If anyone understands the deeply-rooted genetic desire to U-Haul, it’s moi.
There are so many reasons as to why I’ve been overcome with the powerful impulse to jump the gun and start “playing house” after a mere few months of dating a woman. For instance, New York City rent is wildly-expensive and I physically, emotionally and spiritually recoil at the concept of roommates. I also detest public transportation so why would I subject myself to the trauma of the subway (whoever says the subway isn’t traumatic has never taken the L during rush hour) when I could just, like, sleep at your place forever and ever? And taxis? Don’t even get me started on Taxis. Taxis and ubers are the sole reason I could never pay my rent on time in my early 20s, they’re so viciously expensive.
But mainly, it’s just because I’m an addict, baby. And my drug of choice is oxytocin (and girl, I’ve tried em’ all!). Oxytocin makes me feel demented feelings like coveting moving in with a girl I hardly know. I’ve made far better choices on ecstasy than I have on oxytocin.
Oxytocin, which is known in the biz’ as the “the love hormone” is a peptide hormone that is released in a woman’s body after she orgasms. It’s responsible for that embarrassing-yet-unshakeable ~feeling~ you experience after sex. The feeling that makes you want to cuddle and snuggle and bare your soul. It makes you think those dangerously sweet, post-orgasm thoughts like, “This is my person. I’ve found my person in this cold, cruel life.”
Even when that person is a one night stand you don’t know in the slightest. It’s backed by science; it’s part of our biological hardwiring, and it makes us do bat-shit crazy, irrational things all in the name of “love.” It’s said to make us literally feel bonded to our partners (interestingly enough, we also release oxytocin during childbirth and when breastfeeding).
I believe the oxytocin rush is even more intense over here in Lezzie Land. Unlike our heterosexual counterparts, we lezzies have the pleasure of experiencing two women who are both hopped up on oxytocin at the same time so we’re both feeling “connected” to the person who just gave us an orgasm. So it’s extra all-consuming/delusional. It’s what Dr. Lauren D. Costine, a fierce lesbian psychologist refers to as an “oxyfest.” She thinks oxytocin is one of the many reasons we dykes are so inclined to haphazardly U-haul. Dr. Costine even wrote an excellent book called: Lesbian Love Addiction: Understanding The Urge To Merge And How To Heal When Things Go Wrong.
I had to stop sleeping with women on the first date for this very reason. If I sleep with a girl on the first date and she graces me with an orgasm (which is easy as hell, because lez be honest, honey, I have a full-blast orgasm every time the wind blows), the postcoital oxytocin pollutes my brain with twisted thoughts like, “I NEED this person! I want to live with this person!”
Three months later I’ll find myself in the passenger seat of a U-haul, fourteen suitcases of hair-extensions and platform boots sitting pretty in the back as my new bae drives us to our new apartment. Six months later, fully moved in, I’ll start to feel mildly trapped and slightly paralyzed with fear, drinking too much in an attempt to stuff down the racing thoughts penetrating my terrified mind. Thoughts that taunt my soul as I fall asleep: You’re stuck in a lease with her. You’d better not screw this up, Zara. Do you know how hard it is to break a lease? You’re trapped. You’re trapped. You’re trapped.
Cut to approximately seven to nine months later when I wake up one morning, peel open my lackluster eyes and access a cold rage – out of character and foreign-feeling to me. Not only do I not want to live with you anymore, I don’t want to date you. Have sex with you. Kiss you! In fact, I don’t even know who the hell you are. I’ll snarl to myself, overcome with a classic case of sudden repulsion syndrome.
Sudden repulsion syndrome is a pesky little disease that comes on – well, suddenly, when you’re in the throes of a new relationship. It’s that dark moment when the glittery novelty of a new body wears off and one menial thing your partner does makes you feel repulsed. Not annoyed. Not temporarily turned-off. Repulsed.
One time I was at my favorite sushi restaurant with a woman I was completely head over heels in lust with. We had been having sex almost every single night for the past two months and in my sex-crazed mind she embodied the very essence of style, class, and brilliance. In classic lesbian fashion we had already engaged in passionate whispers about moving in together, our legs lazily wrapped around each other, mutually cracked-out in post-orgasm bliss. I was ready to leave my fabulous, rent-controlled studio in Chelsea behind, and move into her walk up on the Upper East Side because this girl was it.
At least until she ordered steak. At the best god damn sushi restaurant on the Eastern Seaboard.
“Do you, uh, not like Sushi?” I asked, nervously. Why did she tell me she liked sushi on our first date, if she doesn’t like sushi?
“No! I love Sushi!” She chirped brightly, taking a swig of her Diet Coke (who orders Diet Coke at dinner?). I suddenly noticed a small layer of dirt resting at the top of her bitten down nails. Maybe she was outside, planting a tree or something? I sing-songed to myself, ignoring the glaring fact that we were smack in the middle of a brutal Manhattan winter and no one, no one plants trees in February unless they’ve been court-ordered to do so.
“Why didn’t you order it, then?” I felt myself bark, through gritted teeth.
“Oh, because, you know. The sushi is so expensive here. I mean it’s just like raw fish thrown together and wrapped in paper. I could make that shit at home!” she cackled. I could smell the faint twinge of cigarette smoke lingering on her breath as she laughed her head off. I resisted the impulse to make a dramatic gagging sound. The smell of cigarette smoke, up until that point, had never bothered me before. I mean, I’m from f*cking England, girl. I’ve been smelling cigarettes for so long, I don’t even smell cigarettes anymore.
