We all know what it is like, that phase when two people are digging on each other but are not “exclusive” yet. Many times, for me anyway, this phase almost always lasts longer than the dating relationship. It is this agonizing time of asking obscure questions like, “What’s your favorite color?” or, if you are really deep, “Where do you see yourself in ten years?” I have always found myself trying to think outside the box and ask “What color is your mailbox?” or “When was your carpet installed?” in the hope of sounding quirky and cute when, in fact, I was sending the message “I am a stalker, run while you can!” The point is, this idiotic stage that teen couples have invented to bridge the gap between “friends” and “friend friends” is called, perhaps the stupidest term I have ever heard, “talking”.
I am ashamed to admit the number of boys I have had talkationships with. I am this contradictory mix of stubborn and shrewd with empathy and the awful habit of always saying yes. A boy asks for my number, OF COURSE I give it to him. I would never embarrass anyone by saying no because I would never want it to be done to me. I know, I am a stupid girl, moving on. Since I am a female, I am wired with the mental stability of a grown woman and the emotional stability of a snail. Here I am assuming that snails tend to cry in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and angrily call their township whenever passing pathetic dead animals on the road. That being said, I have been in relationships with boys who do not know they were in a relationship with me. Unrequited love is still love. Can I get a woop woop?
For those of you who are pretending you do not understand how fickle this whole process is, I am going to pull out a real life example. This is sadly not hypothetical and please, feel sorry for me when you read this.
Fifteen years old. By this point I have been a teenager for a little over two years so I know everything already. I know about love because I have listened to every Taylor Swift song. I can relate to her song “Fifteen” even though I have not even kissed a boy. I’m all “IT’S A LOVE STORY BABY JUST SAY YES!” in the mirror every night. Totally mature enough for a relationship. I’m going to get my braces off soon and then LOOK OUT boys because I am going to charm the heck out of you with my Nancy Drew lingo and my exponential knowledge of Walt Disney. So here I am, the kind of girl who laughs when the Chinese nail salon people rub my feet, waiting-no- drooling in anticipation of my knight in shining armor to come and sweep me away. Side note: if you have not been told before, books give you unrealistic expectations and there is no Ned Nickerson or Jay Gatsby who is pining for you. If you find someone who has the sense not to pick his nose in public and he has nice teeth, grab him and do not let go.
So back to the point. Little Valerie was minding her own brace-face business when lo and behold I get a Facebook chat. You can laugh but seriously, a few years ago getting an IM chat from a boy totally counted as him making the first move. Well, it counted to fifteen year old me who did not have the sense to be picky. Anyway, I get a message from this boy who was not very cute but was really funny and I do not know what it is but I just want to hug boys who are funny because life is hard and confusing and I appreciate someone who can see it happy. Long story short we had a few more chat dates- that sounds even more pathetic when I write it- and then he gave me his phone number.
When a boy gives you his number it gives you all the power. I mean, you could have just accepted it to be polite and then you never have to actually call him. So I really can not blame anything that happens after that on anyone but myself. I text him a day or two later without saying who I am. That was my sneaky test. If he gave his number to girls all the time then he’d have to ask who I was, if not, then he would know it was me. He knew it was me. My one, poorly assimilated test had been passed. No more standards for him to meet. Bad idea.
In the following weeks I did not really get to know him at all. We would barely acknowledge each other in public and it was really exasperating and unhealthy. We talked on the phone for hours but there were always weird silences when we would realize we did not have much in common. He kind of hated everything. It is hard to relate to someone who only finds solace in computer games. (Yes I know, judge me later) Now, I complain a lot in my head, because I am the only one who has to hear but this dear boy liked to complain about everything. But I liked the attention he gave me and so I kept listening to stupid complaints and I actually endured a lecture on the difference between elves and knaves. Like what the heck? Boys, if you are going to be that weird, share it with your guy friends and please, spare us.
So eventually we “broke up”, if you could call it that. I remember calling my friends and feeling very “woe is me” that afternoon. I walked outside because it looked gloomy and went and sat on the swing in my backyard because it seemed like a bookish thing to do, and then I cried. I remember when it started to rain and I had the funniest, stupidest thought, “The sky is crying with me!” I barely even knew this boy but I think I liked feeling the heartbreak. In this weird way I finally understood a small part of what all those heroines in books were whining about.
What is the point of this? Of course you are asking yourself that right now. The point is that girls, the mysterious creatures we are, need to have a little more self-respect. You know what? I am eighteen now and I still think there are Noah Calhouns out there. Actually, I KNOW they are out there because of all the precious couple posts people feel inclined to plague us all with on every social media possible. I have not kissed a lot of frogs, but I have hugged a lot of frogs, held a few frog’s hands, and talked to so many frogs on Facebook chat that when my charming significant other decides to grace me with his presence I may throw a punch at his jaw for making me entertain amphibians for so long.
Ms. Ranting and Raving