Breaking All the Non-Rules

Four years later, I’ve learned a great many things. Some dismal realizations about the fragmented, terrified nature of my generation. Some reminders that the world is still as sweet as we once dreamed it would be.
After my divorce, I believed I would never find a love like that again. To some degree, I believe this is still true, but I find comfort in the fact I don’t want to be loved by someone who doesn’t challenge me to be a better version of myself.
I even felt guilty after I fell in love a second time; I felt as though I’d betrayed the most sacred vow, as death had not done us part, but it was invigorating to know the elusive emotion was still alive. Hidden, but alive.
I suppose that was the “Jesus” relationship. After it’s bloody crucifixion, that horrid crash and burn, the motherfucker rose again, and again. Just when I believed the return of Christ was just another brilliantly crafted myth, the bearded savior revealed himself as a true contender for my heart.
My neurosis hasn’t calmed completely. I’ve spent far too many hours letting my thoughts about this man splinter and race like blurred taillights down the highways to hell. “Does he want to BE with me? or is this just another comfortable convenience?” “What are we doing here?” “Who is this long-distance woman who continues captivating his attention?” “Is it my business?” “Am I just an option?” “Is he serious?”
Maybe most importantly: “Am I serious?”
The more I dissect, the more I feel I haven’t learned a damn thing from the years spent in the modern world of Millenial non-dating (trust me, you aren’t allowed to use that word). I was still attracted to the same type of non-committal guys, the ones who want to drop panties and then drop phone numbers with any and every set of marginally-nice titays. The ones who still acknowledge other woman in your presence, keeping their options open at all times. Keeping you hidden and secret to ensure you don’t mess that all up, then acting like you’re the crazy one.
These are the guys we find attractive, and then we wonder, “Where are all the good ones at?”
A few months ago, I was asking myself about all these infuriating topics again, I realized I was still playing the incredibly frustrating and, for lack of a better term, fucking ridiculous game we all consider the “new normal.”
The dating game goes a little like this:
1. Decide whether you actually like this person through about 20-35 days of trying to read impossible signals and deciphering Facebook/text messages.
2. Continue reading stupid Elite Daily, Cosmopolitan and other nonsensical Internet “list” literature about flirtation, attraction, etc. and drive yourself crazy wondering if there is, in fact, attraction happening. Because, hey, you couldn’t possibly just trust what you fucking feel, right? Verify with a source!
3. Maybe go on a date, but don’t you fucking dare call it a date. Millennials don’t “date.” There is time together with shared food and beverages and maybe even some sex, but even the word “date” implies a level of commitment. #ewwww
4. Don’t talk about the fact you might actually like each other until at least six weeks of not dating has occurred. It doesn’t matter if you’ve already got a designated toothbrush at their apartment, you have to remain cool, calm and collected, unattached as much as possible. Sure you think about the dude all the time… wait nope. You DON’T. Don’t even admit it to yourself.
All these steps will ensure the transition into step five:
5. Remain in a state of uncomfortable, almost unbearable ambiguity for eeeeh, for ambiguity’s sake, like maybe five, six or so weeks. Are they still going to be seeing other people (likely, and don’t you dare ask about who any other chick is, be COOL) Does that mean I should still talk to other people just so I don’t seem like I’m putting all my eggs in one basket (yes)?
But I don’t want to date (fuck, I said it) anyone else… Irrelevant. This new world is all about leaving as many doors open as you can get away with, always ensuring you have an escape from the room you currently share, even if that room has everything you could ever want right there.
When did we get so terrified of each other? When did we collectively become such pussies when it comes to falling in love, or like, or marginal attraction? Jesus Christ, we will jump out of planes, base jump from a cliff, eat raw fish, in fact we now pride ourselves on doing/seeing/being something nobody has ever dreamed up before, but we absolutely refuse to allow ourselves to put our hearts out there like we’re teenagers again.
I’ve been feeling especially adolescent lately…or for the last several months. I’ve got the stomach flip. The butterflies. The daylong daydreams of touching his hair and his lips. Elation at my favorite feature… his voice– alive with laughter and clear as a bell. It literally sounds like the wavelength of joy and destroys any darkness that lingers from a bad day.
I’ve tossed my better judgement to the wind just for a few hours of his presence. I’ve fibbed to my loved ones about where I’m going just to buy more time with him. I’ve filled my life with inconveniences, wasted resources, ignored my duties as an employee, a friend and sometimes even a parent because he is so intoxicating… so comfortable… on my wavelength in so many ways it’s uncanny.
Sleeping with someone’s face on your face is supposed to eventually get old, right? Eventually you want their tree trunk legs off your fucking torso so you can breathe when you sleep, right? Nope. I can’t get enough of everything he has to offer, and his offering is exactly what I want– genuine, humorous, adventurous, kind and generous. That’s it. I want nothing else but his time and affection.
No matter how this pans out, I’ll forever be thankful for this man for restoring my faith in the human heart. I never thought I would be here again, considering the potential for a real connection with another man; I thought I was only left with memories of what Carrie Bradshaw called “The Zsa Zsa Zsu,” but here I am… reminded it can be waiting literally just one flight of stairs and a hallway away.
So here’s the real bottom line: Do the rules (or lack thereof) really matter? I read an article online that compared this tendency to over-analyze and evaluate every aspect of your affections to putting up a barbed-wire fence around a tree. Sure you can protect the tree, but you can’t fucking enjoy the tree! You can’t climb it. You can’t get near it, so what’s the point of protecting it?
I think I’m finished living in this maelstrom of nonsense and I’m ready to just enjoy what’s in front of me. I have the pleasure of sitting across the table from a man I truly enjoy all the time. I get to go to sleep with him and wake up (in a panic) next to him every night. I get to hear that joyful noise of his voice every morning, every time he quietly says, “I like you” during pillow talk, every time he tells me a joke to cheer me up every time he reminds me that he’ll be alright as long as I’m there. Plus we goin’ on a god damn cruise, bitches.
Sure it seems like the environment is working against us all the time, but I just want this tree to grow and be strong in a natural state. Is that too much to ask?

