I had two really interesting conversations with two very different friends about relationships this past week.
It started on my way home from dinner with some friends. I was planning on walking home, but it was getting late and I really have to stop pretending I live in a super-safe neighborhood. So when my friend, Kelly, offered me a ride, I accepted.
Because we were out with a group, I hadn’t really had the opportunity to catch up with Kelly. So, as soon as we were in the car, I asked her about work, her home, her running, and then her boyfriend.
“Oh, we’re not together any more.”
You know how there are friend’s relationships that when you hear they have ended you aren’t surprised, but you sort of have to act surprise – at least at first? Well, this wasn’t one of them. I was genuinely shocked they weren’t together anymore and so I had to follow up.
She said it so matter-of-factly, I considered for a minute that he actually disappeared. Like in some freak Manhattan Experiment or alien abduction. And because I was intrigued by the chance that these things actually could happen, I asked, “What do you mean he disappeared?”
“He disappeared. One day he just stopped calling. Stopped texting. Stopped e-mailing. And he wasn’t returning my phone calls or text messages or e-mails. He just disappeared.”
I was speechless.
“Then, one day, he did pick up the phone when I called and said that he has just been really busy and trying to focus his life and he just doesn’t think he has time for me in it.”
I have to admit I was disappointed to learn he didn’t actually disappear. For a moment I dared to hope that boy disease wasn’t the epidemic I feared. That maybe, just maybe, men really are disappearing.
“And what? He didn’t think you earned the right to know about this decision?”
Kelly sighed. “The problem is we are surrounded by an entire generation of guys. Not men. But too old to be boys. Just guys.”
An entire generation of guys. I felt as if I had stumbled upon a small truth. Like my life would never be the same now that I knew this.
She continued, “They refuse to be grown-ups. They don’t want to settle down, buy a house, be responsible. They want to play and not make decisions and just not care about the consequences.”
Kelly pulled her car to the curb and I realized I was home. I wanted to sit in her car and continue to discuss what more she knew about this generation of guys. But I knew we both had to get up early the next day and so I promised myself to bring it up the next time I had her alone.
Then, a couple of days later, e-mailing with one of my close male friends, Bob, the conversation turned to our respective love lives. Bob asked me about mine and, remembering my conversation with Kelly I said, “I think the problem is I’m surrounded by a generation of guys.” (Of course I gave Kelly credit for naming my plight).
Bob responded back that women were partly to blame. That the movie Say Anything ruined a whole generation of men because women wanted that. They wanted drama. And love shouldn’t be about drama. He then went on to say that women can be selfish (something I don’t disagree with, but I also think selfishness has a certain virtue to it) and that women in their 30s are acting like they are in their 20s.
I didn’t disagree with anything Bob said, though I did wonder if I shouldn’t point out that men started it when they decided that they were better off as bachelors and started spending all their money on hair products and baseball games and going to clubs and not settling down with the woman that loved them, instead holding out for that something better that was sure to come along.
However, I refrained. Because I knew he could come right back at me that women started it when we started taking on traditional male roles in the relationship (e.g., the breadwinner) leaving men confused and insecure. And on and on we would go and really nothing would get solved.
He also added, toward the end of e-mail, that he believes relationships come down to two things – chemistry and timing.
For the second time in a week I felt like my life would never be the same.
If you are anything like me, you sometimes sit around, maybe with a bottle of wine, wondering why all your past relationships have failed? What if it is all just a matter of timing and chemistry? What if right now (or back then as the case may be) you had great chemistry with someone but it just couldn’t work because the timing wasn’t right. Or maybe the timing was perfect, but without chemistry why bother?
Sadly, I fear, for most of us (and by us, I mean single women who have their lives pretty much together and are now looking for someone to share the life with) we are surrounded by a generation of guys. So the timing could be off for quite some time.
Oh and before you ask, yes, you can expect a couple more blogs about this idea of a generation of guys. And probably a couple on timing and chemistry. So if you disagree or are already bored of these topics (this was a long post after all), I suggest you not check back for awhile.
I’ll even do you the favor of announcing on Twitter when I have tired of the subject. Promise.