We live in a generation where hook-ups based purely upon the announcement of last call are a somewhat expected and welcomed part of our oat sewing. Often times, whether that last keg stand or that backwash of someone’s misplaced Domestic beer tipped you over the edge, that guy who earlier resembled a taller version of a hobbit or a super bro-tastic douche looks like a delicious man candy waiting to be unwrapped. Beer goggles have been getting people laid from the time things began to ferment. I’m sure we have a great deal of the population based purely on dollar pitcher nights.
The thing is, beer goggles are disappointing when you take them off in the light of day, while trying to see through a headache and past the stained Scooby Doo sheets and the science experiment growing in his bathtub. But you’re prepared for them. A certain part of you knows going into these pacts made after 1 am that any action will probably be with the lights off and John Mayer on and not a lot else matters. Usually when you go to bed drunk and no longer as single as you were four hours ago, you’re going to wake up with a different person than you thought you fell for. C’est la vie. (Insert obvious lecture about safe sex here. Seriously, it’s 2014, if he’s not going to wrap it up, it’s time to wrap up the evening.)
Lust goggles are far more dangerous than rail liquor eye crossings. You meet someone. Actually meet them, for the first time, in light of day. You bumped into each other getting coffee, he put a melon in your cart by accident at Whole Foods, you were confused as to why your car wouldn’t unlock until you saw him sitting in the passenger seat and realized that was not your Honda. Or you have a really great story that doesn’t involve meeting online even though you did, but now have devised a brilliantly elaborate fate encounter that is as far away from Match.com as possible. Like a chance meeting apple picking in remote Appalachia or at a sweat lodge meditation retreat. You may even claim not to own a computer.
You start dating. Real dates. Actual live, physical planned sharing of activities, conversations, interests, philosophical conversations and passionate making out. And sometimes calzones. And good spooning. Everyone loves a good spoon when the crevices fit well, and they always do in the goggle phase. Your bodies were made to mesh. That feeling you haven’t remembered returns, that fluttering obnoxious bubbling in your belly that shoots straight into your brain. And you have just put on lust goggles.
He becomes the funniest man in the world, let alone the room. Se is the smartest person you have ever met, Einstein and that Apple guy are nothing compared to her staggering intellect, which she uses to impress you without being a know-it-all. Because they are also humble, gentle, the most compassionate soul you have encountered in your life. Your prescription has gone from lust readers to coke-bottle proportions. You never believed in marriage, but they are such an equal partner and so respectful you could change your mind. Your kids would be adorable. You tell your mom. Your friends meet them, exhausted already of hearing of this perfect person you have somehow scooped away from the throngs of people in their obviously lacking fan club.
Take a step back. Don’t remove the lust, it’s exciting and magical, and can be the most potent of drugs. But it’s easy to get hooked too quickly. I’m an addict, and I speak from experience. Lust vision is glorious but gives you an incredibly skewed view; really, you are seeing the peripheral version of this person you have just started getting to know. They give you an inch of good material, and you allow them a mile of perfection in your head.
Slow the fuck down.
Lust goggles are especially easy to retrieve when your last relationship was, well, shitty. Either emotionally, physically abusive, or otherwise, if you are coming in to this with a wounded heart or ego you’re going to be much more willing to accessorize others with imagined perfection. Even the most balanced fall into the goggles. Most likely they would be rose colored. So, here are the guidelines:
1. They probably are really funny. Seriously, they probably make you laugh or this wouldn’t have even lifted off the second date slump. You two probably spend a considerate amount of time laughing together, especially if this is an important aspect of a relationship to you. Personally I put it up there as high as sex or bathing. It must be done. Especially if you are able to bounce off each other, that’s fantastic and sometimes rare. Keep up the ping pong game of jokes and barbs.
Glasses Off: Unless they legitimately are the most hilarious person in the world, you have met other funny people who get you and find you amusing. If they constantly joke about the same things repeatedly, or take it too far, or are putting you down in the process, or even worse, steals your material, start paying attention to their actual sense of humor. They very well may be a true comic genius, but are they trying too hard to always be ‘on’? Does everyone need to watch their show? Do they actually joke with you or at you? Laughing with each other is awesome, and so can laughing at each other. But if it starting to feel stale or vicious, that’s not amusing anymore and really they’re being a dick, or worse, boring.
