So, we single girls have been sitting on our couches, waiting for that guy to get a clue and ask us out. We find ourselves wondering: What the f%^k is up with my love life?!
And yet, we have been unwittingly coming up with a way to navigate the post-dating world – even if we haven’t fully realized or made sense of it yet. We have been forging ahead on instinct and creating a means of dealing with the ambiguity and embracing the lawlessness. We’ve been exploring who we are, what we want and which type of guy we want to end up with. All while engaging romantically with the world and the guys around us – albeit, in a not-so-traditional sense.
So what is this new romantic order?
Simple: as a modern woman, you have been cultivating a gaggle of guys in your life. And the gaggle has replaced dating.
A gaggle of guys? Like…a gaggle of geese? Sort of.
The select group of guys in your life – many of whom you are not explicitly romantically involved with – who play different roles, fulfill different needs, and help you to figure out who you are, what you want and what kind of relationship you ultimately desire.
If you put any extra little bit of thought or effort into an interaction with a guy…then he’s in your gaggle. Do you re-read the text that you’re sending him? Then he’s in your gaggle. Do you consider wearing heels instead of flats when you see his name on the Evite list? He’s in your gaggle. Is there something that’s just not 110% platonic about your relationship? Gaggle Alert.
Looking at the guys in your gaggle, you might be explicitly romantically involved with some of them. But many of them are just “friends” – co-workers, teammates, bandmates, neighbors, etc. – who play different roles in your life and allow you to explore your romantic desires and needs, in a time when traditional dating relationships can’t be expected. We’ve found a way to get all the perks of dating, without actually having to sit around and wait to be asked out to dinner.
Having a gaggle is not about dating ten different guys at once (even if dating still existed, who has time for that?!). Instead, it’s about engaging with different types of guys on different levels, on your own particular terms, for different reasons, in an effort to figure out who you are, what you want, and where you’re going to be hanging out on Saturday night. It’s about living an awesome life and having guys be a part of it.
The gaggle is a way for you to learn more about yourself. You are at the center of your gaggle. So rather than thinking about how many guys there are in the world who just aren’t that into you (and feeling judged and hurt in the process), you can now commit to living your busy and exciting life while recognizing that, yes, there are actually men in it! Men with whom you communicate via all the modes that are available to us – phone, text, email, AIM, Gchat, Facebook, BlackBerry Messenger, Skype, MySpace, Twitter, snail mail…and face-to-face interactions, when there’s time for that!
What’s more, the gaggle forces you to stay open-minded about guys and helps you pinpoint the one who might ultimately be right for you, even if you haven’t met him yet. You never know when a moment of romantic chemistry might hit – maybe you share a new experience, maybe you learn something new about each other – but when it does, the gaggle empowers you to explore that spark. And who knows where that will lead.
So the key is to stop worrying about dating and start thinking about how to cultivate fulfilling relationships with the guys in your life. What does each guy offer? Which interactions feel most comfortable to you? When have you surprised yourself by being drawn to someone who you might not have expected?
First step: figure out who’s in your gaggle! Check out the below descriptions of the ten guys who can make up your gaggle. We’re willing to bet that there are more guys in your romantic sphere than you think…
Here’s a list of the guys who may currently be in your gaggle: