When things ended with Date #4, I made a promise to myself: I wouldn’t get into another relationship for six months. It was clear that I couldn’t handle being in a relationship without losing my momentum in other areas of my life, and I was beginning to see a pattern of jumping from one long-term relationship to another. I’d been a serial monogamist since I was 14. One relationship after another. Some started before others had even ended. It was time for a change.
So, no relationships for six months. I decided that they were simply too big a distraction for the kinds of big things I was trying to achieve – applying to business school, saving for my first house, climbing the corporate ladder, crafting my own business, etc.
Did that mean I wasn’t going to have sex for six months either? I mean, let’s be realistic here. Unfortunately (or fortunately), I don’t really have it in me to sleep with someone I’m not romantically interested in, or rather couldn’t be romantically interested in. I tried the “friends with benefits” thing with GIWS, who actually ended up becoming one of my best friends after our relationship ended, but that got messy fast and I decided for the sake of our friendship that needed to be an “emergencies only” kind of thing.
New Year’s Eve rolls around. And I pick up a guy in a bar. And take him home. Ahem. I. Do. Not. Do. This. OK, well I haven’t done it since like, college. But I sort of figured, why not? I got home at 6 a.m. and slept the whole next day. Then we went out again, and I got home at 10:30 a.m. the next day. And I got a bad cold.
I’ve come to the rapid conclusion that not only are relationships a distraction, but so is sex. You heard me: sex is a distraction.
The pursuit of, anticipation of, before and after of – major distractions. How much time do women spend shaving their legs, bleaching their teeth, plucking their eyebrows, getting or giving themselves manicures and pedicures, shopping for the perfect ass jeans, putting together an outfit for a night out, doing our makeup, blow-drying our hair, posturing at the bar, convincing ourselves we can hunt down a worthwhile guy in a club when we know it’s not true, talking about it with our girlfriends, wondering if he’s going to call, and if so, when? I don’t even know how to figure out how much time guys spend thinking about it, but it’s safe to assume it’s at least 75 percent of their waking hours.
And at the end of the day, you still haven’t studied for the GMAT. You’re too tired to go for a run, and you get such a bad cold from your lack of sleep due to Mr. New Year’s Eve’s snoring that you have to take an afternoon off of work during a critical proving-yourself-in-your-new-promotion phase.
Is it worth it? Is sex just one really big distraction? It’s exciting, enticing, and when it’s good, it’s even a little dirty. But it’s fleeting. And what’s been passed up, what effort has been skimped, that lasts. A lower GMAT score, a lesser business school. A missed run can equal three missed runs since you got out of your groove, then you run a minute-less-than-average mile at your 5K. And being less than 110 percent on your career? Well, I don’t even need to go there.
Perhaps this is really why there’s such a gap between male and female earning after their 20s. It’s a lot more socially acceptable for a man to stay out of relationships while pursuing his career, or in the words of less eloquent men, “getting their shit together.” But that’s not the case for 20-something women. There must be something wrong with us if we’re not doing the sex-dating-relationships thing while pursuing our career goals as well. Somehow, we are less feminine. We become “career ladies” or are seen as ball-busters. We are told that taking our work seriously makes us masculine, and we are given tips on being sexy and career-driven at the same time. Well, that part is actually OK with me. I was clamoring along with the rest of you for Hilary to get rid of the pantsuit (seriously, woman, wear a skirt!).
I think a lot of young women are not necessarily in the settle-down life stage, and yet still feel pressured to date and search for The One in anticipation of the onset of that life stage. Why not embrace that stage? And if you still have too much on your plate, why not take sex off the menu in favor of something that will have a greater impact on your life than getting laid on New Year’s Eve?
So, I’m off it all. Sex, dating, relationships. All of it. At least while I prep for the GMAT this month. When it comes down to it, I’ve got priorities – too many if you ask anyone around me. And sex just doesn’t make the list.
Yeah. Ask me what I think in two weeks.
Photo by Bottom-Feeder via Flickr.