|By Amy Alkon|
When you wish upon a Ringo Starr & Aisle be embarrassing youQ: I’m 25, a singer in a band, and extremely motivated to make a career out of my music. In fact, I’m moving to LA this week for that purpose. I’ve been casually dating — speedily dumping men who’ve gotten attached (not my fault, I make my intentions super-clear). I should be packing now, but I’m a mess. Last week, I got beyond wasted with our drummer, and we slept together. He’s a guy I always knew I could fall for, but since relationships aren’t my priority and he had a girlfriend until recently, I never gave him much thought. The morning after, he gave me a quick platonic hug and made it pretty clear he had no interest in anything more. Now, despite my total career focus, I’m having these weird thoughts — like, if he asked me to stay and be with him, I probably would. I don’t even believe in marriage, but if he proposed now, there’s a good chance I’d say yes! Have I lost my mind?
A: It takes a rock off the planet Krypton to disable Superman. For you, it’s five Rolling Rocks and a drunken hookup. Suddenly, you’re dreaming of that “most important day of a girl’s life,” which, just hours before, involved pledging to spend the rest of your next five years wedded to Def Jam.
While it must seem like aliens came down and swapped out your brain for Mrs. Cleaver’s, it’s possible that the culprit is the release, during sex, of oxytocin, a hormone nicknamed “the hug drug” and “the cuddle chemical.” In “Why Women Have Sex,” psychologists Cindy Meston and David Buss explain, “Oxytocin release has been associated with emotional bonding and might explain why some women experience an intense feeling of connectedness with their partners following orgasm.” (“The biochemistry of attachment made me do it!”)
This might explain why it’s hard for many women to have casual sex. In men, testosterone slaps down the oxytocin, making it easier for them to roll over and be on to the next. But, in a study by psychologist John Townsend, even women with every intention of humping and dumping some guy tended to end up feeling all cuddlywuddly and vulnerable in the morning. But, wait! That isn’t you. In fact, you’ve left a trail of broken men in your wake. (“Sorry, boys, but they don’t call her Lady Gaga because she was hanging around her hometown making googly eyes at a string of aspiring Sir Gagas.”)
How does a cool customer like you go from wanting to hop the fast track to a Grammy to the fast track to becoming somebody’s grammy? Well, for starters, this guy wasn’t some groupie you could flick off like a bug. He was your bandmate, your equal, and a guy you “always knew you could fall for.” And maybe you had fallen for him but shoved your crush behind some amp somewhere because you were leaving and he had a girlfriend. Now, with big scary life changes looming, maybe it’s tempting to find a reason to stay where you are. You need to decide who’s the boss here — your ambition or your feelings. It can’t be a democracy. One of them has to be queen. If making it in music is still what you want, just pull yourself up by your bra straps and be that person you were before you rolled the drummer — probably the last person who’d remix “Go west!” into “Or…maybe I’ll just go nest.”
Q: My best buddy’s about to propose to his girlfriend, and he’s running some pretty crazy ideas by me. Basically, he wants to propose big — do something public and outrageous. Am I wrong that this could be a bad idea?
—Crazy Dude’s Bud
A: There are public people and then there are private people, like my boyfriend, who’d react to a surprise birthday party with the enthusiasm he’d have for a surprise prostate exam. Sometimes, a guy who’s proposing gets so caught up in creating the spectacle of the century that he thinks of everything — everything but how it might go over with his girlfriend. Help your buddy out by asking him some questions — whether his girlfriend’s really the propose-apalooza type and whether they’ve at least had a conversation or two that crept up around the subject of marriage. “Will you marry me?” is one of those questions a guy shouldn’t be asking unless he’s pretty sure he already knows the answer — especially when that answer will come while he’s kneeling in popcorn and beer before his girlfriend and 60,000 people watching on the JumboTron. It will give him something to tell his grandchildren — as soon as they’re old enough to ask, “Grampy, who’s that crying lady who isn’t Grandma who’s running away from you in the YouTube video?”