One of the most interesting places to catch some insight into the world of 20- and 30-something single women in New York is in the locker room of my karate studio. It's dirty, smelly, and only one of the two toilets works about half the time, but they do keep free hair dryers on-hand and - if you're lucky - it might work for about 3 minutes before it shorts itself out.
Discussions range, of course, depending on the crowd and the time of day... and so far, I have I heard conversations about funky dieting techniques ("detox" is the word du jour, apparently), makeup techniques ("the bruises cover better with a yellow-tinted cover-up"), bras ("you only have to wear one sports bra?"), and last but certainly not even close to being least, BOYS. The conversations on boys run the gamut, from comparisons of those in class with you ("did you see that high green belt today? Wow, I'd love to untie HIS drawstring pants") to the various boys in the "outside" world, ranging from husbands, boyfriends, crushes, friends-with-benefits, and the seemingly endless gamut of relationship possibilities. (To be fair, there are plenty of lesbians there, too, but the talk rarely runs to girlfriends, unless they're referring to jealousy of a girlfriend who also has a male friend-with-benefits.) But I digress....
One of the most interesting discussions I've overheard and butted into lately was about the seasonal need for a boyfriend. This is what I've affectionately started referring to as "Seasonal Dating" (not to be confused with "serial dating" which is a whole 'nother beast entirely.) Last November, there were two very attractive, young 20-somethings in my class who were discussing the need to find boyfriends, because "It was the right season." At first, I didn't quite follow what they were talking about, but as the conversation progressed it became clear that the ideal dating scenario is to pick up a boyfriend when the weather starts getting chilly (they told me that October was ideal) and then dump the guy when the weather starts getting nicer (usually April or early May.) Why? Well, there are several complex and yet surprisingly understandable factors in that:
Indoor vs. Outdoor activities:
In the winter, you do the "indoor activity" thing... go to cozy restaurants, see movies, and tour museums or dance clubs, depending on your morning- or night-time preferences. For these activities, it's ideal to have a mate. Preferably one that is good in bed, can cook for you, has a swanky apartment with a big-screen TV, and pays for the takeout dinners.
In the summer, and warmer months, it's time to break out of that shell and go OUT. This means outdoor seating in cafes and bars, late-night partying at bars with single cute boys, jogging in Central Park (or, who am I kidding, it's mainly short-shorts and bikini-top Frisbee tossing in Central Park), trips to beaches, pool parties, and all sorts of fun outdoor festivities. These activities are not conducive to having a boy attached to you, so it's best not to have one during these times of the year.
As alluded to above, the necessary parka and snow boots of the cold months are not very revealing, and the much-preferred clothing to attract young boys is easier to wear in the summer months. (I guess you could arguably wear said revealing items in winter, but let's face it - frostbite isn't sexy, no matter what color concealer you use.) Plus, often times, if you're dating a boy, he may have something to say about you wearing your brand-new string bikini top and playing Frisbee in Central Park without him being around to cast threatening looks at other boys who happen to pay too much attention to the... uh... Frisbees.
In the winter, even if you do have to wear long undies, unflattering Ugg boots, bad-hair-causing hats (with the accompanying bad static-electric-hair), up-to-your-chin sweaters that leave you feeling about as alluring as a nun in a habit.... you still get to make out with someone at the end of the day, because your boyfriend is waiting for you and will help you with the removal of said layering options. You have to admit, it's very hard to give a "come hither" look (or booty shake) to the guy who catches your eye on the street while you're wearing long johns, wool pants, fuzzy boots, a parka the size of a Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade balloon, earmuffs, a scarf, hat and mittens.
In warmer months - not so much layering, and much easier to show off the fabulously toned Karate legs and new push-up bras. Hence, easier to flirt with potential boy toys.
Lest you think it's all about emotions and sex, let's face it, the winter season is a fabulous time to have someone who likes you well enough that gifts are required. In the winter, there's Christmas, New Year's Eve (it's always better to get kissed than not), and Valentine's Day... all of which pretty much revolve around the guy getting the girl something romantic, or pretty. In the summer, there is a distinct lack of opportunity to get gifts from a boy, so ... why bother sticking with one? Yea, I know... it's a materialistic way to think about things, but honestly, it makes sense a little, doesn't it?
So the lessons we've learned from our little locker-room banter was that the time to pick up a boyfriend is in the chilling-off months of October or early November... and then you can play with him until the first trip to spring break beaches requires that you suddenly be single again...
Interesting. And also interesting to note that I screwed it up this year... but now I know. And in October, I'll start hunting for my seasonal boyfriend for 2007-2008.