Let me tell you a short fairy tale to illustrate an epiphany I had recently — and knowing me, I'll have many more times again before I die.
Once upon at time there was a girl who liked boys. She chased all the boys she liked, and sometimes they even liked her back. She married one of them. Then she got divorced.
She grew up into a beautiful princess — okay, she became a blogger, whatever, close enough — and she continued to chase boys. She often took screengrabs of texts boys sent her and she sent them to several girlfriends. Elaborate focus groups were convened to determine the exact meaning of what "lol" versus "lmao" meant in terms of future husband potential of being together forever and ever. It was determined "lmao" was an obvious precursor to marriage.
And then she met an evil witch named Alison Freer.
"Dude, I just don't think this guy likes you that much," Alison Freer said to the princess one day as she examined the various screengrabbed texts the princess would not stop sending her, one after the other, in between pictures of her dogs on Instagram.
"I mean, have fun if you want," the evil witch continued from the cold confines of her evil witch castle in a horrifying far and distant land called Hollywood. "But I wouldn't get your expectations up or anything."
Then the evil witch gave the beautiful princess some recommendations on which activated charcoal soap was best for adult acne.
How did you like my intricately disguised characters in this compelling modern-day fable? Yes, clever readers, it is I who am the princess, and the evil witch named Alison Freer is a writer named Alison Freer.
I hope you have been able to follow along so far.
As my fairy tale reveals, I have long been a boy chaser. Perhaps it's the fact that I am 8,000 feet tall and chasing is genetically in me because I'm bigger or something. (Note: I am not a scientist.) Perhaps it's my near-palpable energetic waves of desire to be loved and receive the approval of men. But whatever the reason is, the boy-chasing force is there in me — and it is strong. And if you are anything like me, if you are anything like hundreds of women I know, the force may be with you, too.
A brief word of disclaimer: I fully support women chasing men! I mean, women, you go get your chase on. You go after what you want. I get it. You get it. GET IT. I'm just speaking my truth and the truth I often find myself speaking with other girlfriends about what is successful and what is not successful in life. Boy chasing = not usually very successful for me.
There are however, some men who do chase me. I find these examples to be quite revealing. They are as follows:
(A) Men I have zero interest in. I suppose I'm attractive enough and exude enough of a crazy bitch vibe that I think a lot of dudes are just curious in that regard alone. (Brief Madonna-whore speech here: I am not crazy. I hate the minimization of women as "crazy." But I've heard this little speech from so many men shorthanding women they meet who are perhaps sexual or have an actual honest-to-God personality — "bitches be CRAZY, y'all" — that I'm accounting for these dudes' perspective, not my own.)
(B) Men who I despise. If only I would date stalkers who I have blocked multiple times on Facebook! Man, would I have it made.
(C) Men who did something to piss me off so I deaded them like the retribution-loving strike-when-you're-least-expecting-it Scorpio I am. This has the cumulative effect of me accidentally forcing men to chase me by going against my better nature and not responding to every text with a small novella about my hopes, dreams, and desires. They're like, Oh my, who is this sexy beast who detests my very existence? Must have that immediately.
(D) Men who have met me when I've had a lot of hot toddy heat at various dating times in my life. If I'm going to a bunch of parties, say, and doing pervy handshakes and generally emanating a "let's get 'er done" vibe, and there are multiple dudes chasing me at once, and again, I inadvertently get chased because I'm just too busy to obsess on one in particular. This is otherwise known as the "pair and a spare" or "always have a junior boyfriend and alternate" theory of dating.
And I would say, lately, and this is the key point, (E) Men who have read my newly updated online dating profile which reads, "Hey, I'm going to be honest, I don't write a lot of guys back. I've been married and done that whole thing. I also really like my life and I don't date guys just to date."
Boom! Bazinga! Look at that hot slut with all that self-worth.
Suddenly, I have had various men actually track me down outside of online dating to write me notes that say, "I realize we may never be matched so I wanted to introduce myself to see if you might ever consider meeting up in real life...," and then at the bottom of the email it just has a direct link to a $5 million Tiffany's engagement ring and I'm like, "Oh, you shouldn't have."
My point is this: If men are actually interested, they will find you, and as the prophet Alison Freer speaketh, YOU WILL KNOW.
They will reach out to you.
You will hear from them.
You will know.
So why am I telling you all of this? Because I think we could all stand to have a scary broom-riding Witch of the West Alison Freer in our lives.
In case I didn't make clear with my now-classic fairy tale at the top of my article, this whole idea seeded in my brain when I called Alison a few weeks back to tell her about some hot great guy I was vibing on and rambling about the particulars of this text he had responded to, and that text he hadn't, and what he said at this moment, and then oh, but he had wanted to get dinner at one point so what does this mean, and on and on and on, until she simply sent one of her flying monkey army soldiers to smack me on the head and deliver the truth.
"I just don't think he really cares."
Dead to rights.
She was right, and I knew it, and you know it, and we all know it.
We can have five-hour long conversations about how this boy touched us on the small of our backs and it's so clear he really cares and he's a dealer of chick crack and he says things like, "I wish I could stay like this forever" (also, why is he quoting from The Affair? I mean, really), but when you get down to prince-and-princess-fairy-tale-living-happily-ever-after brass tacks, Freer and her band of "He's Just Not That Into You" flying meerkats that follow her around when she's gazing out onto the moat are pretty much correct.
There is a reason that ridiculous "He's Just Not That Into You" simpleton treatise made that Sex and the City boy writer a gazillion bucks and even a crappy spinoff movie.
There's a reason this very theory is being rewritten by me right now and will be rewritten by thousands like me again and again until the end of time.
Because — and while yes, sure, exception, exception, exception, they exist especially for the shy guys, God bless 'em all — the harshness of evolution comes to light again and again.
She no answer. She no respond. ME WANT NOW.
And if you can remember how a guy who wants you will make it clear he wants you and to give him time to miss you and to never undervalue the chase, well, I have good news for you. Not only will you not have to travel the terrifying length of the haunted forest to steal the broomstick of Alison Freer (but you should probably buy her book about how to dress if you want to steal at least some of her evil secrets), but you'll never have to travel to the Emerald City in the first place.
Because — like the hot mixed metaphor mess this article is — you'll know that all you had to do was click your heels three times, resist the urge to obsessively check your phone, and pretty soon you'll find that, yes, home was right there with you all along.
Find Mandy long-form at http://tinyurl.com/stadtmiller.