The moment you’ve all been waiting for is finally here. I got the inside scoop on men’s perception of women by asking the man himself – the biggest crush I’ve ever had. I promised an entertaining article on The Box Theory, and I fully intend to deliver. This week, I’ll spill the juicy insight I gained from the interview and give you some context on who the hell this guy is in the first place. If you haven’t already read last week’s article explaining what The Box Theory is, read that first and circle back when you’re ready. If you’re interested in the original explanation of this concept, check out the video @Tinx posted on TikTok.
Okay besties, now that everyone knows what The Box Theory is and has heard women’s thoughts in the interviews I did last week, it’s time to dive deeper. Although it’s super exciting that I featured a real romantic interest of mine in this segment, his thoughts probably won’t hold much weight to you unless you learn a little about him first, so let’s start with that.
Last summer, I met this guy at a family pool party. For the sake of protecting his anonymity, he will henceforth and forevermore be referred to as Chuck. At the party, Chuck was obnoxiously preaching some idiotic political ideologies, so I was instantly swept off my feet. Well… that’s not exactly how it went. I overheard his conversation and since I was curious about him to begin with, I made a choice that women have made for centuries – I dropped the handkerchief. A quick, “oops I’m just eavesdropping,” and I was in. Chuck was instantly easy to talk to and because his views were different from mine, I was intrigued (because I love arguing, duh). So that’s just what we did – we argued. And it was probably the most fun I’ve ever had fighting with someone. (I know, I know, not exactly a meet-cute or anything, but for my personality, it was perfect.) Chuck left that night with my Snapchat but that was it.
The next time he came over, we were having another pool party and he and I hit it off again. After a long day of arguing and laughing (and drinking too much of a certain substance), I realized I truly enjoyed this guy’s company. Everyone went to bed and because I decided he was too drunk to drive home (not at all because I wanted him to stay there with me … wink), I took his keys and had him stay the night in my room. Now get your mind out of the gutter, nothing happened – we literally just slept. And weirdly enough, that’s what did me in. Don’t worry, I’ll explain.
When I was 16 years old, I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after a slew of unpleasant events. I’ll skip the pity party and spare the depressing details, but to paint the picture for you, I was almost 20 when I met Chuck, and I was still very much affected by what had happened. I couldn’t turn my mind off no matter what I tried and over time, that really starts to eat away at a person. Nobody ever understood what I was going through and I hadn’t had a peaceful night of sleep in a long time. And then there was Chuck. For a lack of better words, I slept like a f*cking rock with him. Feeling so safe (both physically and emotionally) with someone I hardly knew was new for me and (clearly) made a lasting impression. This was unfortunate for me because as a woman who “hates men,” Chuck ruined my whole gig and became living proof of a man I didn’t hate (barf).
As much as I cared about Chuck, I knew from the start that he had his own issues to work through — I did too. It’s easy to ignore the unresolved problems and convince yourself it would work with someone you care so much about. It’s harder to accept that you both would be forcing something you weren’t ready for and ruining a good thing as a result. Not to mention, any chance of it ever working would probably be destroyed and you might hate each other forever. So, nothing serious ever came of Chuck and me. We made a lot of plans but that’s all they ever were — plans.
Now you may be thinking, your biggest crush ever is a guy that nothing ever happened with? Believe me, if it seems confusing to you, imagine how confusing it was for me. The best way I can explain it is that it wasn’t what happened with Chuck that made him such a big deal to me, it was what could’ve happened. Yes, it was significant to feel that way so quickly after meeting someone, but it was more significant that Chuck showed me good men did exist and that I could feel safe with someone again (gag). I also felt like somebody else could finally understand what I was going through. That’s not to say we’d been through remotely the same things or that I’d even shared those parts of my past with him, but he had a past of his own, so I knew he got it. Since he and I never ended up together, it made me want to be with him even more (yeah, I know, I’m in therapy).
Before I continue, I’d like to add a comment. Chuck didn’t solve my problems. He didn’t “fix” me and make all the bad stuff magically go away. That was never the reason I liked him and more importantly, it was never his responsibility to do that. I didn’t like him because he made me feel safe, that was just icing on the cake. Having that experience with him made me realize it was possible to move on from what happened.
I won’t lie to you, it wasn’t just the deep, sappy emotional stuff that attracted me to Chuck. He’s also a hot guy and the sexual tension between us has always been off the f*cking charts (but that’s a story for another time).
