Last Friday, I drove off to the Oklahoma State Fair with a group of my friends to eat deep fried Oreos, see day-old (and magically already smelly) baby animals, and – yes – enjoy a concert by none other than the original boy band themselves, Boyz II Men.
I know, right?
While enjoying the songs with a group of nostalgic twenty- and thirty-somethings (“I’ll make love to you, Boyz II Men!”), something started to bother me. Between every few songs, one of the members would stop to make a power speech to the audience, always along the lines of “For the past 20 years, you’ve always been there for us, Oklahoma – you know where the true talent and the true passion is, and that’s with us, and you’ve stuck by us that whole time.”
Now, hang on just a second there. First of all, you’ve really been putting out music for 20 years? I’m only 21. That’s a pretty broad statement.
But here’s the bigger deal. I actually am not their biggest fan – I was never that into their music growing up, and I can promise you that I was not the only one in that crowd of 6,000 people (one of the Boyz said that’s how many people it looked like were there) who felt that way. Maybe it’s not that big of a deal, but it made me wonder – how many guys think that their exes are just hanging around, pining for them and waiting for their big comeback?
First, let’s kick out the needy ex-girlfriend stereotype and think about how boys handle the situation. As much as you hear that “Boys really don’t care – they just want to have sex with someone else and they’ll be fine,” I honestly think that if you have invested any time or emotion into that relationship, regardless of your gender, it hurts to see your ex with someone else. Pretend it doesn’t, go ahead – but everyone knows it hurts some.
Maybe this says something about Mr. Big and not men on the whole, but even now, when we haven’t spoken for months, I’ll put something on Facebook about having a good night or hanging out with a guy friend or two, and he’ll post a raving tweet or Facebook status that I know is directed to me. We were together for almost two years – I know that boy inside and out (do with that what you will).
And he isn’t the first of my exes to do this – I mean, I know I tend to date losers, but let’s be real.
What do they think that does for me? I can tell you right now that it doesn’t make me want to:
a) Post an equally emo-tastic tweet or status to show him that I, too, feel angst about the situation.
b) Call him up, begging him to take me back, no matter how poorly he treated me.
c) Swear off dating because he broke my heart and I just cannot go on without him.
d) Tell a mutual friend how much I miss him in hopes that the grapevine will go through and he will be able to feel vindicated in his “I am sad we are not together but I think it is for the best” mindset.
e) All of the above.
Have I thought about doing any of those things? Well, sure. I’d be lying if I said none of them had ever crossed my mind in the most brief, most fleeting of moments. The only thing this really brings to mind is the age-old adage – Never take seriously anything that is said on the Internet. But really. Don’t.
Why do all men I’ve ever met (and women, too, but my column is about men, so we’ll stick to that territory) think they’re the college equivalent of The Hef – studly enough to get all the girls and charming enough to break their hearts and keep them strung along? I certainly have never met anyone who could actually do that, although I know many who have tried.
Yes, we women usually hold a special place in our hearts for those we truly thought we loved. Those deep relationships do leave an impression. But there is a reason those relationships are over. There’s a reason you don’t talk anymore. Men, apparently, tend to forget that.
Once we’ve accepted that it’s over (this can take anywhere from 24 hours to, well, an embarrassingly long time), we move on. We go on other dates, we enter other relationships. We no longer find ourselves madly in love with you. We see those flaws, and we know why it didn’t work out.
So when you sidle up to us, months or years later, and make some callous comment or joke about when we were together, it doesn’t bring up steamy memories. It just reminds us of why we’re not together anymore, which probably doesn’t bode well for you in this situation.
Save yourself some face if you feel the need to chat us up when you see us later in life, and don’t act like we were just waiting for you to drop back into our lives. We weren’t. I promise.
Boyz II Men, I’m glad things are going well for you again. You played a good show. But don’t pretend that you’re not a 90s boy band that we only went to see for nostalgic purposes. We’re just not that into you.