The New “Number”
This Just In: I’m about the coin a new term that a few months from now you’ll all be using casually, on Twitter and other blogs and such, and I’m writing this first paragraph to stake the claim that I actually came up with it. If there was anything I learned from the Lady Gaga, skinny jeans, and “stupid wasted” trends, it’s that you need to start making it known that you did indeed “come up with that shit.” The word is “love slut.”
This entire post was brought on by a conversation with my roommate that went a little something like this…but probably with more Rihanna in the background and one of us getting dressed for a date (and by “one of us” I think we can all safely assume it’s her):
Olivia: Hey Anj, what shoes do you think I should wear with these, wedges or sandals?
Anjli: Wedges, no, sandals, NO, wedges! Wait, where are you going again? NO, sandals, the cool-girl ones. On that note, hey Liv, what’s wrong with me?
Olivia; I don’t know, did you go to the bathroom?
Anjli: No, I mean, yeah I did, but that’s not what I mean. I mean, okay, I’m going to ask you something and I need you to answer me honestly, okay?
Olivia: No, Anj, I don’t think anyone noticed that you had a twig in your hair.
Anjli: I have a twig in my hair?
Olivia: Yes, but what’s new there? So wait, what’s wrong with you?
Anjli: I figured it out, and I’ve never been more ashamed of anything in my life.
Olivia: Really? I mean…you started guacho pants…
Anjli: Hey, I stand by those!
Olivia: You shouldn’t. Are you going to tell me what’s wrong with you?
Anjli: Liv, am I a love slut?
Olivia: What is a love slut?
Anjli: Well it’s like a girl who falls in love all the time.
Olivia: NO! You are not a love slut!
Anjli: Olivia, I’m 22 and have been in love twice. Come on, am I doing something wrong? I feel like I should be on 90210 and not the one from the 90s, the horrible new version with Drunkface and surprisingly worse wardrobe than the original.
Olivia: No, you cant help how you feel, plus it’s not like you date people all the time, I mean you, like, pick someone and stick with them for a long time.
Anjli: I can’t decide if that’s a good thing or not yet. I mean I just feel like I keep meeting all of these guys who say they’ve never been in love before and they’re like, our age, and I’m just like, ‘Well, who the hell are the guys that I fell in love with if every guy our age goes around claiming to have never loved anyone before?” I’m beginning to feel that the number of times you’ve been in love is going to be the new ‘number,’ like instead of the number of people you’ve slept with.
Olivia: Well, shit.
Things just aren’t connecting. This is an age where everyone claims to be broken, jaded, wronged, and yet at 22, I’ve already added two the list of men I’ve loved. And the weirdest part of all is that, is that I cant help but feel a little guilty about it. Interestingly enough is that all of the people closest to me know how weird I am about love, how I reject it before I accept it, knowing that even the best loves come with the potential for the worst pain, so I calculate nearly every step I take in love and toward it. And yet, how did I end up with two? Two completely different loves that are actually surprisingly similar—both long-distance, both friends first, both genuinely good guys, both painfully stubborn (but then again, I guess I could be classified under the same category), both who’ve taken up a general avoidance of what it means to plan ahead, and both have made it into my life in a major way. While they share fundamental differences—like one being a person I admire and look up to and another more of person I often felt compelled to rescue from himself; one being lazy and unmotivated while the other is ambitious, brave and dedicated; one sweet and loyal while the other was perhaps more questionable—I can’t decide if I’m falling into a pattern or just learning from my mistakes.
Love changes you. I’ve spent so many nights promising to myself that I’ll never change for a man, ever. It’s a lie. You fall in love, you bend around the person you adore, and the person bends too as you both seek out compromises. The changes can be little, often times taking the form of a threat as opposed to an actual behavioral change, but even the thought of acting in a way that you don’t normally do is beyond terrifying. Still skeptical of commitment, especially at the age of 22 armed with the idea that now more than ever infidelity seems like some sort of twisted rite of passage, I can’t figure out why given all of the upfront pain and torture that love unapologetically carries with it, why I’ve still fallen for it twice. Even worse, I cant decide if I regret it or not yet. There was clearly a moment when falling in love transformed from a gift to being a burden, and I honestly think that our generation has fully embraced this concept. And I thought that I used to be part of that. It seems that my general opinions could be the leader of the Jaded Age Movement, but my dating resume pleas otherwise.
It’s not shame. It’s just something I think about when I consider how much of my life I still intend on living. Maybe it’s ridiculous to believe that there is some sort of quota for the number of times you can fall in love and that I’ve wasted them in youth. Maybe it’s just a symptom of the movement, a not-quite quarter-life crisis that interrupt the opinions you thought were already fully developed. It seems that even when our generation does fall in love, it’s reluctant, turbulent, and a constant struggle, which I think my track record lends itself well to, but at the same time just as everyone gets the chance to define love, they also get the chance to decide if they want to keep it around or not. Maybe it’s just easier to be miserable and blow off love than to change yourself for something that has a 50/50 chance of completely ruining your life and somewhere along the we way we all learned it was better to be cynical in anticipating heartbreak, than to actually go through it. And that’s the fine line that I’m still deciding if I should’ve crossed or not.