I recently became single again a little while back and it occurred to me that because of my decision, I’m forced to undertake the daunting task of starting all over from scratch with some unsuspecting dude. Square one.
Aside from the fact that my dad is pressuring me for grandchildren and now I’m like 100 years away from that, for the most part, starting over is exciting, right? Totes. You get to travel through all those butterfly feelings and making out is just as good as an ice cream sandwich and he still pays for dinner in an attempt to show you he is qualified to enter your vagina.
It’s the time in a relationship where the fact that he doesn’t have a car is like, totally no big deal and letting him sleep at your house every single night because it’s warmer than his mother’s basement seems downright logical. A time when you don’t even care that he’s a Red Sox fan (well, until playoff season), or that he totally just admitted that he used to watch that show about Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey being married and eating tuna fish and even though that fun personal fact made you barf a little bit in your mouth, you just swallow it and gaze at him lustfully evermore.
The beginning is fresh. It’s fun. It’s exciting.
But, it’s also work and full of uncertainty. And that sometimes sucks. Getting to that point of absolute comfort with another human being can be daunting. Tedious. Boring. (If I have to hear about table tennis one more time….)
Starting over with anything really isn’t easy, because you have to …well… start all over and with that comes work and some shitty assignments you will inevitably have to undertake and probably some sexual harassment and some over-time of getting to know someone and wooing them enough so they’ll be like “yeah, okay, I can totally stay with you for tomorrow and maybe the next day, too.”
Like anyone, I dig all the good feelings and the shiny-new person packaged up for me to unwrap and discover, but there are a few inevitable hurdles that I truly shudder in anticipation of. Things that are unavoidable and yet mandatory if you are to embark on a new relationship with a dude or chick. And I know I’m not the only person that shares this sentiment.
Right now someone is waking up naked with a headache and mascara smudged down her cheeks next to the person she’s unknowingly going to end up in a relationship with. (Should have had one less shot of whiskey and you could have dodged that bullet…) In honor of that chick, wherever she may be, I decided to sit around and put way too much thought into the aspects that scare the shit out of me in regards to hitting the restart button on the love life…
1) The Umpteen Talks: Oh, the talking! Ranging from the about me talk where you discuss your various preferences in water sports, Billy Joel songs, and condiments on a cheeseburger to the ol’ ex ball and chain talk where you discuss all the terrible people you used to date and how everything that is wrong with you in a relationship today is obviously their fault to the eventual I’m sorry but I’m related to them talk where you tell your new whatever-they-are that your uncle was once in the Guinness Book of World Records for taking the longest ketchup bath or that your great-aunt was a professional escort for the rich and famous and you don’t understand why you wait tables when you could be sucking the D of rich dudes for rubies. And of course — the wait, why are you still here talk where you stare at each other with an uncomfortable expression and bare the question “are you my boyfriend or can I make-out with that guy that cleans up littered cigarette butts at the rec park?”
These talks can’t be avoided because they occur naturally and completely involuntarily. You’re sitting across the table from a dude and suddenly you realize you’re halfway through recapping the tale of the traumatic time your ex tried to stab you with a ballpoint pen. And then as you trail off your finish out of utter confusion and shock with yourself, he comes right back at you with the time his ex-girlfriend banged the whole entire football team -including the mascot- in college. And somehow, those little tales effortlessly roll right into you admitting that you can’t eat a banana in public without giggling and him sharing with you that he’s a master of the breast stroke (insert lame dirty joke here).
For the most part, these talks are actually fun: “I fucking love dinosaurs, too! Mainly theropods, for the obvious reasons.” But there is always a point in all of the sugar-coated sharing and 20 question tedium that I can’t help but think WHY DID I JUST TELL HIM THAT? Oh, I just casually dropped the fact that one time I had to puke in the middle of a restaurant, but felt so bad for the servers who would inevitably have to clean it up that I selflessly puked into my hands and carried it all the way to the appropriate vestibule -the toilet- and you don’t think that’s lady-like, huh? (I’m proud to call this moment one of my finer community services. If puking in your hands and carrying said puke to dispose of it so someone else didn’t have to isn’t kind– I don’t know what is.)
