s Assault Bomber Squad, charged into the Battle of the Kolubara River armed with her Mosin-Nagant rifle and three bandoliers of hand grenades – one across each shoulder and one worn across her waist like a belt. She single-handedly assaulted an Austrian trench, rushing across No Man’s Land (I feel like there’s an Eowyn / Return of the King joke to be made here) hurling grenades out like Mardi Gras beads and blasting the fuck out of everything around her, then diving feet-first into an Austrian bunker with her bayonet at the ready. Inside, she found 20 men, all of whom threw their weapons down and surrendered to her. Once those POWs were secured, she continued on, dropping bombs like a Predator Drone and smoking enemy machine gun nests from distances so impressive that from this day forth her nickname was “The Bomber of Kolubara”, stopping only when an enemy artillery shell landed next to her and planted a couple pieces of shrapnel in her head. For her exploits on the battlefield, Savic received the Karadjordje Star with Swords, the highest award for bravery offered by the Kingdom of Serbia, and the battle was such a success that the Serbs pushed the Austrians out of Serbia completely. They didn’t return for 10 months.

Well, shrapnel in the head or not, there was still a war to fight, and Sergeant Savic went right back into action just a few months later. At this point, Serbia was in deep shit – they were alone, without any support, badly outnumbered, and being attacked from all sides by armies from Bulgaria, Austria, Germany, and the Ottoman Empire. Savic fought like a demon as the Serbian Army scrapped for their lives, earning a second Karadjordje Star at the Battle of Crna Reka in 1916 when she attacked a Bulgarian trench, cleared it out with grenades, rifle fire, and a bayonet, and single-handedly took 23 Bulgarian soldiers prisoner.

But the war was going badly for Serbia, and with the vengeful Bulgarians and Austrians burning Serb cities the Serbian Army evacuated as many civilians as they could and began a long, brutal fighting withdrawal through the knee-deep snow drifts and snow-covered mountains of Montenegro, Albania, and Kosovo as they withdrew to the coast. Milunka Savic was wounded seven more times during this fighting retreat (bringing her total wounds to nine!) as she and her people desperately attempted to evacuate tens of thousands of civilians and save the core of her army.

When she reached the coast and was evacuated by French and British warships, she was one of just 125,000 soldiers left in the Serbian Army.

The Serbian Army withdrew to Corfu, then Greece, where they joined up with the French Army and continued the war against the Turks and Krauts and other assorted villainy. Serving in the Serbian Brigade of the French Army, Sergeant Savic continued commanding the Assault Bomber Squad, fought through the rest of the war, ended up on the front page of some European Newspapers, and ended up winning enough awards from her service that her ribbon board weighed roughly the same as a suit of medieval plate armor. She received the French Legion d’Honneur twice, the Russian Cross of St. George (awarded for “undaunted courage by a non-commissioned officer), the British Medal of the Order of St. Michael, the Serbian Milos Obilic Medal, and was the only woman from World War I to receive the French Croix de Guerre (the highest bravery award they have).

The best story from this time period, however, is this. While stationed on a base in Thessalonica, some French officer got word that she was fucking brutal with hand grenades. He laughed at the idea that a woman could be that badass, so he took a bottle out of a case of ultra-expensive 1880 Cognac, set it on a post 40 meters (131 feet) away, and dared her the rest of the case that she couldn’t hit it.

She drilled it on her first try. That night her unit blew through 19 bottles of the finest Cognac on Earth.

After the war ended and Serbia was liberated, Milunka Savic declined an offer from the French government to move her to Paris and put her up with a nice pension, instead opting to return to her homeland. She got married, had a kid, got a job at a bank, and adopted three children who had been orphaned by the war. When the Germans came through Belgrade during the Second World War in 1940, Savic refused an invitation to attend a banquet held in honor of the city’s New German Overlords – a feat that got her a ten-month stint in Banjica Concentration Camp. She survived that as well, however, and after the war she was offered a state pension for being such a ridiculousy-hardcore war hero.

Milunka Savic, the world’s most decorated female war hero, died in Belgrade on October 5, 1973, at the age of 84. She was buried in a famous cemetery there with full military honors.

Source: http://www.badassoftheweek.com/savic.html

One tough lady.

on-reflection

mgann-morzz:

McDonald’s worker arrested after telling company president she can’t afford shoes.

"A woman who has been employed by the McDonald’s Corporation for over 10 years says she was arrested last week after she confronted the company president at a meeting and told him she couldn’t afford to buy shoes or food for her children.

Nancy Salgado, 26, told The Real News that she felt like she had to speak out during McDonald’s USA President Jeff Stratton’s speech at the Union League Club of Chicago on Friday for the sake of her children.

