New York may attract the dreamers and the artists who express in every medium imaginable – but it also harbors and encourages the nosy.
Those of us who consider people-watching a pastime. Who have mastered the art of appearing engaged reading the Monday edition of The Times, when we’re actually eavesdropping on a riveting conversation three seats down. Those of us who can be entertained by the very best and the absolute worse displays of human emotion, affection, and self-destruction. Those of us who find ourselves inspired by strangers as much (if not more so) as we do from those we actually know the names of.
For a journalist and a woman who is easily combustible when given fodder for intriguing content – I picked the best city to live in. I may argue it picked me, but nevertheless, though I love strutting to the rhythm of my powerhouse iTunes playlist while navigating the streets, I find myself removing the buds to tune-in to conversations I wasn’t invited to be part of.
Maybe it’s because of this blog or the universe’s way of encouraging my quest to self-love, but lately, the name of the eavesdropping game has been men. Or rather, women obsessing to a ridiculous degree about the guys who are, are not, could be, should be, or will be in (or out of) their lives.
Case in point, a few night ago I was changing in the locker room of my gym, when I overheard two girls discussing a dude one of them had met at a bar the weekend before. The girl was so distracted by going through each and every single detail about what he texted, how much time was between those messages, and what she thought he meant by them, that by the time she finished explaining everything, her friend had already changed into workout attire. She then realized she was behind her buddy and frantically started pulling off her work clothes to catch up. Obviously contemplating what her friend should wear as she waited for her to get ready, the other gal instructed, “Well, since you met him at kind of a trendy, clubby, flashy place, and you were dressed up – that’s how you should be when you get dinner tomorrow.” The girl with the dude and the date, stopped pulling up her sweatpants and with intense emotion said, “I know! I’m so stressed out that he’ll see me and think ‘Oh my God, that’s not who I met the other night.’ I really need to stop by H&M after this and pick out something. Or maybe you have something – are we still the same bra size? He’s taking me to some place downtown that I Googled, looked on New York magazine’s site, and on Menupages – so I think I have the scene figured out.”
Her friend placed her hand on her hip, tilted her head and matter-of-factly said, “You just never know, though. Ya know?” To which the girl nodded and replied, “I know. It’s going to be a disaster and I’m going to screw it up, I just know it. I always do.” By this point, I had been stretching my legs for far too long to hear their conversation and needed to literally run -but as I turned to look behind me, the scene of the girl stuck with me: athletic pants, an edgy sweater, two socks, and one running shoe on – gazing up at her friend in complete distress over a guy she’d met once.
Now, I started this blog for this very reason. I was that girl. If I’m honest I was far worse than that girl, if you get right down to it. My obsessions were intense and borderline-psycho. When I met a new man and he did actually call, email, text, Facebook, Tweet, or some other technological option of getting in touch with someone – I became instantly smitten. I lingered on his every last word, romanticized the way we met, came up with reasons why it must be fate, and tried to imagine what it’d be like to be his lady. Even if I didn’t quite remember what he looked like, what he did for a living, or if there was a spark – the fact that he was interested in me, meant I needed to make sure he stayed that way. And what better way to keep someone intrigued then to figure out the perfect thing to say, do, act, and seem like, so that the reason he decided to contact me in the beginning, would only continue.
And for the few first dates that turned into something more, regardless if they became boyfriends or flings – the obsession with talking about boys didn’t come to a stop…but only intensified. No matter what I had going on, what great adventures I was attempting, what strides I made in my career – I always defaulted to discussions about the man in my life. Or the one I wanted to be in my life.
In the spirit of honesty, I’m still not cured from being that girl. Like this weekend when a group of gals all-but had an intervention with me concerning what I felt about Mr. Possibility (hence yesterday’s post). Of course I appreciated and listened to their concerns, asked for their opinions, and described certain parts of my something-relationship with him in complete detail, my feelings were different. Unlike guys in the past, Mr. Possibility’s presence doesn’t rule all of my conversations. I tend to believe that if there weren’t any complications, he’d probably be mentioned a lot less. Regardless – that night, as I went on and on, played Devil’s advocate, tuned into their viewpoints, and tried to believe the most rational reasoning, I found myself exhausted of the conversation. I could hear the ridiculousness in my voice and the way I was putting myself down, going around in circles, and frankly – not having any sort of compelling conversation because I was lost in my own obsessive delusions. At that point in time, in those hours spent drinking and catching-up with my friends – why was I wasting my time talking about a man who was across several oceans?
Wouldn’t I rather know about their lives? About the half-marathon one gal is running and how she wants to be running buddies? About how one found the absoulte perfect job that would fulfill her dreams? Or how one managed to help bring a book she edited to the best-seller’s list? Or just about the cool recipe they came up with? And wouldn’t they rather know something more about me…then a damn boy?
Surely, we want to know these things about our friends and they want to celebrate in our success and be there for us in our trials, but somehow – the topic of men always seems to be far more intriguing. In that night alone, we compared our crazy sex and ex stories (which sometimes tend to be one-in-the-same) talked about what we wanted the very most at that moment – and two responded with “A man! It’s cold!”
Guys can be quite confusing, engaging, and incredibly entertaining – but don’t we have something more to talk about than them? Something that’s more meaningful, more interesting, more beneficial to our lives and our personal growth? Something that showcases who were are as individuals, the women we’re growing into, and the battles we’ve fought to get to where we are?
Of course – but do we always want to talk about those things?
Really, discussing relationships, no matter if we agree or disagree with them, want one or not, or have ever been in or fallen out of love- make us realize that we’re not alone. If we say these worries out loud, if we give them life by putting them in words, if we catch a raised-eyebrow or an understanding glance from our best friend -then we know that it’s okay to feel these things, it’s okay to be obsessive sometimes, it’s okay to not be the best player at this game of love.
It’s okay that at times, the only thing we want to talk about, even when we know we shouldn’t or when we know it makes us sound insecure or addicted – is the relationship we hope to find. Maybe we’re projecting what we want on strangers, getting way ahead of ourselves, and reading into details we don’t need to analyze.
Or maybe, giving them, or us, something to talk about, means saying the things you always hold back for fear of how they’ll make you appear. When in reality, they don’t make you that girl, an immature woman, or a non-recovering love addict – they just make you human.
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