I’ve probably pictured myself in love at least 20 different times. It always ends the same, though: married, a kid on the way, living in an amazing city, both working our dream jobs, taking trips to Europe and Africa together. Our families bonding and becoming great friends. No matter the guy, the ending is always the same. I want to be happy, and that’s how I picture my inevitable happiness.
I don’t think I’ve ever really claimed my place in the world as a romantic. Probably because most of my romanticizing goes on in my head, and very rarely does it escape out into reality. To my friends, “I just can’t really picture myself settling down right now,” is what they hear. And that’s 99-percent true, I still want to establish myself more before getting seriously involved with anyone. But that 1 percent? That 1 percent just really wants someone to sweep me off my feet, and to wait for me and follow me wherever I end up.
Because I know what I want. I want to write, and I want to live wherever I need to live to make that happen. I refuse to base my future on someone else. I’m very firm in that stance. But I’m also very firm in the fact that I want to be in love. And, I don’t know, maybe it’s the fact that I’ve never been in love or the fact that I read way too many Sarah Dessen novels in high school, but for some reason, every time something remotely romantic happens between me and a guy, my imagination runs wild.
It doesn’t even matter what guy, or how long we’ve known each other, or where they live. If they tell me they like me, kiss me on New Year’s, or brush my hair out of my face, BAM, I’ve planned the wedding. And I hate myself for it. So much. So freaking much. But I can’t stop it.
Even though I know most guys my age suck and are idiots, I still do it. Even though I know I want someone who ticks off at least 20 boxes in my head, I still do it. Even if some of my friends think he’s gay, I do it. Even when he literally spanked me on the street in some lame attempt to prove his masculinity, I still do it.
I know people will read this and think I’m just desperate or I have daddy issues, but to be honest, I don’t think I’m alone. Maybe other people don’t imagine their wedding after the first “Hey :)” text like I do, but I think we all, to some extent, hope for the best. I just do so in a more dramatic way. A way that, to guys, comes across as me being a crazy bitch.
The truth is we all have imaginations, and while some are definitely more active than others (hello!), we would all be lying if we denied the fact that we’ve pictured being in love, and our perfect version of a Nicholas Sparks novel (minus some of the tears. Maybe. I don’t know what you’re into). And there’s nothing wrong with that. What’s wrong is that after a guy tells me he likes me and I’ve already decided on the color scheme for our wedding, I have to watch myself. If I, even for a split second, slip up and show how into him I am or that I appreciate his compliments more than just a little bit, he’ll (probably, definitely) freak out.
“Yo, man, this chick is thirsty,” I picture him saying to his friends over beers, showing his bros the text messages. He’ll get cocky, and then, when he’s at the height of his overconfidence, I’ll accidentally tell him he’s sweet, and then my identity as a crazy bitch is set in stone.
Why? Why does showing the tiniest bit of interest, from either end, result in one of us thinking the other is weird, crazy, or desperate? We’ve become this generation of laxness, of Tindering, of knowing that if one girl or guy doesn’t fit the bill there are a million more out there that could. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but what is a bad thing is that we think that showing “too much” interest is lame. Unless we’re drunk at a bar, in which case slapping a girl on the ass or serenading her with your favorite country love song is OK. But as soon as we sober up, we better play it cool.
And this isn’t just something guys do. Ladies, we do it too. I’ve witnessed it first-hand, I’ve done it myself. The few times I’ve gotten asked out on a legitimate, no Netflix, just us, out in public, date, I’ve turned them down. I thought “he’s too desperate” or “what does he really want?” when all he really wanted was to get to know me, which is exactly what I want from a guy. I rant and complain all the time about how guys my age don’t appreciate taking things slowly, and yet when a real-life guy wants to take things slowly, I run away.
We all do it. We all claim we want something real, yet when that something real comes knocking on our door, we duck and cover. When I am actually into a guy, and for God’s sake let it show, I’m crazy. He just isn’t into commitment right now. Maybe it’s a control thing, maybe I want to be the one to say “hey, I really like you, let’s do something about that,” instead of the other way around. Maybe because I like to be in charge, I come across as crazy. Unfair, yes. True, also yes. “Are you always this crazy?” and “You’re being unfair,” are two text messages that make an all-too-regular appearance in my inbox.
Maybe I am crazy. Maybe I do get too attached too easily. Trust me, I’ve watched “He’s Just Not That Into You” at least 50 times, and I know, I know, I’m a Gigi. But, didn’t she end up getting what she wanted? Didn’t she get called crazy, but also get the guy? I don’t think Gigi was actually crazy, I think Gigi knew what she wanted, and was beautifully, tragically hopeful that every guy she met would be that for her. She was fearless, she hoped and she dreamed and she didn’t give up. So, if being the crazy bitch that—gasp!—double texts a guy is who I am, then maybe I’m OK with it. Because at least I know what I want.