This month, I survived both an unforeseen move and a breakup in the same 24 hours. It was a rough weekend, full of emotional Tetris between the universe’s plans and my own. What followed was a haze of sleeplessness, stretching packing tape, and too many dust bunnies for my OCD to handle. A floor full of poetry books stared at me, waiting to be packed into cardboard boxes. I had buried my nose in nighttime reads of romantic poetry since the age of 13, laying starry-eyed under the posters of my biggest boy-band crushes, pretending they were my audience. “Listen Neruda, Rumi... Now isn’t a good time,” I thought out loud. While I wasn’t exactly in the mood to read prose about “becoming one” under budding cherry-blossom trees and crescent moons, I cracked a smile, filtering through the memories of little me in love. I placed the Spanish sonnets and spiritual passages from Persian love gurus into the box like a Jenga tower.
Appropriately enough, in the same box, I also packed the most entertaining secret of my young-adult life, the ex box. Skimming through the six-page love letters; cute photos I’d actually taken the time to print as if it were 1997; and old ticket stubs from indie cinemas, concerts, and flights enjoyed in the company of a past lover, a second smile spread across my face. Even with the fresh debris of my most recent relationship unsettled, it was in this sea of great love poems and my own love stories that I knew I’d be okay. I’d been through phases of being in wonderful relationships, leaping into love with amazing guys that to this day check up on me and show kindness. But right now? I couldn’t, and wouldn’t, dive back in. Yes, I’m a romantic, but I don’t want a relationship.
Enter the unique and seemingly far-fetched concept of being a romantic while also being happily single and playing the field. Over the years, this has proven to be the toughest nut to crack with most guys. On first dates, I love to spill the R-word and watch the immediate symptoms of phobia appear: beads of sweat slowly forming on the guy's forehead, fuelled by fear that my expectations of “us” have officially shot through the roof and we haven’t even ordered calamari yet. I watch the strain on his brow form, as he calculates just how much of his fantasy football money he’d have to sacrifice for drugstore red roses and specialty chocolates on Valentine’s Day. Meanwhile, I’m internally caught between laughter and nausea at the thought of this guy showing up to my door with a teddy bear and a half-off box of candies — his interpretation of what me being a romantic means. Listen, handsome, just because we're indulging in $18 ceviche and the most expensive Malbec on the menu doesn't mean this is more than a booty call for me.
As women, if we show interest, we’re quickly labelled “obsessed” for moving too fast or attempting to seek clarity on the commitment level of the relationship. And if we’re not interested? We’re crazy, heartless, and cold, with no appreciation for you or the Skee-Ball skills you flaunted on our date. But get a man to openly label himself as a romantic, and it’s seen as some brave act, going above and beyond his duties as a stoic, rock-hard god to show the world he’s capable of feeling something other than fear or apathy.
It’s this double standard that girls have to deal with in the dating world, and let me tell you, it gets old real quick. Factor in the plot twist three months later when some guy admits he’s been in love with me since I scarfed down an entire chimichurri steak on our second date and didn’t “wanna mess things up” by saying it then? So over it.
That brings me to Jeremy, the epitome of today’s millennial bachelor and one of the many characters on Pop TV’s Hot Date, played by Brian K. Murphy. The new sketch comedy series touches on the never-dull themes of dating and relationships, like the hilarious double standards above. Jeremy defines “too cool for commitment” with his 24/7 smoulder and swipe-left bedroom eyes shown to Rebecca, played by co-star and real-life-wife Emily Axford. The duo begins by meeting for a casual hookup initiated by Rebecca, who sees Jeremy as nothing more than a hot piece of ass, as one does.
Of course, Jeremy twists her strictly casual interest in hooking up into a sign that she’s only here for hand-holding, babies, and future coffee-table shopping. Using Rebecca to inflate his rolling-stone ego, Jeremy spews all-too-predictable one-liners throughout the course of the night: “I’m not looking for anything serious,” “I don’t wanna give you the wrong idea,” and — every girl’s favourite — “I just don’t want you to get too attached.”
What the Jeremys of the world don’t realise is that more than ever, women live such multidimensional lives with a huge range of interests, ambitions, and opportunities at our fingertips — casual lovers included. Long gone are the days of needing a man to bring a sense of fulfilment or accomplishment to a woman’s life through financial and emotional security.
So the next time you’re eyeing your date through a wine glass, really look at the person in front of you. Are you getting IRL Jeremy vibes from someone who dominates the conversation with where your relationship won't go? If so, Uber your gorgeous self back home to bask in the greatest romance of all: a night in with yourself. And like clockwork, those types will slide into your DMs on a Friday night, just as you’re enjoying a date with a guy who, like us romantics, doesn’t break a sweat over love or a little Neruda.