These past few months are the first time I’ve been really, truly single in four years. No casual relationships, no dating, no potential boyfriends, nothing. I’ve gone out with my friends and I’ve met guys. I’ve gotten their numbers and exchanged texts and even gone out a time or two.
It’s all just a fucking game though. I know that I’ve kind of addressed this before, and how ludicrous I think the whole thing is and how adamant I am about not playing. This game that I’m talking about is the kind where a guy sleeps with a girl and doesn’t call her back. He strings her along just because he can. He makes plans occasionally, just enough to keep her on the hook.
The power play.
It’s a game that far too many people in my generation seem to play, for reasons I just can’t understand. Ok well I do, but that’s really just regarding people with kind of low self-esteem or self-worth, who feel like attention from someone else will validate their own existence.
And thaaaat is just sad. Which I am allowed to say because for a little while I was totally that girl.
It was hard to see the bigger picture when I was totally invested different romantic scenarios, as un-romantic as many of them were. Just the possibility of attention was enough. My masochistic streak runs deep. But it wasn’t so hard to get some clarity when I listened to my friends vent their confusion and annoyance about similar situations. I found myself frustrated that they weren’t treating themselves with more respect. These girls are my friends for a reason; they’re fantastic. So why weren’t they pursuing men who held them in the same regard that I did?
And ok, honestly, listening to them complain about guys who were clearly just not that into them was super annoying. As much as I want to think that I finally learned to treat myself with more respect and have higher standards, I think it was really that I realized that if they were annoying me that much with their stupid guy troubles, I was undoubtedly annoying them with mine, too.
So I stopped complaining. The less I talked about everything that was stressing me out, the less I thought about it. The less I thought about it, the less stressed I was. Crazy, right? I mean there are only so many times I can think the same annoying thoughts over and over.
Then one night very recently, sitting on the bathroom floor with Kari (yeah, I’m still spelling her name like that), it all clicked.
Yes. The bathroom floor. That’s not the first time we’ve had some intense life talks with her sitting in an empty tub, me sitting on the floor, and it’s why we clearly need our own TV show. I can tell you with absolute certainty, the bathroom floor possesses some mysterious and magical quality that grant you access to insights you otherwise would have never realized.
Everyone is playing some sort of game when it comes to dating. It’s human interaction in its most basic form: looking for a suitable mate. I mean it’s obviously a lot more (or less??) than that, but instinctually, that’s where we’re at. Each person plays according to who they are and what they want. We’re all just looking for someone whose game matches our own.
This game is supposed to be played for keeps, but too many people my age are just playing just for funsies (as if it’s even fun) and are real assholes about it in the process. Plenty of people do it in the name of experience. If that truly works for them, then great, but I just can’t imagine that this whole petal plucking, “he loves me, he loves me not” game that girls get caught up in is particularly educational. It took me several serious boyfriends to learn what I did and didn’t want, not to mention how much commitment relationships really require.
So whatever. I’m done being a pawn in someone else’s game. I have my own to play. I’m not interested in a power struggle. I don’t have to pretend that I don’t care because I really just don’t. If he’s actually interested, that will drive him crazy, and not gonna lie, I kind of love that. If he really wants to get to know me, he’ll put in the effort. If he really cares, he’ll show me. I’m not going to waste my time with someone who doesn’t know what he wants, who doesn’t know what he’s doing, especially when it comes to women.
Like come on.
And if he doesn’t measure up, he’ll miss me when I’m not there anymore. He’ll regret treating me as a convenience rather than a priority. If a guy isn’t man enough to realize what he has when it’s right in front of him, I’m sure not going to wait around for him to figure it out.
I have things to do. I have a very long life ahead of me, barring a zombie apocalypse or freak accident. Really though, I don’t even know what’s going to happen in five minutes, let alone five years. But that’s beside the point. No, actually, that makes my point even better. I can’t spend however much time I have left angsting over some guy who may or not be worth it. Angst is for high school, which I left behind a long time ago. Thank god.
If I meet someone who puts in the effort, I’ll see where it goes. If he compliments me and challenges me, I think we can figure something out. If he proves that he’s in it for the long haul, then hell yeah he can ride shotgun. I’d like a partner in crime.
I really can’t bother with anything less.