Friday, January 25, 2008


(Pronounced “GUY-aye-tuss”; rhymes with “hiatus”. Definition: a celibate and purposeful period devoid of dating intended to open up time and energy for other projects like career, friends, family obligations and general mental health).

Last night began my advanced novel writing class to finally get this beast done by Spring.*

And so my writing teacher-slash-mentor-slash-friend told the group—for some reason all girls and for some reason all older than me (again!)—that she was going on a “guyatus”.

What this meant was she was sick of dating for now, was tired of the maintenance of getting her nails did and her wax on and tired of the time-sucking and though she thought it was perfectly pleasant to have someone, say, hanging around on the weekends, said person never really left, and pages of her new book never really got written.

No offense to guys, and this is by no means intended to go on a chick-lit bent, but I was so enamored of this idea that it really got me thinking…and not just to steal the idea myself and pitch it to Cosmo. Well, there was that, too.

This isn’t to say I don’t like dating. I like it a lot—maybe too much. But there’s the issue of not seeing your friends because you’ve got this other person (or people) taking up all this time, you go out too much, you drink too much, you’re high on infatuation fumes and so you giggle at your desk instead of working or working out, or put off that charity work you’ve been planning because you’re trying to catch up on sleep because you were on the phone until 3 AM laughing about a joke that, let’s face it, in two months will not be funny in the slightest.

And you let your novel go for six months collecting dust and seeming more trite by the day because you have a crush, and you should stop having crushes, and stop having plans on Monday night--just because it’s Manhattan and you can eat dinner at 11 PM doesn’t mean you should,--because what you should be doing is working on your mind, finishing your fine arts half-degree and your book, and being there more for your family to help them out and drawing more art to put on your walls because all the charcoal drawings from last semester somehow ended up all being of really big butts because you never stood in a different spot in class and the models were zaftig and splayed out in a position where their butts were kind of in your face and you laughed about it but the teacher looked at you like you shouldn’t so you forced down giggles and just drew a bunch of asses all semester.

Maybe that’s just me.

I’m used to having a boyfriend, or even just a guy in heavy rotation. But I shouldn’t be. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings on either side, but sometimes I think it’s too hard to manage both, you and someone else or you and a million dates. It’s fun, it’s the stuff of Sex and the City, and while we don’t want to admit we sort of want to grow up that way, we kind of do. It looks fun. It is fun.

Hey, let us not forget that I’m a girl. And as girls, I’ll go out on a limb and say we like to feel wanted, we like to feel hot. I hate to admit this, but it’s true. And let me speak for only part of the population of intelligent, strong, independent women out there. But validation sometimes comes in the form of boys. We like to feel like they like us. We’ve been hearing it our whole lives—who hasn’t complimented a little girl in a dress by saying she looks so “pretty”? It’s not wrong, it just is. But the completion of ourselves by filling our lives with the quest for love…it’s the stuff of novels, sure. But not of novel writing.

Perhaps it’s just a matter of time-management or the city or thinking we all deserve the world. Self-esteem and scared of aging and not being desired. Procrastination. The tides. But this guyatus thing really is starting to sound a little brilliant. Maybe because some people think dating sucks. Maybe because some people think dating is so good that it's starting to trump everything else.

I want to pose the question now:

Have any of you sworn off the opposite sex for a while? What happened? Did you build a house, plant a tree, or just watch a ton of VH1?

*And by Spring I mean April because I have an issue with March, as it always tricks me into thinking it’s not Winter, but really, it is, it snows half the time and is freezing and I’m always the idiot with the icicle hair (when wet hair from the shower freezes on the walk to the subway in those really sexy-looking scraggle-dreads) whose warm coats are in an attic in Connecticut because storing them seemed like such a great idea.


Anonymous said...

loved reading this!

Kate said...

I actually did take a guy-a-tus... but I was not nearly as creative as your friend/mentor/teacher because I just called it a hiatus. (Guess that explains why I haven't finished my novel yet.) However, it was the best thing I ever did for myself. I worked out more, read more, wrote more, spent more time alone... and it was great. I actually became OKAY with being alone and even began to enjoy it. And then when I did get back into the dating scene after about 4 or 5 months, it was because I had met someone totally worth it. I stopped dating the "so-so" guys I knew wouldn't go anywhere and am now actually engaged to the guy who brought me out of hiatus. But due to my hiatus, we took things slow... which was perfect for me. Almost two years later, we're getting married this June.

Broady said...

Nope, never have taken a guyatus. I think I just liked them too much for the thought to occur to me. There were a few periods where I actually enjoyed dating (juggling) three men at a time: I didn't really see a big time future w/ any of them, but it was fun feeling "in control" of things. I can understand why men like doing to that to an extent.

However, when I did have periods where nobody really interested me, I would prefer to spend time by myself or w/ girlfriends. My writing was more prolific during such periods.

Now I am married, so I am neither in control nor writing as much as I would like. But it's still good.

C-47 said...

I have gone on hiatus from ladies several times (whats the equivalent clever word? sheceding? womenbargo? ho-ibition?) Anyway...

On my breaks I

made eight albums of music
made and spent a great deal of money (if you aren't dating you are free to work 7 days a week, 24hrs a day)
read like 100 books
wrote three screenplays
got really in shape
learned to rock climb
traveled to Europe
directed a music video
learned how to rewire a house

Being free from the distraction that is dating and pursuing is awesome. However it gets quite lonely, and with whom do you get to share these accomplishments? The burst of creativity and output begins to wane as the animal yearns for another.
It is a hard balance. One I have yet to master or even get a handle on. But I do encourage occasional ronin wanderings, they do lead to a far better understanding of who you are.

mandy said...

I'm on blowjob sabbatical. Have been for a while now. See I realized that the energy i was putting out (hehe) wasn't being returned in any sense of the matter.

So I decided just to not do it for a while. It's worked out pretty well. I can now spend my time learning new cupcake recipes and photoshopping old high school portraits or something...

No but in all seriousness... I totally get the idea of a guyatus. We all get a little lost in relationships.. it's important to step back, regroup, and remember how great you are as just you. At least, I'm trying to remember that.