Friday, February 19, 2010

Put that phone down!

A friend recently interjected, in the midst of one of my rants on Google Chat, that I should write a self-help book. I think he was joking. I've been thinking about it, and it would probably be a pretty short book. The title would be something like Don't Call Him!. The subtitle would either be, "Put that phone down!" or "I'm serious. Don't call him. No, that's not a good excuse. I don't care if you miss the sound of his voice. I don't care if you think he misses the sound of your voice. Are you listening to me?"

Let's pause to reflect on the fact that recently I was on the path to becoming a scientist. And now I am writing on the same topics as Glamour and Cosmopolitan. If it makes you feel any better, I still only subscribe to BUST.

The second chapter would be called, "I Have Other Plans." That is what you should say to him, when he calls you, if:
1) He's done something to you that isn't very nice, but you still want to give him a chance to make up for it.
2) It would be difficult to make room in your schedule for those plans - even if you are free at that very minute, you are otherwise busy that day/weekend/week.
3) You genuinely have pre-existing plans.

And then, just as you're worrying that I have descended from scientist to someone-who-sets-feminism-back*, I will present you with the next part of this chapter. The next piece of advice is crucial; Step One is useless without Step Two.

Step Two is as follows: Have Other Plans.

Make other plans! Have other interests! Act like you have things going on in your life besides your quest for a boyfriend and your adoration of this dude. Except it's not an act--once you start getting out of the house and becoming interested in other things, you will genuinely be interested in other things! Everyone's busy? Stay home and do something you like. Read a book. Write letters. Do your taxes. Or go someplace by yourself--a museum, a concert, a park, shopping.**

What if he decides I am too much effort? First of all, you are not. Look, do you want to be with someone who respects you as an individual with dignity, thoughts, and interests? Or do you want to be with someone who likes that you're someone who is always available and never gets offended?

What if I never find someone and I am alone!? You won't be, because you always have other plans. Would you rather be with someone who doesn't respect you, just to be with someone? That is wasting valuable time in which you could be pursuing things that are actually interesting, or spending time with people (dates or otherwise) who do respect you.

What if I am pushing 30 and my chances of having a child with birth defects are increasing every day and I'm running out of eggs HELP! What if I end up 30 and single!? No one will marry me once I turn 30! First of all, that is not true. You have just been conditioned to believe that you can't thrive without a husband and that at the age of 30, you're moved to life's clearance rack of outdated women. Nearly all of us have been subjected to, perhaps brainwashed to believe, this notion. It's bullshit. That's really all there is to say. Plus, being alone isn't so bad. It gives you time for all those plans and interests!

I'd like to conclude that this isn't playing games. This isn't ignoring someone or pretending to be interested in other things. This is being interested in other things, having other plans, and being interesting. It's not allowing oneself to be mistreated or undervalued. These rules (which are really suggestions) also apply to bad friends, such as chronic plan-cancelers.

* I call these women, "The Reason We Make 75 Cents on the Dollar!" Sometimes in front of them. Don't worry, they don't know what it means!
** My last canceled date resulted in a pair of shoes and a serving bowl for dinner parties. And several pounds of citrus.

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