You go on a date with a girl Friday night. It’s the infamous third date, so you pull out all the stops: dinner, drinks, even a walk to the ocean to get the romantic juices flowing. Your hard work pays off…she comes back to your place, and after two dates of heavy petting, you are finally rewarded with a sweet bang-sesh. And best of all, this girl is actually pretty cool! You both bask in the post-coital glow, thinking of what may become.
But then it’s morning. She asks if you want to get some breakfast. That seems fair. Some breakfast, then you can hit the beach for some volleyball with your buddies. But now she wants to come to the beach with you. Um…sure, that could be fun. It isn’t, of course, because you have to baby sit her and everyone is wondering why you brought this chick to the volleyball game. But whatever.
After the game, you get lunch together (obviously!), and then it’s back home for a while to just “relax.” Here is where you start to realize that you are truly fucked…it is now inevitable that this girl is going to stay another night, and if you think she’s leaving before football tomorrow, forget it. Your only reward is going to be another bonedown or two…which is rapidly losing its appeal because of how much this chick is annoying you.
Clinginess is the enemy of relationships. And never more so than at the beginning of those relationships. Ironically, this is precisely the moment where clinginess is both the most visible and deadly. You’re thrilled to finally see your bad dating luck change. And this is EXACTLY why you shouldn’t be clingy. Clinginess broadcasts that you feel really lucky to have the other person. It screams that you’ve been lonely. These are not good things to advertise.
Think of it like buying a used car. You go to the dealership and see this awesome BMW. It looks really good. You start imagining yourself in it. Yeah, this could be the one! Then a salesman comes up and starts trying to sell you the car. Quickly, he knocks off five grand. Now, this is way too good a deal. Are you missing something? Are you being suckered? When he nervously knocks another two grand off, you walk away. That salesman’s desperation ruined your beautiful car. Dating is the same. Someone has the Carfax on you…your looks, smarts, and personality all seem great. But when you start getting desperate, it makes them think you might have hidden engine problems. You go from bargain to lemon.
Clinginess seems to disproportionately affect women more than men, by a margin of like 10 to 1. I guess this makes sense—from an evolutionary point of view, sex has different costs for men and women. A woman spends a lot of time debating whether or not you’re genetically worthy of sleeping with, because the act of sex may very well lead to pregnancy. In the days before birth control, once a women decides to sleep with you, she’s essentially buying the farm…she might have to walk around pregnant for nine months, then raise the kid for eighteen years afterward. No small undertaking. She’d better make sure she can hold on to the father to help with the various obstacles that having children will bring. Following this logic, we actually discover something I’ve suspected for years:
Most women are ready to marry any guy they sleep with, and thus clinginess to them seems natural. Sound crazy? Think about it. The cost of marriage to a woman is nothing. In fact, in most societies, it carries huge benefits to the woman. The guy buys you an expensive ring, throws you an elaborate party, and vows to stay faithful and support you the rest of your life. In many cultures, the groom might even have to provide the woman’s family with some land or livestock. A diamond, a party, and some sheep? Sign me up! But the act of having sex with a guy is a whole ‘nother story. That’s the act that produces expensive consequences for a girl. This is why the female “clingy gene” is activated so immediately after the first time she sleeps with a guy. This is of course a one-way street; if the guy decides to never see you again after sleeping with you, he incurs no cost. His belly might be bigger nine months later, but it’s not going to be because there’s some chick’s baby in it.
I guess this is why clingy men, although rarer than clingy women, are ten times more pathetic. Unlike women, men have sort of an anti-cling…once you’ve made the milk delivery, so to speak, there’s not much to be gained from hanging around for chit-chat. Better hurry off to your next stop. And like it or not, I think women are actually quite used to this ‘wham, bam, thank you ma’am’ mentality. So when a girl finds a guy that is madly, desperately in love with her right from the get-go, she knows something is fishy. I know so many guys–good-looking, successful guys–that have scuttled a potentially great relationship by overdoing it with phone calls, gifts, and neediness. You know the type…they hover over you while you email, or invite themselves to family dinners, or get pouty when you explain they’re not invited to Sex in the City 2 with your girlfriends. Bro, relax! You’re squeezing so hard, your knuckles are turning white. And the harder you squeeze something, the more likely it is to slip through your fingers.
I know, you’re probably one of those people who say “I just do what feels right. I hate playing games.” Uh huh. Good luck with that. You’re playing the game whether you want to or not. So I’d advise you to learn the rules. There is, after all, a word for people who play games they don’t understand: Losers.
So friends, if you want to hang on to a guy or girl, do yourself a favor and give them some space. Override that desire to stick your claws in them immediately. And girls, don’t worry…if we like you enough to hang out with you for a day or two, we’re not gonna race out to bars the second you leave to meet other girls. Honestly, hearing you yammer for 48+ hours has killed our libido anyway. The second you leave, we’re gonna crash on the couch, watch Spartacus, then jerk off and go to bed. Your presence is not required and you aren’t missing anything.
And to all you Clingy McClingersons out there, remember: Just like you have the power to broadcast yourself as more desperate than you actually are, you also have the power to broadcast yourself as less desperate than you actually are. Return calls…but not immediately. Send texts, not essays. Refrain from plastering someone’s Facebook wall with ten comments a week. If you’ve hung out Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, then FOR CHRIST’S SAKE, take Thursday and Friday off. Go see a movie with friends. Balance your checkbook. Watch paint dry for all I care. Just don’t be clingy. Overpowering your base instincts is exactly what your ancestors developed that enormous brain for. Use it! Ironically, it is through non-clinginess that you will finally get what you desire…a husband or wife to cling the shit out of for the rest of your life.