I think we’re quick to nitpick and judge ourselves harshly for the guys we choose on the romantic front. Maybe we do it so we can beat our often judgmental friends and family to the punch.
Maybe it’s a weird form of entertainment when our current love lives are sadly stagnant and uneventful. Maybe it’s a good thing, too; it’s not a bad idea to pay attention to past negative patterns to avoid repeating them.
All this psychobabble aside, there is unarguably no shortage of unwritten rules and Internet listicles on the many varieties of bad boys we date(d) at some point or another in college.
In a weird fit of optimism, I’m trying another route. Instead of beating myself up over my crappy dating decisions (there’s plenty to choose from), I’m gonna take a minute to pat myself on the back for some of my better choices.
Regardless of where I’m at now, I’d like to hope that I learned a few things from some boys out there, whether they intended to teach me something or not. Here are some of the guys I’m glad I managed to find:
1. The Too-Nice-For-His-Own-Good Guy
He’ll keep an eye on you when you drink yourself silly and make a fool out of yourself. He’ll actually acknowledge you when you pass each other on campus. He remembers details from conversations you’ve long forgotten, and he’s unfailingly friendly.
For some twisted reason, however, it’s not enough for you. You’re fully aware that if you handled your relationship (or whatever it is) with him like an adult, it could go somewhere. The ugly truth is you just aren’t interested enough to find out.
In the end, whether you appreciated his kindness or not, he was always one of the good guys.
2. The One Who Got Away
For a while, thinking of the one who got away will make you sad. It’ll fill your brain with emotionally masochistic “what ifs” and “should haves.”
You’ll endlessly plot ways you could have overcome the distance or the screw-up or the just plain bad timing that made you miss out. Once that’s over, though, you’ll realize you were lucky to have one that got away. Most of the time, the one who got away was meant to.
What he left behind is more important: a reminder of what it feels like to be enthralled by a person.
3. The Eye Candy
This one’s pretty simple. Whether this boy had a sparkling personality to match his looks can be irrelevant. His face will always be one you can fondly recall… and then mentally high-five yourself. (Is it self-five? Whatever.)
4. The Friend
Hooking up with a friend has the potential to be a lot of things. If it’s out of boredom, it can pretty sad. It’s like admitting defeat in the search for someone new and exciting.
On the other hand, it can also be hilarious: “Remember when we did that? Yeah, let’s never do it again.”
It can be a monumentally chaotic mess. If you’re really lucky, it can show you that you have a good enough friend who can stick with you through the most uncomfortable and awkward of situations -- and still be cool with you afterwards.
5. The Inaccessible One
There is no way around the fact that knowing him will suck. He’ll dangle his affection for you just out of reach. At times, you’ll think you’ve made a breakthrough –- you said the right thing at the right time or caught him in the right mood -- but you’ll realize it made no difference.
Each time he lets you down somehow makes him shine brighter in your mind. It’s exhausting. Whether he ever liked you is irrelevant because it’s likely he isn’t even sure. It’ll take a long time for you to figure out the word for his behaviors (narcissism, by the way).
In a weird way, the lesson he inadvertently teaches you might be the one you’re most grateful to have learned. Loving someone shouldn’t be that hard. Sure, it can be, and that’s the way some people like it. If that weren’t true, Nicholas Sparks would be out of work.
However, love doesn’t have to be hard. Loving someone (even just plain liking him) can be fun and silly, and even pointless, and still be valuable. Here’s to the guys who taught us just that.
Photo Courtesy: We Heart It