At the end of my senior year of high school, I found that I was the perpetual fifth wheel. My two female best friends had coupled up with my two male best friends, and I was left as the girl who was perpetually the friend. I hated the incestuous quality of friends dating friends and resigned myself to being the guy’s girl—the one who can give advice and set you up—and the token female friend.
But because I was the token female friend for all the males in my life, my two best friends refused to take love advice from me.
“You just don’t understand,” my one friend said one day as we washed our hands in the school bathroom. “You’ve never been in a relationship. You’ve never been in love.”
More than offended, I mulled over the assertion she had just made. Did I have to currently be in love to understand how love worked? Did my lack of any romantic relationships exclude me from every talking about romantic relationships? Could I ever understand love? Despite this initial internal debate, I found myself agreeing with my friend. Soon after that moment, I fully believed that I would never understand love.
Working off the assumption that I can never understand love, I should be the last person writing about the topic. And yet, a few months ago I wrote the first article of the Cardinal Love column, discussing and dissecting the University’s hook-up culture. I realize that the topic of hook-up culture is far from the idea of love my friend talked about in the bathroom that day. I also realize that, although I wholeheartedly enjoy gossiping about any matters relating to love, lust, or like, I have barely any authority on the topic.
I am the type of person who has bad luck and poor skills when it comes to matters of love, which has been made extremely clear this Wescam season. (Did you think you’d be able to make it through an article without mention of Wescam?) I am the physical embodiment of the girl in Avril Lavigne’s “Sk8er Boi” who said, “See you later boi.” That’s not even a joke. Last year when a skateboarder confessed his feelings for me, I responded with the word, “Cool.” And never spoke to him again.
And now all of this is out there. I’ve been exposed as a less-than-legitimate source on love and left asking: Who is a legitimate source on love? Do any of us truly have the power to say we know it all and then continue to disperse information on the topics of love, lust, like, or relationships?
I honestly don’t think anyone does. I’m going push back on the comments made to me in that high school bathroom years ago and say no one really gets love and that’s the point. My parents have been married for over 20 years, but when they met in college my mom was certain my dad was not “The One.” It’s a perfect example of how love works in mysterious and strange ways. The only legitimacy or authority we have over it is in attempting to parse it out. No one can say they know everything about love; instead, we can only admit that we’re all just trying to figure it out.