What does love look like?
I walked into the bar with the intention of grabbing an application and when I saw you I forgot why I had came. For a split second, I forgot that I had recently left a relationship I didn’t want to be out of. It was July and you were wearing a beanie, and your eyes sparkled. They were so distracting I didn’t even wonder why you were wearing a beanie in July. When your eyes shine like diamonds you can wear whatever you want I guess.
Seeing you made me think that perhaps I might not be destined for a life of celibacy, which was ironic, because later I’d find out that was kinda your whole thing. A beautiful Christian boy that lived what he believed. Endearing and rare, but also annoying. I wasn’t Christian, so God didn’t influence action or inhibit it. I wasn’t interested in keeping my lady parts away from everyone, just assholes.
You called me, and you kissed me. But I was distracted by another boy who would do more than drink, and wanted more than a kiss.
You filled my order tickets first and introduced me to Three Floyds. You gave me pills and I didn’t think to wonder why you had them. You drank Bushmills and God you were sweet. Too sweet to protest my dates with other boys or turn off Taylor Swift in the car. You were younger, and I think you were afraid that if you objected to anything I’d leave. I hope you’ve realized that sometimes in order to keep a woman from walking past you, you need to keep her from walking all over you. I hope by now you know that girls lie too.
Let this serve as a warning to men and a wake up call to women. Relationship ADD doesn't look so bad when we blame it on the victim.
That’s the slice of my life just before I reconciled with my now husband. The single periods in my life all read the same. Oh and the times I wasn’t interested in the boyfriend I had, do as well. I always explored monogamy’s shades of gray. Heavy male to female ratio, because finding the one takes many. It was sometimes fun, frequently stressful, and always the opposite of what I wanted; that situation followed me leaving a relationship because he wouldn’t commit. Lots of irony, or karma.
Between those boys there was a professional football player I met in a bar and an old crush that was the worst kind of Christian. The kind that uses Christ to condemn (so you know, missing the point). And then there was another, the man who ran miles with me around our old high school track, let my dogs out while I was at work, and went to lunch with me when I was hungry. For the most part, I’ve always been in a relationship, had someone on the hook, or was actively trying to bate them.
My go to relationship advice in one statement: “He doesn’t like you.” Now I want to add, “Are you acting like you like him?” and not just to his face. If you like someone you need to say goodbye to your collection of men. The bases should not be loaded.
I get it; technology makes it so much harder. Or easier? I mean, exit out of your Tinder profile for a second here and tell me that you’re not on it more than Facebook. I’m a little jealous, this new generation will never know what it’s like to have to go to a bar and hope someone swipes right, in person. It would have streamlined my efforts for love, and I never would have revisited that AWFUL “Christian” guy, I wouldn’t have had to, not with instant access to a zillion other placeholders.
If I had a dollar for every time a friend or person with a vagina I know has complained to me about, or attributed her relationship struggles to the opposite sex, yet simultaneously was texting 3 guys herself, well I wouldn’t be peddling my words to you fine people.
I don’t want to convince you that men aren’t synonymous with liars and cheaters. I want to nudge you in the direction of believing that men and women aren’t that different. We are not the good to their bad, the innocent to their guilty, the loving to their lustful. Girls lie too, but we do it for love. And that’s how we get away with it, that’s why we think it’s ok. Same shit ladies, different packaging.
I think it’s important to mention that I wasn’t sleeping with any of those men. Not because I’m worried about what you might think of me, but because that’s often our excuse. We think that as long as we’re not sleeping with somebody no lines are crossed. We champion a double standard that says our devotion can be divided, as long as it doesn’t include our privates.
We are not victims of their foul behavior, sometimes we are accomplices. We are strong and we are in control and if we want to be those things, then we also have to accept accountability. It doesn’t mean that you won’t be cheated on or ghosted; it’s not a guarantee for a man’s character or protection of any kind. It’s about our own integrity, and how a lack of it contributes to our unhappiness. It’s about the golden rule.
We do not get to text multiple men, go on multiple dates, and get away with it simply because we are women. We do not get to do it because men do it. We do not get to do it because it’s been done to us. Not without repercussions, not without working in direct opposition of our goals. If you want to be the one, start reserving yourself for one. Your texts, your attention, your affection. Stop contributing to a cycle that’s burned you.
Or do those things. Do them without guilt, and shame, without the weight of societal ideals on your shoulders. But please stop telling me that men are awful. They might be. In my experience, some of them are. But consider this, if you travel the same path to get there, is love a more noble cause than sex?
Are you a collector like I was? Instead of glass animals, is your shelf full of boys that make you feel pretty, wanted, and keep the loneliness at bay?
If you want to find love with someone, you need to let go of the people you don’t actually love. It’s only fair. It’s time for honesty, because girls lie too.
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