An instant reply to a text message is valiant. A first date that doesn’t end in sex is chivalrous. Looking away from your phone long enough to share two seconds of direct eye contact is incredibly intimate. Holding hands feels too simple. Conversations without any outward distractions are confusing. Everything must happen immediately, except for the connections themselves.
Rules are made, and rules are followed.
Don’t text them first, but if you must, make sure it comes off as vague and disinterested enough to spark curiosity on their end. Talk about yourself on dates if you’d like, but filter it enough to the point where you’re just a three-dimensional version of your mysterious and distant online persona. Have flaws, have insecurities, have fears, but keep them to yourself. Your innermost thoughts and emotions do not belong in a conversation with your potential lifelong partner and confidant.
Crave love, and connection, and truth. But only internally. If you admit it out loud, you are weak and clingy and needy. You are an embarrassment. You are one of the weird ones.
Want them when you can’t have them, because this is what you’re used to. And wish they were harder to get when they’re standing right in front of you, placing their beating heart into your hesitant hands.
Announce publicly that you don’t know what you’d do without them, that they are the most incredible person you’ve ever met. Have a harder time saying this to their face, or just forget to say it all.
Lock eyes with them. Feel joyful but also feel sad, because it is in this moment that you realize how unnatural it feels to be this connected with another human being, to realize that this is the most naked you’ve ever felt. Pay attention to how much your brain wants to break up this moment, how it wants you to speak or to look away so as to protect yourself from this instant of intense vulnerability.
Keep refreshing, refreshing, refreshing. Keep looking for change and variation and new stimuli in whatever you think you’ve found, because this is modern love, and any contentment and consistency in modern love is a death wish.
Always be closing. Closing yourself, closing your door, closing your mouth to prevent yourself from saying anything that might bring the two of you closer or make you seem more human.
Continue running. Never stop running. Because this is a generation of chasing, and we will continue to do so, even when what we want is right in front of us.