One of my New Year’s resolutions was to not get into my next relationship too fast. Go figure: I met a guy New Year’s Eve and he’s amazing–great times, great conversation, great sex–and he now wants to be exclusive. I’m already halfway in love with him and not looking for anybody else, but I’m afraid that as soon as I become “the girlfriend” I’ll fall into my same old trap of getting too intense too fast and blowing things up. So two questions: What is the universe trying to tell me by testing my resolution basically from the moment it began? And, how can I say no to us calling ourselves a couple when for all intents and purposes we are?
Ready to Commit Or Be Committed
Dear Ready to Commit,
This is the same universe that puts chocolate in front of dieters and delivers miserable weather to people who’ve just taken up jogging, right? It laughs when you think you’re over the hump, and you cracked it up on the spot by acting like humps can be magically wished away. Don’t get me wrong: optimism is great. Just because I’ve never experienced it myself doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate its value objectively. But most folks with a streak of explosive breakups behind them have doubts about a next relationship ever happening, while you cavalierly made resolutions under the assumption that one would. And it worked; self-help authors will soon be calling you for blurbs. Yet you’re facing exactly what you hoped to avoid. Hmmmm….
Not becoming “the girlfriend” won’t solve your problem, interestingly enough, because she doesn’t exist. You don’t wake up a different person the morning after you change your Facebook status (if you do, that’s outside my area of expertise)–“the girlfriend” is a role that you yourself are deciding to play. So for your introductory hump–pun not intended here, above or below–own up to this imaginary alter-ego and specify the behaviors that need to change. You plan the wedding prematurely? Stock tampons in a guy’s medicine cabinet prematurely? Why????
Yeah, the motive issue is kind of mountainous for your second hump. You’ve a long climb ahead of you so you should probably explain to your new love (“halfway in love”: nice try) that you’ve moved too fast before and don’t want to repeat your mistakes. If that feels like a hump, it’s only a warm-up; be very wary if his reaction tires you out.
Enjoy the hike,
In your Girls Are Easier Than You Think column you asked: Why after the [Adam/Eve/serpent] apple incident are women still entrusted with dinner? I realize it was a rhetorical question, but how about a rhetorical answer?
Eve the Thirty Thousandth
Dear Eve the Thirty Thousandth,
Thanks for asking–many people told me they liked that line, but nobody else requested explication. For those of you just tuning in, I theorized in a recent post that the unfortunately common advice for ladies to be mysterious and coy on dates can be traced back to the biblical Eve, and then I wondered why, if her first snack for Adam caused all hell to break loose, men nevertheless went on for generations expecting women to prepare their meals. (It’s irrelevant that men did the hunting; there’s plenty of time between killing and serving an animal to poison it.)
Why is the fairer sex still entrusted with dinner? Well, why are dudes so bad at taking hints?
That’s my rhetorical answer. The longer one, in case it isn’t obvious to a reader who Googled “Genesis 3:6” and landed here, is that men have traditionally done the interpreting of religious texts. Hence from the Eden fable has been extrapolated the patriarchal view–I said patriarchal, not male–that women’s role is to serve, food and otherwise, and that guys aren’t obliged to help clean up afterwards because they’re owed. (A note to the chest-beaters who enjoy cooking: I’m not talking about the fun parts.)
Have you heard the tidbit about the way to a man’s heart being through his stomach, though? (In addition to the other route that starts a little lower.) Feed a fellow and he’ll do what you want–the original Eve taught us that, too, and even if it’s still sexist, it doesn’t make chauvinists seem particularly smart.