It’s been a solid 24 years since I’ve had what mere mortals would define as a “proper boyfriend”. This is, of course, excluding all of the hand holding, hallway ignoring, and unsophisticated frenching with the young chaps whom I affectionately shared AIM profiles with many moons ago (“xoxo luv u john! <3<3”). Not to debase those clearly meaningful middle school romances to complete nothingness, I don’t necessarily categorize any of those AIM profiles or sappy away messages as a real, pure, ceremonial “I am yours and you are mine” type prose or those silly relationships as real by any means.
We’ll completely ignore my early adolescence and skip straight to college where, while holding a series of relationships with men for various time frames, I didn’t consider any of them to be my own, nor I theirs, in what others so proudly define as a monogamous relationship. This brings me to today: 24, single, and infatuated with the idea of learning what it means to be in a true romantic relationship.
Now, before you go pegging me as a crazy whore or whatever just know that I’m twenty fo’ and not a ho’. Also, if you’re about to feel bad for me, don’t, because I’m not that pathetic – I think… Either way, I’ve always felt that our 20s are best spent being selfish and trying to figure ourselves out (mostly as sexual beings if you ask me), only to become tame somewhere in the 30s.
So given my inquisitive demeanor and overall need for a hobby, I decided to take a somewhat scientific route in understanding the complexities of romantic relationships with a particular focus on 20-somethings who are “tied-down” so to speak. Having not used the scientific method since scraping by in chemistry as a high school sophomore, and being completely unwilling to look up what a proper scientific method includes, I came to the write out the following:
Problem: Not understanding what it’s like to be in a true romantic (and committed) relationship.
Hypothesis: Young people in committed relationships are clinically insane.
Experiment: Talk to friends in committed relationships to learn about their successes/failures in maintaining/failing at their relationships.
Part of the method involved not taking the normal route, i.e. reading Cosmo, and instead opting to scour all over the place for articles detailing lists upon lists of what makes relationships work. Also, I zoned out during about 90% of the interviews and didn’t want to bother my friends about it again, so the internet seemed like the next best thing (read: only way).
I came to realize that all types of relationships are complex entities – didn’t need to do the research on that one, just had to be a bitch to everyone in my life for a few months to figure that out. Through this practice I was also able to deduce that all relationships are living, breathing things that require a lot of attention – mostly in the form of constant communication and openness with the other party. As far as my scientific research goes on romance goes, though, I learned that I wasted my time scouring the Internet when the answers were right in front of me: A boyfriend is just a best friend that you happen to bang!
Jubilant, and clearly needing something to do, I ended up on HuffPo Divorce out of curiosity. Well, the headline, Ex Sex: Is It A Good Idea To Sleep With Your Ex?, is really what lured me in. (Spoiler alert: it’s sticky to bang your former spouse, and it can be cool to slam your ex-boyfriend every now and then.) That one headline lead me into a tailspin into the abyss of weird celebrity gossip, female-centric “Ahh, why me?”, and “Ugh! My in-laws are evil” type content. Thus, we come to the end of the experiment.
Experimental Conclusion: I need to stop trying to figure out what romantic relationships are, get HuffPo Divorce out of my bookmarked sites (PSYCH, it’ll be there forever), and just get out there and be a crazy, cool (ish) 24-year-old who’s open to finding love. My initial hypothesis proved to be false. People my age in committed relationships are not clinically insane, they just understand the tricks of the trade. Also, for that matter, I need a fucking hobby.