Just Give Up

Watson, Erin Campbell

Dear Erin,
Recently, I casually hooked up with a girl I’ve been flirting with for several weekends. After it was over, she dropped the dreaded question that, to me, signals the desire for a long-term commitment and positioned her view of our relationship as being on the marriage track. On her way out the door, she asked me when I would see her again, and what was going to happen next. I wished I could have run from my own room. Now what? Why is she trying to pin me down against my will?
-Post-Coitally CommittedDear Post-Coitally Committed,
Believe it or not, guys and girls aren’t inherently all that different, and certainly not as different as modern popular culture makes us out to be. At the root of it, it’s pretty likely that we’re looking for similar things. Even if you’re interested in a casual hookup fueled by the adrenaline that only Colt 45 produces, on some level, you’re both just looking for entertaining company, affirmation, and an enjoyable way to spend some weekend nights.
She, like you, realizes that you are both drunk, slightly ambitious, and more than slightly bored. We, as college students, are programmed to function at crowded parties. We thrive during random encounters on the ORC porch, which makes formal planning not only unnecessary, but kind of foolish. You are provided with the luxury of a relationship that morphs from friendship to sexual encounter and back again.
When she asks you when she’ll see you again, or for an explanation of what the hell’s going on, in my estimation, she isn’t looking for a layout that reads like the screenplay for “The Notebook.” She is not expecting you to give her a rundown of your anticipated future together. She doesn’t want to hear about your last relationship, either, or how you’re quietly welding back together the pieces of your broken heart into some semblance of what was there before your last long-term commitment, and you really aren’t ready to admit that she is anything more than an indiscretion.
She doesn’t want to hear how you’re hurting, just like you don’t give a damn what all the other losers she’s fooled around with have said to her. You’ve probably been through similar experiences, so why bother worrying about what either of you are bringing to the table?
She isn’t asking what she means to you and she isn’t asking you to stick around till death do you part. Like you, she knows these are excuses and, frankly, they’re boring. In a society that can avoid speaking to each other by reverting to texting or Facebook messaging, we have all been conditioned to allow things to happen naturally. She just wants to know if you can plan on running into each other at the VR on Friday, and if it will be awkward when you do.
She wants to know if she can flirt with you without being embarrassed, and if she can follow you home again without looking desperate. That’s really probably all. In both of your best-case scenarios, everything changes and nothing changes. You will see her again under the same pretenses as before, only with the newly shared knowledge that what happened before might happen again.
Wriggling around on your beer-stained couch for a half an hour surely wasn’t so romantic and magical for her that she’s going to go to extremely drastic measures to ensure that it will happen again. Even if it hurts her feelings a little or shocks her slightly to see you go after an improved model the next weekend, she acknowledges that spontaneous behavior is your prerogative. You’re both just working to fend off loneliness for another weekend, so be polite, and maybe you’ll get a friendship out of it, or at least a fairly funny running joke.