I’ve always been tempted to post my thoughts about relationships on my blog. And to be fair, I guess sometimes I have—please see my moderately aggressive and definitely controversial “don’t get married young” post here.
Most of the time, however, I’ve refrained from making love and relationships the emphasis of any one post; partially because I’ve technically been single since early 2015 (so who am I to expound upon the best practices of relationships anyway?) and my dad reads my blog, so, you know, that’s awkward. Beyond that, I’ve always been one to (maybe hypocritically) believe that taking up any sort of interest in relationships as a young woman makes you weak and insecure. We’re off to a great start, huh?
But, perhaps most importantly, my blogs are inspired by my own life and interactions. It hardly seems appropriate to blog about relationships when they’re (more or less) obviously inspired by people who (most likely) have access to these posts. It feels a little meta and a lot creepy.
Recently, however, I’ve begun rethinking this decision, mostly because I realized I spend way too much time contemplating what relationships mean—in the context of my daily life and otherwise—to hold back some of the revelations I’ve come to.
I was talking to a male friend several months ago about a particular relationship truth I was questioning (clearly it wasn’t overly important since I can’t recall it now) but I remember going on for several minutes weighing the pros, cons and caveats of this one (particularly minor) discussion point.
“Wow,” he said, sitting back a little, “You really do think about this a lot, don’t you?”
Ouch. Immediately on the defensive, I started backtracking.
But it was too late. The train had left the station. I had let my “Crazy 8” show, as my friend Brandon calls it.
For clarification’s sake, a “Crazy 8” is what Brandon calls a girl who is an “8” on the hot scale as well as an “8” on the crazy scale. This is, by the standards of his ridiculous and subjective measurement system, acceptable—but essentially the equivalent of someone saying you’re just barely attractive enough to compensate for your neuroticism. Check and mate, Brandon.
Anyhow, after scrambling to justify my interest in this particular topic, I realized it was no use. I do think about these things a lot. I journal about them a lot. I discuss them a lot. It’s just who I am, and you can’t help what interests you—even if what interests you is the way people who are romantically interested in one another interact.
You know who else found this topic incredibly interesting? My dear friend in an alternate reality, Aziz Ansari. He wrote an entire book about it called Modern Romance. Check it out here if you're a weirdo who likes dating books like me, or just read the New York Times review.
So, my friends, without further ado: I bring to you my (semi)-first relationship blog.
One minor point I feel that’s important to call out: Part of me feels that any romantic situation that makes you feel you need to research your way through it is probably not a situation that is going to work out. That said, knowledge is power, so keep reading, pals.
It only feels appropriate that this post pertains to the shift between college dating and post-grad dating. What do I do with my hands? What do I normally do with my hands?
The biggest difference I've observed (as a self-identified love anthropologist in the wild tropical landscape of Dallas, Texas) is that post-grad dating is far more casual and sporadic than college dating.
In college, two people would meet at a bar, a party, in class or your friendly neighborhood fraternity house, they'd hit it off, and typically start seeing each other pretty frequently. It wasn't unusual to not know someone existed one week and then be hanging out with them nearly every day the next.
Post-grad? Not so much. Because the corporate megalords own our souls for 40 hours a week, we barely have the time for adult kickball leagues and coworker happy hours—let alone attractive strangers. The reality is, your time is far more valuable in the real world, which means you're probably not going to start investing tons of it in someone you barely know.
My first few experiences with "real world dating" left me feeling like the person wasn't all that interested because he wasn't trying to see me every 20 minutes.
Perhaps the more difficult reality of post-grad dating, especially in a place like Dallas where all the women are off-the-Richter-scale hot (mixed metaphor, I apologize), is that there's this overwhelming pressure for men to "keep their options open" and not settle down with any one woman.
I realize this is a reality everywhere, not just Dallas. But as I currently inhabit the land of the blonde and home of the tan, this can be a bit of a confidence killer when it feels like someone is interested in you—just not interested enough to forgo the other thousands of beautiful women in the next city block.
This, my friends, is why self-esteem is an absolutely crucial first step in entering the dating world. You have to know your own worth so when someone else doesn’t see it, you can think, Wow, what a fat L you’re taking right now!
Sure, it still sucks to have someone throw you in the discard pile, but I'd argue it's much easier to bounce back when you know you've got it goin' on (and if you don't got it goin' on, well...go get it).
The analogy I love to use is this: Pretend you're a Tesla. You meet an interested driver. They'd like to take you out for a test drive, perhaps to dinner or drinks. They're interested in buying (naturally, you're a freakin' Tesla). However, a few other cars have caught their eye as well. Let's say they go for a few test drives with you, then stop calling the dealership. Are you sad you've lost this potential buyer? Perhaps someone you were really interested in? Sure. But, you're a Tesla. You know there are plenty of other qualified drivers who'd love to take you out.
(That was a little weird. I'm sorry. Let's move on.)
Nothing about love is sequential, orderly or logical. You must be right for them at the exact same time they're right for you. When it's right, it's like two people are "winning the lottery at the same time." The timing is nearly impossible to nail.
But the beautiful and painful thing about timing is that, no matter how hard you try, you can’t change it—so trying to fight it is worse than futile. For a control freak like me, that's oddly liberating: Because when it works out, there's nothing you can do to stop it.
And remember: Anyone who thinks of you as an "option" should immediately be denied the privilege of being able to choose you.
Are there relationship topics on which you'd like to hear my neurotic musings? Well, you're in luck, because I have a lot of opinions. Comment below or send a message anytime with requests.
I'm probably just as confused as you are: my thoughts on love and relationships.