Okay. Sorry to have skipped around a bit for the sake of discussing my lust-inducing butt photo on Instagram. But I’m back to discussing lost cowboys! And you’re welcome for the butt photo.
Where were we? Ah, yes. I had just met this Romanian with “balls of integrity” who is very religious and therefore won’t have sex with me. Further debunking the church’s lie “If you want a Godly man, you must be a Godly woman.” First of all, define “Godly.” Second of all, not true because I clearly have a knack for attracting religious guys whose mothers hate me. Needless to say, summer lovin had me a blaaaast.
Maybe He’ll Show Up Someday. Somewhere Unexpected
As single women, we are inundated with messages about self-improvement:
“Girl you gotta love yourself before you can love someone else.”
“Focus on you, and a relationship will just happen!”
“If you’re really sending out the right energy and working on yourself, love will find you. Relax!”
This message pisses me way the hell off because it is applied to exactly ZERO OTHER SCENARIOS IN LIFE. Wanna lose weight? Relax and hope that kale just finds its way into your mouth. Want to make more money? Just stay home and maybe someone will randomly venmo you lots of dollars. Wanna have a career in musical theatre? Just do you and Broadway will literally call!
NO! We are taught to be active, work hard, and go after what we want. But for whatever reason, when women are very seriously trying to find a partner we’re told to chill out, try not to think about our ticking biological clock, and give ourselves a few organic face masks from LUSH (This probably also happens with men, sans organic face masks. However I do think there is less pressure/worry of a timeline with men because biology). Infuriating.
Also, I always felt this message associates wanting a partner with a kind of desperation and lack of independence. Like somehow if you say “I want a boyfriend”, you must be too weak to be alone and you certainly aren’t a feminist! At least, that’s what I hear when I talk to my evolved girlfriends or when I listen to the confused-and-single-twenty-something voices in my head. Luckily, life brought me a boyfriend who helped me figure out what these messages really mean, and also why they aren’t totally wrong. Stay with me.
For whatever reason, when women are very seriously trying to find a partner, we’re taught to chill out, try not to think about our ticking biological clock, and give ourselves a few face masks from LUSH
You’re The One That I Want
So here I am fully committed to daily recitation of positive affirmations, finally finishing the Harry Potter series, and enjoying a boy detox for five months in the mountains while I gather the agency to not give obligatory BJs, when I accidentally find a boy. And a great boy (okay, MAN) at that! Zorro and I recklessly threw ourselves into a love we both knew had an expiration date. My friends were concerned about me “getting hurt” but like isn’t that the risk you run being vulnerable to anyone? And how often do you encounter dudes who look like fictional Spanish knights AND have manners? I took my chances.
And literally thank God for my lack of caring about the longevity of our relationship. Those five months together were chock full of lessons in a partnership I needed to become the best version of Mattie Jo.
First of all, Zorro blew me away with his character. Beginning with our little no-sex-but-I-like-you-intentional chat and continuing throughout the summer. He’d do things like line up all his breaks with mine when he could. And everytime he did this, I was still surprised. (One time I literally gasped when I saw him come through the break room door. How embarrassing).He took on an evening restaurant job, even though he was already working 7am-6pm at Storyland, so he’d have plenty of money to take back to his family in Romania. He was an EXCELLENT communicator (ironic since he was still learning English. If he could communicate, the rest of you native speakers have zero excuse). I got really mad at him for getting super drunk or something, but didn’t want to deal with it at work so I was trying not to be visibly angry. I guess my poker face was shit because he pulled me aside to say “I know you are upset at me. But we cannot have time to talk now, so we will talk later. I know you’re upset and I care.” UMMM...okay did you just acknowledge my feelings, validate them, and assure we’d TALK about it ASAP? K it’s cool I don’t think I’m mad anymore.
And Zorro was honest. So so so honest. Before a date, he said to me “This shirt, it’s making you look fat.” Most women would be appalled. But I just laughed. The cool thing about dating someone foreign is you really learn to know what they’re trying to say vs. what they actually said. I knew Zorro was trying to say “Why would you wear that if it makes you look kinda big and you are not that size actually?” Anyway, little stuff like this made me appreciate his inability to, not just not lie but, (like most men) shut the hell up. The ultimate testament of his character, however, was his instant bond with my father. Even after we broke up Zorro wrote my dad on his birthday saying “You are the best American dad!” Seriously, what better judge of character than a person who deeply admires Mark Cowsert?
Did you just acknowledge my feelings, validate them, and assure we’d TALK about it ASAP? K it’s cool I don’t think I’m mad anymore
Second of all, Zorro treated me super well. He really understood my words of affirmation love language. He was always telling me how beautiful I was, or verbally appreciating how well I eat/work at the gym (in hindsight, I SUPER appreciated his acknowledging my work and not just the appearance of my body because of the work).* Despite getting up earlier and going to bed later than me, he always had time to leave little love notes on my nightstand, accompanied by a Hershey’s Kiss (They don’t have Hershey’s Kisses in Romania. Zorro loved all the romance wrapped in that little candy). He told me how much he loved my love for kids, and acknowledged my genuine interest in people. “You are the only American who is really friends with the foreigners. Even the Chinese kids!” Lol #markcowsertsdaughter.
