As I watched the gray “delivered” pop up underneath my blue message, I felt a strong wave of regret wash over me. The text in question wasn’t risqué, combative, or otherwise worthy of the nerves that jangled inside me as soon as I hit send. It was a simple “hi” lacking punctuation and proper capitalization. I hoped it would lack a clear agenda. It was a message with no business being launched so recklessly into the stratosphere, especially when considering the slim chance there was that the recipient would even respond. Nothing had compelled me to send it, other than the rush I knew that would come as a result of opening the floodgates and beginning a conversation with the person to whom it had been delivered.
It was just another late Saturday night that had stretched seamlessly into another early Sunday morning. I was bored at a party and looking for something more interesting. Either fortunately or unfortunately, the gentleman recipient of said text message wouldn’t reply until the next morning. By which point I was severely sleep deprived, and even more severely disinterested in anything that didn’t consist of greasy breakfast food or romantic comedies. Even if the conversation had come to fruition the night prior, the relationship would never. I didn’t even want it to. In the bright sunlight (okay, beneath big sunglasses in the bright sunlight) I had no interest in the boy to whom the phone was attached. When I sent that “hi” the night before, it was out of interest in him, but equal interest as to whether or not he would reply. I hadn’t been looking for a relationship, just for a little chase.
I go to a big school in a small town that fully revolves around the university it surrounds. When there are 18 to 22-year-olds everywhere you look, it can be easy to become infatuated with the effortless flirtations. They go as easily as they come, and seem to occur at hyper speeds Thursday through Saturday night. If you’re looking for someone to chase, there’s always someone who is ready to run. It’s fun and it’s easy. You get ready, you go out, you dance, you flirt, and you repeat that same cycle night after night until you find someone who piques your interest. From there, you begin to get to know each other. And that’s usually where I take my cue.
Until recently, I was concerned that there might be something wrong with me. The last guy I cared about enough to shed actual tears over had left my life two months before I started college, and I was worried that he’d taken my emotions with him. That’s not to say that I had become an ice queen. I still cry a lot (over books, movies, and basically every dog video on Facebook) and still love a lot, too (my family, my friends, and listening to Future with the windows down). It’s also not to say that I haven’t had relationships with guys since him. I have. But for the past three years, I’ve found it difficult to develop a relationship with a guy that lasts much further than the infatuation stage.
It’s the getting-to-know-you that I like best. It’s fun because it’s interesting, light, and easy. You never quite know for sure what’s going to happen next. A little banter fueled by a little beer- right up my alley. And then after a while, the texts start to come more frequently. Right around that time is when I start to feel myself losing interest. Maybe it’s because I’m busy. Maybe it’s because I hate texting. Or maybe it’s because I’m in college, and so are virtually all of the guys I’m interested in.
I started to think that I was addicted to the chase. And maybe I am. I enjoy meeting new guys and getting to know them. I’m also perpetually ready to begin the process anew. On occasion, I run into someone who I’d been talking to a few months prior, which inevitably causes me to wonder why we’d fallen off in the first place. Like a Renoir painting, it seems that the more I examine the reason behind my chronic inability to commit, the more fuzzy and abstract the reason becomes. But like a Renoir, maybe the key isn’t in the details but hidden in the bigger picture.
It isn’t the constant meeting new people that continues to keep me engaged. It isn’t even the casual hangouts or run-ins at parties. It’s something more. I’m not addicted to the chase because for me, it’s simply a means to an end. The reason that I like the chase so much is because with every deep voice introducing itself as Matt or Ethan or Tanner, comes a chance that this could be it. This could be the one that everyone thinks about, talks about, and looks for. For all I know, the next Matt I meet could be the one who keeps me interested even after I post the first Instagram. That’s what the chase is all about, anyway. You’re chasing the possibility that ~*love*~ might be waiting right inside the next frat party, or around the corner at the library.
And maybe it will be. That’s why it’s so fun..