A common problem in new relationships — any kind of relationship, romantic or otherwise — is that when girls really like someone, we’re mean to them. In our heads, we’re saying, “I really respect so much about you — let’s get brunch and talk honestly about our goals in life.” But it comes out as, “Your shirt buttons are buttoned wrong, want me to get you a mirror? Or a new frontal lobe? Or some functional motor skills? You’re an idiot.” I personally spent two months pretending that I hated Billy Joel just so that I could get my then-friend-crush and now-actual-friend’s attention. She loved Billy Joel, and I thought she’d never notice me unless I loudly hated what she loved. I told her that recently, and she found it alarming. It is alarming.
Things get even meaner when you want to date someone, or want someone to want to date you. For some reason, all your higher education degrees and pop culture savvy and passion for recycling disappear, and you revert back to the mentality you had when you liked someone in the first grade, which is basically, “I LIKE YOU SO MUCH I’M GOING TO THROW A ROCK AT THE SOFT PARTS OF YOUR BODY!!!!” The only thing that changes with age is that as an adult, you don’t throw real rocks, you throw metaphorical emotion-rocks about father figures and how effeminate it is for a man to drink clear liquor. It’s part self-protection, part self-sabotage, and in a warped way, a desire to have someone work harder to get to know you — a deeply unfair test that no one ever passes because this is an Orgo Chem test and you’re an English Lit major, but hey, life is unfair, and not just anyone gets to fondle my periodic table, Chaucer. I will Canterbury you in an unmarked grave and no one will miss you. So, inevitably, when you go on a first date with someone and the first words out of your mouth are, “Woah, that leather jacket is tighter than dickskin,” they’re dropping that course and never calling you again. And in a lot of ways, that’s a relief.
In so many ways, getting rejected is easier, because if someone isn’t into you, then whatever, that’s their problem. You get to move on with your single life, nothing changes. Plus, you like not having a sex life, you can go twice as long without washing your sheets — maybe longer. But sometimes, very rarely, you meet someone who knows how to handle your meanness, and that is really a problem. When someone is into you, then…no, really, that’s their problem. They obviously have a problem, there’s a screw loose. There is no way this person is normal. You just told them that you ate store-bought mashed potatoes for breakfast and wept into them for seasoning. They’re not turning tail and sprinting away. This person is insane.
You start to use your best material on them, you do everything within your goddamn power to scare them off. You will out-insane this person if it kills both of you. You talk about your daddy issues, your inability to commit, your Last of the Mohicans sex dream, your Last of the Mohicans murder dream, all your weird body issues, how you hate dick-pics because you think the male body is jarring. You start leaving your anti-anxiety meds out in plain sight. You answer the door inexplicably covered in blood. You fake your own death. You fake your own resurrection. You do it all again. This person cannot be scared off, not even with a machete (you tried).
You begin to think that maybe this is all one elaborate hallucination. You refuse to talk about this person to other people, because you start to think this person might not be real. You won’t even say their name. They have become your own personal Voldemort. You carve a lightning bolt into your forehead and carry a twig around at all times, trying to lumos some reason back into your life. You begin to think maybe this person is a manifestation of your other self; you split in half one night and forgot about it. That makes you capable of asexual reproduction. You’re an amoeba. That’s what this all boils down to: you’re a fucking amoeba.