I’ll be honest darlings. I’ve been avoiding resolutions this year. New Years may include many of the things I like most—friends, champagne, kissing, and “Auld Lang Syne,” to name a few—but thinking about what I’ll do to start 2015 differently, particularly when it comes to love and sex, has little appeal.
Perhaps this has to do with my own personal track record of not sticking to resolutions. Two years ago I spent my New Years eve hustling to finish gradschool applications, then falling asleep after a half of a Manhattan my mother’s boyfriend had made. My resolution was to be fearless.
Last year I rung in the new year in the West Village with friends—dancing but struggling, smiling but heartbroken. I resolved to be brave.
Now those friends are spread up and down the Eastern seaboard and I said no to a doctorate. Instead I’ve found myself paying bills as a professional advice columnist and matchmaker. These are things I never could have predicted while other things stay the same, like the strength of my mom’s boyfriend’s Manhattans and renewed attempts to be fearless or at least, brave. Especially in love and sometimes in sex. I’ll probably fail. But I will also succeed.
And this is another thing I love about the new year—the feeling that just for a moment, it feels like it could be my year. The year when I figure some stuff out, where fortune favors me and everything works out beautifully. It never does but just for a moment it feels that way.
Truth is, this could be anybody’s year. So, pop a bottle, hold a body close and sing out to days gone by in order to welcome in the new. Enjoy this climax of 2014 and tumble into 2015 in a post-coital heap.
Here’s what I’ve learned this year:
There is no reason people fall in love.
People will love you and fall out of love with you for no reason. Try not to take this personally. A very smart attractive man told me that. He also told me I had great hair. I’ll choose to believe that both are true.
Narcissists can be kind, nice people that simply don’t have access to those particular emotions at this point in their lives. Put them on the back burner.
Role-play can be hot. Personas can be sexy. Game-playing is a constant. But if you can’t find somebody who can be real with you, they are not that somebody.
Culture is the sum of many interpersonal relationships. What kind of culture are you contributing to—sexually, romantically, artistically, or otherwise? How can you work toward a more vibrant culture by treating people better? I have asked myself this question many times in 2014 as I’ve found myself feeling scared or cowardly, when I’m about to delete somebody from my contacts or lie or yell at a friend for not being who I want them to be. It’s a question that asks you to hold yourself accountable to something bigger than yourself. Do it.
People who stay together have a shared vision for their life together.
The happiest couples I know are those who like to eat the same kinds of things, talk about similar ideas, watch movies at the same time. Or they enjoy a lack of routine—they like to stay up late together (or apart) or impulsively take trips. They are not together because of their individual ambitions but rather because of a collective vision of what a good life might look like. There is something aesthetic about happy relationships because they feel like a shared project external to the ambitions of each person.
Respect the 7-to-1 ratio.
When you’re feeling needy, drunk or helpless, don’t text or call that one person you know you shouldn’t. Do the following instead:
- Compose the ideal text message to that special person in your “notes.”
- Then, send seven real texts to seven people who care about you and love you.
Don’t walk out on perfection.
When a 6’ 2” Carhartt-clad man has the audacity to sit down at a table with you and your oldest, dearest friends at a bar in your hometown at 1 AM on Christmas Eve’s eve and offers to buy you a round of drinks and then turns out to live one neighborhood over from you in Brooklyn and looks you in the eye for a sustained period of time, leaving you with the feeling that he could maybe be your soulmate, stay! Stay, goddammit, stay.
It feels good to be with people who aren’t good for you. And yes, it is your problem.
I’ve spent much of this year (and let’s face if, much of many years) wondering why I want what is clearly bad for me. Whether it’s jobs, people, or milkshakes, I’ve tried to tell myself that I do not want them. Ha! It’s a dead end. In the words of Mary Oliver, “let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.” That is an oft-quoted stanza of her poem “Wild Geese” but less often do readers turn to the next stanza where Oliver writes: “Meanwhile the world goes on.”
It’s a biting follow up my friends. And full of truth. Do something this year. Go eat the world. Move to another city, state, country. Board a plane for somebody you love. Or maybe just like a lot. Try and meet the band. This could be your year so remember:
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, / the world offers itself to your imagination.
And Peter, if you’re reading this, see you in 2015.
Just the Tips is Playboy.com’s weekly advice column, with professional matchmaker Katherine Cooper. Have a question for Katherine about sex, love or dating? Shoot her a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.