Call me Boy Crazy. Actually, Please Don’t.

Yesterday I had a couple of beers with an old friend who I hadn’t seen in years.

Along with one other girl–to whom neither of us now speak–she and I had an enchanted summer together during college: in the days we drank frozen coffees and read Lorrie Moore stories in our bathing suits, in the evenings we waitressed, badly, and at night we put on vintage dresses and bicycled to one or the other of two grungy but hip St. Paul bars, where we drank gin and tonics and kissed boys in bands. It was epically fun.

Over our first beer we caught up on the developments in one another’s lives over the past five or so years–including her recent marriage to a man she’d long been dating.

And over our second, we began to reminisce about the charms of that summer: both of us confessed to frequent, indulgent nostalgia.

“I think about how much fun we had kinda a lot,” I admitted.

“Me too!” she assured me. And then she said, “But isn’t it sort of embarrassing  how boy crazy we were? Sometimes I look back and I just feel embarrassed.”

I began to reflexively agree with her–but couldn’t long suppress the look of puzzlement that generally assaults my face when I feel vaguely insulted.

“I guess so…” I said.

As also often happens, I couldn’t well articulate my actual response in the moment. And frankly I’m not sure I can do much better at articulating it now. But I’m going to try. Because the response that I felt when she used the term was pretty similar to the way  I remember feeling when a different friend used it–also to describe me, but in the present–soon after I moved to Washington.

I had just gotten out of a big relationship and was meeting men frequently–though I never dated more than one at a time or routinely biked around strictly to make out with bass players. I was enjoying my newfound singledom.

“Do you really think I’m boy crazy?” I remember consulting another friend later on.

“Kind of,” he’d said. “But it’s fine! It’s who you are!” I’m pretty sure he then likened me to Elaine from Seinfeld, at which point I became distracted by the comparison.

Despite his assurance, though, being labeled with that term didn’t make me feel “fine”: it made me feel bad. To use my college friend’s term, it made me feel embarrassed.

Hearing her use it now to talk about the past may have struck a nerve even more raw–because, of course, the thing I immediately thought to myself was, “Am I any less boy crazy now?” And then I thought, “Even if I am, is it something to be embarrassed about?”

(Galvanizng my skepticism was the quick realization that there is not, in fact, an equivalent term for men: “girl crazy?” I don’t think so. So far as I can tell it’s called being heterosexual.)

Unsure how to proceed in making this calculation, I resorted to my new mode of blog research: typing phrases into Google and clicking on the “Urban Dictionary” link that pops up on the first page.

The definition gets little more specific than “attraction to multiple males.” In my reading, and according to my new way of thinking, it can pretty much describe any woman who is single and would like to have a boyfriend.

Sure, there are different ways of being single, but I’d call all of them different degrees of contentment with being alone. Most women I know who don’t have boyfriends would like to have them: with varying levels of intensity, sure, and varying modes of effort toward acquiring one.

For me it’s a day to day thing: some days I love being on my own, and others I really wish I had a guy to share things with.

Okay, usually it’s the latter. But is that so “crazy”? Honestly, I think it’s pretty normal. And I don’t think it’s something we should feel embarrassed about.

Hell, I’m not even going to feel embarrassed about drunkenly biking to bars and kissing a couple boys that summer. I did it cause I wanted to, and cause it was fun. (Also, cause I was nineteen.) And there’s nothing crazy, or even really embarrassing, about that.

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3 Comments

Filed under Love Life

3 responses to “Call me Boy Crazy. Actually, Please Don’t.

  1. Jos

    I enjoyed the following game in the 80’s and found the cards again at a thrift store a few years ago. If I meet a boy and have a card with his name on it, I pass it along to him. Does this make me boy crazy? Or just like, super cool? I think you are super cool, with or without the cards…or the boy crazy-ness.

    http://games.jdmag.net/default.aspx?dir=/dir/Trading_Card_Games/Boy_Crazy/Parent-Teen:_Boy_Crazy!_The_Cards/index-2-65-624-0-0-0-.html

  2. I have noticed that not a lot of women like to admit that they want a boyfriend, and they are more willing to admit it to their female friends than to men they meet.

    And you made a good point about there being no equivalent term for men. We are supposed to want girlfriends.

    That said, I actually have been called girl-crazy.

  3. I love that you broached this topic! When I think back to my younger self, I know that I was boy crazy. It was different than it is now. Now I enjoy the company of men, and if I were single, would want companionship. When I was young, I would want to have a crush just for the sake of having one. Boys were entertainment, even fantasizing about boys was entertaining. I’d doodle boys names on my notebooks, picture myself reenacting romantic films with them. Oh the joy of being young! I never felt embarrassed about it. For me, I see it as part of the coming of age process. If someone told me today I was boy crazy, I’d be much more offended, but in reflecting on my past, I’m actually ok with it, though I do see the double standard you point out.

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