We need to talk.
I know that when you reach the end of a long relationship, a lot of different things run through your mind. I know this because you often think out loud.
“Maybe we’ll get back together,” you say dreamily as you watch the promo for next week’s “Gossip Girl”.
“I think I gained weight when we were dating,” you pout as you try to squeeze on that skirt you last wore in February.
“What if he’s already over me?” you worry as you comb through his Facebook and wrack your brain for his password so you can look in his message inbox.
Then there’s something else that occurs to you, a thought that changes the entire way you’ve been looking at the situation. Generally, this crosses your mind a weekend or two after the breakup. As you ascend the driveway in your sexiest heels, casually open the front door of the house party you were invited to, and see a room full of available, virile men, it hits you like Baby hit Britney (one more time):
“Wait. Have I really made out with only one dude for the past six months?”
And just like that you’re off — grinding on the dance floor with that hottie from the school newspaper, up against the wall with the straight archie with the industrial piercing, tripping up the stairs with the mildly unattractive guy who might have graduated a few years ago but still shows up at parties.
The next morning you have seven hickies and two phone numbers as souvenirs from the night. You turn to me and ask what kind of brain damage you suffered that you went into a closet with Grimy O’Beergut. I respond that I’m not sure, but you certainly seemed pleased that you only let him get to third.
It seems that you have a severe case of PB&J, a common disorder among young college women who find themselves post-breakup and jonesing for some man. PB&J can lead to many a wrong choice in hookup, often resulting in discomfort, regret, and occasional teasing from close friends.
But don’t you worry; the negative symptoms of PB&J are easily treatable. It doesn’t even require those expensive creams or sour-tasting cranberry juices like your other ailments. Before you hook up with any guy, you just need to ask yourself the following questions.
Do I want this dude, or am I just worried my ex has already moved on?
The negative effects of PB&J are often exacerbated by insecurity and wounded pride. Maybe you ended your relationship, maybe he did — but regardless of who ended things, chances are you don’t want to the one left behind as he starts things up with someone new. I mean, people might think you were one of those sad women who can’t let go of the past and holds Girl Scouts hostage as she unearths a daunting stack of scrapbooks to go through.
Naturally, you panic. You aren’t one of those sad women and people should know it! Besides, your stack of scrapbooks is not that daunting!
In a rush to prove yourself and avoid a bleak future, you grab the nearest source of testosterone and have at it. But, as my mother has told me on numerous occasions, the nearest man is very rarely the most bangable.
I may have been paraphrasing there.
In any case, you just need to take a moment to calm yourself. Understand that no one will look on you poorly if you take a break between men, as long as you are making an effort to be active and move on from your breakup. And part of moving on is getting your mind off what your ex might be doing.
Or, rather, whohe might be doing.
Do I crave this bro, or do I just want to get my rebound out of the way?
There’s a commonly held belief that you can’t truly get over an ex until you have a meaningless fling with someone else, and you don’t want to that fling to be with anyone you’d seriously consider dating. So what’s the obvious fix? Hook up with a gross guy that you’d never want to see again! Right?
Wrong! Hooking up with a gross guy can happen for a lot of reasons — you lost your contacts, and that blurry mass talking to you seems attractive enough; he has lots money, and paying for dinner in this economy is just too burdensome; the evidence you need to clear your father’s name is in his apartment, and you are distracting him while your friend sneaks in to steal it — but feelings of obligation should not be one of them. There are plenty of decently attractive, nice guys that wouldn’t fit with you in a relationship, but would fit with you, say, in an extra-long twin-size bed.
Don’t settle on someone you’ll only regret. Save that for when you’re 50 and still single.
Do I fancy this gent, or have I already reached my quota tonight?
As reality television has taught us well, moderation is important in everything you do. A nice golden hue may cause one to look more healthy and striking, but taking it too far can make a girl on the Shore look like a burnt Oompa Loompa. And while parenting can be an incomparable joy, tacking on kids until you’re at 19 (and counting) may lead those around you to conclude that you’ve founded your own cult.
Your romantic life is no exception.
While it may be liberating to mark the end of a long, monogamous relationship with an unbridled burst of playing the field, you might want to put a cap on the amount of players running around. A new man each week? Fine. A different man each night? Okay… A different man each hour? Now that’s just a technical foul.
Watch out that you don’t get so carried away with your newfound freedom that you have multiple partners at a single party. Not only does that rapidly increase your risk of catching a nasty cold, but it also drastically increases the chances of a drunken brawl between jealous bros. And that kind of shit is only cool for Helen of Troy.
Now can I please get some props for successfully incorporating a sports reference?
Do I desire this beefcake, or am I not thinking clearly?
I don’t mean to imply that you would ever do something like this, but I hear that somegirls occasionally consume so much alcohol that they get involved with guys that they normally wouldn’t. Shocking, right? I know you’d never do anything so irresponsible and dangerous.
But just in case you ever fall into a serious lapse of judgment that leaves you so toasted that you’re practically burnt to a crisp, I figured I should give you some advice to mitigate the amount of trouble you get yourself into.
This situation is much tougher. PB&J is already hard enough to overcome, and “altered you” is far less reasonable to deal with. This is, after all, the girl who thought it’d be a good idea to attempt the choreography to “Bad Romance” at 3 am in front of a police car.
All I can tell you is that “altered you” should try to follow the example of “unaltered you.” If “altered you” sets her sights on a casual acquaintance, then she should consider whether “unaltered you” has ever found this boy attractive before. If the answer is no, “altered you” should throw this one back and try again. Just try your best to figure it out. WWUAYD?
Yes, ask yourself these simple questions, and you can prevent PB&J from turning your night into a night you’d rather forget.
Although if you’d rather throw caution to the wind, then by all means go right ahead — because every night you’d rather forget is a night that is fun as hell for me to remember.