“It’s really hard for me to feed my two kids and struggle day to day,” she shouted as Stratton was speaking. “Do you think this is fair, that I have to be making $8.25 when I’ve worked for McDonald’s for ten years?”

“I’ve been there for forty years,” Stratton replied from the podium.

“The thing is that I need a raise. But you’re not helping your employees. How is this possible?” Salgado asked.

At that point, someone approached Salgado and informed her that she was going to be arrested.

She later recalled the encounter to The Real News’ Jessica Desvarieux.

“The strength was very powerful, like, just remembering the face of my kids, like I say, you know, just simple things like I can’t provide a pair of shoes like everybody else does, sometimes every month, or anything like that,” she said. “And he needs to know we are what all the employees at McDonald’s are going through. We’re struggling day to day to provide our needs in our houses, things for our kids. And it’s just–it gets harder and harder with just the poverty wage they have us living in.”

“They just told me, you know, well, you’re being under arrest because you just interrupted, you trespassed the property. You’re just going to go to jail,” Salgado added. “And what I remember just telling them, ‘well, like, so, because I have to speak out my mind and I had to tell the president the poverty wage I’m living in, that’s just against the law?’ You know, just be able to speak up your mind and say, you know what, I can’t survive with $8.25? It’s just — it’s ridiculous that I’m going to get arrested. You know.”

Salgado, who is still working at McDonald’s, said she had her hours cut following the arrest and feared further retaliation.

“The CEOs make millions and billions a year and why can’t they provide enough for their employees?” she wondered.”

I think that this is beyond awful for many reasons. People can’t afford to live off of the wages that they are given currently, and can’t even speak out against it. I know tumblr is great for spreading important news like this, so please help me get the word out to support this woman.

The minimum wage needs to be raised. It’s long overdue.

youmightfindyourself

youmightfindyourself:

You are introduced to someone at a conference. They look nice and you have a brief chat about the theme of the keynote speaker. But already, partly because of the slope of their neck and a lilt in their accent, you have reached an overwhelming conclusion. Or, you sit down in the carriage – and there, diagonally opposite you – is someone you cannot stop looking at for the rest of a journey across miles of darkening countryside. You know nothing concrete about them. You are going only by what their appearance suggests. You note that they have slipped a finger into a book (The Food of the Middle East), that their nails are bitten raw, that they have a thin leather strap around their left wrist and that they are squinting a touch short-sightedly at the map above the door. And that is enough to convince you. Another day, coming out of the supermarket, amidst a throng of people, you catch sight of a face for no longer than eight seconds and yet here too, you feel the same overwhelming certainty – and, subsequently, a bittersweet sadness at their disappearance in the anonymous crowd.

Crushes: they happen to some people often and to almost everyone sometimes. Airports, trains, streets, conferences – the dynamics of modern life are forever throwing us into fleeting contact with strangers, from amongst whom we pick out a few examples who seem to us not merely interesting, but more powerfully, the solution to our lives. This phenomenon – the crush – goes to the heart of the modern understanding of love. It could seem like a small incident, essentially comic and occasionally farcical. It may look like a minor planet in the constellation of love, but it is in fact the underlying secret central sun around which our notions of the romantic revolve.

A crush represents in pure and perfect form the dynamics of romantic philosophy: the explosive interaction of limited knowledge, outward obstacles to further discovery – and boundless hope.

The crush reveals how willing we are to allow details to suggest a whole. We allow the arch of someone’s eyebrow to suggest a personality. We take the way a person puts more weight on their right leg as they stand listening to a colleague as an indication of a witty independence of mind. Or their way of lowering their head seems proof of a complex shyness and sensitivity. From a few cues only, you anticipate years of happiness, buoyed by profound mutual sympathy. They will fully grasp that you love your mother even though you don’t get on well with her; that you are hard-working, even though you appear to be distracted; that you are hurt rather than angry. The parts of your character that confuse and puzzle others will at last find a soothing, wise, complex soulmate.

The answer to life

In elaborating a whole personality from a few small – but hugely evocative – details, we are doing for the inner character of a person what our eyes naturally do with the sketch of a face.

We don’t see this as a picture of someone who has no nostrils, eight strands of hair and no eyelashes. Without even noticing that we are doing it, we fill in the missing parts. Our brains are primed to take tiny visual hints and construct entire figures from them – and we do the same when it comes to character. We are – much more than we give ourselves credit for – inveterate artists of elaboration. We have evolved to be ready to make quick decisions about people (to trust or withhold, to fight or embrace, to share or deny) on the basis of very limited evidence – the way someone looks at us, how they stand, a twitch of the lips, a slight movement of the shoulder – and we bring this ingenious but fateful talent to situations of love as much to those of danger.

