You know the kind of girl that always wants a boyfriend? The kind that will inevitably ignore obvious dealbreakers (he hates to travel, you have three sets of extra pages in your passport; he lives off of Micky D’s, you’ve refused to set foot there since you were 11…you get the point) in favor of having someone who is morally obliged to spoon with you? The kind that decided during high school that “having someone” by default made life better, regardless of who that “someone” actually was?
Well, you certainly know that kind of girl if you knew me in high school. Who am I kidding? You know that kind of girl if you knew me two years ago. If, however, we aren’t actually acquainted beyond the realm of the world wide web, chances are you know this kind of girl anyway. If not, they can oft be found sitting in cafes near college campuses, complaining to their girlfriends about how he’s selfish in bed, about being SO over pretending to enjoy country concerts, or about how he becomes such a jerk around that one friend.
After hundreds of these conversations and more chai tea than was ever intended for human consumption, I came to a stunning realization. “Having someone” only makes life better if that specific someone is actually going to make your life better. Complex, right? Allow me to explain.
The way I see it, having a boyfriend (or significant other) requires a whole lot of time and energy. I mean think about it. There’s all the time you spend worrying about if you’re more into it than he is (I’m going to use masculine pronouns because that’s what I’m into, but feel free to substitute your own), the time you spend doing your makeup for that sexy snapchat, the time you spend watching his favorite action movie on a Tuesday night after he had a bad day. There’s the distracting, reckless emotional energy that you’re all too familiar with if you’ve ever been in love, been in like, or wondered if you’re even in anything with the person at all.
And, if we have anything in common at all, you don’t have infinite time OR energy. Not only that, but you have many other productive (okay…maybe not. I see you, Netflix) things that said time and energy could be spent on. I’m all about having time to keep my secret emo blog updated and to sift through Indie Rock Cafe for hours. I already have plenty to stress about (Arabic Drama, I’m talking to you) without analyzing if you’re into that girl from home who keeps posting on your wall. I have plenty to think about without wondering if you’re Mr. Right Now or Mr. Never Right At All. Maybe that’s just me, but time and energy aside, everybody likes the option to go home with the Bradley Cooper lookalike at the bar.
Before you say “relationships are about sacrifices,” give me a second. I agree. My point is simply that people (read: me) should be more concerned with whether or not their relationship (read: that specific someone) is worth these sacrifices. In reality, your quality of life is not going to improve just by “having someone” if this effectively translates into not being the only single friend at the cost of having to pretend to think Bruce Springsteen is God. No, no one wants to wake up in an empty bed (well, I don’t think so anyway). But no one wants to have to pretend that they’re more attracted to their significant other than they actually are, no one wants to pretend to love South Park if they don’t, and no one wants to act as though the fact that their boyfriend is constantly high doesn’t bother them.
All I am trying to suggest is that there should be a certain bar that someone should be able to high jump before you go ahead and clean out half of your closet for them. A test, perhaps. A Boyfriend Test.
Not a written test, geology-exam style, obviously. More of a series of mental questions that should be asked before you decide that you need a standing date to that monthly couples’ potluck your friend hosts. I’d love to provide you with a handy, universal list, but the thing is that maybe painfully shy guys really do it for you, whereas I should have made that one of my dealbreaker examples in the first paragraph.
Don’t worry, you’ve made it this far and I wouldn’t leave you without a surefire mechanism to determine whether or not that person you’re canoodling in your profile picture is worth a spot in your Christmas card in two years. You’re going to have to figure out your own equivalent of this, but here’s the test that any eligible bachelor has to pass before I’m going to go out of my way to buy his favorite beer or make guacamole for him and his friends on game day (the same goes for back massages, so read up, boys):
Is he intelligent? Not only intelligent, but can he discuss the war in Syria or gun control reform with me?
Will he, come September, watch Homeland with me on a weekly basis, or at least not prevent me from doing so?
Is he witty? (Lowbrow humorists need not apply.)
Is he social? Will he listen to Mumford & Sons on repeat and cuddle (yup, I dropped the c-word…this guy is high-jumping at least 5’8”) with me when I’m sad, when I’m happy, or when I just don’t want to do work?
Would he get along with my dad?
Will he cook for me on occasion?
Will he question me when I ask if we can go find a rooftop to watch the sunset from (for the third night in a row)?
Does he enjoy putting on a tux?
Is he charming, in at least most senses of the word?
Does he have something other than completely offensive music taste?
Will he tell me he’s proud of me when I suddenly decide to be serious and talk to the whole internet about rape? Will he playfully make fun of me the rest of the time?
I understand that these are oddly specific and myriad requirements; but that is exactly my point. There just aren’t that many guys out there that fulfill them. And you know what? Unless one that does decides he’d like to put up with walks in the rain in exchange for homemade breakfast in bed, I’m going to do me, not we.