“It’s not just raw fish thrown together. Sushi is an art. And Nobu is easily one of the most respected sushi restaurants in not just the city or the country, BUT IN THE ENTIRE WORLD,” I spat, losing my cool at the end. I envisioned myself flipping the table, Real Housewives of New Jersey style. PROSTITUTION WHORE! My insides screamed.
And that was it. I was hit with a dramatic case of sudden repulsion syndrome and there is no coming back from sudden repulsion syndrome.
Was it about the sushi? Am I that big of an elitist bitch? Not really. I mean, I do find it wildly-unattractive when anyone undermines the precious culinary arts, but that wasn’t what this was really about. The sushi was simply a catalyst. An unveiler. A truth warrior. The sushi was no-nonsense Dr. Reality swooping into my life, clearing up the rose-colored fog of sexual desire I’d been living in, forcing me see things as they truly were. And in this case, the truth wasn’t pretty. I had been skipping around town with “oxytocin goggles” on and the sushi had torn them off my face, sobered me up, and suddenly I was looking into the underbelly of who the object of my obsession really was: a sweet but boring lesbian with dirty fingernails whom I had absolutely nothing in common with, except for a mutual love of orgasms.
As I slumped home after dinner I felt the sharp prickles of panic bedazzle themselves across my body, like hives. I began to think about all the conversations we had had. I had framed her in my mind as this razor-sharp thinker, but in retrospect, all she had done was blab on and on and on about how much more real people are in her hometown than they are in New York, an argument that typically irritates the hell out of me. I believe in the deepest pit of my gut that the rushed-coldness of a New Yorker is the realest shit on the planet. Because I had been wasted off of a strong dose of the ole’ oxytocin, I had stupidly batted my lashes like a brainless minx and agreed with her. Gag. Shame began to pump like blood through my veins.
Luckily for me, I was hit with sudden repulsion syndrome before I made the U-hauling mistake that time. But other times I haven’t been so lucky. In fact, up until recently, I’ve never even lasted a lease!
So listen up, my baby dyke little sisters scattered across the globe. Don’t move in with your girlfriend until you’ve been together for at least two years if you’re in your late 20’s and at least a year if you’re in your 30’s (it’s “generally” easier to break a lease in your 30’s when your life is “generally” more together). If you’re in your early 20’s don’t move in with her at all. I’m your lesbian big sister and it’s your lesbian best interest to listen to my lesbian big-sisterly advice on this one. I’ve been around the dyke block more times than I care to count. In your early 20’s, you need to be building up content for your pending memoir. You need to live with friends, strangers, or by your damn self and indulge in the oh-so-specific, exciting trials and tribulations of youth! What kind of stories will you tell your grandchildren if you’re playing house with your partner at twenty-three? Boring ones. That’s not fair to them, or to you.
That being said, I’m no heartless cynic. I know how awesome it feels when you’re newly enmeshed, having endless bouts of mind-blowing Sapphic sex and thus have fallen under the great spell of lust/love. You’re probably convinced that this girl is a magical unicorn! You feel spiritually connected to her. You feel addicted to her like she’s some kind of fantastical drug. All of those exploding, magnified, larger-than-life feelings are fabulous. An oxytocin-rush feels fabulous.
But you need to let the druggie high wear off and get to know the real person existing beneath the sparkly excitement of sexual-desire before you move in together. And contrary to what poetry and art and F. Scott Fitzgerald tells us to be true (who was a terrible alcoholic, mind you), it takes time to really get to know someone. You need to go through things together. Not just dramatic, jealousy-fueled, drunken things. But boring things. Picking each other up from the airport at rush hour. Spending Friday night in the Emergency room because she slept in her contact lenses (again!) and now one is lodged deep inside the tender folds of her eyelids. You need to aggressively talk politics! You need to see if you can navigate your differing, core beliefs before you start splitting bills and arguing about the dishes.
I used to loathe this dismal, bleak reality too. I preferred the fantasy of it all. I grasped onto the idea of love at first sight with the tightest possible grip. I longed to dance at the oxytocin festival more than I longed to dance to the sounds of Queen Bey at Coachella, until I realized, through major trial and error, that fantasies are fantasies, that’s it. The “idea of love” isn’t actual love; it’s an idea. Nothing more. And once you figure that out, hanging on to the emptiness of an idea and clutching on to the false promise of a fantasy, starts to feel lonely.
Which initially depressed the hell out of me.
Until I discovered something far more valuable and fulfilling than the short-lived bliss of an oxytocin festival. Suddenly I was ready to leave the desert and go home. Because I learned the most important lesson of all: True love, is a slow-burn. And a slow burn will keep you warm in the long-run. It doesn’t hurt you. It feels good. It feels like home.
Only when the wild-fire-flames of newness wear off will you really be able to see if the person you’re dating is home. In fact, you don’t see a person at all when you’re caught up in the roller coaster mania of newness. The fog has yet to clear, babe.
Maybe when it does, and you make your way back to earth you’ll see that you have nothing in common with your girlfriend. Maybe you’ll see that she’s a narcissistic psychopath. It happens to the best of us! It’s a lesbian rite of passage to date at least one narcissistic psychopath.
Or maybe, you’ll love her even more deeply and more profoundly than you did when you were chasing the oxytocin dragon, and you’ll want to build a life with her.
Either way, you won’t know until you’re grounded in reality. And the last thing your big dyke sister wants is for you to stay in something inherently wrong for you because you’re bound by the tethers of a lease. Breakups are always hard, even when you know in your gut that the girl isn’t AT ALL the right girl for you. But you, my gorgeous little sis, deserve to feel the bitter sting of the breakup in your own shitty apartment, not on the couch of a strange, cold place you’ve now realized was never really home at all.
Message me your love, breakup, life questions! After all, you clicked into this article so you’re under my protective lesbian-big sister wing now.