Singapore is such a tiny island, which makes it really easy to have mundane weekends. That is why you have to actively look for new things to do and new places to hang out at. That is also why I often miss Jakarta. Despite the unbearable traffic, you can always escape to nearby cities to eat good food and have a change of ambiance. And better yet, you can do all those things way more cheaply.
Our destination last Saturday was a boutique beach club with blue daybeds, white sands, and model-esque girls playing with their pooches. “Sweet bikini babes!” said Jason, 36, a banker.
“Well, you have a sweet tooth, help yourself to one,” replied Katy, 26, a stock broker. The conversation quickly evolved to whether Jason would end up going home with one of the tanned slender girls.
“I did talk to one of them, you see, and she was a complete turn-off. A gold-digger. If you live here long enough, you’ll be able to tell. They speak with the same fake accent, same tone,” he said.
“Wow, that was a quick classification,” I chimed in, after sipping my peach bellini. “Like you girls don’t make snap judgments. Don’t you have your own system for classifying guys, too?” he said. Jason continued talking about how women like to make up their minds about a guy right away, by categorizing him into a specific group.
“A platonic friend, potential boyfriend, sex buddy, one-night stand, hot two-week fling…” Jason listed all his examples.
“I guess I agree to some extent. I just can’t date a friend. It feels like dating your own brother,” I replied.
Katy laughed and said that I got the causality wrong, “You put them in the friend zone because you didn’t feel the chemistry. So, it’s not that you would never date a friend. It’s just that your “friends” simply don’t have the materials to be your lover to begin with. Of course they’d never escape the zone.” I nodded, signaling her to keep talking.
“I’ve pretty much done it all. I dated a best friend, once. I’ve definitely dated strangers who were, as you put it, “potential boyfriends”. And, you already knew that I slept with Daniel months before we started dating.” She smiled. “I have to say that among these three methods, the relationship I had with my best friend felt the most fulfilling.”
On Sunday, I went to brunch with Tim, 25, an economist, and told him about this idea of classification and everything that happened at the beach.
“I’d say that there are actually two tick boxes that we guys use. One’s for relationship and the other one’s for sex. What’s interesting is that the two have nothing to do with each other. Just because you’ve labeled someone as ‘not relationship material,’ it doesn’t mean you wouldn’t sleep with her,” Tim stipulated.
“Let say, there are two close friends who are completely platonic. One night, the girl randomly throws herself at the guy. If she’s a “yes” on the sex box, he will not refuse, even though she’s already a definite “no” on the relationship box.
“I think guys, for the most part, are aware of this. This is probably why guys attach less emotional significance to sex. We see sex and emotional attachment as almost completely independent of each other, and just consider ourselves lucky if we can find both with the same person.”
I figured that I could totally use a cute economist to figure out things like this every time. While walking to our favorite gelato place, I couldn’t help but wonder: Have all of our relationship problems originated from something this simple?
I could imagine what would happen if Tim’s hypothetical story is reversed. If she wasn’t already grossed out, the girl would most probably be too busy thinking about what would happen to their friendship the next morning. It’s only natural for most of us, women, to put relationship and sex in the same tick box as we are more prone to emotional attachment. So, if we want to sleep with someone we know, we want it to last for a long time, preferably confined in a loving relationship frame.
Tim and I were disappointed to find the gelato stall closed. Nonetheless, I still felt a little lighter that day, and perhaps a little amused. It’s funny how such a simple difference of perception can cause so many problems in so many lives.
Anahita helps decipher the intricacy of relationships by keeping it real.