For those of you who haven’t seen Wedding Crashers, a stage 5 clinger is a member of the opposite sex who becomes exceedingly attached to someone in an unreasonably short period of time. You know the type: they want to be in constant contact, they text you “just because” every 5-7 minutes, they start planning the wedding and naming your unborn children after the first date, they book weekend getaways six months into the future when you’ve known each other for less than a week, and when all of this starts to get a bit overwhelming and you try to get a little space…well, let’s just say this clinger never met a restraining order that they didn’t like.
I have noticed a tendency for people to automatically assume that a stage 5 clinger is a woman. However, I can say that that stereotype is misguided. I don’t deny that there are female clingers, I simply stipulate that there are also an unreasonable amount of needy men out there (and I have an inbox busting at the seams with unwanted texts to prove it). So, in an effort to avoid making a habit out of changing my phone number, I’m simply going to make an appeal to all the clingers out there to change their ways. I have prepared a quiz to help you in this endeavor.
You may be a clinger if:
- You jump the gun: You’ve hooked up once or twice, but you tell all of your friends that you’re “practically boyfriend/girlfriend” (after all, if enough people start to believe you two are dating, maybe he’ll just accept it as reality, right?)
- You develop a Rain Man-like obsession with your phone: You go days without showering because you are scared that the second you abandon your phone he/she will call. Every creak sends you frantically lunging for your phone in hopes that it’s a text from your beloved, and when you stare at the blank screen you can literally feel your heart sinking. (Note: Apple Insurance doesn’t cover crazy, so no matter how devastated you are by the lack of texts, don’t take it out on your iPhone by throwing it across your room in a fit of rage.)
- You start to think that you missed your calling as a private investigator: You spend hours on his/her Facebook, scrolling through his/her wall timeline and scoping out any possible competition. You know the name and location of every remotely attractive person that has posted on their wall timeline in the last fiscal year, and you better believe you’ve read all of their wall-to-wall conversations. If they’re tagged in a picture, you know about it before they do.
- You make your beloved feel like they are walking through a mine-field every time they are online: They sign on to gchat and breathe a sigh of relief that you aren’t online, but SURPRISE! You were just hiding in ‘invisible mode’ to lure them out, your message box full of kissy faces and ‘I miss youuuu’s pops up on their screen and they quickly X out of gmail but this does not deter you and you initiate a Facebook chat. “Oh crap!” They think “I totally forgot that feature existed!” They frantically close the whole internet browser, and just when they think they’re free and clear that little song starts playing on their computer…the song that plays when you SKYPE someone. Yes, that’s right, you Skyped their ass! “OMG, I didn’t even know I was signed in!” “It’s not worth it,” they say as they slam shut their Macbook Pro, only to immediately hear their phone vibrate. Of course it’s a text from you. You noticed they signed offline abruptly and you just wanted to make sure everything was alright. ‘Are you mad at me baby????’ says the text which you will resend every 5-10 minutes until you get a response. While your beloved is slamming their head against the wall and wondering what they have gotten themselves into, you take the liberty of befriending all of their roommates on Facebook, initiating a chat, and inviting yourself over. It’s always better to talk about these things in person anyway, you think to yourself.
- Secret Weapon: When you start to sense that your beloved it pulling away, it’s time to dive into your arsenal and bust out the bazooka: GUILT! Maybe something terrible happened to your imaginary friend, or you get fired from your nonexistent job, maybe this is the first time since your divorce that you felt like it might be possible to love again, maybe you were just so excited to have found someone so amazing, or maybe you think you’re pregnant (and that it’s his…it has to be, after all he was your first, right? Ha.). The aim of the game is simply to make the other person feel like such an awful human being that they must atone for their sins by spending time with you. (Aww, how romantic! Obviously this is how all classic love stories begin.)
- You enjoy using the element of surprise to your advantage: “Oh my gosh, I had NO idea that you got your coffee here at this Starbucks at the intersection of South St. and Elm Rd. every Monday through Friday morning at approximately 7:05 a.m.! What are the odds!? We clearly have so much in common.” Unless you’re Ed McMahon and are carrying a giant check, this is NOT okay. Stalking is not cute, ever. A burlap sack full of kittens could stalk Justin Beiber and it would still not be cute.
Moral of the story: Get it together boys and girls! Regardless of your gender, desperation is NOT sexy.