Hello, and Happy Friday Friends! So I know in the past I have talked about the pitfalls of media and how my generation developed a certain propensity toward toxic masculinity in our teens thanks to some rather alluring vampires. And while I still stand by those sentiments – I think there is much to be said about the concept of expectations and love and how it evolves in great and terrible ways as we grow.
“Turn me on like a lightswitch” – Charlie Puth
As a newly minted 26-year-old woman who has spent far too much time putting together her own puzzle pieces in the past few years, there are few things that surprise me when it comes to self-discovery. But something I never expected when I was growing up was how high my expectations for other people were and more so, how much they would continue to grow.
For example, as a teenager I wanted a gentleman (preferably a protective vampire with old and proper values), someone who respected me and my ability to make my own choices, but also took charge because I secretly wanted someone to want to take care of me [in a respectful way]. Then, in my early twenties, that trope took a deeper twist because despite my expectations for respect instilled by the men in my family and in my life, I often found that a nice face and arms could forgive quite a few sins. Which, as you can imagine got me in a bit of trouble from time to time.
Now, luckily, this is most certainly no longer the case. But unluckily, now I find myself wanting someone who reads and can hold a conversation and is passionate and respectful and outspoken and the list could go on or I could just tell you that I am in love with Anthony Bridgerton (a fictional character, from the show Bridgerton.)
Whoever writes my life story has a flair for playing games with my heart
For any of us who gained an addiction to tiktok in the past year or two, a lot of us have developed this aptitude for complaining about the writers in charge of the plot we all have been living. Variations of this sentiment include, pretending to be a deity and pouring water into a bowl saying what characteristics (that we have) the given pour represents – usually this tackles queerness or anxiety or depression but my favorite thought is the one that portrays the idea that in each of our lives we exist under a writers room that determines where our story will go next.
And, of course, all of this rambling is just leading to the fact where I tell you that my writers room has lead me to fall for another person/character/actor that I will never meet and that even if I did and even if I managed to intrigue them – blah blah blah – In short, it’s no surprise that I’d be perfectly infatuated by a stunning gay man playing a straight viscount who perfectly portrays an enemies-to-lovers storyline rather than being interested in someone or anyone for that matter I could actually manage to date. Which leads us to — the people I could actually manage to date?
Fact: Sex Sells – but jeans and oversized hoodies shouldn’t be trifled with
While I can’t speak on behalf of anyone but myself – I can admit that throughout my twenties I have experienced a shift in how I interact with potential love matches and (let’s say) the characteristics they portray.
[I’m going to preface this anecdote with the background knowledge that when I walked into one of my favorite liquor stores yesterday I was wearing maroon supra high-tops, straight leg jeans, and an oversized hoodie and I had just gotten done with a physical at the doctors. Nothing I was wearing matched, I had no makeup on and I was in no condition to be interacting with any humans let alone plausibly attractive men]
For example, yesterday while at the liquor store I was followed around by the clerk who I was told didn’t like a certain brand of beer because it openly supported black lives matter and that brews shouldn’t have a hand in politics, among other things that the “democratic media… (ergo – strike one).
Now in the past, I will admit, that my “gossip girl” and “sex and the city” based education sought out to teach me no more than those penguins in madagascar did (“smile and wave boys, smile and wave”) and part of this is because my impression of myself and how I physically approached relationships gave me the impression that I had fewer options that I would have liked to believe I had. [newsflash, I was playing myself]. And no this story doesn’t end with me saying that I started a fight in the liquor store, I am much too classy for that. (and they’re the only place I know that carries the selection of beers I like…)
So why am I telling you this?
A few reasons. 1. I learned the terrifying fact that apparently, I am attractive to republicans [shudders in democrat] — which is not only problematic but must defy all kinds of laws of physics considering I carry a damn “alphabet mafia” card in my wallet. 2. I needed to write the story down because its 2022 and when you tell someone you can carry your own beers to your car 7 times, they really should have listened by 3. and 3. (to put it plainly) The interaction only solidified my ideas of wanting to be courted like the ladies in Bridgerton [which does not mean I want to live anywhere near the time period of corsets and non-existent women’s rights, but that if “Shondaland” was a town – I’d relocate in about 2 seconds flat] rather than mansplained Sour Beers in an isle that is no thicker than 2ft.
All is fair in love and … tinder?
Look, I have told you all before that I was giving up dating sites – and I am not going back on my promises – in fact, I have had a couple really awesome interactions with people in the past month in real life and real-time (IRL as the kids say) but that doesn’t curb my desire for something more.
Because frankly, all I have learned from apps like Tinder is that maybe my high expectations need to be pushed up a few more notches…I mean come on, what does a girl have to do for an enemies-to-lovers plotline like Anthony Bridgerton and Kate Sharma!?
Truth is, I think the problem with expectations like mine (and constantly wanting everything and anything I cannot have) is that I can sit at my desk and create this a le carte interpretation of what I want my love life to look like, and sure it may be portrayed on a tv show where a bunch of talented writers get to toy with our emotions, but life doesn’t work like that.
I can’t sit here and pick and choose the perfect partner and manifest them into existence any more than I could have willed myself into marrying a Salvatore at 17. And that’s not because I can’t imagine what a good life with someone would look like, but because I haven’t yet experienced what I could possibly have in terms of a life with someone else
So while I can’t sit here and contend with fantasy – I can try to live and work toward a reality that meets me halfway – because in the past month I have met the kind of people who valued my mind first and called me beautiful and RESPECTED my boundaries (which shouldn’t have been as exciting as it was.
Expect the Unexpected
I guess the takeaway from all this is that I am not going to give up on my expectations but I will continue to expect more from people than I have been given in the past. And I am also going to do a better job at meeting my expectations where they realistically live and not allowing some off-topic attitudes to sway them.
So, in other words, I won’t strive for Brigerton’s and settle for vampires, but I might aim for a Bridgeton and maybe meet someone (not a raging republican at a liquor store) living a more simple and properly respectable life. Because maybe I can learn to expect the unexpected, rather than constantly expecting the unrealistic fantasies I constantly see on screen.