I met a girl on OkCupid and we hit it off immediately, staying out in a bar until the wee hours of the morning. We saw each other a second time. It went even better, we made out a lot and I was feeling more and more confident in the reciprocity of our chemistry. She’s the perfect match for me: funny, smart, sexy, confident, etc. We then saw each other for the third time and ended up hooking up at her place. I’m liking this girl more and more every day, and I don’t want to be overwhelming or too desperate, so I don’t know if I should ask her to be monogamous even if I don’t know if she’s into that kind of thing. When I’m with her everything seems so fun and easy but then when we don’t see each other I start having doubts about whether she likes me, and wondering if she is dating/hooking up with other people. I also never know if I should text her just to ask how her day’s going or to remind her of my existence (both of those things I don’t do). I’m only 20 and don’t really have a lot of experience with girls but I have a gut feeling telling me that I shouldn’t ruin things with this one. What should I do? I’m feeling that she’s way out of my league. She’s just too awesome. I don’t want to ruin this good thing by going all crazy or, on the contrary, by doing nothing. I’ve asked all of my straight friends and they know nothing.—Confused and Careful
Anna says: Worthless straight friends! They’re only good for unattainable crushes and casserole recipes. I’m kidding, CC. I’m sure your friends are lovely. And I’m sure you are too.
I know that panicky feeling a new relationship brings, the wanting to seem cool and casual even while you are secretly looking up how much it would cost to monogram all your towels with her initials. It’s scary. But it’s also kind of fun in that roller coaster way, i.e. great, until you vomit on your loafers.
So, yes. You’ve been on three dates, and had sex once. This is exciting news. But also probably a little too soon to have the “Can we only see each other naked?” conversation. I’m speaking generally here. But it seems to me like you’re still pretty much strangers, which means you should take a little more time to get to know her before deciding you want to bone her exclusively. Also, so that you become comfortable enough to send her run of the mill, non-plan-making text messages. Which brings me to: yes, please send her a text! You aren’t going to ruin anything by asking her how her day was. The only way it might be perceived as annoying is if you send her 15 texts and she only responds to one of them. In that case, you’re overdoing it. But a simple “good morning” (or “guten morgen” if she’s German) or “thinking of you” is a sweet gesture, and one that is difficult to be offended by.
Speaking of “ruining” things, let’s bury that term, OK? It’s dating! It’s learning what someone’s college major is and how many siblings they have and kissing at bus stops and daydreaming at work. None of these actions is “ruin-worthy” even if the date doesn’t go as planned, even if the feelings are not reciprocated. It’s just dating. So please squelch that little voice in your head that is telling you one ill-timed text will cause her to stop speaking to you forever. I mean, shit like that does happen in dating, but it’s not because of the text. And while we’re at it, let’s get rid of the concept of leagues too. Leagues are worthless, except to make us feel insecure. Desire is like 80 percent confidence. And it’s hard to feel confident when you’re comparing yourself to your date. Besides, you’ve been on three dates and saw this girl naked. Those things wouldn’t have happened if she didn’t think you were awesome. So own it. You are awesome. She’s awesome. Go do awesome things together. If it doesn’t work out, then it doesn’t work out, but it’s in no way a reflection of your worth as a human.
Take deep breaths, CC. Enjoy this woozy, uncertain time, and don’t let it become all-consuming. Do what feels good to you, or, even better, do what you think would make your girl feel good. When my girlfriend and I were getting together, she came to visit me at work one day and shared her lunch with me. It’s still one of my favorite moments because it was so sweet and ordinary. Sometimes we spend too much time trying to seem “cool” that we forget to be thoughtful. But making someone feel good earns you major life points, and not just on a bone-ability scale.
Hailing from the rough-and-tumble deserts of southern Arizona, where one doesn’t have to bother with such trivialities as “coats” or “daylight savings time,” Anna Pulley is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. Find her at annapulley.com and on Twitter @annapulley. Send her your The Hook Up questions at email@example.com.