Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Problem with Labels

They lie.

No, seriously.

Have you ever picked up any food that has a label on it?  Did you know they're allowed to lie on the labels?  Like with Cheerios.  It says it helps with cholesterol.  But does it really?  I don't know because they don't regulate what the labels say.

I feel like that's the same way in life.  Since I've been single for a long time (and no, I'm not complaining), I've had a lot of time to think about relationships, especially my previous ones, and I've learned a lot about them and myself.  Maybe you guys all know this, but it's only recently clicked for me since I've been seeing this guy we'll call Goat because my best friend's little sister calls him Goat, but I don't know why because he doesn't sound or look or feel like one.  Oh, eleven year olds nowadays.

Anyways, I feel that in my previous relationships, I've always jumped at the chance to say, "Okay we're in a relationship.  You're my boyfriend and I'm your girlfriend."  Maybe it's my desire to grasp structure especially in something as uncertain as activities (such as dating, kissing, even sex) with the opposite sex.  But it's also the desire to know, from the get-go, where we are and where we're going.  "Okay, so we're in a relationship which means you're with me, I'm with you, no third parties, we're going to spend Friday and Saturday nights together and you're going to text me, blah, blah, blah."  Of course, I am somewhat exaggerating, but every time two people enter into a relationship, there is a list of expectations that come with them and if their expectations match up for the most part, then it's all good.  And when it doesn't, there's resentment because instead of doing something as simple as texting someone because they want to, they're doing it because they have to.

So when I first started dating Goat and I started learning more about him, I realized the fact that he doesn't like to plan nor does he have any expectation of where we're going freaks me out a little bit.  Where's my structure?  Do I hold your hand?  Can I text you when I see a guy walking around in a muscle tee and looking extremely gay?  Am I allowed to date other guys?  If I don't want to, do I tell them I'm seeing someone else or is that not allowed?  Can I have sex with you and not be considered a slut without an establishment of a relationship beforehand?  (Not that I think women who do this are sluts, mind you, but you never know how guys view a girl.)

After talking to Jessie and Susieee (my step-mom) and even my own mother, I realized something.  Every relationship is different.  Actually, scratch that.  Every encounter with the member of the opposite sex is different.  Previously, I rushed things and instead of being excited that a guy texted or called me at all, I was wondering why he didn't do it when he normally did.  I know I'm not the only person to blame, but my desire for structure overpowered my desire for romance.  I'm not saying both are mutually exclusive, but you can't really have them equally.  Planning for romance kind of takes the romance out of romance, doesn't it?

So with whatever I have with Goat, I'm not going to label it.  I just tell my friends "I'm seeing someone" because I am.  And that could mean anything.  I'm not a girlfriend, he's not a boyfriend, and we're not under the restrictions the word "relationship" has.  And I've found that I'm happy and this thing with Goat actually feels healthy.

So to answer my own questions, my structure has disappeared, at least in relation to this particular guy.  I can hold his hand if I want to.  I can totally text him if I see a guy in a muscle tee walking around as though he's God's gift when, really, he's God's gift to men.  I'm allowed to date other guys, but I don't have to.  And to be honest, I really don't want to.  And yes, I can tell whoever does ask me out - if they ask me out - that I'm seeing someone.   And of course I can have sex with him without being considered a slut, because, let's face it, if we've been on a number of dates where he hasn't tried anything yet, I think he knows me well enough to know I don't just sleep with anyone.

The best thing about being label-less with Goat is that it's the same for him.  Because he's not a boyfriend, he doesn't have to text me or see me or spend time with me.  But he does because he wants to.  Because he saw some guy in Crocs or some girl in Uggs with their jeans tucked in it and he just had to share it because he thought of me.

And that makes me feel just a little bit extra special.

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