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Type keyword s to search. Today's Top Stories. Smoked Salmon, Watercress, and Yogurt Omelet. Rod Morata. You are driving your baby blue Volkswagen bug stuffed with weeks and weeks' worth of dirty laundry, when you see him — the guy from your Brit Lit class, reading a paperback on a bench outside the Laundromat. He's wearing jean shorts rolled up, but you overlook that. It isafter all, and you're wearing jean shorts too.
It's a Saturday afternoon, almost the end of the spring semester of your sophomore year at Penn State. You park in front of the bench he's sitting on. You climb out, shimmy your dad's army duffel out of the backseat, which is where you've stuffed the whites. You say hey. And his "hey" connotes exactly what you hoped it would — Oh my God! I haven't seen you since last fall! I've been looking for you. As your clothes agitate and tumble, you will sit with him. Close to him. You will talk about that class you had together, about Pride and Prejudice and Songs of Innocenceabout Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenancewhich is what he's reading now and what you will start reading tomorrow.
You will not talk about his long, curly blond hair or his big pillowy lips or the fact that you never quite gave him an answer when he asked you out back in December. You will not talk about being so attracted to him, sitting here in the sun with the washers pounding in the background, that you can actually feel it in your groin.
And, 15 years later, you will look back and wonder: Why in the name of all good No Strings Attached Sex Jean did you not go back to his apartment and bang him? You Should Be Committed You will know why, both now and then — because your boyfriend lives two blocks away. And you live with him. You've been living with him since January, after the nightmarish Christmas break when you sat all cocky and steadfast at the kitchen table with your parents, debating your pronouncement that you were moving in with this boy you'd been dating for 4 months.
So what that you were only 19? So what that your parents threatened — just threatened — not to pay your rent? So what that you heard your father, alone in his bedroom, crying about it all?
So what? Because you were a "girlfriend" now. You had earned the title, the one you'd been striving for all through high school as your friends officially paired off and all you seemed capable of were going-nowhere French kisses in the parking lot outside the Mount Carmel dance. And if moving in with this guy was what it took to keep that status, then you were not letting up for anything, as if this relationship were an achievement — just like making the Dean's List every semester, like getting the lead in the play, like baking banana bread from scratch.
You and your live-in will swear that you'll get married, that you'll have a son and daughter named Salvador and Dali, that you'll settle in Pittsburgh, but in the end, you'll break up. He'll move out. He'll take the cool Spanish print you bought at the arts festival; you'll keep the patchwork leather jacket his mother lent you.
You will tell people, sitting at the diner, over Marlboro Lights and way-too-sweet coffee, that you understood, at 20, what divorce felt like. And you'll mean it. Days later, you'll call him crying, "It's Too Late" playing on a turntable in the background. And you'll lie awake that night, alone, wondering how you — you who accomplished everything you put your mind to, you who took advanced calculus just because it was hard, you who traveled to Europe by yourself when you were just 17 — could possibly No Strings Attached Sex Jean failed at this.
Which is why you will do it again. And again. To prove that you can succeed. Of course, you won't see it that way. No, back then, you'll half-joke with friends that you're "a serial monogamist," that you're "addicted to living in sin.
You'll flirt with them all. Often failing to mention the boyfriend, whether you live with him yet or not. Always imagining what it would feel like to kiss them. Always hearing the echo of a voice in the back of your head asking, "What am I doing? Is this a ? Shaking your head, back and forth, fast and sharp, as if the rattle will drown out all the tangled fears — that you can't keep your word, that you don't have enough determination, that you aren't committed.
Well, guess what, sweetheart? You were plenty committed. In fact, you were so committed to being committed — to having the boyfriend, to getting good grades, to doing a double pirouette, to reading everything by Tom Robbins, to growing out your bangs — that that's all you were. The poster child for overachievement. A pulsing, breathing, not-yet-droopy-boobed sack of goals. The problem was, there was no space left for anything else. No fun. No failure. And certainly no honesty, especially not with yourself.
A that those relationships weren't working? A that you wanted out? That you weren't happy? Ya think?!? Permission to Fail Don't get me wrong. Commitment is useful. That die-hard resolve of yours will serve you well. You'll eventually meet another boy and you'll think about playing all those same games with him.
But you won't. Because you'll realize you don't just want to be committed, you actually want to be committed to him. And you'll get married. You'll have a mortgage. A car payment or two.
A baby. You'll have lots at stake, lots more to lose than just the gold star of accomplishment. And you'll need every ounce of your steadfastness and tenacity — because, if you think those cute blond guys at the Laundromat disappear in real life, they don't. But your commitment will actually matter then, just like it mattered with calculus in high school, and with your thesis in grad school, and with sending out r? But, dear Jesus, you didn't have to be committed to all of those things, all at the same time, all with that pit-bullish, do-or-die, obsessive-compulsiveness of yours.
To everything there is a season, and all that. And if you lighten up on yourself, if you give yourself permission to fail every now and then, you'll recognize the seasons when they come. You'll know that you don't need to keep your checkbook balanced to the penny when there's a little girl who needs you to hold her hands as she takes her first few steps on the family-room floor. You'll know that, sometimes, failure is achievement.
Which is why, on that spring afternoon, you might want to consider writing your phone on the inside cover of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance instead of hoping, praying, that he doesn't see the boxer shorts as you pull them out of the dryer and stuff them deep into your bag.No Strings Attached Sex Jean
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WHAT ‘NO STRINGS ATTACHED’ TAUGHT ME ABOUT LOVE AND SEX