My friend is in the most boring long-distance situtationship of all time. Trust me, I’m not offending her by writing this, as she is the first one to admit to the dullness of the liaison. Their text message exchanges include extensive coverage of rain precipitation. Their monotonous phone chats could put a teething baby to sleep. No sparks fly in person – or in the bedroom – leaving most of us all wondering what, exactly, inspires her to keep him around.
The other night, after enduring the Chinese water torture of listening to her and Mr. Snooze discuss their bedtime rituals (he likes to sleep in socks!), I decided to unravel the mystery.
“Why are you subjecting me to this? Actually why are you subjecting yourself to this?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” she replied. “I just have a lot of anxiety and having me call him every night calms me down.”
“You know what else calms you down? Chamomile tea.”
“Exactly. He’s my chamomile tea.”
And, just like that, my friend had tapped into a SATC-worthy theory: “Some men are like chamomile tea”.
Before you tell me to take a hike to Carrie Bradshaw’s townhouse, let me elaborate. In the entire tea game, chamomile is by far the most boring option. Green tea gives you energy (like a startup dude!), ginger tea awakens your senses (like an artiste), jasmine tea is sophisticated and refined (like a Euro intellectual), fruit tea is a party in your mouth (like a young guy), chai transports you to an exotic world (like a writer), oolong is weird and cool (like a Brooklyn hipster), and so the Yogi tea list goes on.
But chamomile tea? Chamomile tea is just blah. You will never hear anybody raving about a delicious chamomile tea they just tried, because we all know that no such thing exists. Chamomile tea doesn’t smell good or taste good or do anything remotely thrilling. And yet, it is also warm and soothing and calms you the fuck down and allows you to stay in your pajamas all day long, which is why you keep it in your kitchen panty for temporary bouts of anxiety. Just like my friend keeps Mr. Snooze in her Man Pantry for the permanent bout of anxiety that are your early thirties.
While there ain’t wrong with a little bit of chamomile, be warned: comfort is addictive. In the same way that you may quickly start relying on your chamomile habit to fall asleep, you run the risk of getting stuck in a bland relationship just to avoid the solitary alternative.
I once spent nine whole months drinking chamomile tea, i.e. dating a nice guy from a good family whom I had no connection with, just because he made me feel good about myself and slightly less stressed about the future. On bad days, I would bask in the comfort of his soothing blandness, only to replace him with more flavorful options once those weak moments would pass. As a result, I wasted his time, wasted my time, and probably scored myself a zillion karma points that I am still paying off. Oh, did I mention that I was left with more anxiety in the aftermath than I had initially started out with? Lesson learned: chamomile tea does not a viable solution make.
I’m not telling you hop on the next caffeine fix and seek unstable characters who will deliver high highs followed by equally low lows. All I’m suggesting is that you start weaning yourself off your chamomile habit, be it the safe boring guy, the longtime friend with benefits, or even that platonic friend who is always there to listen. Shove that stuff to the back of the pantry and learn to sleep on your own. Make room in your life for something more interesting.
(@YOGI PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SEND ME SOME TEA. I REALLY LIKE THE GINGER AND LICORICE ONES JUST SAYING.)