Anyway, fast forward to today: I still have feelings for Chuck on a certain level and I feel like I always will. We don’t see each other much but when we do talk, it’s easy and always feels good to catch up. Therein lies the real reason I can confidently identify Chuck as the biggest crush I’ve ever had. Even if we’re always just friends, I’m rooting for him and I’m excited to be around for when he sees himself the way I always did. It’s as if I value him as his own person, not just as the specific role he plays in my life (wild concept).
Well, that was a lot. I told you I would deliver this week, didn’t I? Now that you have a very detailed, firm grasp on who Chuck is, let’s get to the best part of the story. When I came up with my (very genius) idea for an in-depth analysis of The Box Theory, including behind-the-scenes details from other women, Chuck was naturally the final piece of the puzzle. When he agreed to be interviewed, I knew I would be sacrificing some confidential details of my personal life in order to give you the best article possible; however, I’m not divulging every detail from the interview because while I am dedicated to this article, I also feel weird not keeping some of the more personal stuff between him and I. Without further ado, I present to you what we have all been waiting for, learning if The Box Theory is true. Drumroll, please…
Her Campus: What goes through your mind when you first meet a new woman?
Chuck: If I’m being absolutely honest with myself and you, when I meet a girl for the first time, if there are no outside boundaries (like it’s my buddy’s girl or something), I feel like the first thing my 24-year-old male brain does is look at her, you know, check her out. Obviously, at first, it’s all superficial — I’ll look immediately at teeth and for my “things.” From there, you deviate to talking to them. It’s pretty cut and dry, it’s not anything crazy — I’m not thinking I’m gonna f*ck this girl or I’m not gonna f*ck this girl right off the bat.
HC: Moving past physical features, are there certain things you notice while talking to a girl that are deal breakers?
Chuck: It’s kind of weird to generalize it like that but it really just depends on the person you’re talking to — and this can be someone you’re talking to in an intimate way or someone who’s just cool and you want them in your circle — it comes down to me thinking, do I want to be around this person in general?
HC: Would you agree that you categorize women as having potential as a friend, as a hookup, or as a girlfriend?
Chuck: Depending on the situation, all three of those can be true at once…You could be a hookup, a friend, and then down the road, a relationship. But also, you could just be one. Sometimes all of those things mix into one person so it’s one of those things that’s just situational.
HC: Do you choose which category a woman goes in based on what you gather about her, or is it more of a subconscious thing — a gut feeling — about where she belongs? The 3 categories I’m referring to are Zero Potential, Hookup Potential, and Relationship Potential.
Chuck: Um, that’s kind of cut and dry. Meeting someone right off the bat, it’s not like I’m supersonic focused on whether I’m going to date her, be her friend, or just hook up with her. In the past I’ve looked at my significant others’ friends and thought wow you’re either not a good person or you’re this or that, to be vague. Do I categorize them for that? Absolutely.
HC: What are you referring to when you say, “to be vague”?
Chuck: …It could be that they’re just lost or have nothing going on in their life. It could be other things like noticing this girl does too many drugs or this girl oversteps boundaries or even, wow this girl is just so unintelligent…
HC: So, to summarize, you don’t choose the category, the girl ends up showing what category she belongs in?
Chuck: Yeah. Based on how a person carries themselves, that’s what category they go in.
HC: We’ve covered the No Potential category. Would you say for the other categories that you ever meet a girl and instantly know she belongs in a certain spot?
Chuck: 100%, both good and bad. In the context of my current girlfriend — she’s awesome — from the minute I met her, it wasn’t all roses and daisies, and she has flaws too but I sensed a difference in her based on what I’ve been through in the past. It’s a very different thing I’ve ever felt with somebody I’ve dated long-term before.
HC: Have you ever heard of the Box Theory?
HC: Now that you’ve learned about The Box Theory, do you agree with it?
Chuck: I kind of agree with it. I wouldn’t go and hook up with a girl that was once my girlfriend. I agree with the No Potential thing — unless someone is really desperate, they’re not going to pick from that box. If you hook up with someone you were once in a relationship with, that’s just a recipe for disaster. When there is a possessive aspect to you guys being together, you can’t go back and forth. My current girlfriend — she wanted to hook up with me, and I originally said “no.” She was kind of pulling more towards the relationship box, but I wasn’t thinking about it like that. Now I see her like that but [I didn’t at first.]
