September 3rd 2012
Story originally written and experienced: August 23rd 2012
You’re dancing all wrong.
Hasn’t anyone every told you that to ever be in a successful relationship, fling, interest, anything, that there are certain dance steps you should be taking?
…This makes sense…
You’re welcome for the following guidelines.
Mis-step and you’ll be sorry. You got that? Are you listening?
The other night I did something that I never really do. I…took a night in. Packed up a tattered blanket, a glass of wine and set up camp on my semi-stable roof top and let the surrounding skyscrapers cave me away from the wicked city that rested below me. The weather was perfect. And the air was thick with the aroma of the surrounding madness. My friend Nicole and I peacefully sat atop the roof – cheersing with a plastic bottle of Franzia (so much for post grad) as we socialized sporadically with the neighbors that cycled on and off the premises. By 2:30 am everyone had cleared out and it was just me…for about
3 seconds. One more neighbor cycled up. For a smoke break. I was about to pack up my tattered blanket and plastic bottle Franzia, but decided to stay for just.a.few.more.minutes.We laughed at the fact that we were both on the roof at 2:30 am on a Friday night instead of frolicking in the rebellious world of sin. But whatever. He took a seat and we began to discuss many things. Starting with our landlord, a few jokes about the neighborhood banshee, “how is your job going?” Mine is fine, yours?” And then all of a sudden one thing led to another and we…somehow we ended on the topic of romance. And in particular:
The romances we traded in for the city.
And after about 30 minutes of discussing what used to be, and what is now, I found myself wondering, why were even talking about it at all. Why we had spent the last 30 minutes, feeling guilty for voluntarily sitting out on this eventual dance called love.
And there we were.
Two single people in the city a roof top casually wondering what in the fuck we do now.
Haven’t you heard? Rumor has it being single is a social sin. A temporary discomfort. So why do we feel…just…fine?
We must be doing this wrong.
Well okay fine. The neighbor and I were talking about it and we’re willing to try it. This whole vendetta to escape being alone thing. Who’s happy alone, right? So where do we go from here? We’re ready to learn. Times have changed and people don’t dance like they used to. And what I mean is this:
In high school it was holding hands in the hallway, don’t get caught after hours, sneak a kiss between each class and the ever classic “Hey Olive, I’ll pick you up in my mom’s mini van tonight at 7.” You know, the super serious stuff.
If only shit were still that simple.
Alright so, what about college?
Okay well college relationships felt a little like this: coordinating class schedules, going on a family vacation – or 2- I’ll fill your red solo cup if you fill mine, let’s…”take a nap”…, ordering 2 drunk slices of pizza instead of one. And sometimes it turns into more, and sometimes it turns into less, but they all practically start with the same ingredients. And some just end up tasting better than others.
Alright I guess that won’t work either.
Because we’re in the real world now. It’s a whole other dance floor out here. Much bigger. Much scarier. Our priorities shift. Our dance changes. And suddenly you’re not doing the basic waltz anymore because there’s
6 more steps you need to remember.:
2.You don’t conveniently reside in a pool of people your exact same age.
5.Your attraction changes
6.And suddenly your standards have aged like a bitter sweet wine and you want to take just one more sWIg before you ask someone for the first dance.
But the problem is.
Everyone else is dancing. just. like. you. And this longing for a companionship that was once a reason to fill a void, to get —- from time to time now just feels like unnecessary competition.
…But what if I don’t feel like playing that game? Not yet, anyway? You don’t care? Time is running out? Oh okay sorry. We’ll continue.
What is this “dance” then. Teach it to me. Because according to everyone else, if I’m not tousling in the throws of irresponsible love right now, I’m not doing it right. I’m doing something wrong. I’m wasting time. Did I miss a step? Was I oFfbBeAt?
I was never much of a dancer anyway.
What’s that? We need to find someone that we like, and someone that likes us back, and that’s that? It’s that easy? And to hurry up because what? Oh, we’re getting old?
Actually hold on, before you continue I came up with a list of my own. Don’t get mad. It’s just an explanation, if you will, of why I am where I am, and why I’m going to be just fine. And you are too. It’s a list I came up with when the neighbor and I were talking, not so long ago, before you interrupted us. We were discussing this grey playground of guidelines that rests between the black and white expectations of “right and wrong”. Feel free to pass it out to anyone feeling seemingly fucked by the pressure of love, I made plenty of copies.
Feel an attraction to the person on your left
Let them know.
Or ignore them
Because you can.
Love the hell out of someone.
And then leave them.
Or stay forever.
Test the waters.
Or choose one person.
That’s fine too.
Or hold out.
And be fine with it.
Text someone back.
Or put your phone away.
And be okay when it falls through your finger tips.
If you’re cool with it,
then I am too.
And if you’re not?
Well, now you know.
Prove to someone that you’re worth it
Or do nothing at all
I don’t care.
Expose yourself to someone like you never have before
And bask in this new-found appreciation
Or pretend like it never happened.
That’s your call.
Think about someone.
Think about them a lot.
Tell everyone you know about it.
Or tell no one at all.
Be ready for marriage.
Or don’t be.
It’s your timeline, not mine.
Jump into things too quickly
Jump into things too slow
You’ll learn something either way.
Flirt with someone on the subway
Or keep to yourself.
It’s not for everyone.
Just like the rest of us.
And then take responsibility for them.
And realize that attention doesn’t mean love
It just means attention.
The 2 timing tango
The you’re the one for me waltz
The I want to see what this feels like merengue
The take a chance with me salsa
The no-strings-attached free style.
And if anyone tries to tell you that you’re doing it wrong? That you stepped out of the lines? That you’re breaking formation? Well, then you can tell them that I said
That you can dance however the fuck you want to.