“We are not dating.”
“I’m not into him that way.”
“She’s not my type.”
“I need to focus on my career right now.”
“May be after I settle down?”
“What if my parents find out?”
“What if I get Pregnant?!”
These are probably the most heard lines from a teenager’s mouth when asked about being in a relationship. This paranoia has its own reasons. Exes who leave you to suddenly find their perfect soul mate,someone earning twice as much as you and weighing twice as less. All the stupid, sweet little things you liked about each other suddenly turning into annoying liabilities. The ‘J’ word, jealousy. Well, having been involved and not involved, jealous and not jealous, in love and then not in love, I believe being single is a myth. Ever played a game of ‘Snakes and Ladders’ where you’re two blocks away from ‘finish’ and then the longest snake gobbles you up?
The dating paradox is basically a game of Snakes and Ladders. Here’s how.
A Summer’s day in May, 2010.
“I really can’t do this any more. We’re a couple of weeks away from boards and you want to talk about our anniversary?” Dice rolls. One block away from a snake.
“It’s not like I don’t care about the boards.Its just we’ve been together for almost a year now and the whole school believes we are going to end up married. So I guess it wouldn’t hurt to take a break from all this math and plan something.” Ladder!
“So we’re celebrating because the whole school wants an excuse to get drunk. You are unbelievable. I’m so done here. In fact, we’re done. BYE.” Dice at 96. Rolls to one. The big red snake. Down to 12-something.
Six Days Later, a cheeky boy of seventeen says to another :
“Bro, today I found out I wasn’t cool enough to be invited to a school party that happened last night. The one in charge of inviting people was my girlfriend of one year.” Game over.
So, I was not in love with him or anything. My friends and the rest of the school made me believe I was. And I just had to throw a pre-boards party. It was supposed be in celebration of our anniversary. But that went down the drain. So, what better reason than to get over an ex?
Two boyfriends and Five years later.
Five years had gone by, and I had not looked back at school. At every reunion that we met, we were with respective boyfriends and girlfriends. It was at a mutual friend’s birthday party that we made conversation again. Both of us were ‘single’ at the time, and a cup of coffee can never hurt. Over coffee that evening, he told me he had read every article I’d ever written and I confessed I was jealous of every girl he had dated. Coffees turned into lunches and lunches into dinners and before we knew it, we were telling our school friends we weren’t really in a relationship. Which means we were, and too afraid to come to terms with it. The dice never really stops rolling.
When I got home one night after a dinner date, I don’t know if it was the lobster or the wine, but the questions never stopped. Our parents’ generation doesn’t even know the concept of dating. For them, the word love is incomplete without the word marriage following it. For us, every person we dare allow into our life is subjected to analysis so rigorous that it soon becomes about everything other than love.
We begin to wonder,
“How do I know if my special someone is a snake or a ladder?”
Where’s the fun if you don’t get to experience a little bit of both. Where’s the fun in finding your soul mate if you haven’t had a crush on a few bozos in the first place?
These aren’t rhetorical questions. I wish someone would answer for me. One thing I know for sure is, there is not one person in our time who hasn’t gone through this sting. But we never stop looking do we?
Admit it or not, I know you are looking too. We all have that one person whose name we want to scream from an echoing hilltop. The reason is quite simple,really.
For every snake there is a ladder, and for every ladder, a snake.