Boy meets Girl. Boy likes Girl. Girl sort of likes Boy, but conceals that she’s not quite as interested because, who knows? She might be more into it one day, right? And life is complicated, and crazier things have happened, right?
But no. Shut up. We all know that Girl will never like Boy.
Also, that is not the point.
Sure, this two-date whatever-it-was is not going to be a relationship. Boy has never felt this way for a person in his whole life since the last time he never felt this way for a person in his whole life, and that’s just the rub. It’s musical chairs, and this time Boy is standing up and his heart is beating so, so fast and he wants this so, so bad but it’s not going to happen. Boy needs to get over it. This is love, we say. This is life.
Except, STOP. Wait a minute — why do we expect Boy to “get it”? Like, have we really not all learned that he is incapable of doing that? What kind of love-Nazi honestly expects this guy, this temporary lunatic, to take a hint and move on? Yeah, Girl’s “just not that into him.” Okay. He’s texting. He’s calling. He’s pumping friends of friends of hers for the trivial details of her day-to-day and it’s pathetic. He’s putting himself in weird positions so he bumps into her, and she has to talk to him. He’s taking classes with her. He’s going to the coffee shop where she goes or, worse, works. And he should stop. This dude just needs to stop, already. But he can’t. Dudes with the stomach flu should stop puking up everything they eat and drink, but it’s not that easy. Boy has an actual brain chemistry thing going on, is what’s happening right now, and he’s no longer thinking straight. He’s depressed. Then he’s elated (when he reads one of Girl’s tweets that he interprets as guarded, secret affection for him (that is actually just about her breakfast (that is literally just about the fact that she loved that Eggo waffle))). He’s chronicling every detail of every half-conversation that he has with her to any friend of his who’ll listen. He does so many sit-ups. And you’re all, “wow, he’s so crazy.” Because it’s true. You’re right, okay? In this moment, Boy is legitimately, clinically, I think technically a little bit crazy.
But People of the Internet, I submit to you that there is a second truth that you all refuse to hear, and must. Girl could end this, and doesn’t. More, it is not Boy’s responsibility to do so. The responsibility is Girl’s.
It falls in every direction — boy likes girl, or girl likes boy, or boy likes boy (don’t even get me started on my shit), or girl likes girl, or strange man with the psychological disorder that makes him want to act like a baby likes strange woman with the psychological disorder that makes her want to act like a mother to a grown man who wants to act like a baby. And then it’s not reciprocated.
We sometimes fall in love with people who don’t want anything to do with us. Inevitably, unless your heart was carved from the hyper-dense ghost nut of a dead star, you will be Boy. Girl will be Boy. We are all Boy, and we are all Girl. But Boy is drowning. That’s the thing that our whole, twisted culture needs to acknowledge. People talk about this. People do not generally reject the notion, here, that Boy is sick and needs a hot second to heal. Boy is having a very difficult time correctly processing information and acting from conclusions formed from this correctly-processed information, which is to say reality — which he has a limited sense of right now because there are monsters that we call hormones coursing through his veins and moving neurons in his brain, making room for a mind meld that will never happen, which prevent him from thinking about almost anything other than Girl besides “that giant T-Rex is trying to eat me, I should RUN.” Because love is totally the worst thing ever, like one thousand Hiroshimas on an island filled only with gurgling babies and kittens in socks, and it’s SO GOOD can I please, please have it? Give it to me. I need it. God, why won’t you give it to me? What have I done? What can I do?
I mean, love.
So check it, Girl, what Boy needs is not to be made fun of by your friends. He does not need you to string him along because actually, secretly, you like the way it feels to be loved so intensely, so recklessly, so crazily. And he absolutely does not need you to do what most of you think you’re doing, which is sparing his feelings. What Boy needs is to be released from his insanity cycle as quickly as possible, and there are exactly two ways to break him out of it. 1) Upon final entry to total text silence, he can enter the spiral of self-destructive loathing, with large parts alcohol and dairy, that ranges from something like a week to a month depending on the weird emotional shit that passed between the two of you. 2) You.
We all need to accept this. It is your goddamn fault.
In a better world, a world that I am hoping for, and am honestly trying — it’s hard, I know it’s hard — to build a little part of, this is how the romance of Boy and Girl concludes:
Girl turns to Boy (in her class, in her coffee shop, from the sidewalk to the bushes where Boy is hiding, hopefully not with a soiled rag and a bottle of Chloroform), and she says to him “You’re a great guy, but I don’t want to date you. I don’t have any feelings for you. Good bye.”
WHY WILL NOBODY DO THIS?
“Honesty,” you might be thinking, “that will never work!” Because what if Boy keeps going? Can’t stop? Won’t let you leave? What if Boy threatens to murder your tiny dog with the smushed face that he once feigned not to be offended in the warped, evolutionarily-wrong presence of, that pees itself when it’s happy or sad or confused, that is I think classified scientifically as “failed mutation kept living by idiot primates”? What if he really is a serial killer? A rapist? What if he never stops calling?
Well then, like, yeah. Make fun of him or call the cops or whatever. But for non-relationships with the other six billion people on this planet who simply have a crazy-making crush, who are simply suffering from this actually-beautiful thing that should be cherished, that should be celebrated, that we’ve all for whatever horrible reason made even more painful than it sometimes has to be, you’ll be responsibly ending an unfortunate byproduct of having emotions.
He, she, the man baby — they’re nuts. I hear you and I know that you’re right. They’re crazy.
But they’re only crazy in love, and you don’t have to be such a jerk about it.