HC: So, you see her like that now because you’re in a relationship with her now?
Chuck: Maybe, yeah. She could’ve been a hookup, and she kind of was at one point, but now she’s not.
HC: Do you think women’s minds use The Box Theory when meeting men?
Chuck: No… women’s and men’s brains are wired completely differently. Women are more emotional… With men, when we need to make a decision, we think about it rationally. Maybe sometimes there is emotion involved, but the way our brains are wired is, so this is happening, what am I going to do to solve this? Do I think women do that with men? Not at all. You could not be attracted to a guy for the longest time and all of a sudden, he does something, and that emotional thing kicks in, and you just ride that wave until you catch feelings or whatever happens.
HC: Can a woman in the ZP box ever change categories?
Chuck: It’s based on the situation, it depends. I can’t give a definitive answer.
HC: So, is that aspect of the theory wrong? That a woman can never switch boxes?
Chuck: [Right,] I do not agree with that.
HC: Can someone in the hookup box ever become that girl who when you look at her, hear her voice, or think about her, you think f*ck yeah that’s my girlfriend or she’s going to be my girlfriend?
Chuck: I think we all try to [see women that way] as men. Especially when you’re dating a girl that you did do that with [start dating when she was originally in the hookup box]. Maybe you do see her in that way now, maybe you don’t.
HC: Can you feel when you’re trying to see her that way versus seeing her that way as a gut feeling?
Chuck: Yes, I’ve done it before, 100%.
HC: Can a woman in the girlfriend box ever change boxes?
Chuck: Yes! If it ends, she can go to the no potential box.
HC: Even if when you first met her, she was a shoo-in to the girlfriend box?
Chuck: That’s how it always is – you always fall in love with the idea of somebody. It never works out the way you think it’s going to. In the same way I said it doesn’t work to put a girlfriend back in the hookup box, it can absolutely work to put her back to the no potential box because you’ve already been through it.
HC: What box was I in when you first met me?
Chuck: You’re such a d*ck. It’s kind of hard to say… When I first started talking to you it was f*cking spitfire … And I was definitely doing the dude thing, you know, checking you out and sh*t. But I don’t think I really put you in a box. In this environment, I’m not on the prowl at a club or something.
HC: So, was there a gut feeling saying anything when you met me?
Chuck: Yeah, so with that it was like — immediately, I’m used to giving [people] shit and you do it quite well… I know our political standpoints differ a lot, and that captivated me in a sense because it was just f*cking hilarious to sit there and banter back and forth like we were some f*cking sexually frustrated f*cking married couple.
HC: Married couple? That’s screaming “gut feeling.”
Chuck: No, no it’s not. It’s a term of… it’s an expression. I don’t want to say I put you in a box… It’s an expression, not necessarily an expression of feelings… It just seems weird to say, “Oh we just hooked up.” That would be the only category that I could put you in, but I don’t want to put you in that category… It didn’t feel that way to me at all. I don’t really know — it was just fun. And I don’t think I can categorize that.
HC: So, referring to us as a “married couple” doesn’t reflect how you felt about me, it more so reflects the vibes of our first conversation?
Chuck: No, it was [just] fun, dude.
HC: The last question is asking if there is anything I have done or can do to change my box, but you said I’m not in a box, so I’m guessing this question is void. Correct me if I’m wrong.
Chuck: Yeah, no, it’s not something I can put a definitive answer to.
Well, you heard it here first. To recap, The Box Theory does exist but it’s not quite as rigid as @Tinx made it out to be. Guys do categorize women, but those relationships can change in men’s minds the same way they do in women’s. It may be a bit harder to make that transition, but it is possible, at least according to Chuck’s experience.
I hope everyone has been entertained and informed by this two-part series, and if you’re struggling to get into the box you want, hold out hope because it’s not impossible. At the same time though, if he doesn’t view you in the way you want to be viewed right now, he either doesn’t like you or he’s not in a place where he can be with you anyway. And to that, I say shift your focus back onto yourself. Instead of waiting around for the day he can give you what you want, (psst… which may never happen) either give that stuff to yourself or find someone else who can. Although it may be cheesy, I fully believe in the age-old tale that when you let something go, it will come back to you if it’s meant to be yours.
That wraps us up for Part 2 of The Box Theory. Thank you for reading if you’ve made it this far. Until next week, besties.