Disclaimer: I love to talk about my love life.
For those of you who know me, you'll know that I practically get paid to bitch about my love life, and I wouldn't have it any other way. It doesn't feel like work. It's fun AF. Hashing out a breakup I'm going through, or helping a friend get through her own, is cathartic for me. I get off on love talk.
My co-worker, Kevin, was the first one to make the astute observation that when I talk, I'm usually talking about my love life. What can I say? Carrie Bradshaw is my spirit animal. I am absolutely fascinated and consumed by all things love, sex and guy-related.
So Kevin double-dog dared me to do the impossible: Go an entire day without talking about my love life. It would be like a real-life Bechdel test, which measures gender bias in film. To pass the Bechdel test, a movie must feature female characters who have a conversation about something other than men. Surprisingly, many of our favorite movies fail the test (including all of the "Lord of the Rings").
I knew it was going to be hella tough, but I love a good challenge, so I accepted. I chose last Thursday as the day to vow silence because I happened to have my second date with the guy I met during that blizzard (remember him?!), and I knew it would be especially difficult for me to stay mum about men all day.
And oh, my friends, was it hard. Not only did I confirm Kevin's observations about me, but I learned a whole lot about other people. Let me walk you through my little experiment.
I woke up to two texts about guys. One was from my cousin, telling me she was in a fight with her boyfriend, and the other one was from my friend, asking me advice on how to handle a crush she has on her co-worker. My hands were tied. I coudn't respond, so I didn't.
When I walked into work, I ran into my coworker Celine. She told me she liked my outfit, and I thanked her. I was about to tell her that I was dressed in a skirt and tights because I had a date that night, but I stopped myself. Instead, I followed up with, "So, what's new?" but it felt wholly unnatural.
We chatted for a minute or two before I said, "Gotta go, Celine!" and scurried off. Running away seemed like the easiest way not to bring up my hot date.
Late into morning, I received a follow-up text from my friend with the co-worker crush. I told her to be blunt and tell him how she feels, because recently, I did the same with my former f*ck buddy. Then I texted her, “I broke up with Colin* -- did you read?!” I didn't GO INTO what actually happened, and the only reason I texted that is because she texted me first.
Kevin thinks this counts as a slip-up, but I think otherwise. I was just trying to boost her morale with my own story. Jeez.
This is about the time I began to get super fidgety.
My date texted me around lunchtime asking if I had a preference for our dinner plans, and I told him I didn't. But then, in true hopeless-romantic form, I began to fantasize about what would happen as the evening wound down.
See, I haven't gone on a real date in a while. I've sort of forgotten how to date. So I found myself freaking out over how far is "too far" to go on a second date. Should I make out with him? Should I let him walk me to my place? Should I invite him up?
F*ck. I didn't know the protocol.
I needed advice. I needed to get out of my head. But I couldn't. I'd have to handle this the old-fashioned way: by relying on my gut. Except I'd kind of forgotten how do that, too, so this whole situation was a clusterf*ck.
I seated myself across from my coworkers to eavesdrop on their conversation and maybe pick up on some dating dos and don'ts, and this is where sh*t got interesting. They were having a conversation about baby names, which led to one about strictly boy names, which lead to one about hot guy names, which led to one about how my co-worker, Candice, has an affinity for dating only Dans and Lukes, which led to one about ghosting dudes and being ghosted.
As you can imagine, I was clenching my teeth through all the conversations. I was dying to talk about my favorite names for men, and men, and all the times I've ghosted and been ghosted. It took everything in me not to jump in midway. It was 4:50 pm, and I was half a nail away from cracking.
In the meantime, my other coworker, Gigi, and I were Slacking each other. Our conversations generally boil down to two topics: working out and pink, perfect penises. When she brought up the dick, though, I had to back down and resort to talking about only exercising. Then she made a good point, which is that isn't getting off and getting sweaty all that life's about?
I agreed. She went on to purchase shirts for us that read "Dicks and Gainz.”
5:30 rolled around, and I was scheduled for a gym class with Gigi. While we sweated our asses off, she told me about what's going on with her at work, and I nodded along. But I also kept looking up at the clock, anxiety-ridden because my date was just a couple of hours away. I really needed to vent about it.
I won't lie to you: If I hadn't sweat out my frustration, I probably would have folded. Thank God for exercise-induced endorphins.
Cut to two hours later: I found myself sitting at the restaurant table, tapping my toes and biting my nails. My date was late. I can't stand tardiness, so at 7:30 pm, I finally cracked. I posted a ranty Facebook status about how men are not allowed to be late to dates because they don't have to apply makeup or change their tampons (BUT SERIOUSLY).
Then I ordered a premature glass of wine to calm my nerves. Everything I had held in during the day was finally spilling out.
My date arrived just as I finished penning the Facebook status. The date was great, just in case you were wondering.
I learned a lot from not talking about my love life all day. First, I wouldn't be able to do it any longer than a day. In fact, not talking about my love life for a day was even harder than staying mute for a day (how is that even possible?!). All that millennial girls really talk about are their love lives.
Well, OK, that isn't all they talk about, but so many things are linked to our love lives.
How do I know this? Because I was shunned from nearly 95 percent of the conversations happening around me at work, at the gym, and over the phone. I was a complete outcast, and I think I realized either dating is really f*cking hard for all of us, every other problem pales in comparison to love problems, or deep down, we're all just hopeless romantics. Just like me.
We ALL love to talk about LOVE and DUDES and DATING APPS and BONING. It isn't just me, KEVIN. So take that.