Boys, Boys, Boys!!!!!!!!

By Bindu Adai-Mathew

Boys. Sigh. My favorite topic between the ages of 13 and 29…even now that I am thirty (cough) something, I still feel like I could write a 10 volume novel on my thoughts on boys. I spent most of my youth trying to decode the male species, only to realize later (Oprah calls them “Ah ha” moments) that it was my own craziness that complicated them in the first place. 

 As a veteran of adolescence and my twentysomething years, my first instinct is to save all you single women the trouble, the hassle, the craziness of boys. But I know it’s futile.

 I want to tell you that you don’t need boys to make you happy or to feel complete. But that’s not completely the truth, is it? After all, two of the biggest things in life— marriage and children seem to require one primary ingredient…BOYS! 

 Sigh. You know the saying. Can’t live with them. Can’t live without them.

 So we might as well talk about them. Lord knows, we don’t have anything else productive to do…and who are we kidding, talking about boys is fun!…Sometimes.

 Boys. Let’s see…(and yes, I know I’m stereotyping here, but bear with me…) You have the Nice Guy. The Too Nice Guy So I Can’t Date You Guy. The Rebel. The Momma’s Boy. The Friend without Benefits. The Friend with Benefits. The I Don’t Know How You Got into My Life but Okay, You’re Here, Now What? Guy. The Rebound Guy. The <fill in your own blank> guy, and (drum roll, please) one of the all-time favorites…or maybe it was just my friends who seemed to like him…The Unavailable Guy.

 Awww, yes. The Unavabilable Guy. You know him. The guy you meet, you think is cute, you think he thinks you’re cute. He gets your number, you wait by the phone anxiously waiting for his call only to wonder a few days later if 1) he lost your number 2) he got eaten by a bear 3) he is nursing his sick mother back to health and that’s why he hasn’t called you. or even more realistically 4) he is secretly part of the CIA and was called oversees in a secret, covert mission that is being overseen by the President himself. No wonder he hasn’t called…he is too busy saving the world from terrorists!

Ah, yes, Unavailable Guy. You wait for him. You make excuses for him. You finally realize that maybe, just maybe he’s not interested in you and that’s why he’s not calling. You promise to put him out of your mind…you go on with your life, and the suddenly WHAM! He calls. Turns out he WAS nursing his sick mom back to health! See, you were right all along.

You go out with Unavailable Guy. Unavailable Guy seems even cuter than when you first met him. (Doesn’t everything look more appealing when you know you can’t have it?) You have a great time at dinner and at the movies. He drops you off safely at home, promising to call you…

And he does. Two months later.

Unavailable Guy. Ah yes. So complicated. So mysterious. So…enough already!

I spent years counseling my friends as they dated Unavailable Guy. Like my friends, I, too, made excuses. Oh, I could tell by the way he accidentally touched your arm at a 20 degree angle, that he’s really into you…   And oh, his mom must have had another bad cold, but I’m sure after she’s better, he’ll call you again. As their best friend, I was in denial of the one truth that stood out like a blaring neon sign…Unavailable Guy was….unavailable…


 And then somewhere in my twenties, I finally saw that episode of Sex and The City. The one that opened my eyes. You know the “He’s Just Not That Into You” episode where the girls are all out for dinner and Miranda is going on and on about this guy she went out with who seems a little distant and is making excuses not to spend time with her. Carrie and Charlotte immediately make excuses like “Oh, it’s probably work…he’s probably just stressed out and will call you when it gets better.” In the background, you see Carrie’s date, shaking his head and stating the obvious: “He’s just not that into you…”  Carrie is horrified and immediately makes excuses for his response, but Charlotte appears to have an “Ah ha” moment when she realizes the truth was staring her in the face all along. Rather than feeling disappointed, she actually looks relieved. It gives new meaning to the phrase that the truth shall set you free. Miranda quips, “If someone had told me that years ago, I could have saved myself years of therapy.”

 As I watched that episode, a lightbulb went off in my head. I got it! I really got it. So that’s why so and so never called?! Wow. So simple. And yet so true. I had spent the better half of my youth talking about boys, trying to decode them, trying to understand them. I could have saved myself years of pointless conversations!

 I immediately called a couple of my girlfriends to share my newfound wisdom. They “ah ha-ed” right along with me, and together we giggled over our silliness over the years. Yes, it was pointless trying to dissect men and their behavior, we decided. If they weren’t calling, if they weren’t setting up dates with us, then they were obviously not into us. They were unavailable, and that was it. There was nothing to dissect or understand. A comfortable, relieved silence hung over the phone as we each let those words of wisdom sink in…we felt wise, empowered…free…but soon that silence stretched until it became downright uncomfortable and awkward….and in minutes, we were grappling with something much, much more perturbing: If we didn’t have boys to talk about and dissect to death, what was there to talk about????  What could we jointly bond together with over a pint of ice cream while on a couch? Or over some glasses of pink cosmopolitans?

Boys. Can’t live with them. Can’t live without talking about them.

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