Last week, my dear friend jtrain (that’s not sarcasm, we’re actually friends in real life) wrote a column titled“Are Women Actually Crazy?” My knee jerk reaction upon reading the title was to send him a text along the lines of, “Of course we aren’t crazy, you misogynistic asshole!” (Love you, buddy. By the way, it’s your turn in Words with Friends.) But once I got past the title, the column actually made me ponder the question the title posed–and I think I’ve settled upon an answer.
What most people probably expect me to write here is the “standard girl response” to this question: “We aren’t actually crazy, it’s just that guys make us crazy.” The complicated chess game that is dating makes us do things we wouldn’t “normally” do. As Jared puts it, “Women aren’t crazy. Men aren’t crazy. We are strategists in a crazy reality.” If it wasn’t for that crazy reality, we would all be completely sane, rational human beings. Right?
Well, not so much. I’m not even going to attempt to speak for the guys here, because if I could figure out those complicated bastards, I wouldn’t need a therapist and the ability to screenshot every text I get from a guy to share with my friends. But for us ladies, I think it’s time we own our “crazy” when it comes to dating. Most of us secretly, or not so secretly, love the drama. We take pleasure in picking apart the significance of every word of every text he sends. We like plotting our response texts and how much time we’ll let pass before we send them. We enjoy debating the importance of him liking our Instagram picture. We actually kind of delight in gathering “for brunch to play victim as they list the men who’ve wronged them.” It’s almost like we are all members of a large sorority, Gamma Alpha Alpha (Guys Are Assholes). We pay our dues when the first guy breaks our heart, every crappy “relationship” we have gives us seniority, and we graduate when we finally find that “perfect” partner, although we still make occasional visits back to the house when said dream guy does something asinine.
The funny thing is, the whole time we are giving in to the crazy, we actually do have logical thoughts. At our GAA chapter meetings (AKA drunk brunch) we tell each other things like, “You don’t want someone who is only interested when you ignore him,” and “You deserve someone who knows how lucky he is to have you.” We have all of these completely sane, logical notions, but instead of listening to them, we choose to believe what romantic comedies and Taylor Swift songs tell us: relationships are supposed to be hard, they should have complications and obstacles at the beginning, and if we just hold on and play the game correctly, there will be a great payoff at the end that involves an “I love you” and a big ol’ diamond ring.
We believe that. In fact, we revel in it…until we get tired of playing the crazy game. I can only speak for myself, but I think I’m ready to hang up my chess pieces. I’m not 100 percent sure how I reached this point. It could be that I’ve had too many failed, drama-filled “relationships.” It could be that there’s no room on my camera roll for any more screenshots of texts. It could be that I’d like to finally talk to my friends about something–really, anything–else. It could be that my Lexapro finally kicked in. But however I got here, I’m ready for what Jared calls a “boring” relationship, where we are “able to work out problems in a practical and meaningful way.” I’m ready for it to be “too boring or too real or too comfortable.” I no longer need–or want–the “dramatic arc” at the beginning of the relationship. Instead, I’m looking for a relationship that progresses something like this: We meet. I like you, you like me, and we can tell each other that. Let’s commit to each other. We’ll have lots of sex and it will usually be great, but occasionally only so-so. We’ll spend our Saturday nights with our friend Fireball and our Sundays on the couch watching football and eating Chipotle while not wearing pants. We’ll fight sometimes, but we’ll also actually try to communicate when we have issues with each other. Sound good? Cool.
In his column, Jared says, “Any negotiation is always won by the person most willing to walk away.” And he’s right–sort of. I think this relationship game is won when you become willing to walk away from playing and instead start being exactly who you are. Maybe it’s the girl who double-texts and doesn’t give a fuck. Maybe it’s the girl who calls bullshit when a guy tells her, “Oh, I didn’t see your text last night.” Maybe it’s the girl who’s actually upfront with her feelings instead of censoring herself, who lets the cards fall where they may. Or maybe it’s when a girl stops denying she’s “crazy” and proudly owns it. Whatever it is, it seems to me that you win the game when you stop playing, become upfront and honest about who you are and what you are looking for, and are willing to walk away when a guy won’t do the same. That could be when the real craziness sets in, but at least we’ll keep our sanity..