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Students divulge their crushes on Facebook pages.

Summary: The whole world could read his thoughts, as one student at the American University of Beirut pined for a girl across the library.

BEIRUT: The whole world could read his thoughts, as one student at the American University of Beirut pined for a girl across the library.

"Sitting almost in the end of Jafet north; long golden brown hair," the student thought. "Lovely eyes and a baby face. So cute the way she is studying and concentrating."

This anonymous college student not only thought it -- he wrote it on one of half a dozen so-called "Crushes" Facebook pages that have cropped up over the past week. Students and alumni from a handful of local universities have turned to these forums to anonymously divulge their secret admirations -- whether a fleeting attraction or a tragic love lost.

Such heartache was the case for one so-called "crusher" from the Lebanese International University Crushes page.

"I met him [four] years ago," she wrote. "Every time I open my drawer I find our old thing[s]. Every place I go to has a memory of us, even the streets and sure the sea. I guess we did that [on] purpose because we knew sooner or later this will come. We wanted to leave each other special memories where ever we go. He just wanted to be my best ever."

The first university crushes pages in the country were simultaneously launched April 7 for AUB, University of Saint Joseph and Notre Dame University by a single creator.

All of the crush site administrators spoke to The Daily Star on condition of anonymity because they alone know crushers' identities and don't want their classmates to hound them for information.

The creator for the AUB, NDU and USJ crushes pages asked to be called R.D. and said the idea, like most fads, was born out of boredom.

"I was simply sick of studying for the exams, saw the idea and thought it'd fit well in our universities," R.D. said.

The pages immediately skyrocketed in popularity.

"They liked it because it gave them a way to send their voice while hiding behind our name," he said. "Some find it hard to go straight to someone they like, maybe out of their league, maybe hard to get or maybe taken, or others are just scared of being shut down right away without getting a chance."

Within days, crushes pages popped up at LIU, Lebanese University, Lebanese American University and even successful copies of "AUB Crushes" and "NDU Crushes" were created.

Combined, R.D.'s three pages have more than 8,000 likes. The sheer volume of activity has forced R.D. to consider asking friends for help in maintaining them.

"I knew that each person has a crush for someone, and giving them a way to share it would certainly get their attention. But the speed of it, no I didn't expect that," he said.

The administrator for "LIU Crushes" is based out of the school's Tripoli campus. In less than a week the page has received about 2,000 love messages.

"This page is now the hit and we can see that everyone is talking about it during classes and on the break time -- even the security guys," he said. And yes, LIU received messages about two students who have a crush on university security guards, he said.

Indeed it hasn't only been the volume but the kind of feedback that has floored page administrators.

"There are many messages that surprised us, people who replied, after posting their messages on the page, that we have saved their relationships, or that we helped them in having a relation with their crush," LIU Crushes said.

Several administrators said they had received similar feedback such as thank you messages for starting or rekindling relationships.

The anonymous platform has also provided a way for gay and lesbian students to profess their crushes publicly without the stigma or shame of coming out.

R.D. said he doesn't censor gay or lesbian messages for AUB, NDU or USJ. It's usually unclear whether a girl or guy is behind the message anyways, he said. "As long as it's well written and sounds legit, I don't check the genders," he said.

Not all the sites are as open. LIU Crushes is trying to limit the number of lesbian love confessions, as well as vulgar language.

The administrator's primary reason for blocking such messages is to save the object of affection from receiving unwanted ridicule or suspicion.

That goes for teachers, too, many of whom have received love messages from students, particularly from smitten young females.

"Too many messages for professors in the university, especially from girls to their doctors," said the LIU crushes admin. "We decided to limit these messages, so we can avoid these students' problems later on."

Some of the most endearing posts include platonic love confessions for friends, especially the pronouncement of bromances.

"It's a bro crush. He's my roommate. He's my bestfriend," said one male crusher to another. "Known him since grade 1. We had our bad times, but in the end, I still care for him and would bury alive the person that would do harm to him. Halim, you're the man."

After filtering thousands of love letters, the admins said a touching post can still move them. R.D. offered one from AUB, where a guy confessed his crush for a handicapped girl. "'There is a girl in AUB, she is on a wheelchair. But her face is very beautiful.' It's simple, but it's good," R.D. said.

One of the admins for the spinoff AUB Crushes page said she's been heartened by the number of romantic messages sent to her by men.

"The guys who are sending most of them are being very sweet, the sweetest messages on the page are by guys!" she said. "It's good to see there's still some decent people out there."

The admins agreed that there had been slightly more women sending messages in than guys, The attraction, they said, has been the entertainment value. "It's better than discussing politics or religious things or gossiping [about] each other," LIU Crushes said.

They also agreed that the trend will collapse soon, as people get bored of checking the pages and posting.

Before the fad does die out, at least the pages have given young people some hope, such a this AUB student: "To the girl who like to play FIFA, I will find you and I will marry you."

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Publication:The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon)
Date:Apr 17, 2013
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