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I am part of the hookup generation.  We don’t date, we have flings.  We don’t talk on the phone, we text.  We have sex on the first date, and sometimes never talk again, only to awkwardly bump into one another at a party a few weeks later and pretend everything is fine (I thought we had something, Javier!).  Courtship, in the traditional sense of the word, is dead.

But every so often, I take a break from what may or may not be generational hedonism to actually get a crush.  And when I fall, I fall hard.  I plan weddings.  I name children.  I even box dyed my hair once after overhearing my crush say he preferred brunettes.  I have enough self-awareness to realize that I’m painfully insecure, and this defect of character manifests itself in one of many ways, the most prominent being my boy craziness.

I met a boy at a party who would soon become the object of my stage-5 clinger affections.  We bonded over our love for the smell of old books, a hatred of bad coffee, and our mild cases of Jewish guilt and hypochondria. Our first date would be one week later, when I agreed to go over to his house to “chat” and “watch a movie”—which is code, we all know, for hooking up.

I was surprised by how much we actually had in common.  We were reading all of the same books.  We laughed at the same dumb jokes.   I was being funny, smart, kind, even vulnerable. The conversation was flawless.  The hookup was not.

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I nearly fell off the bed and knocked over a ceramic incense holder that rested mockingly on his side table while maneuvering from a sexy on-top straddle to missionary make out.  My hair, which usually has a habit of staying on my head, seemed to be falling out, strand by strand, into his mouth. His iPod shuffle put on classical music right at the peak of passion. (By the way, what bozo uses the shuffle option anyways?  Does anyone actually want to hear a mix of Rihanna, the Les Mis soundtrack, Snow Patrol, and the Harry Potter audio book?) My arm even fell asleep under the weight of his body.

I knew I was good in bed.  I usually got rave reviews.  Played to sold-out audiences.  100% on Rotten Tomatoes.  What the fuck was going on? This hookup was going south fast…which gave me an idea.

There was only one thing to do.  My hands moved downward, over his striped cotton boxers, only to be met by nothing.  A lifeless, jungle of body parts, completely disinterested in my human touch.  My best efforts were not arousing.

“Fuck this noise!” I thought. I was doing him a favor.  Any girl in the world knows there are only two reasons you ever give a hand job: to prevent blue balls or because you’re on the back of a school bus.

So many things went through my mind.

  • Was I fat?
  • Did I have cellulite?
  • Did I create a connection in my head?
  • Was he repulsed by my recently dyed pink hair?
  • Did I kiss with too much tongue? Too little?
  • Was I in the friend zone?

Why could I not please this man I hardly knew? After several minutes of forced, awkward spooning, I told him I had to go home… and I haven’t heard from him since.

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I went through a mini-depression; the kind where you spend more time napping than awake, and my only nourishment was ordering dominos while face fucking a box of gluten free cookies. I really felt like, after tons of practice, I had finally been “on point,” at least conversationally, during the date.  And here I was, once again, left alone in an emotional shame spiral because I felt not only rejected but also physically unattractive.  Despite 27 years of successes—professional, personal, and romantic—I was basing my entire worth off the results of one “date” with one boy.

The only thing that truly needed Viagra was my self-esteem. 
I don’t know about you, but I’m all too quick to go to a negative headspace.  My brain works like that.  It’s hard for me to believe that I’m deserving or that good things can happen to me.  Maybe it’s because I’ve been burned so many times, or maybe I’m just wired that way.

The truth of the matter is, I need to find happiness within myself, and not let it be ruled by all these outside things, especially people, and particularly boys.   I spend so much time waiting for a text message and replaying scenarios in my head. I reassure myself yet somehow convince myself seconds later of the worst. I constantly wonder if I maybe fell into some bad lighting—who knows what I could do with all this time I’m wasting.

I finally realized that I needed a solution to this character flaw that I think a lot of us are plagued with: low self-esteem.

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I need to find worth within myself instead of trying to fill that void with outside things: binge eating, beers, boys, and their boners.  The most important relationship I have is with myself, and I think that is who I should be focused on dating for a while.   I learned that promiscuity isn’t for me.  And maybe, just maybe, you shouldn’t mind when life gets a little hard.  At least something is.