In many aspects, I'm not your typical girl. I don't know many Lady Gaga songs, I'm really not into jeggings, and I'd rather watch a football game than Glee and go to a dive bar than a nail salon. I've never had a manicure (waste of money when you use your hands as much as I do), and I didn't have senior portraits taken, or professional prom photos done. So it really shouldn't be any surprise that there wasn't any photographic evidence of me with any of the guys I've dated or been in relationships with.
I mean, yes-- there is a horrible held-at-arm's-length cell phone quality snapshot of me and a guy I was with freshmen year, and there's a photo of my on-again, off-again guy and I in a group of our friends, but that's it. No official "hello world, we're a couple, and can't you tell?" photos. I was thinking about this fact today while watching SATC reruns and thinking about how anti-girl that fact is. Also, about how slightly sad it is that I'll have no photographic reminders of how I felt together while I was with a guy.
Until now. Low and behold, not 30 minutes later, an image taken of the boy and I on his birthday surfaced on Facebook from his friend's cell phone. I knew that his friend had been taking photos of the shitshow taking place, and was expecting some hilarious Leaning Pile of Drunken Man photos, or possibly, ones of me standing in front of him with his chin in my hand, trying to get him to focus on me long enough to find out if he needed more water. Instead, what popped up was a photo of the two of us casually sitting on the end of the couch closely together, my arm around his neck, hand resting on his collarbone, his arm around my waist and hand on my hip, both our eyes focused down at some point on the floor in front of us as we talked about something. Or he slurred and I listened intently.
It's a great photo. I wasn't expecting it, especially from a friend of his. Totally candid, yet entirely truthful. I am now a believer in those body language experts who say they can tell if two people are sleeping together just by reading their body language as they interact. If a picture is worth a thousand words, than that photo only needed three: "So into him." I wondered, when I saw it, what the shelf life of it would be on the page of someone who is enjoying a Time Without Labels, and says that one of his favorite things about me is the fact that I don't ask about his business, yet has his own toothbrush on my sink and spent 3 of the last 7 nights at my place. As I expected, it lived live for about three hours, and then disappeared.
I'm not surprised because I know the situation. I know how refreshing it is to get out of long relationships and be single again, even if you're currently casually seeing someone that you really like. There's no rush to jump into anything, and the concept of not having to be committed to anything is intoxicating. I know that he's the sort of guy who wants to appear single on his page, even if he's into displays of affection in public, just like I'm the sort of girl whose Facebook relationship status is "In An Open Relationship" because that's how I consider myself-- in an open relationship with THE WORLD. I'm not into relationship statuses, or broadcasting it every time I start crushing on or seeing a new person. And while I'm not looking for any sort of label from him, and while I knew from the instant I saw it that that photo's shelf-life had a short expiration date, I have to admit, it did get me a little down to not see it there anymore. If you can show me off around town and to your friends, why don't you want to show me off in other aspects of your life, too? Because I honestly feel like I'm worth it.
Part of me, a very small part of me, took tiny offense to it, with a grain of salt. From the get-go when I saw it, I knew it would probably be removed because it would hurt his "playa image"-- the thought that he can flirt with whomever he likes online or in the real world because they don't know he's seeing anyone else. For three hours, that image was killed by any other girls who happened to see it, and the photo probably wasn't as well-received by him as it was by me because of that fact. In reality, he knows the difference between flirting with someone and trying to get with someone, and is very straight about it-- I have no worries that he's actively trying to get with anyone else. And hell, I'm a huge fucking flirt, so if he wants to get his harmless flirt on, he can get his harmless flirt on. But it got me thinking and couldn't help but make me wonder: Why do men always feel the need to be lining up the field? It's not just him-- it's the guy my friend is trying to see who has a ton of his "bitties", and what my ex who always had another girl on the side, just in case, did. It's what this guy explains in his "bottom bitch theory" video. This is dating, and as much as it seems like a game of chess or a full-body contact sport like rugby (but with kissing), IT AIN'T. I am not lining up my next starting line while I'm with a guy. As unnerving as it is, I play it play-by-play and day-to-day, and if it ends tomorrow, then it's gonna be awhile before I find another starting player to draft. Girls (sometimes, more than guys,) deal with periods of singledom and sometimes celibacy because of this-- when a girl is really with you, we're WITH you, ride-or-die style. And if a guy's not thinking the same way, than it's like you're dating on top of a trapeze of your feelings with no safety net underneath if he decides to drop you for the next Maria Sharapova or Mia Hamm or Serena Williams.
But it's easy-- in today's world, the internet and our presence online is what dictates how people who don't see us every day or regularly view us. And if he's flirting with other girls online, it just wouldn't do to have a couple-y photo at the top of his page. I get it, though I'm not entirely down with it. I run into the same issue every time one of my close guy friends posts something that could be considered especially intimate or overly interested-- I worry how other people will read into it. Granted, at this point, I'm pretty sure the guy I'm seeing knows they're my friends and he's the only one I'm currently seeing and/or sleeping with, but then again, whenever he leaves me a comment, then I'm always stuck wondering what my ex thinks of it. It's a no-win situation out there in cyber space.