(Editor’s Note: Ran into a bit of a tech snafu, so we’re running an old post from one of our contributors, don’t worry, should be back on track tomorrow.)
I’m re-posting this word for word without (major) editing. I wrote this almost exactly three years ago. A part of me cringes as I read this, both for how much I agree and disagree with what I wrote, but mostly for how much I changed in the past three years. Frankly, I don’t know if I can ever be as emotionally frank in writing again, but here it is, in its entirety.
I’m writing this note on my iPhone at 2:33am on Feb. 15, 2010 on a half-inflated air mattress listening to the sound of New York City traffic passing idly by many stories below. Another Valentines Day has come and gone and for me, it’s just been a bit more of the same. I’m a very recent 23 and it’s been a while since I’ve written anything of substance (substance meaning anything that I have to think and invest in, and yes Facebook notes count) and I can’t fall asleep, it’s time to write.
All I want is to want someone that wants to be with me.
There, it’s all out in the open. That’s my credo. It’s deceptively simple. Ever since I realized that cooties weren’t a real thing (sometime around 3rd or 4th grade) I’ve been trying to get my brain and my body to work together to find some sort of happiness in the opposite sex. So for the past 13 years or so, I’ve tried to learn and distill what it is that I need to find love.
First things first, everyone wants to be loved. Not everyone wants to love, but everyone wants to be loved. Whether it be from your parents, a significant other, throngs of adoring fans, or even yourself, being loved is a pretty great feeling. However, a lot of people question the existence and even the validity of romantic love. Millions of songs and books have been written for either side, and there’s no conclusive proof, but for me, I believe in it whole-heartedly, because I believe that I’ve been a witness to it. I know couples who are married or are on their way to marriage that just seem to mesh on every level, or in other words, are just meant for each other. I won’t name names (nor will I for the rest of this note) but seeing them reinforces the notion in my mind that it’s possible that there is a match for me out there somewhere. However, looking for that person has also convinced me of the very real possibility that:
1. She doesn’t exist.
2. I won’t find her. And
3. I already missed my chance with her.
I’ve seen a lot of relationships in my 23 years, and the only thing that I’m sure of is that there is no one right way to pursue a relationship, but there sure as hell are a lot of wrong ways to go at it. Relationships are hopelessly complicated, even the ones that are supposedly simple. Taking the lives of two people and mixing them together is just a crazy idea, whether it be lovers, friends, or just colleagues. The only thing that I’ve discovered that truly helps relationships is time. Time gives you perspective, a chance to think, a chance to let the lives of two people intertwine a bit so they can understand where they stand relative to each other. In the end, I think what a relationship boils down to, any relationship, is just how two people understand each other.
Now understanding the opposite sex has always been a challenge for guys like me. It really wasn’t until college that I started to look back and piece together the things I’ve learned, and subsequently, got a much better understanding of women. That being said, I still know next to bupkis. What I learned is how to recognize specific things in women, and in turn, specific ways to manipulate them. I’m not going to lie, for a while, I thought I hit the jackpot, I thought I finally understood women. It took me about a month or two to realize that it was naive and arrogant to think so and that knowing how to get from A to B doesn’t mean you know why A goes to B. That and I felt pretty shitty manipulating people. Only thing I did was to find a means to a shallow end which probably left me further from my actual goal.
Now a big reason why guys want to understand girls is attraction. Attraction is a strange beast. It’s a million different things to a million different people. There’s really no universal constant. And I’m not talking about ‘a girl walks in a room looking drop dead gorgeous’ type of attraction, that’s just lust. I’m talking about real attraction, the type that snowballs the more and more you talk to a person. For me, that can’t be forced. I either feel it with a person or I don’t. I understand that it’s different for everyone, but that’s just me. People say I have a type, but I like to think that every girl that I’m attracted to is different in her own way. I like the little bits and pieces that you get to know about someone and sooner or later I discover that the sum is greater than the parts. The frustrating thing is that attraction is really undefinable for me. The only thing that I’ve gotten better at is seperating that attraction from lust. I used to forget my name whenever a knockout walked into the room. Now, I at least remember my name and how to make noises with my mouth. Pretty girls are a weakness, at least I know that going in, so it makes me doubly careful.
It’s almost 4am now so that means I’ve been writing this note on an iPhone for almost 90 min, which in that time span, I’ve driven my host out of her room due to my rustling for my charger and the backlight on the phone. What I wanted to come across as a clear and well reasoned summation of my experiences has become something akin to word vomit, so I’ll try to sum it up here.
The only way to be successful in love and in a relationship of any kind is to give a damn. You have to care and work at it. What is terrifying is that there is absolutely zero guarantee that the other party in the relationship does any of that. That’s why it hurts so much, and that’s why we’re so damn afraid of it. Valentines Day, and all those other things that people in relationships deal with is just to show the other person that they care as much as they think the other person does. No one wants to be the person who puts more on the line than the other, but that’s the risk you take. In the end, it all boils down to whether you think the possibility of love, happiness, or even just contentment is worth it, and this holds true for most things. I’m an idealist and a gambler, so that ship has already sailed for me. So for those of you in the same boat as me, I salute you. To Courage and Heartbreak. Courage to take chances, Heartbreak to teach us lessons, and Courage again to free us from Heartbreak. I’ll drink to that…