They say the best way to get over an old guy is to get under a new one, and we all laugh because it’s a joke but it’s one of those jokes that’s poking fun at what’s true.
The key to a good joke lies in the degree that it exaggerates the truth. We laugh at a joke like “The best way to get over an old guy is to get under a new one” because (for the most part) we don’t rush to start boning someone new, even if we do recognize the truth of the concept of letting a new guy distract us from our thoughts of the old one–when you exaggerate it, it’s laughable because it’s ridiculous and its ridiculousness allows us to take comfort in our realities.
But it’s true.
The best way to get over an old guy is to get under a new one.
I’ve been trying a little experiment over the past few months. It’s called “don’t get involved with anyone else until you’re over the last guy.”
Really, I’ve been trying this experiment (albeit haphazardly) for about the past two years, ever since my only serious boyfriend and I broke up, but I was failing miserably up until about this summer, when I just couldn’t take it anymore.
This morning, I was brushing my teeth and thinking about dudes. A while back, one of my aunts and I were talking. Well, I was raging. She was trying to combat that with sound advice. I was telling her I don’t understand why this boys thing is so hard for me; why I’m always getting my feelings hurt; why I always manage to get involved with the ones with deep-rooted character flaws or committment issues or errant ideas of the concept of manhood or misogynistic/narcissistic tendencies; why they all seemed to take my tender open heart and, you know, do what men do: fuck it.
And she asked me, when was the last time I took a break. And I said I BEEN SINGLE FOR 2 YEARS WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT, in that rational way I have.
And she said, “yeah, you’ve been single, but when was the last time you weren’t involved with someone?” Referring to, of course, that precious, tortuous gray area that comes from being involved with men with issues/not knowing what you’re looking for anyway of being not together, but not entirely platonic either.
And for the purposes of my rage I fudged some of the dates/time spans of my different..er..situations and put it out of my mind but a few days later I realized she was right.
I hadn’t had a break, even if I hadn’t had a boyfriend.
So this morning I was brushing my teeth and thinking about dudes and thinking about a conversation I had last night with one of my guy friends.
My friend, he’s living overseas teaching English right now, and he was saying how living overseas has really made him aware of the arrogance that comes along with being American. He said being in another culture has made him aware of how bad of a person he is, basically saying he hopes to use that as part of his personal development.
While I don’t doubt that the arrogance, individualism and assumption that he can go for and get what he wants out of life are American traits, I countered that maybe that’s an American male thing. We American women, of course, are raised with those same cultural values, but underscoring all of those values is the assumption that if we fail to nab a man then we are invalidated.
I told him that I was in the exact opposite place of him–that I was trying to become aware of how great I am and we laughed because it sounded funny. It’s all jokes, after all.