Karin: You know that feeling — that feeling that tells you you have the connection with this person. And when you hold each other’s hand, you can feel the electricity between you.
Me: I suppose… although I’m not sure if I’ve felt that. Or maybe I have.
Karin: No? Really?
Me: (pause) Well… maybe twice. And both were very very recent.
Karin: I’ve only felt it twice too, but when I was fifteen and seventeen. Like you can really feel that current, and the guy can feel it too!
Me: Oh… well, if you mean a literal current of electricity, then no, I don’t think I’ve ever felt that.
Karin: Really? Never? Not even the butterflies, or that really really happy feeling?
Me: (beginning to feel as though were harboring some abnormality) Well, like I said, I’ve come as close to feeling something like that as I can twice, and both very recently. And yeah, there were butterflies, definitely, and the giddy feeling, with both of them — but no, I don’t think there were electrocutions of any kind.
Karin: Oh… well, maybe you just haven’t found that person yet. Or maybe you have, but you didn’t know that you were feeling it.
This reminded me of a conversation I had with Maddi about two and a half years ago. She had just begun dating someone — whom, bless her, she is still with — but did not know at the time if it was something she wanted in the long term. Back then it was a question between settling for what she had or moving along in her search for what could be the perfect person (or as close to it as possible, at any rate).
As we grow older, our perception of things take a different turn. In college, we slaved for hours over term papers and assignments, knowing that they all contributed to our final grades and bemoaning the hardship of life that they were. After graduation, we entered the real world and our first jobs, and then the grumbling turned from term papers and tests to deadlines and red tape.
So if, say, two and a half years ago, we felt what we thought was the soft fluttering of wings in our stomachs that signified the coming of the butterflies, which told us that there was someone we liked and could see ourselves with, would feeling that same fluttering now mean that we had met someone we wanted to date, or something much deeper? If we go so far as to say we actually feel that ‘current’ of electricity, does that mean we’ve found someone who could be more than someone we just ‘like’ or ‘want to be with’? And if so, then of what significance would the butterflies be?
Upon retrospection, I’ve found that I never really had the butterflies up until about a year ago, which may have been why all my previous relationships were spectacular disasters, aside from the philandering and manipulative traits they all appeared to have in common. But if it’s true that the older we get, the more cynical we become, then how do we know that the butterflies are what we think they are? And with this cynicism in tow, when the electricity finally does come on, is it really what we feel, or is it all just a state of mind, caused by the hormones and pheromones people have come to call the ‘giddy, happy feeling’?
Apparently, my inability to identify this feeling may mean that I am missing that particular gene that other women seem to possess. I don’t call it the butterflies or the electricity; I just call it a feeling.