By Leigh Newman
Times have changed -- but so have you. Columnist Leigh Newman opens up about the soul-shredding gymnastics that we can skip in our relationships this time around.
No More Magical Math
Sometimes we're so concerned or worried or -- okay, panicked -- about the future of a relationship, we resort to a form of late night, scientific crunching called magical math. We subtract the time it is now from the time he last called/emailed/texted and compare that figure with the median number of hours that pass between his average calls/emails/texts. We calculate the probability of our having been boring/too tired/too intimidated/too loud during the last dinner. We forecast the percentage of times he's broken up with other people based on a numerical analysis of his past relationships. We guestimate if he's a big fat jerk. <br> <br> Here is the ugly truth: If you got beyond the second grade, you <em>literally</em> know better. This kind of thinking is not math. It is self-torture, and the last thing that is going to make love come to you is a session of emotional waterboarding. Go to sleep. Wake up in the morning. If you have to use all the rapid-fire brain power, balance your checkbook and examine the rate of return in your real-life IRA.
No More Fear-Based Girl Scout Sex (Or Porn Star Sex)
It's embarrassing but true. So many of us this do this: Even if we love somebody, we fail to bring up that we like to do it in the movie theater bathroom, because we're afraid of being called a pervert. Or we fail to bring up that we like the missionary style, because we're afraid of being considered frigid and old-fashioned. <br> <br> Thankfully <em>Fifty Shades of Grey</em> has just been confirmed by Publisher's Weekly as the best-selling book of 2012 thus far. Porn -- even if it's called "mommy porn" -- is now so mainstream that people are poring over its titillating pages at restaurants or on the beach... and in the paperback, not the ereader, version. My architect, a guy in his late 40s, left the book on his desk at work, proving once and for all that there's simply no need for you to stifle your secret, weird desires. First, they're not that weird. Second, sexual self-confidence is just another term for self-confidence -- a quality that attracts just about everyone.
No More Homemade Muffins
I'm going to offend some people out there, and for that I apologize, but if there's one thing that nobody on this planet needs to do, it's show up at a lover's door with a Tupperware full of homemade muffins in hopes that a breakfast treat will kindle the flames of passion, attraction or even just friendship. Bringing somebody zucchini bread or snickerdoodles is not going to sweep your sexy new cubicle mate off his feet. It's going to help the guy fulfill his caloric needs for the day, end of story. You don't have to do it! You don't even have to do the store-bought version of it by bringing him doughnuts. <br> <br> Desserts -- or in the case of muffins, desserts disguised as breakfast foods -- are best baked for either the people who already love you (as a sign of appreciation) or for the people you want to use as taste-testers because you're obsessed with the art of the perfect muffin or any other sort of unexpected, one-of-a-kind craft or foodstuff that no doubt will cause people to fall in love with you due to your commitment, vision and drive.
No More Midnight Texts
I have a bartender friend who informs me that around midnight, his male customers usually check -- and often compare -- their smartphone messages, due to the flood of naked pictures that fill their inboxes at that hour. Like the muffins above, a naked picture is not going to make anybody love you more. But, unlike them, it <em>can</em> make somebody sleep with you -- a wonderful turn of events if that's what you're after. <br> <br> But, in light of <a href="http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Life-Lessons-We-All-Need-to-Learn-Brene-Brown/3" target="_hplink">Brené Brown's recent findings about vulnerability and healthy, wholehearted relationships</a>, we can now all officially dismiss the idea that sending flesh pics is something you have to do in the Internet age in order to express your feelings for someone. Love, Brown found, is the sharing of naked emotions, not naked, shaved and telecommunicated bits.
No More Fast-Forwarding To The Baby of His You Can't Have Because You Can't Breastfeed On Your Medication
I have a friend named Diane. One day, Diane met me for coffee and announced, "I have to break up with Jonathon." Jonathon was the love her life. He was funny, sexy and thoughtful. He knew how to make little sculptures out of Post-Its. But the night before, she'd realized she had to break up with him because she's always had problems with depression and she could never go off her meds. So if they got married one day and they had the baby, she couldn't breastfeed that baby without harming it. So she couldn't have a baby -- or Jonathon, who really, really wants children. <br> <br> The obvious solution to her angst was -- hello? -- formula. Then again, that would have required me to validate her imaginary horrible scenarios. I'm not above such scenarios myself, ones in which my marriage crashes and burns due to all kinds of ornate and ludicrous things that will never happen. Instead, I gave her my phone and hit the calendar app. <a href="http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/digs_peru.html" target="_hplink">The world's oldest calendar dates back 4,200 years</a>, which means that for quite some while we have had the technology to free ourselves from hurtling forward in space and time to the terrifying, insane conclusion we least want to come to pass. Because that little white square with a number in the upper-left-hand side that proves that something much larger and logical than ourselves, the sun, has determined that today is, in fact, today.