The fact is, these talks will happen. Sometimes over and over and over. You will instinctively bubble and pop with little random facts about yourself and anecdotes and personal tragedies and blah, blah. And then you have the trying task of attempting to figure out if the new dude sitting across from you at the local Dave & Busters is worth not making out with your friend’s dad for. (Hint: he’s probably not worth it.)
But, say you plow through the talking. You realize hey, he’s kind of interesting and we’re both dog people and we both prefer our juice out of boxes even though we’re adults and he has a five-year plan to get out of ma’s basement, so … Somehow this dude pulled a fast one and you’ve decided ‘let’s proceed with this nonsense,’ only to be pulled towards even greater obstacles.
2) The First Shit where He Knows You’re Taking a Shit: If you’re like me, admitting that you puked in your hands and carried your puke to safety is normal, but admitting you shit is not normal. It’s amazing how cavalier I can be about all other bodily functions, and yet still stop dead in my tracks if a dude hints at the obvious fact that I occasionally have to take a shit.
And I’m not alone in this sentiment. Right now, almost every chick reading this is thinking of the time they woke up at a guy’s house, realized they had to take a crap so they hopped out the window, ran down the street, used the restroom at the IHOP against the adamant manager’s pleas -you have to eat a pancake to take a shit here!- and ran back to climb into bed with the unsuspecting guy.
Eventually however, if you still like this dude and he still likes you, he’s going to have to become privy to the fact that you do this, because every single person on the face of the Earth does, and there’s going to be that very first time when you exit the bathroom and you know he knows what you just did. And it’s going to be weird. If you can safely avoid this obstacle being overly awkward, and can convince this guy that -yes- you shit, but look what you can do with your tongue…you’re set to move forth.
3) The Relationship in Social Network World: My last boyfriend of three years didn’t have Facebook, so I was able to successfully dodge this altogether, but the odds of me getting that lucky twice in a row are slim. Everyone has Facebook (except for my ex-boyfriend), and I have no idea what is appropriate and what is not anymore in terms of a dude that I am canoodling and our Facebook public forum lives. Is it okay to comment on their pictures? Is it okay to ‘like’ their status? What if he has six other secret girlfriends and I write on his wall and then he gets murdered? What if I update my status to say something inappropriate and it starts a fight and then I have to prematurely break-up with him? I’m assuming that once you make your relationship Facebook official by declaring “in a relationship with…” that means you’re practically married, right?
I don’t know the answers to any of these questions and it gives me anxiety. When is the point when you don’t need to feel awkward about commenting something funny on his profile picture? Is that even a possibility? Who knows? …Because I don’t.
I would assume until I can get a grasp on what is the proper way to socially-network-romance a person I’m going to wile away my hours as the strong, silent type. (Behind every good man’s facebook wall is a new chick digging deep into his profile to see how much skinnier she is than all of his ex-girlthangs…) I’m just going to assume that any action is too bold and avoid this mess altogether. Mainly because I see relationships on the good ol’ FB and statistically 87.64% of the couples that bravely declare their love for each other via status update every day never last and also make me involuntarily gag. (That’s not an actual statistic, but it should be. Mathematically, I think it’s sound.)
But of course, maybe you tackle this dilemma: he or she sends you a request for an online relationship, you’re officially in an internet relationship, and you can ‘like’ his check-ins -in your bed- without feeling weird about it. (Shit’s getting serious, bruh…) You’re not done yet, peeps. You still have to overcome the last challenge. A challenge so grave that this is usually a deal breaker for me.
