I turned 25 last September. Of all the birthdays I've celebrated, 25 was the most life-changing. The changes weren't really happening to me, so much as they were happening in me.
I found my style (bohemian-chic with a little edge). I ditched my cleaning lady and starting deep-cleaning my apartment all on my own. I even cut up the American Express card my mom had given me for "just in case" situations and started to budget instead.
It was like one day, I woke up and felt this gargantuan need to take complete control of my life. Nights in replaced partying. One glass of wine with dinner replaced let's-get-too-drunk-and-see-what-happens nights.
And what a day that was for me, because it made me realize I was no longer a girl. I was becoming a woman. Like a real, grown-up woman, the kind you see in Maybelline commercials who advocate washing your face at night with three different cleansers.
The most visceral change for me, though, wasn't something I couldn't see or touch or clean. It was something I could feel. I had cut myself free from all the fuckboys of my past and I realized I finally felt secure enough in myself to be in a serious relationship.
I was at a bar the other night when I got a text from this guy. He's here on a working visa from another country and I took him out on the town a couple of times. We always have fun when we're together, but a couple of weeks into our hangouts, I cut him off. He called me out on my complacency.
"You've been cold and emotionless to me this past week. What gives?" he said, as I sat alone drinking a glass of beer the size of my head. My instinct to self-preserve kicked in. I told him one day, he'll leave and it's dangerous for us to hang out.
"There's nothing wrong with a little danger," he texted back. "You're forgetting that danger is fun."
He was the damn devil on my shoulder. I knew what would happen if I had just one more beer. I'd go home with him, we'd fool around a little and I'd inevitably get attached because I enjoy his company. This dance we were doing could only end in one way -- with him flying back to the faraway land he came from and me, still here, doing the same thing I'm always doing. The only difference is I'd have someone to miss.
Danger in love used to be fun for me. I used to be attracted to danger, thrive on danger, sniff it out like a shark ready to feed. If this guy had met Sheena two years ago, he would have been out-dangered by her. She was always the one screaming "more, more!" to the guys she ran around with to get them to keep up with her.
Danger in love isn't fun anymore. Now, danger seems like anything but fun. Danger is born in isolated, candlelit corners of bars, but it dies quickly. And when it does, it feels like someone stepped on you someone and broke you in half and it ends up hurting in all the wrong places. Danger lifts you up. But when you start so high, you have nowhere to go but down.
So this time around with my foreign man friend, I knew better. I wanted to end it before he could. Because in my experience, these things always start out the same way: I meet a guy, he bends over backwards for me, I mistake it for real affection, he won't get off my back until I give him what he wants and when we finally have sex, he suddenly sticks his tail between his legs and backs down regardless of whether or not he's visiting this country, like the stupidest cliche ever to exist.
Maybe I lived too fast and too much, because now, I'm crashing hard. Maybe I've been with too many men who only wanted some of me to be wanting a man who wants all of me. Because I want stability.
Stability used to feel boring, even thinking about it made me shudder. Hell, I liked flinging -- running around the city, not knowing where you'll go or what you'll see or if you'll let your fling into your home or when you're going to hear from him again, if you even will. The whirlwind of a fling is thrilling because it takes us away from the routine, humdrum predictability of our everyday lives.
But I've learned welcoming unpredictability just leaves me broken and in pain. 25 is weird. I've just begun to officially outgrow the fling, but that's still all that men seem to want from me.
Now, of course there are men I've met that wanted a relationship with me. The only problem is I didn't want a relationship with them. That's always how it is, isn't it? You don't want or feel a connection with the men who want you and the men you want don't want you back. It's the food chain. The karmic balance. Perhaps the cruelest truth of life, if you ask me.
But I'm tired of taking shots with some guy I met at a party only to go home, bang him and wake up to what I call "silent, sober mornings" (when the guy shuts down and doesn't want to talk).
I'm also tired of falling for a cute guy with a foreign accent whose last words to me are always "I'm boarding a plane, but maybe I'll see you around sometime." And I'm tired of settling for flings with guys who can't figure out what kind of men they want to be, because I have a pretty clear idea of the woman I want to be.
I must be messing with the wrong men. But when man after man wants just flings and no relationship, you can't help but to take it personally and think there's something about you that encourages them to treat you like you're disposable, even if you are one in a million.
I mean, is it me? Do men look at me and think, she isn't the kind of girl I'd wife, but she's definitely the kind of girl I'd bang and leave? Or is it not me at all and it's just a twenty-something guy thing to want to have a fling with? Am I meeting them at the wrong time or am I just the wrong person?
I suppose I'm not messing with men. I'm messing with bros. But I'm a woman now, so it only makes sense I should move on from bros and onto men, because that's what women do.