The cynical voice wants to declare that these enthusiastic imaginings at the conference or on the train, in the street or in the supermarket, are just delusional; that we simply project a false, completely imaginary idea of identity onto an innocent stranger. But this is too sweeping. We may be right. The wry posture may really belong to someone with a great line in scepticism; the head tilter may be unusually generous to the foibles of others. The error of the crush is more subtle, it lies in how easily we move from spotting a range of genuinely fine traits of character to settling on a recklessly naive romantic conclusion: that the other across the train aisle or pavement constitutes a complete answer to our inner needs.

The primary error of the crush lies in overlooking a central fact about people in general, not merely this or that example, but the species as a whole: that everyone has something very substantially wrong with them once their characters are fully known, something so wrong as to make an eventual mockery of the unlimited rapture unleashed by the crush. We can’t yet know what the problems will be, but we can and should be certain that they are there, lurking somewhere behind the facade, waiting for time to unfurl them.

How can one be so sure? Because the facts of life have deformed all of our natures. No one among us has come through unscathed. There is too much to fear: mortality, loss, dependency, abandonment, ruin, humiliation, subjection. We are, all of us, desperately fragile, ill-equipped to meet with the challenges to our mental integrity: we lack courage, preparation, confidence, intelligence. We don’t have the right role models, we were (necessarily) imperfectly parented, we fight rather than explain, we nag rather than teach, we fret instead of analysing our worries, we have a precarious sense of security, we can’t understand either ourselves or others well enough, we don’t have an appetite for the truth and suffer a fatal weakness for flattering denials. The chances of a perfectly good human emerging from the perilous facts of life are non-existent. Our fears and our frailties play themselves out in a thousand ways, they can make us defensive or aggressive, grandiose or hesitant, clingy or avoidant – but we can be sure that they will make everyone much less than perfect and at moments, extremely hard to live with.

We don’t have to know someone in any way before knowing this about them. Naturally, their particular way of being flawed and (consequently very annoying) will not be visually apparent and may be concealed for quite long periods. If we only encounter another person in a fairly limited range of situations (a train journey, rather than when they are trying to get a toddler into a car seat; a conference, rather than 87 minutes into a shopping trip with their elderly father) we may, for a very long time indeed (especially if we are left alone to convert our enthusiasm into an obsession because they don’t call us back or are playing it cool), have the pleasure of believing we have landed upon an angel.

A mature person thinks, not, ‘There’s nothing good here’, but rather ‘The genuinely good things will – inevitably – come mixed up with really terrible things’

Maturity doesn’t suggest we give up on crushes. Merely that we definitively give up on the founding romantic idea upon which the Western understanding of relationships and marriage has been based for the past 250 years: that a perfect being exists who can solve all our needs and satisfy our yearnings. We need to swap the Romantic view for the Tragic Awareness of Love, which states that every human can be guaranteed to frustrate, anger, annoy, madden and disappoint us – and we will (without any malice) do the same to them. There can be no end to our sense of emptiness and incompleteness. This is a truth chiselled indelibly into the script of life. Choosing who to marry or commit ourselves to is therefore merely a case of identifying which particular variety of suffering we would most like to sacrifice ourselves for, rather than an occasion miraculously to escape from grief.

We should enjoy our crushes. A crush teaches us about qualities we admire and need to have more of in our lives. The person on the train really does have an extremely beguiling air of self-deprecation in their eyes. The person glimpsed by the fresh fruit counter really does promise to be a gentle and excellent parent. But these characters will, just as importantly, also be sure to ruin our lives in key ways, as all those we love will.

A caustic view of crushes shouldn’t depress us, merely relieve the excessive imaginative pressure that our romantic culture places upon long-term relationships. The failure of one particular partner to be the ideal Other is not – we should always understand – an argument against them; it is by no means a sign that the relationship deserves to fail or be upgraded. We have all necessarily, without being damned, ended up with that figure of our nightmares, ‘the wrong person.’

Romantic pessimism simply takes it for granted that one person should not be asked to be everything to another. With this truth accepted, we can look for ways to accommodate ourselves as gently and as kindly as we can to the awkward realities of life beside another fallen creature, for example, never feeling that we have to spend all of our time with them, being prepared for the disappointments of erotic life, not insisting on complete transparency, being ready to be maddened and to madden, making sure we are allowed to keep a vibrant independent social life and maintaining a clear-eyed refusal to act on sudden desires to run off with strangers on trains… A mature understanding of the madness of crushes turns out to be the best and perhaps the only solution to the tensions of long-term love.