Tuesday, May 22, 2012

How to Wing A Fling

With Summer well on the way, many of us are looking forward to a warm weather romance. But what if you not looking for a tall, dark, and handsome to take home with you when the seasons over? 

            The idea of a fling is especially appealing to the busy, independent single girl who’s got a ticking time limit and a need to have fun without dealing with messy emotional strings- and you’d like to think of yourself as this type of girl. This is why flings are born and bred from what I personally like to call the Trinity of Whims: winter break, spring break, and naturally, summer break. During any of these given times, the occupied college girl (or even spread-thin worker) suddenly encounters free time and holidays…so, whatever shall you do with them? Can you achieve a brief, convenient romance while successfully avoiding the bottomless pit of distraction that is love?
Yes. Yes you can. For yourself, anyway.

Before commencing to fling, remember what your life is actually about. 
You’ve been working hard at school/work/freelance writing when suddenly you’re confronted by winter/spring/summer break, and find yourself bored and ready for a day/week/couple of months of pure, stress-less fun. However, before replying to the flirty facebook messages of that cute guy who has a motorcycle/ is in the Navy/ can melt butter with the intensity of his smoldering brown eyes, you realize that you must remember what you’ll be returning to once it’s all over. You acknowledge that the whole reason you’re embarking on casual romance instead of pursuing a glowing fairy to cast your wish for True Love’s Whatever is because you’re focusing on school/work/that one novel that you’re sluggishly (but steadily!) adding pages to each day. Once you strike this deal with yourself, then you’re set for some fun in the sun/snow/respective indoor area that prevents the March rain from attacking the unfortunately thin white shirt with green shamrocks on it that you literally JUST bought for St. Patrick’s Day, thinking it would bring you “luck”. Also, you note that a good pre-step to having a fling is to pick a tip from the Trinity: frolicking about during winter, spring, or summer break (or whatever break you’re offered if you have a weird schedule due to night shifts/volunteer work/unauthorized grave digging for the Zombie Awareness Effort) is much more easygoing. You should never have to “fit” a fling into a schedule. The point is precisely its name: to fling, to feel the short breeze, and then to stop.

Don’t make Fling-Boy think that it’s not a fling. That’s just mean.
You make absolutely certain from the day of that very first date that the rules are a laid out: how long the flirtation is going to last, how far it’s going to go, and how much (or how little) you plan on keeping contact once the fling has flung. You give him your I-am-so-serious-right-now face across the table while you munch on the grilled chicken sandwich that you were going to split the tab for but well what can you do if he insists on buying it and wait for him to nod his head of smooth black hair/surfer boy curls/edgy blue tips in agreement. Once all of the terms are made clear, you can’t be held responsible for any misconceptions. Unless, of course, you’re a man-eating bitch and you purposely go out of your way to enchant the poor boy. But, of course, you won’t do that because you’re a responsible adult and you want to preserve the good name of women everywhere, right? Of course right.

Love is an Art. Romance is a Science.
You find yourself filling up the break with escapades of stargazing, theater going, bowling, driving around to gaze at Christmas lights, attending parties, eating out, cuddling during at-home movie marathons, and the like when it suddenly occurs to you that you’re getting to have all of this fun without having to pay for any of it with emotional investment. What’s the catch? It’s the necessity for careful time-management. You develop a helpful formula for maintaining a healthy, carefree fling even though you hate math/despise math/detest math. Oh, did I not remember to enter a positive inclination toward math? Oh well.
            Anyway, the formula comes together resembling something like this: R = t+a-i, or more articulately, romance equals time plus activities minus investment. In other words, you put in the hours to do fun things together, but skip the involved texting, the long phone calls, and the constant messaging back and forth. One of the biggest observable differences between getting to know someone and actively pursuing someone is the amount of conversation you have. Some conversations are just not necessary for a relationship with a one-week shelf-life, and so you really don’t have to chatter on to him about your last break-up/childhood trials/brother doing missionary work in Sri Lanka. If you’re looking to have a serious conversation full of depth and meaning, then you aren’t looking to have a fling.

That Awkward Moment When… Things are winding down, and you’re about to call it a week when suddenly, out of nowhere, he tries to tell you that he loves you.

Dear God.

First, there are a couple of questions you need to ask yourself before determining whether or not to believe him. A few of these questions may be: How long has this fling lasted? Is he drunk? Has he tried to lead up to this at all? And your personal favorite: is his phone full of girls who have received texts that look exactly like the lines he’s currently reciting to you at the moment? You justify taking his phone to locate these messages because you have a point to prove and you show them to him proudly, feeling clever and streetwise to the tricks of the trade. Then he tries to demonstrate the disparity between the number of texts sent to you and the ones sent to the others, which stands to be a 180-text difference. (By the way, if he can do this then that means you deviated from the formula and you are not so clever after all). However, being his favorite does not merit you reason to believe that he is in love, especially after a short amount of time. If he’s not drunk or texting other girls and appears to be telling the truth, then you did something horribly wrong and are a terrible, terrible person. But that does not mean that the situation cannot be fixed! Under both circumstances there are things to say, and things to not say. If you care about Fling-Boy’s feelings at all you will not say “I think of you like a brother,” which is an obvious lie because you would not under any circumstances have a fling with your brother, “maybe if things were different,” because that is so hopefully vague, and for the love of, oh I don’t know, everything, you will not say “I love you too,” because if you find yourself agreeing with most of the thoughts in this article, then you don’t mean it. And if you don’t mean it, then saying it is pretty much, well, evil. Instead, try the truth! You’re focusing on school/work/freelance writing, and both of you ought to be free to attend wholeheartedly to your aspirations.

The Afterness. 
The magic has left the air and you have returned to reality once again. To text or not to text? Should you expect anything from Fling-Boy the next turn of the Trinity of Whims? If everything ended smoothly and on your set terms with both parties equally unaffected, then hey, there are no eggshells to walk on here. But if you had a close brush with his professed love (or the attempted appearance of love) then the time has come for distance. You tell him not to text you anymore, and yes, you do feel guilty for a while, but then you look at the facebook pictures of him drinking liters of Dr. Pepper on the beach and you realize that no one can be all that forlorn after such a short fling.
Some people say that they can experience love at first sight, and whooped-de-doo for them. But most people have to cultivate it. If love is a rose to be carefully tended to daily, then romance is a cactus that can be rained on once and then left in the desert until the whim takes you to fling once again. 
Try not to drown it. 

Jenna Blackburn is currently studying Literature at Northern Arizona University. She's spent her life writing a number of short stories, poems, and narratives, known for their wit, and their humorous themes. 

More articles by Jenna:

1 comment:

  1. I really love reading this article! I've never had a fling before, just serious boyfriends and have no time or intention to have a boyfriend while I'm in school 24/7 and blog. But if I change my mind, I'll know what to do :-). Thank you so much for the sweet comment on my blog Lauren! xoxoxo


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