Girls are an interesting breed. On the plus side, we’re emotional, involved, interested and can hold conversations going 90 miles an hour (or more) for sustained periods of time. Women understand each other, understand how the female brain processes information, looking at all details, every angle, every possibility. We love to overanalyze, overthink, overprocess together, and we know the best way to conclude any conversation is by bringing it back to shoes and Scandal (just me?). This does, however, make us susceptible to self-sabotage when it comes to the not-actually-confusing-but-also-highly-confusing world of Men.
In the past several months, as I’ve waded through questionable decision crushes and the occasional first date, I’ve had to try and learn how to be on my own, how to decipher what the person in question really wants from me, and what I really want from another person. And honestly, trying to contemplate those three things are enough to exhaust me completely. I mean, obviously I love talking things to death with my girlfriends, coming to a conclusion 2 hours and a bottle of wine after asking for the initial advice, but sometimes you just want someone who can pragmatically tell you “Stop being an idiot and just go for what you want”. Much as I love my girlfriends, that will generally not come from them.
Semi-surprisingly, some of the best advice I’ve received since beginning the chronicle of single LB has been from my male friends. To be fair, this is not always the case. They’ll be the first to admit that they do. not. understand. women. Punctuation included. When I ask them for advice, you can practically see the drool hanging from their mouth as I throw too many words, too many potential issues, too much everything at them. Conversations that start with something like: “I mean, we haven’t texted in like 24 hours, but if he liked something on Instagram, is that supposed to be a substitute for real conversation?” inevitably receive “What’s an Instagram?” as a response, clearly focusing on the part of the question that matters.
Social media inadequacy aside, if I’m really in need of advice, the guys will patiently listen to me ramble and rant about what he meant on that date, whether he wants to hear from me, and sometimes they just let me talk, getting out all my frustrations about my as-yet-unrefined approach to dating. After I’ve exhausted my own story and let them speak, they usually comment “bitches be crazy” (truth) and then respond to my extended soliloquy with 10 words or less that are nearly always spot-on. I can ask them “but what if he doesn’t liiiiiiiiike me?!” twelve different ways and list dating scenarios in my head which are occasionally feasible but sometimes involve a broken subway and killer rats; their answers are almost always the same. Stop overanalyzing. Put yourself out there. Remember it’s his loss.
Childhood, college, city. The men in my friendship circle each met me at different points in my life and understand different parts of me, but they’ve all stepped in to help me when I’ve asked, and almost especially when I haven’t. They help bring me back down to earth when I’m turning into psycho chick, and pepper in stereotypical compliments when I’m having an especially low moment, like “You have pretty hair and I bet chicks are jealous of that” or “You’re an amazing person and deserve more.” There will never be a substitute for those nights with my lovely friend M or my partner-in-crime R, sharing stories and scenario-planning for every possible iteration of a date. And yet, when you’re looking for advice as a twenty-whatever single girl, there will never be a substitute for a conversation where “but you do have a nice rack!” and “you’re going to find someone amazing someday” are expressed with the same sincerity and the same amount of love.