I know it’s getting really bad if I’m sitting next to my phone and I sense its presence, detest its stillness, loathe the screen’s darkness. I mentally will the phone to ring, beep, light up – any sort of notification from him will do the trick.
And the trick is this: when I see or hear from him, I feel like I just got high. I feel energized, like I could eat a whole pie and then run a marathon and then dance to Beyonce’s “7/11” four times in a row. But there are times when my texts go unanswered, and even if the response comes a timely 30 minutes later, I spend every second of that time obsessing. Why hasn’t he answered? He’s always on his phone. What did he think when he saw my name pop up? Is he waiting a few minutes to seem less eager? Is he eager? Would I like him if he was eager?
If my communications go hours without responses, I can convince myself our relationship’s progress has come to a screeching halt, he no longer wants to spend time with me, I’m a silly girl for overstepping my bounds and assuming this man wants to hear from me, and so on. And the second he calls, this delusional and rather bitchy voice in my head disappears. I continue on with life, all rainbows and sunbeams. Because he called. He wants to hang out with me. He seems to like me.
It’s a vicious cycle I put myself through on the reg, but this weekend I found out I’m not alone when I picked up a book of Dorothy Parker’s short stories. “A Telephone Call” is several pages comprised entirely of a crazed woman’s internal monologue and prayer to God to get a man to call her. At one moment, she decides he hasn’t called her when he said he would because he got tied up at the office. Another moment, she’s praying to her Heavenly Father to kill the poor bastard, because that would allow her to focus on the good times they used to have together. The story ends without him calling her, which made me angry, but also made me smirk. Because whatever he’d tell her if he did call doesn’t matter. It’s the compulsive doomsday stream of consciousness that is so compelling and relatable.
It’s 2015 – why are we sitting by phones waiting for boys to call? Why do we base so much of our self-worth on what one dude thinks of us? And why do we read into every second he’s not calling as a string of signs he’s not into us? Having a crush is a gut-wrenching, stressful trauma that we go through on a regular basis throughout much of our lives. If we’re lucky, these crushes turn into happy, mutually supportive relationships. But oftentimes we’re stuck in that limbo where we don’t know if he likes us, or if we should tell him how we feel. When it graduates to an official crush, the suffering begins: the endless doubt and worry and self-deprecation.
But is there an alternative? Is there a way to like a guy, get to know him and not simultaneously go out of your mind? Would we even want that?
As Lauryn Hill once sang, “When it hurts so bad, why’s it feel so good?”