There! I said it.
I had a friend from college that I valued his friendship and his insights. He visited me once, and I must’ve spent all my time asking his advice for a dating situation. He wrote me a letter that I have kept in a frame, because I wanted to remember the fun we had and his wise words. He wrote “Don’t worry too much, you’ll find there is more to life than boys.”
I finally agree with him.
Being single doesn’t mean you spend all your time thinking and talking about boys. Being partnered doesn’t mean that’s all you do, either.
It is really easy to fall into a rut of talking about boys and relationships. It’s interesting, there can be drama which makes it exciting, and it’s always changing. But it doesn’t feel very deep or meaningful. And there is a lot more to life than boys.
Even though I know I have had times in my life when that feels like the only thing.
Have I mentioned the Bechdel test before? It examines if a work of fiction (movie, novel, TV, play) features two women talking to each other about something other than a man. I remember first hearing about this when they were discussing the 2009 Academy Awards and if it was a requirement to pass the Bechdel test half of the best film nominees would have been in jeopardy. Also, when looking at the top grossing films of 2013 only about half of the films passed the test.
Take a look around pinterest for all the other interests, there are so many different ways to express yourself outside of a conversation about a guy.
Does anyone else find it frustrating that so much time and energy is spent talking about men? Like that Sex and the City episode where Miranda gets frustrated and asks “How do such smart women have nothing to talk about but men? It’s like seventh grade with bank accounts.”
Yes the girls looked sheepishly at each other, because it was true. But, really, nothing changed. It’s still all they talk about.
And they say the TV show is about the friendship between the women. But their friendship is solidly based on supporting each other through their ups and downs in their relationships.
I have been making a solid effort in the last several years to make conversation about other topics. Art, passion, work, money, children, long term goals, travel, books, movies, music.
My conversation and relationships feel deeper and more meaningful. I feel like I can handle tough situations, and I feel really connected to my friends.
I know they still enjoy hearing my stories about all the men I date or the awful people that they never have to go out with, but it isn’t what I lead with. I like to hear about their life and then I share the important parts about mine.
And I think it makes me a more interesting person, with my friends or on dates. There is more to say, it works in all directions.
I don’t know why it took so long for me to come to terms with this. I don’t know why it felt like I spent so much of my life chasing boys. Maybe for a while I used dating as an escape. I didn’t want to deal with the fact that I hated my job, or I didn’t want to deal with my last boyfriend that cheated on me.
Maybe I found it a lot of fun. And I liked the attention you get at the beginning when everything is shiny and everyone is on their best behavior.
I haven’t had a long term relationship in a long time. I like the beginning of when you start dating someone. It’s all the excitement. And you really do get to see the best of someone, he is trying to impress so you see him at their charming-est, his flirty-est, his most attentive.
Things get messy when you start fighting, or he starts getting judgmental, or he starts calling less often. For me it was always easy to find a reason why I didn’t really like the guy anyway and then I would move on. Find a new guy to enjoy for a few months.
It has actually become a habit.
And maybe this is why I spent so long spending so much time talking about boys. It was always in that shiny, new phase where I was really excited about the guy. I was excited to talk to my friends about him, and maybe a little of it was bragging. Look, you can stop worrying, I won’t be alone forever and ever! I have someone, for now.
But it does get old. You can talk about that new guy while he is new, but eventually each new guy sounds exactly like the last one to all my friends. They blend together and I keep having to answer the question “Which one is this?” “What happened to…?” And all that is boring!
I think that my friends would love me to find the one, and they would love to hear all about how great he is. And even if I never find him and I take great lovers for the rest of my life, they will also be happy to hear about all those guys.
But to fill in the gaps, I think I grew up a little bit when I realized that boys are not a very interesting topic, and it will only sustain a friendship so long. And the deeper stuff can only be avoided for so long.