2. They may be a really good cook. Some people are born with the culinary gene, others lack certain domestic tendencies. And when a person cooks for you, there are lots of things warming up in that kitchen. Like loins. A person cooking for you is ultimately one of the sexiest things that can be done because it truly shows they care and wants to show you something they can do that will impress you. And especially when you’re moving into real dating, these kinds of skills become more impressive than winning at flip cup or getting you the biggest balloon on Valentine’s day that make your friends, like, totally jealous. They’re putting in a serious effort.
Glasses Off: Cooking for someone is an extremely genuine offer. Part of the reason I fall so hard for this in particular was that it has been a rare event for me, although apparently this is what grownups do, so just because they cook for you doesn’t mean you should book tickets to Bali at the Honeymoon Suite. Yes, swoon. But pay attention. If they won’t let you help in the kitchen, or are overly occupied with minute details and making sure everything is perfect rather than enjoying the process, food, or you, these may be giving you glimpses into deeper personality traits. Sometimes what appears to be charming is actually just an issue with having control. Pay special attention if they don’t let you assist at all, or get pissed if you make a mistake. There’s always Chinese food, keep the laughter alive.
3. They probably are really smart. Brains, along with humor, are often one of those make-it-or-break-it qualifications on a dating resume. And they very well may be brilliant. They may even be an actual genius, but don’t flaunt it, which is even smarter. Smarty Pants are obnoxious, but a Smarty taking off their pants can be fantastic. You need someone you can talk to — about more things than what kind of conditioner you both use, gets them neurons and libidos firing.
Glasses Off: It’s awesome when a person is extremely passionate about what they do and amazing when they are talented and gracious. It sucks when they don’t ask you about what makes your mind work. What actually makes all the gears in that noggin need to grind is exciting and challenging. Intellectual conversations are bonding and really can be quite hot, but if it’s one-sided or you feel like you’re getting lectured, it sucks, especially if they take the time to explain something to you that you have a degree in. There are a lot of smart people in the world, who can also be funny and want to hear what you have to say. Don’t settle for feeling like a student unless you’re teaching each other.
4. That Body. Make out with my face. Physical attraction is an undeniable necessity. It isn’t shallow, it just is. And different people are attracted to different things. Some people have certain types, for some people that type is anyone willing to sleep with them. This is where goggles can get blurry, or really, condensate from the heat and fog up. New relationship bedroom activities are fun. You’re learning about each other and that makes it more passionate. It’s like having a new toy, you already know how to play with your own and you’ve seen others, but this one is shiny and perfect in your eyes. Don’t let it compensate for a lack of a meeting of the minds. They very well may be amazing in bed, or anywhere else in the house. Or in public. Or whatever you’re into. They could be the best lover you’ve ever had.
Glasses Off: Ideally, the passion never fades from a relationship. You continue to show PDA and romance one another into the age of Metamucil and dentures, which I guess could make for some really bizarre foreplay. Point being, sparks can fly but the fire has to be constantly lit by other senses, activities, and relations. A relationship can’t survive on sex alone, and it’s important to realize if you are using physical intimacy as a way of trying to cover up communication gaps or the fact that you’re running out of conversation. Or interest. Or speaking.
Lust goggles are free but can often come with a price — don’t date someone because you see what you want them to be, make sure you actually listen to them and be sure they are doing the same, because in the end it’s all about reciprocation. No one is perfect, and no one should be; that would be extraordinarily boring. Fall in lust but remember it’s not love and it is new. You’re getting a preview, and if you aren’t paying attention to the coming attractions, you could very well end up with the relationship equivalent of Gigli. It doesn’t mean either of you are bad people, but you can’t force a puzzle together if the pieces don’t fit, and idealizing the relationship is really the equivalent of a child forcing two puzzle pieces that don’t fit together because they want it to be complete.