Your hand grazes my thigh as we drive closer and closer to my apartment. I hear you whisper the words in my ear as you unbuckle your seat belt. I am paralyzed by your words, thoughts racing in and out of all of those I once connected with. It all boils down to one person, sitting beside me, who is practically a stranger. I do not know your middle name, your greatest asset, or your most extraordinary memory. I know that you put on Chapstick, drive a navy Passat and listen to country music. You open your car door and walk up to the gate of my apartment. The many faces of my past blow through the frigid air and it hits me like bowling ball to the face.
I remember what it was like to talk to Joe, the slightly damaged, gorgeous wreck.
I remember what it was like to kiss Taylor, the dependent army man who dreamed of starting his own chocolate company.
I remember what it was like to fight with Jim, my best friend who punched a hole in my basement wall.
I remember what it was like to sing with Ryan, the fiery and brilliant musician who was charming to a fault.
I remember what it was like to cuddle and feel safe with Andrew, the kind and generous partier who hated his job.
I remember what it was like to fall in love with Rob, the pot smoking, guitar playing, high-schooler.
I remember what it was like to watch movies with Nathan, and wonder if it’s friendship or love I feel when I smile back at him.
I remember what it was like to feel — good or bad, with every man that has ever had an impact on me, no matter how fleeting the circumstance or how minimal the relationship.
What I know now is that I do not know you. What I know now, is that no matter how many times that wine bottle tilts, no matter how many kisses you decide to give me, no matter how many times you tell me I’m beautiful, I do not know you. I do not want you. I do not want an experience that will not impact my life, my memory, my experience as a 24 year-old girl. I want these moments to count for something, whether they help me grow, or make me want to shrink down to the sunset blvd sidewalk.
So when you ask to come in, I politely decline and tell you I’m tired. I watch you walk back to your car disappointed, but I do not mind. What I know now is that I do not know you. What I know now is that you will not be one to make me remember.
I walk back into my apartment and search for an explanation on why I keep these men in my life that I know aren’t right for me. I do not want to hurt them, I do not want to lead them on, and most importantly, I know that I do not want to be with them — so why bother? The word “jaded” comes to mind when my friends describe my view on dating, and they aren’t wrong.
When I fall for a guy, I fall hard, but getting to that point is exponentially difficult for me. More often than not, women will blame the guy for the demise of the relationship — and yes, this could be very true in certain circumstances, but for me, It’s time to grow up and realize that it isn’t them, it’s me.
I used to date guys just for the experience — to get to know them, to see where it goes, to meet someone new, to see what it’s like to live in their world, with their friends, and hear about their experiences. It was exciting, adventurous, and fresh. Isn’t this what I’m supposed to do in my early 20s? I’ve always tried to avoid putting pressure on a bran-new relationship and asking that famous old question “so where is this going?” But at what point does “having fun” become completely and totally un-fun?
Dating guy after guy where it just doesn’t go anywhere becomes so monotonous after a while and frankly, feels like a complete waste of time. Is the fear of loneliness more powerful then the idea of happiness?
It took this one guy, this one insignificant moment, to finally realize the error of my ways. Maybe just maybe, I wasn’t doing this for the experience anymore. Maybe I was just doing it because I can’t seem to find the right one to just stand still with.
I was talking to a couple of my friends the other night, who told me that they keep some guys on a rotation. That being, when they find a guy they really like, the “back-burner” ones fall away and then if it doesn’t happen to work out with that one great guy, they either have to find new back-burner guys or just connect with the old ones.
We know it won’t work out, we know that if we didn’t feel a connection the first three times we went out with them, that it won’t magically appear now. But somehow, we find ourselves staring at our iPhone screens, texting away, and making plans with someone we are totally impartial to. Many men and women I’ve spoken to about this blame it on boredom and convenience, but what about the other person in this situation? The one that maybe doesn’t see you as “the back-burner” but the front-runner? It’s especially not fair to them — and I think we’ve all been on both sides of this dating conundrum, and it totally and completely sucks.
Whether we do this for “the fun of it,” the experience, to fill some kind of void, or a cure for boredom, at what time do we just say, enough is enough?
What I know now is that being single and alone is better then just filling a void. It’s more important to spend time with someone that will make you remember, that will have an impact, and that will most importantly, help you believe in love again.