I’m no love guru – hell, I’ve never even been in love, and my relationships have been far from rosy – but this Shecky’s blog by Kellene McCaffrey really got me in the mood to give amorous advice.
In the blog, Kellene discusses the classic “Disney deception” case – that, as children watching Disney movies, we are engrained with a faulty formula for finding love: boy and girl have a chance encounter, live completely different lives but fall madly in love and then somehow live, as they say, “happily ever after.”
Ironically, coming across this blog was perfect timing for me. Not only have I just recently passed a huge benchmark in my love life – I’ve been single for four years now – but yesterday was the first time I saw the romantic comedy The Holiday with Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Jack Black. Yes, I cried.
Back to the point – after the movie yesterday, I became deeply introspective about relationships and what makes them tick. Here’s what Disney taught us:
Our dream guys are:
1. Busy being “dreamy” – in other words, they have a job that keeps them out of trouble.
2. Ready to meet the right person for them.
3. Just as vulnerable and hurt as we are.
4. Active and in-shape, perhaps even part of a sports team or fitness organization.
5. Open and inviting.
Our dream guys are not:
1. Dancing with their shirts off and tweaking on cocaine and ecstasy at the club.
2. Shady and inattentive.
3. Vindictive, misogynistic assholes.
4. Lazy, unhealthy couch potatoes.
5. Judgmental or jaded.
Now, you may be saying to yourself, “Okay, those lists are great, but I could’ve made those myself.” And, if you did say that, you’d be perfectly right. But, let’s face it; you weren’t going to sit down and make those lists yourself, were you? Right, that’s what I thought.
Okay, moving on. There are some protective measures we must all keep in the back of our minds as we meet new people and explore our boundaries with them.
1. He’s just not that into you – you’re not the exception and he won’t change for you. Quit tolerating his bullshit excuses and wake up!
2. Guys enjoy a pursuit, so let them chase you – don’t text him incessantly just to let him know you’re thinking about him.
3. Don’t tell your friends about him – the more you talk about him, the more you feed your “hope baby,” (a term coined by my dear friend Noel - do you have a blog so I can link back to it, boo?) the idea in your mind that this guy is Mr. Right.
So what’s the bottom line? Be nonchalant. Like Chuck Klosterman says in Sex, Drugs & Cocoa Puffs, "Every relationship is fundamentally a power struggle, and the individual in power is whoever likes the other person less." So, be the one that cares less – at least in the beginning when the situation is unclear.
How do you care less? Enjoy being single! Think about the perks of being a bachelor or bachelorette:
Advantages of being single:
1. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want.
2. You can do whomever you want, whenever you want.
3. Your only obligation is to yourself, your friends and your family.
4. Time to learn and grow.
So, I bet you’re wondering: “If you know all of this, Chris, then why are you still single?” Well, I’m wondering the same thing. Hell, who doesn’t want companionship? Who would turn down a truly devoted boyfriend who will challenge you and from whom you can learn? It makes me wonder: does the above advice keep one guarded a little too much? Because, at the end of the day, love is being oneself and putting it all out there, right? Sort of.
Let’s take the gay world for example: 20% of heterosexual couples meet online, as opposed to 61% of homosexual couples who facilitated their relationship via the Internet. That’s a pretty staggering difference between sexual orientations, wouldn’t you say? Yeah.
On gay personals sites, nothing is left to the imagination anymore – the days of taking the time to get to know someone have been replaced with interview-like messages and scripts of conversations that detail stats and sexual positions. And don’t forget the sexting and x-rated photographs before you even meet that person on the other side of the wireless connection. It really is all put out there upfront.
Are we really naïve enough to think that complete and immediate self-disclosure will create an exciting and fruitful relationship? Connections take time to develop – spilling your guts and deepest, darkest secrets to someone that you just started messaging thirty minutes prior is probably not the best idea. Think about it!
And then I think about Sarah M. and Julie S., two friends from high school with whom I’ve recently reconnected via Twitter, and whose blogs I read all the time. Sarah M. is a UNC Chapel Hill graduate, an amazing artist and writer and a cute, active blonde. Julie S. is in seminary, remains true to her principles and is a charming, sophisticated young woman. Now, how is it that two intelligent and respectable young ladies have remained single for so long? Honestly, I don’t know. All I can say is that there’s something wrong with a world where people like us aren’t snatched off the market.
So, is the key to put yourself out there or to remain guarded? Honestly, like the blog I wrote about being yourself 100% of the time, I can’t say that you shouldn’t put yourself out there. Life is about taking risks and pushing the limits; however, at the same time, those risks must be calculated and, as such, we must calculate the amount of ourselves we should reveal at any given time. The point is: find your personal balance. What are you willing to tell someone that you’ve only known for thirty minutes? How about 30 hours? And 30 days?
Love takes time. I’ve tweeted this several times, but love doesn’t just come around like Keri Hilson says it does. It takes effort and commitment and mutual self-disclosure that is spread over time in a healthy, non-chat-room-like manner.
And, if none of that works, you know the relationship wasn’t meant to be. Because the person you’ll end up with – the guy with whom you will share your “happily ever after” – won’t lie to, cheat on or judge you. That doesn’t make them a prince; it makes them your faithful counterpart. Monarchies died hundreds of years ago – and so did horses as the primary means of transportation – so why are you still acting like Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella? Your desperation isn’t getting you anywhere – smarten and toughen up and play the game just as well as the guys do. Maybe then they’ll respect you enough to let you in.