I think the trouble really started when the first man encountered the first woman on Earth. It led to a kind of a hunger; a hunger for what isn’t known, for what could be seemingly owned, like stumbling across your own private discovery, your own personal mission, careless of consequences and driven my primal instincts. Hunger that’s bred madmen, hunger that’s created works of art, hunger that has been disguised as love, despair, peace, humiliation, power. Hunger that’s metamorphosed into ambitions, into wars, into the creation and destruction of empires. Hunger, that since, has wounded & healed – its assault unforgiving, its hold intoxicating, and its understanding?
Well, its understanding negligible. Especially, for my generation.
Not that I’m arrogant enough to proclaim that I speak for an entire generation (not in writing, in any case) when I say this but how many times have you sneakily opened that article on thoughtcatalogue that talks about ’10 ways to decode what he meant when he sent you a blank text,’ to checking whose picture has he just liked on Facebook, to his ‘last seen’ on Whatsapp, to the minutiae of ‘the number of times he looked straight at you when you met last,’ to should you text first, to ‘does that sound like a 3 am booty call?’ to ‘maybe I just want to cuddle tonight.’
You get my drift.
There’s a special language of our own we’ve created when it comes to our 21st Century relationships. Fast, satiating, easy, cruising in this driveway today, parked in another town the next. Prisoners of the next attraction. Less talk, more action. Chasing something that always remains slightly out of reach; romanticizing the idea of a life always ready with an ‘exit route.’ We like our transactions quick, and our relationships quicker. The move onto bigger, better, slicker, faster – it’s the ambitions we’ve internalized, one eye on the prize, the other on the clock, and the next you know you’re 30 and married since there is little else left to do (I could be jumping the gun on this belief but let’s pass it off as creative license).
It’s almost a collective conscience: casual sex. God, I despise that term. Not because of what it represents; but because of what connotations its attendant cause & effects carry. Half the crowd in & around my age is involved in some version of a ‘sex on weekends/talk no more than twice a week/out the door before the condom comes off’ setup. The expectations clear, the boundaries defined & the feelings in check. That’s not to say the corollary to this doesn’t exist. The ones who settle in the first comfortable mould, the first promise of security, what is man but a creature of habit.
My contention is not the concept in itself; but the distortion of it that we’ve managed to achieve in our minds. Where we’re passing off human connection for a fleeting moment of passion, conversation for the fear of having said too much, scavenging hope for cynicism, waiting on that phone call instead of texting yourself. Why are we collectively so afraid of our own longing? Why are we so wrapped around in our own denial? How do we expect commitment without honouring it ourselves?
Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for a run-in at the local bar, or the exhilaration of a night where names needn’t be exchanged, or the convenience of a no-strings attached booty call when the liquor runs out, as does the talk credit on your phone, hell, desire is a tricky thing. But, the next time somebody calls me up to talk to me about the breakfast habits of their “casual fling,” excuse me while I tune out.