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I Don’t Have Time For This

Submitted by LeahG on April 9, 2010 – 7:50 pmComments

By: Leah Goldstein

“Excuse me…how does that work?” I am on a train platform early on a Saturday night in New York, and a gangly hipster had finally approached me (he had already taken two nervous laps around the platform). “What?” I looked up from my book of Sudoku, as he motioned for me to take my ear-buds out. He addressed my boobs for his next question, “How does it…I mean, is there math involved?” I was not nearly drunk enough to indulge this caliber of terrible flirting, “No. The numbers might as well be symbols.” “But…like, how does it—“

‘I don’t have time for this,’ I caught myself thinking. This seemed absurd as I was literally passing my time while waiting for the train by putting numbers into boxes, columns and rows. But, maybe what I really meant was that I didn’t have enough emotional space for an interaction that was (presumably) going nowhere.

Women in New York are bombarded with male attention. It seems that if you are merely conscious and ambulatory, you will no doubt hear a few “DAMN SHORTY’s” before your day is out. I’m almost positive this was part of the original pitch for the advent of noise cancelling headphones.

It is probably also the fast pace of the city itself, and the sheer numbers of adorable hipsters available for the taking that makes me (and my friends) a little impatient with the guys (and girls) in New York. I find that my friends and I are constantly lamenting our time being wasted by someone who “isn’t looking for anything serious,” or just wants to “hang out.” Not that many of us are by any means ready for commitment, but it is a little annoying to see someone regularly for a few months, only to realize that you could’ve been exploring other options to a greater extent than you had been.

Do I advocate grilling your current flame “WHAT IS THIS? WHERE ARE WE GOING? AM I WASTING MY TIME?” No that is: (1) crazy, and (2) handing over the power of defining the relationship. However, I don’t think that guys or girls  really consider the full extent of our choices. If we actually like someone amidst the rabble, it probably really means something.  That is probably something that both men and women should keep in mind as we are browsing through our ber-jillionz of options, and people to “hang out” with.

Personally, I’m pretty much over the whole “friends with benefits” thing (for now). And dating is pretty exhausting. I found that I’ve become a huge believer in trying to relax and enjoy, but nobody wants to look the fool.  It is never really safe to assume that there are no definitions without risking somebody getting hurt (and dwindling text messages and increased time between communications are by no means good ways to let someone know you aren’t that into it anymore).

I guess it’s just up to us to have the acumen to spot time wasters before getting involved. A few obvious things: people who have recently ended relationships, changed jobs, just moved to New York, etc. All-in-all, I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I am entirely too busy (building a career, proving that I deserve the same pay as men while building  said careers, keeping creepy cat-callers at bay, etc) to waste time on people who either don’t mean business, or don’t have the guts to say what they want, and/or avoid the conversation when asked.

Leah Goldstein is a writer/musician/social scientist who lives in Brooklyn, and kind of loves having ADHD. You can find her on twitter @thetarhythm

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