Thirsty – adj- Too eager to get something (Source: Urban Dictionary– the same source Shakespeare used)
Reader, if you’ve been tuning into my blog, you know I am neither a life expert or a dating expert. BUT I did get multiple phone numbers while wearing a walking boot. So, perhaps I have about as much game as checkers. I’ll say it: dating is trash. It’s weird and uncomfortable and exposing. Connections can be fleeting, and especially when it comes to romantic encounters, we internalize so much that has nothing to do with us. But I also believe you have to put yourself out there– be brave and bold. The reward for vulnerability is not getting what you want. The reward for vulnerability is that your ego sinks into the background and your truth emerges. My truth is that I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being thirsty. We live in the era of coolness, where being cavalier and apathetic is valued. Cool is for jackasses. Aloof is for cowards. To go for anything you want in life requires effort, and a cornerstone of coolness (a subject I know nothing about) is effortlessness.
With that, please enjoy a list of the thirstiest things I’ve done:
- Picked my third grade crush during Reading Class for bump because even as a little girl, I was forward like that.
- Recruited my 4th grade crush to play on my kickball team even though he was not on my skill level and better players were up for grabs.
- Allowed my eighth grade crush to be in my English project group where I did all the work and he and his bros did nothing.
- Junior year of high school, I tried to help a boy I liked tie his tie. He DID NOT want me to touch him.
- I joined a student org for a boy I liked my freshman year of college.
- I sent cookies to a girl I had a crush on Freshman year of college.
- Sophomore year, I walked almost a mile to a boy’s house to see him (this was Bob Fell).
- I began a bizarre firtationship by drunk emailing a full time employee at one of my college jobs. Worked out pretty well, though, because he brought me coffee for a solid year.
- Took a specific course because I knew my crush would be in it.
- I once DRAPED MY LEG over a guy to initiate things. Nothing else, just my limp leg across his body. It failed. Sweet Shonda Rhimes did it fail.
- During a date, a guy left me in a park to take a complete stranger somewhere, and I STAYED UNTIL HE GOT BACK! WHY??!!? No self respect.
- Twice, I asked people on second dates who were eggregiously disrespectful on the first date. Both times, I got shot down, and I’m really thankful for that. They did me the favor of creating space for better things to come into my life and receive my affection.
- I almost went to church, but I cannot wake up that early on Sundays! What can I say? I value sleep and brunch over true love.
- I have reoriented my schedule for many people– although, I also do that for friends too. Thirst ain’t just for romance!
- I have slid into precisely two men’s DMs. #no-shame
- I am normally the one to initiate texts and plans.
- I semi-regularly post fierce pictures of myself to my social media accounts. Obviously we’re all posting those to thirst trap and fish for compliments. I do it too. No shame. Not stopping anytime soon. Die mad about it.
Through Charlotte in Pride in Prejuice, Jane Austen writes, “We are all fools in love”. That’s true. A lot of people conflate thirst and desperation. Urban dictionary does. I think they’re different. Thirst is shooting your shot. It’s putting yourself out there, knowing that it’s embarrassing. You know you’re risking rejection. You know you could make a fool out of yourself. What higher compliment is there to a person than to say, “I find you so special I’m sacrificing my ego to let you know, and I’d like to spend time with you. Of the infinite things I could occupy my time with, I’d like to spend it with you”? It is a brave thing to be a fool in love or infatuation. It’s not cool but decent to respond to texts when you can and not wait twenty-minutes. It’s decent to not play the game and show up.
I don’t believe in being desperate. If your pursuit makes that person uncomfortable, please stop. Because if you think she/he/they is truly special and awesome, you will respect them enough to provide the requested space. If you shoot your shot and get rejected, take that person at their word. Do not exhaust your precious energy chasing those who can’t see your light. Because you’ll be perpetually exhausted. I know it’s hard.
The difficulty is in catching feelings. I know this because I catch feelings hard and deep. An organic current takes hold. There’s confusion before my emotions discern this is a crush– I’m giddy to see him or her. I don’t know why, just that I am. Then, the synapses fire. In the blaze, I recognize it’s a crush, and the familiar wash of worry and hope runs over me. Hope is the prickliest of sensations. Daring to think this life will yield good things for me– that is scary. There is nothing more petrifying than good things. Bad is familiar, a storm I outlive every time. But good? Good is a terrifying tempest who makes me feel safe before leaving me emptier than before. I shutter in her wake.
Yet, under the spell of infatuation, I act entirely out of character. My confidence permeates with nerves. Loquatious as I am, words suddenly knot on the tip of my tongue. Every syllable is this amorphous taffy I try to untangle. I can’t articulate his or her name without a grin wider than my face. My phone and I are Siamese twins now as the crush and I banter for hours on end. Their social media accounts could be the Sistine Chapel from how I regard them. Every text is a dopamine rush. Those texts are words I never knew would head for me. People convinced me I wasn’t pretty when I was little, and I interpreted that as “You will never find someone to love you. Fairytales are for prettier girls”. I understand now that I didn’t need to hear that I was pretty. Pretty is useless. Pretty is the morsel that cannot nourish me. I needed to hear that I was valued. That I was seen.
The cadence is always the same. I experience this connection with another person, we begin to talk, and the interractions become more frequent. Sometimes a disruptive event occurs, sometimes, things just fizzle. But we talk less. The fade is palpable. Quatifiable, even, through social media metrics. Fewer likes, texts, perhaps even an unfollow if things went that far south. Our rapport deflates into awkwardness. We are uncomfortable around one another. Each manouver is a boxy navigation to avoid eye contact and tense pleasantries. How puzzling it is that someone can house your hope for a few weeks, and now, you’re strangers with a brief shared past? Even though I’m hurt, most people I catch feels for are people I still care for very much. People I will respond to 3 am texts from. People I encourage and support and still welcome in my life. My emotional attachment isn’t rooted in physical attraction.
That’s why it hurts all the more when former love interests return. Through DMs, texts, and other mediums, they remind me that I was not enough magic for them to stay but just enchanting enough for them to return for an incantation or two. They tell me, “You are beautiful”. I respond, “I know. I’m single not blind”.
Despite all of this, I still believe you should shoot your freaking shot!! I would rather be thirsty than regretful. At the end of the day, nobody is handing out medals for the coolest cat in the joint, the person who looked the least foolish in life. We take dating so seriously. We take ourselves too seriously. But we’re all these nervous, sweaty, flawed, fragile dorks. Rejection, largely, has very little to do with you. It is about the other person. If you can view it that way, as healthy and be open to it, rejection can be a great teacher. Be open to connections that you interpret as romantic incarnating themselves into other forms– this is how my best friend and I came to be. Here’s the thing: Filet Mignon isn’t everybody’s flavor, but it is the most expensive thing on the menu. Why? Because it has value. Maybe you’re Filet Mignon whose been served to vegetarians. Maybe the object of your affection prefers a Big Mac. You have value. Because if I, a woman was rejected by a man who absolutely used a tanning bed, believes she has value, you absolutely do too.