After clarifying in my last blog how to tell when your “That's it. I'm out” moment has occurred in a romantic relationship, I was inundated by emails containing the following lament:
“But how can I break up with a boyfriend when I can't even get a boyfriend in the first place???”
Girls, girls, girls. I see it is time to reveal to you a secret apparently known only to me and a few select others. Clearly, it is time to let you know about:
The Boyfriend Store.
To tell you the truth, I sort of forgot about the Boyfriend Store until my mom reminded me of it during my recent visit. She was like, “Remember when you used to go to the Boyfriend Store?” and I was like, “What are you talking about?”
Then she reminded me how back in high school, when I'd get sick of whatever guy I was dating at the time (or if he had already dumped me or turned gay or whatever), I would say, “Well, looks like it's time for a trip to the Boyfriend Store.”
That's when it all came rushing back to me. I can't BELIEVE I've been so selfish not to share it with all of you before now.
Because really, even though it isn't very feminist of me (and yes, unlike Gwen Stefani according to this month's ALLURE, I do consider myself a feminist, but that is an issue for another blog) that is how I viewed school (you know, besides as something I had to get through so that someday I could get a job and buy my own shampoo, which would only be Paul Mitchell, NEVER Suave):
As a giant Boyfriend Store.
Not to disappoint you, but the Boyfriend Store isn't an actual place. It's a state of mind. Unlike the characters in the books I write, I didn't always have one particular guy I was crushing on–especially in high school, where the romantic pickings were, shall we say, on the slim side. I was looking for a soul mate, and most of the guys at my school—well, let's just say, being soul mates—especially with a weirdo like me who wore red Converse high tops with lipstick to match–was not what they had in mind.
But they say you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your handsome prince, so I was willing to give it a shot. I mean, you can't tell if the guy's a frog or a prince until you've spent time with him in a one-on-one social sitch, right?
That's how I came up with the concept of the Boyfriend Store, where girls shop for their one true love, and where exchanges or returns are easy, and, unlike in many stores, even encouraged!
To get the Boyfriend Store, you simply have to look around. You know a lot of guys, right? I mean, they're everywhere, making up a good half of the population. They're easy to spot: they're generally the ones with the stupid looking baggy pants, talking about something you have to pretend like you're interested in, like JACKASS, the movie.
Of course, there are some guys in the store you have to rule out right away. This includes guys that are heavily into drinking and drugging. Girls, it just not worth it. Trust me on this one. To quote Cher from the move CLUELESS, “It is one thing to spark up a doobie and get laced at parties, but it is quite another to be fried all day.”
And don't think you can change them, because they will only change if and when they decide to, and no amount of pleading, extortion, money, or babies on your part will make a difference.
I would also rule out guys that are too old—and by too old, I would say any guy who is so much older than you that dating you would be a crime, or that he might be mistaken for your dad, is too old. Sure, he's got money. He's also going to dump you for someone even younger when you finally develop a backbone and tell him you don't WANT to watch the ballgame tonight. Say buh-bye now.
I was never that into guys who were a lot younger than me, either. I mean, guys are immature enough. What are the chances that a 14 year old is really going to be able to relate to you on an emotional level when you're filling out college apps? Yeah, not so much.
And while I have dated the occasional intellectually-challenged guy, you don't want to hook up with a guy who is too dumb, either. This may work while he's got his tongue in your mouth, but the minute the kissing stops and the conversation starts, look out. How many episodes of PUNK'D can you really stand to hear described, anyway?
And then there are the guys who aren't interested in girls. Rule them out right away, too (and, ladies, forget about trying to get them to switch sides. It'll never happen, and even if it does, do you REALLY want to be dating a guy who is attracted not just to other girls, but to other guys, as well? That's DOUBLE the amount of people he could potentially cheat on you with. Take my word for it: don't even go there).
Now take a good look at what's left:
You may find it hard to believe, but each and every one of those guys has boyfriend potential.
I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, “Um, I have known THAT guy since I was five, no WAY could I ever date him. And THAT guy is too short for me. And THAT guy won't even speak to me.”
There is no place for this kind of thinking in the Boyfriend Store. The Boyfriend Store is all about being open-minded, and considering ALL the available merchandise, no matter how dented or skinny or chubby or dingy it might seem on the surface. You know how on makeover shows there's always that one girl who won't try on the dress the stylist says will look great on her, because she insists it will look bad on her?
Do NOT be that girl. YOU NEVER KNOW UNTIL YOU TRY IT ON.
That is the motto of the Boyfriend Store.
Okay, sure, you may have known the guy since he was five. But chances are, he's interested in something other than Tonka trucks these days. Why not give him a chance to prove it?
And okay, the guy may be shorter than you—but does he have a good sense of humor? Because I can assure you, I'd take a guy who can make me laugh over wearing Polly Pumps any day.
And the guy who doesn't speak to you—why do you think that is? Is it that he doesn't know you're alive? Or is it that he thinks you're too smart/pretty/athletic/popular ever to look his way, and he's written you off as unattainable? Maybe he's as insecure as you are about dating. Maybe he's just scared of being rejected.
One of the rules of the Boyfriend Store is that you cannot rule out anyone as potential boyfriend material until you have thoroughly examined the merchandise. Yes, this means going out with some guys who may not exactly be considered conventionally handsome or popular by your peers. Because if you limit yourself in this way, you are going to be sorry.
Case in point: there was a very, very funny guy in my school who, though hilarious, wasn't considered conventionally good looking and was hardly popular. Because of the guy's unpopularity, a friend of mine, with whom this guy was smitten, wouldn't listen to my theory on the Boyfriend Store, and give him a chance.
So I struck a bargain with her: I would go out with him first, and if he proved date-able, she'd go out with him after.
But even after I went out with him—and reported back that, away from the classroom, where he apparently felt the urge to act like a clown at all times, the young man in question proved to be a sweet, sensitive guy, and a GREAT date, totally funny, and a complete gentleman–she refused to give him a chance: she couldn't get over her fear of dating a non-popular guy.
You know what happened to her, of course: She made it so clear she'd rather go out with no guy at all
than go out with a guy who wasn't #1 on the popularity list, she ended up never being asked out by anyone at all.
As for me? Well, I took that guy to the Prom, and had a blast.
Well, okay, that last part was a total lie. I didn't go to the Prom with the guy because by the time the Prom rolled around, I had already gone back to the Boyfriend Store for a new guy. I will admit, I was a little addicted to the Boyfriend Store. It was just so FUN to try out all their new products every couple of months. Or weeks. Or even days.
Visit it yourself this school year, and see! You may not find Prince Charming, but I guarantee you'll have a good time.
PS Confidential to He Who Shall Not Be Named In This Blog, otherwise known as the best—and hopefully final–buy I ever made at the Boyfriend Store: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!