Pretend to be unavailable. Except actually be available. Just don’t look available. Don’t call or text him. Except call and text him sometimes. Don’t be needy. But don’t be too aloof either. Try very hard to figure out what any of this actually means.
Mutilate your body in a vain attempt to conform to a very narrow standard of beauty that you will probably never be able to attain anyway. Pay a lot of money to have strangers pour hot wax on your crotch so you are as hairless as a toddler. Blow your life savings to have a doctor cut open your chest and stuff you full of plastic bags. Because that’s sexy.
Pretend to be very adventurous. Fake that you like football and eating ribs and driving fast cars and risk taking. Definitely go bungee jumping and sky diving. You know, like a date on "The Bachelor." Adventurous girl = wild in bed. You definitely want to convey that you are wild in bed without actually saying that you are wild in bed because then you’ll look like a slut.
Do all kinds of kinky, freaky stuff even if you aren’t comfortable with it and it doesn’t make you feel good. You don’t want him to think you’re a prude and leave you for someone who is more fun, do you?
Never complain about anything. Men don’t want a woman who is a pain in the ass. But you should occasionally assert yourself, just not to him, because men also love bitches. So be very sweet and submissive, but also be a fucking bitch sometimes. Good luck figuring out this tricky balance.
If he tries to change or fix you, do whatever he wants you to. Dress differently, change your hair, eat food you hate, whatever it takes to transform yourself into his version of the ideal woman. Being loved for who you are isn’t really important.
THIS IS ALL BULLSHIT.
And you know it is. You know in your very soul that every word of this is wrong-headed, toxic fucking bullshit, don’t you? But you do a lot of these things anyway, even if you won’t outright admit it.
Here’s why you do it.
Because women are told from the time that they are little girls that we have to earn romantic love, and that only the most worthy women get “picked.” But love isn’t a fucking kickball team in seventh grade gym class. You don’t stand around hoping you’re good enough at the game to be chosen, and rescued and validated and told that you are lovable. We think it works that way, but it doesn’t really work that way.
The truth is that love doesn’t work any kind of way. It’s one big, beautiful, magical mystery.
I suspect it has something to do with a complicated cocktail of pheromones, timing, parent issues, karma, culture, fate, connection, and availability. Lord only knows what else is involved, but what I do know for sure is that when these things are all in line, it’s rare and it’s lucky. So many of these factors are completely out of our control 99 percent of the time, that it’s just pointless to even worry about them. Let go of grasping for love or trying to force it or trying to make it happen.
Here is what else I’ve learned:
You cannot make a man fall in love with you.
Seriously, if women could do that, if anyone truly had that power, we’d all be in secure committed relationship, people wouldn't cheat, sports bars would not exist, our houses would all be clean, we’d all get cards and flowers on our anniversaries, and no one would ever get cosmetic surgery and I wouldn't be writing this.
There is no code to crack, no love spell that actually works, no secret formula. The women who aren’t alone, the ones you see on Facebook with the adoring husbands who post cute selfies together all the time so that you want to stab them in the eyeballs, they don’t know something you don’t. They don’t play the game better than you. They just got lucky. At least for now.
And it’s not because they’re pretty or weigh less or dress cuter or are more successful or can do advanced yoga poses in public and post them all over Instagram. It’s not because they were more fun or more or less ladylike than you or because they give blowjobs with Altoids in their mouths or have multiple orgasms, hands-free, from penetration alone, and fling themselves out of puddle-jumpers at 10,000 feet when you can’t even take a comfy 777 on a three hour flight to New York without a full bar of Xanax.
A long time ago I set out on a mission to make someone love me. I went through a checklist of accomplishments (lose 20 pounds, make a ton of money, stuff like that) that I truly swore would make me rejection-proof. I worked very hard on this list. I thought of little else besides my goals of making this man love me and when I accomplished every single thing on that list two things happened:
1. I kind of started to hate myself for doing this in the first place because I knew I was compromising my integrity.
2. I did not “make” someone love me.
3. (Okay, three things happened) I gave up accomplishing things solely because I thought I needed them to earn someone else’s love, and I started accomplishing things that I wanted to accomplish purely for my own joy and satisfaction. Then I learned to love myself again, which was a way better feeling than having some guy tell me I have great legs (which I do, by the way).
Love is not something that you have to work for. You can’t trick someone into loving you. You cannot transform yourself into something more lovable. If a man doesn’t fall in love with you, no matter how much you wanted him to, or how deserving you believe you were of his love, don’t blame yourself or consider it a failure. All it means is that one or more ingredients of the mystery cocktail were missing and you had no control over the situation. So cry and eat some ice cream and listen to Adele and be disappointed and then get the fuck over it and go live a beautiful, wonderful life on your own terms without his sorry stupid ass.
Let me tell you one more time.
There is nothing you can do or not do or be or not be to make a man fall in love with you.
Detach from all of these ridiculous expectations and fears of loneliness and abandonment. Give yourself a break from the idea that love is work, because isn’t. Take a little rest from this. You need it. You’ve been struggling with this your whole life. You can stop now. Go have some fun just for yourself.
Love is a comfort, not an obligation.
Love is a gift that we give and accept.
Sometimes it is fleeting and we have to accept that too.
Love is not the highly classified code to an atomic bomb that only, like, four people in the whole country are allowed access to, so like a terrorist you have to try to crack it even if it fucking kills you in the process.
Love is not an outcome that we can manipulate to avoid imagined future suffering.
Love is the ultimate lesson in living in the present moment.
If you are in a man’s heart, you are already there. You don’t need to fight to stay because he will hold you there in that space on his own accord, and he will call you and he will text you and he will like your idiotic Facebook posts and he will make all the time he can to see you, and you will know.
And if you’re not in his heart? Fuck that ignorant bastard.