We've all been there.
There's the guy you fiend for like a teenager with a Juul. He's somewhat handsome, perhaps slightly rugged, with just enough muscle and symmetrical features to fuel your attraction.
You meet spontaneously. Maybe you're at a bar, sipping on a Moscow mule, wearing that patent mini skirt that's one size too small. He approaches and your heart races, eyes connect.
In the beginning, you are his queen.
He suggests picnics with rose and gruyere cheese. You wear the dress with navy polka dots, exposing just enough cleavage to keep his mind wandering. He tells a tale of a troubled childhood and broken hearts.
Before you know it, it's a Tuesday at 10 a.m. and you're thinking about him. He's no longer an econ major, still using his parent's health insurance.
In your delusions, he's Brad Pitt in disguise, with brooding intelligence and a sensitive heart.
At first, you were playing hard to get, waiting at least ten minutes to text back and canceling a third of the time. Now, you're Ubering to his studio apartment at two in the morning and panicking if he leaves you on "read." It doesn't matter that he's become super busy recently, you'll amend your schedule to spend half an hour in his bed on a Thursday night.
You weren't expecting this.
This isn't love and quite frankly it isn't even lust. You leave after he's done, strappy sandals in hand, mascara smeared down your face, dignity nowhere to be found. So you may ask yourself… "Why am I doing this?" Well, human emotion is a complicated thing. We are reproductive creatures, wired to become attached to the 5'7" "Game of Thrones" groupie, even after a not-so-great booty call.
It's 2019 and modern feminists embrace hookup culture as long as both parties are down and willing.
While men and women can Netflix and chill with whomever they please, there are biological differences that make it more difficult for women to button up their blouse and never see Brian again.
During orgasm, a surge of Oxytocin floods the brain, creating that "I want you to snuggle and play with my hair" kind of state. This is our evolutionary curse. While you may have no intention of playing mom and dad, after a drunken rendezvous in the bedroom, your endocrine system isn't on the same page.
So I guess when I was belting out Ke$ha's "Your Love Is My Drug" in the seventh grade, I wasn't too far from the truth.
This reality is difficult to accept. We want to be the Rosie the Riveters of sex, to conquer our emotions and engage in casual, meaningless fun.
While this may be an illusion perpetrated by Natalie Portman in "No Strings Attached," there is hope for our sanity. 7-Eleven does not carry a magical condom for emotional protection, and we cannot protect ourselves by arming our hearts with an AK-47.
However, we are higher-order beings, endowed with complex mental processes and the ability to overcome our most basic urges. The only person who can break you out of the destructive cycle of poor relationship choices is you.
In the words of Joan Didion, "character is the ability to accept responsibility over one's own life" (Didion, "On Self Respect"), to take the reigns, and charge forward. If you recognize that you are falling for men who have no intention of bringing you flowers on Valentine's Day, then you are capable of moving on.
This is much easier said than done. Letting go feels like defeat and who likes to lose?
We ignore our friends' advice, send drunk mirror selfies, and respond to an impromptu "U up?" text.
Do not feel weak if you have ever found yourself in this position. I have, and in an hour I probably will again. With each douchebag, we learn valuable lessons about ourselves and our worth.
There is nothing wrong with serial dating half of the water polo team if that's what you want to do. But going into Dean's cluttered dorm room, knowing very well he will not be asking you to his date party or introducing you to Aunt Nancy, will prevent you from falling victim to the fuckboy plague.
If you are wanting to go hiking at sunset or stay in, order Postmates, and watch "The Office," then wait for someone who is turned on by your mind and not your body.
He will pay for your rib eye dinner, listen to your theories about the universe, and ask about your day before he takes you to bed.
Whatever journey you choose, know you are not alone. We are all confused, blindly navigating the world of romance, with no instruction manual guiding our way. Let your thoughts, perceptions, and reactions be the best you ever had. Because in the end, only you know how to pleasure your soul.
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