I'm the type of romantically naïve guy who develops crushes on women perhaps far too easily. I really do keep my heart in the hands of a real clumsy motherf*cker. Luckily for me, all the women who have ever had to deal with me have been far wiser than I am. They've also been kind enough to share their wisdom with me.
I'd like to pass that wisdom on to you because I feel it applies to a lot of people who are trying to navigate the world of dating, love and f*cking. Here are eight life-changing lessons I've learned from the women I've crushed on:
1. From Hailey*, while we were sitting in a waterfront bookstore and drinking milkshakes:
I was 17 and had zero sexual experience at the time, so sex was the biggest deal to me. I was talking about how I felt like I would be naturally gifted at “doing the sex” because I was so bad at sports, all my physical athleticism had to have gone to my sexual abilities. She responded by saying, “Sex isn't that great. Salvador Dali almost never had sex. Sex is good, I guess. You should get fit.”
Lesson learned. As soon as I took what she said to heart, I was able to get laid (just not with her). It happened with someone who had never interacted with "thirsty me." Sex is not as major as movies and advertising would like you to believe, and the minute you're not so desperately trying to get it from people is the minute when you instantly become far more bangable.
This is also mind-blowing, but even vaguely attempting to “get fit” has made me a far happier person. Thanks for being profoundly cool, Hailey*.
2. From Genevieve*, while we were on a balcony at a party:
I was confessing my love with what I believed (at the time) to be all the charm that could be found in a classic romantic comedy starring Hugh Grant. But in reality, I displayed all of the charm seen in the 2006 romantic comedy parody, “Date Movie.”
She looked at me in a rather disenchanted manner and said, “I'll kiss you, and it'll prove you don't actually love me.” At first, I was confused. Then, we kissed, and it made sense.
Life lesson: There's a difference between being in love with a person and being in love with the idea of being in love with a person. When you're young and romantically naïve, that line can often blur. A good way to not be a selfish douchebag is to double-check and make sure you know which of the two you're really feeling. Thank you, Genevieve*.
3. From Sarah*, while we were on a break between lectures:
I was having an immensely difficult time focusing in class, which I brought up during one of our sporadic, brief and nonsensical interactions. She responded with, “You should sleep more. Seriously. I go to bed at 10 pm every night, and I feel great.”
Life lesson: It was pretty straightforward, yet life-changing. Having a regular healthy sleeping pattern is amazing. I have far more energy, and I don't look like an extra on "The Walking Dead" every single day when I show up to class.
I am far more focused and time-efficient. That was the best advice ever, Sarah*.
4. From Victoria*, while we were at her apartment, watching gang documentaries:
We were having a really fun and pretty baked conversation, which eventually lead to private parts becoming a topic. She had something along the lines of this to say: “You know clits and dicks aren't that different. They both get erect, and are both pretty fun to play with. You know they're also formed from, like, the same kind of tissue, right? If we ever get intimate like that, don't forget.”
We got intimate “like that.”
Life lesson: The clitoris has a pleasure-ton of nerve endings: around 8,000 of them. The area above and around the clitoris can feel really awesome too because only a tiny part of the clitoris is really exposed.
Also, a clitoral orgasm is the most common kind of orgasm. So even if you're all about penetration, make sure you show that area some love. So many thanks yous, Victoria*. So many.
5. From India*, while we were walking on the High Line in NYC during college orientation week:
She was being her fun, charismatic self. I wasn't having any of it. She looked at me in pure boredom, and then said something that really stuck with me: “You're fun when you're silly. I think you're way cooler when you forget who you think you are. Your idea of 'cool' is sucky. You're a goofball, and you should be a goofball.”
Life lesson: Loosen up and enjoy being the real you. The real you is the only thing the people in your life actually care about when it comes to being around you. Nobody really cares about having "put-on" quirks or a falsely sarcastic demeanor. I appreciate you, India*.
6. From Sav*, while we were at an intimate get-together at a friend's apartment:
We were kind of having a thing. But for some reason, I was going out of my way to avoid her, which is ridiculous because there are only so many places to hide in a small apartment. She confronted me and said, “You're a sweet, genuine guy. Stop going out of your way to act like an assh*le.” She then just simply walked away.
Life lesson: Despite knowing better, sometimes, you'll still go through a phase of being kind of an assh*le. You actually might want to be the selfish douchebag mentioned in lesson number two.
As contradictory as it may sound, sometimes, you kind of need to occasionally go through that phase. It will make you learn to check yourself and understand that you're not at the center of the universe. Then (hopefully), you can go back to being a decent human being again. Thanks for putting up with me, Sav*.
7. From Bianca*, while we were at a Thai restaurant in Brooklyn:
I was squished up next to her on those profoundly uncomfortable wooden benches you're forced to sit on, and I apologized for the not-so-pleasant seating. Her response was, “Stop f*cking apologizing for everything. Be more of an assh*le. You're not that pure-hearted.”
This may seem like an out-of-nowhere, crazy bitch response, but the truth is, I was being immensely pathetic. I spent most of our time together apologizing for my existence, and that behavior is actually obnoxiously taxing and off-putting to be around.
Lesson learned: There is a balance between the person I was when I was with Sav* and the person I was being with Bianca*. Bianca* was right: I definitely was not as nice a guy as I was portraying myself to be.
People are super at picking up on disingenuous behavior. Moving forward, I knew I needed to find that balance between being empathetic and a total pushover. Thank you, Bianca*. I needed that.
8. From Lydia*, while we were on the jungle gym on my birthday:
We were sitting on top of a wooden playground set, smoking cigarettes (which I never do). I remember being super deflective of her questions and disinterested in the conversation, despite the fact that I had initiated the entire interaction. I then asked her what her impression of me was.
This is what she had to say: “You're cold, and I don't know if you actually want to be here or not. You're complex and hard to figure out, but not in an intriguing way. It's in an 'I don't want to know what's deep down' kind of way.”
Life lesson: It was harsh, but true. Sometimes, the people I cared about the most were the ones I'd close myself off to the most. I did this under the excuse that I was scared of hurting them. But really, I was just terrified that they would hurt me someday by discarding me.
I remember this quite vividly, and I now make a conscious effort to not shut myself off from the people in my life. Because of this, I have far healthier, loving relationships. Thank you for being a realist, Lydia*.
I hope that some of these life lessons relate to you in some way. They've definitely helped me out quite a bit.
I owe a great deal of self-growth to all the people I wrote about, and I f*cking adore that I was blessed enough to have gotten the chance to be around them. Thank you all.
*Names have been changed to preserve the anonymity of the people mentioned.