Chocolate Dicks for V-Day

Wow. This Valentine’s Day I think instead of eating a box of chocolates, I should be stuck with a bag of dicks.

I believe people feel too entitled these days; Sometimes it’s carry over from traditional or conservative rearing; Sometimes it’s this ridiculous trend of individuals growing increasingly more selfish; Sometimes people are just jerks.

Ultimately, if someone takes time or expends resources making a gesture for you on a manufactured holiday like Valentine’s Day, or any day for that matter, the only words out of your mouth should be these, “Thank you. I appreciate everything you’ve done.”

Is that what I chose to say this week when I found out my “I-don’t-know-what-we-are” partner in crime kinda didn’t plan any form of date for this weekend… at all? Nope. He’d asked me a few weeks ago if I wanted to go out with him on V-Day. Naturally I said yes, but that was the last of it.

No, “Hey, make sure you’re free for an hour or two at 8 p.m.” No, “Where would you like to go?” There was a meme though. Stating he would literally be staring at a wall alone on Feb. 14.

Hilarious.

Instead, I learn I should be expecting one or two items to be delivered to my office Friday and having drinks with a DVD marathon is scheduled for the big day. The items are being delivered because he doesn’t want anyone to know he brought them to work just for me. They’re being delivered on the day everyone knows are reserved for the sidechick. And there will be no date.

I cannot lie. My butt was bruising from the hurt.

Even after I let him know he had sort of asked to go out before and the most uncomfortable conversation two people who are dating but not dating could ever have, he made it clear he wasn’t really interested in veering from his plan to do nothing (except have sex, of course).

The whole point of this silly exercise in gift-giving is exposure. Let’s not even lie. People who want valentines want them because they are public displays of affection. They are a way to shout to the world that “This is the person I dig right now,” and that’s the bottom line.

So when this man tells me he wants to stay in and hang out all day, leave his gifts anonymously, my red, foil Valentine’s Day balloon burst.

But then, I thought about the whole scenario and realized I needed to stop blowing so much hot air. Honestly, I do recall telling him the only demand on Valentine’s Day was was to eat a brownie. He remembered and planned for that. (Win) I’ve told him plenty of times I’m easy-to-please, and I don’t require a lot of material excess to have a good time. (Win/win) He did want to have my gifts sent to my office Friday, because that is kind of the point, right? You don’t want her to be left out of the office rose-petal-feeding frenzy…

So, naturally, the next thought was: “What. The. Fuck. Is wrong with you, girl?” I’m a real bitch. Here’s a perfectly good man you really like making an effort to give you a gift on mid-February day. Nobody owes you a damn thing. Be fucking grateful.

Why do we let Valentine’s Day get under our sensitive skin so much? Why do we care so much about broadcasting the fact we are sought or desired by another human to others? Why do we take it so personally?

I mean, it’s not like he’s trying to ditch me on V-Day. He promptly rattled off a long list of activities he sort of assumed would be happening… a workout (possibly together), maybe having lunch (together), maybe a little outdoor adventure (together, with my child) followed by drinks and TV at home (trust me, I love TV marathons). He was still planning to spend his time with me that day (and night), so why in the hell was I so upset?

What right do I have to insinuate his plans, his offerings were not “good enough” for me?

That bottom line.

His actions convey the message that he doesn’t want anyone to know he associates with me. I interpreted the whole thing as a confirmation that he, in fact, doesn’t want to “shout it from the rooftops,” which would either open him up to embarrassing questions or kill any chances with future or current romantic interests. Or maybe, just maybe, there are some people who don’t want to broadcast every detail of their lives to the rest of the world and truly do want to just do what makes them happy with the people that make them happiest.

Whatever the case, I’m already going into this weekend with a chip on my shoulder. I don’t think it’s fair to be “upset” that someone didn’t do things the way you silently wanted them to, but I also don’t see what the big deal is about making a little effort to show an awesome chick that she’s worth some probing questions, a few lost phone numbers or a tiny shout from a balcony.

One thing I know for sure is that chicks who act spoiled and entitled in the fashion I did this week probably should only get one thing to eat this Valentine’s Day — a bag of dicks.