4) The Parental Trap: My friend Ashley once told me I was similar to the chameleon in that I am capable of blending and fitting in with nearly any crowd. For the most part, this is fairly true. I dig people -all people- and enjoy the stories that can be plucked from any given person. Being introduced to new friends and human beings is fun. However, there is one meeting that makes me tremble and that’s meeting the new beau’s parents. So much so, I have broken up with guys multiple times because they wanted me to meet the people they call mom and dad.
Dude about to be dumped: So, I was thinking this weekend you could come and have dinner at my parent’s house…?
Me about to do some dumping: Uh, yeah, about that. I was thinking that this isn’t really working out… Plus, I have plans this weekend to watch “Titanic” and think about how you’re not Jack Dawson. There, there. You’ll meet someone someday.
My anxiety over said meeting is unfounded, because I have never dated a man who’s parents hated me. (As far as I know.) In fact, I’m generally well-received. (Mainly because I’m wicked likable.) But that doesn’t change the fact that when the time comes to share a dinner table with ma and pa dukes for the first time, I don’t always selfishly think in my mind ”ugh, WHY AREN’T YOU AN ORPHAN?!”
The parents are always a surprise, for one thing. You will never ever know exactly what you’re getting into. My last boyfriend’s parents were such a shock that I initially glanced around at the middle-class, suburbia, cookie-cutter surroundings suspiciously thinking “what the…? Is this a ruse?!” I was baffled by my riff-raff of a boyfriend coming from such a proper setting. And that’s not the only time that I predicted incorrectly– and defintely not the last.
For another thing, meeting the parents indicates two big things: 1) the dude who’s bringing you home actually likes you enough to admit to his family “hey mom and dad, this is the girl I’m boning” and 2) you may have to introduce him to your parents soon and that’s downright fucking terrifying. (My god, WHY AM I NOT AN ORPHAN?!)
Interestingly enough, I’ve had dudes do some pretty creative things to help curb my anxiety. After expressing the stress that these situations cause me, my last boyfriend immediately scheduled a “surprise” meeting where I walked into his parent’s house having no clue that I was, in fact, walking into his parent’s house and getting completely side-swiped when he said “Becki, this is my mom and dad.” (Cue absolute horror at how much cleavage I was showing.) When I asked him afterwards why he would think of doing something so nuts, he responded “you dazzle when under pressure.” And in a way, it worked because I never had the initial anxiety building up to the actual meeting. Nice work, chap. Another dude, as he and I and his parents were sitting around drinking mimosas, he casually went to the bathroom and then sent me a picture of his dick, which I got a few moments later as his parents and I were discussing the inner workings of their new television set. (Cue a rouging of the cheeks and the thought “awww, he’s so sweet.“)
Regardless, eventually if you intend on moving from whatever you are to boyfriend/girlfriend, you’re going to have to take on this meeting and dominate it. Make that shit your bitch. Or just pray like I do that it will all be over quickly. Whatever. Tit for tat.
As stressful as all this may seem world wide web surfers, there is some hope. You could accidentally meet a really awesome person and then when you’re done talking, shitting, facebooking, and introducing, you may end up in one of those elusive ‘long-term relationships’ that people talk about sometimes. Maybe you’ll meet a dude -or chick, whichever your fancy- that makes the talks seem effortless, who doesn’t mind that you are forced to shit against your will, who knows the ins and outs of the social networking relationship, and has parents that harbor the good qualities that keep you calling him back. (You know, like maybe his parents are into handcuffs, too…?)
But no matter how you cut it, if you’re to make it to the seventh level of
hell a relationship, you’re going to have to go through these trials. And unfortunately, even after all these high-kicks of getting to know someone, it may not work out. (That’s the chance you take, so my advice is to at least find someone that will give you a rim job.)
But who knows? That’s part of the fun. Before you know it, you and your new cuddle buddy could be sitting around taking selfies of the two of you making-out, picking out draperies together, and
turning your office into a sex room, deciding which kind of Labrador Retriever you want to get as a couple.
That’s why we as human beings go against all of our instincts and push through these ridiculous things anyway– because sometimes, it’s worth it.