*One time he even asked how to say “ass” nicely to your companion because he didn’t want to say “I like your ass.” “It sounds rude to say to someone you love.” Lol. What a gem.
Zorro thought I was hilarious (except my Jesus jokes. He hated those. Which was no fun but that’s what my blog audience is for) and didn’t think I was a weirdo for randomly speaking in various character voices at age 26. I also have a tendency to be a little bossy and always think I’m right. I’m not 100% sure where this stems from, but it’s probably a combination of being the youngest of four and a millennial. Anyway, when Zorro and I came to NYC for my birthday, I was getting a haircut (ay yo birthday blowout!) and didn’t want him to leave the salon. He didn’t have cell phone service and I was afraid he’d get lost in Zabaar’s or something. After arguing a little too publicly, he finally said “I am a man! Let me go (Translation: Stop telling me what to do. You are my girlfriend not my mom)!” Okayyyy FINE. Anyway, as I finished up my haircut and frantically walked upstairs hoping he didn’t die on the streets of the Upper West Side, there he was, punctually arriving with a GIANT bouquet of flowers. Oh.
The stories could go on and on. I’m really trying to stick to 1500 words!
Third of all, and I know you guys have been waiting for this detail, Zorro taught me that sex is a thing but it’s not the thing. That, ultimately, if you have the kind of connection I had with Zorro, the sex (when it happens) will be great because you’ll be physically intimate with a person you deeply love. The questions -- how long, too wet, too small, what if I fart -- aren’t as prominent because you know the person loves you, not just the vessel in which your soul is stored. I think my problem before Zorro is I didn’t really like any of the guys I was dating. So sex felt like a performance rating-- that’s all I had to offer. Zorro allowed me to be a whole person again.
I needed a beautiful person to think I was beautiful. I needed someone I thought the world of to think the world of me. I needed someone to kiss me, go on walks with me, get candy and gas station cappuccino and watch meteor showers on the top of a mountain with me. I needed someone to get aroused by my weekly expenditures/income spreadsheet. I needed someone to surprise me with french fries randomly, simply because he knows my love for french fries runs DEEP. I needed someone to love me for me.
Sex is a thing but it’s not the thing
The summer of 2016 came to an end. Zorro and I had to say goodbye while still completely in love. And even though it hurt like fucking hell, I was okay with our parting. I knew The Universe had sent me this incredible gift I didn’t even know I needed to teach me things I could have never learned by myself (For example, guys who can only go as far as foreplay ARE THE BEST because they’ve gotten really good at the shit that actually matters. I’m kidding. Okay, I’m half kidding).
So how did I get so lucky? I’m not saying I was rewarded with an amazing boyfriend because I did all the right things, just stayed patient, and Poof! Magic boyfriend appearing act! I’m saying, maybe if I had stayed hung up on my old habits of shit guys and self-loathing, I would not have felt worthy to be loved by such an incredible individual. And maybe he would not have been attracted to me because girls who hate themselves and spend all their time with fuck boys are catastrophically annoying. I had to first come face-to-face with some insecurities I was seriously avoiding and rid of the distractions keeping me from experiencing an incomparably better life.
The other thing is that while self-reflection and improvement are very very important (nothing is worse than an adult person who has not achieved self-awareness. Especially because it’s like super trendy right now to face your shit and believe in yourself. It’s called being a snowflake GET ON IT), I truly believe there were some lessons I was only going to learn from the love of another human. There’s only so much self-discovery that can be done alone. That’s why it’s the exception, not the rule, to be a monk. I’m not less of a feminist for wanting a partner, I’m being honest to my humanity. No more feminist-spectrum-shaming! Wanting a partner is totally normal and real. Go after it, homegirl.
I needed a beautiful person to think I was beautiful
After years of dating in New York City and a general confusion about my existence, I do think I needed a healthy relationship to restore my hope. My hope in men, my hope in my ability to be the most honest version of myself, and (much to my surprise) my hope that I could have a relationship with my higher power again (like maybe if God gave me this beautiful gift, She doesn’t hate me for having sex or for not buying into Jesus culture and writing about it on the internet. Oh and for calling God a SHE). With all of this restored confidence in myself and humanity (well, men), I was actually excited to get back to New York. I would be better at auditioning because I believe in myself! Dating would be super fun now because I won’t ever date losers again! RIP fuck boys and self-doubt amiright.
Unfortunately, the world is full of people and circumstances ready to suck the sparkle out of you. And even after saying goodbye to the best season of my life, charging forward with unmatched optimism, I said hello to the worst. All I can say is, there are exactly zero cowboys involved in the next blog. But let's save the depressing stuff for next time.
Happy Valentines Day, everyone. Go eat a Reese's heart (gif below what happens when you search "Reese's Heart").