I can’t put any photos of me and the bull’s eye of my love arrows up on here because, as a tap-dancing, cartoon cat-loving Paula Abdul once taught us, opposites attract. It ain’t fiction, boo. I’m all, “Veronica Corningstone and I had sex and now we are in love!” public and he’s all, “I love… lamp!” private. So satisfy yourselves with the look of pure amour pouring out of mine eyes.

It’s pretty palpable if I do say so myself. Just look at me. I don’t cheese like that when I’m taking drunken Zoolander photos with my homegirls. Above are the teeth of love, y’all. The involuntary enamel brandishing that says, “Yes, I am overcome with emotion,” and also, “I will bite you if you try to take this away from me.”

The subject of when and how you’re able to spot the sap running out of your ears is, of course, subjective but nevertheless ubiquitous. Celine Dion is suddenly discernible. Daydreaming is a thing again. Washing dirty drawers not your own isn’t gag-inducing. Basically you begin to realize that caring for someone isn’t just about them, it’s about you most of all. Something changes in you.

That is why I’ve never been a huge fan of picking off petals in the “He loves me, he loves me not” checklists some chicks insist upon. As if whether or not someone giving you the last spoonful of Nutella or introducing you to their work friends affects how you feel.

Olivia Pope yourself first! Gut check your mushy insides to see if you’re truly, madly, deeply done in.

And because there’s plenty out there dedicated to what Love allegedly looks like, I’m going to tell you how to spot its apathetic play cousin: the like like. The like like can trap you like quicksand if you don’t watch out for it.

1. If he tells a dumb joke in front of your friends and instead of valiantly pity laughing, you roll your eyes hard enough to give yourself a seizure.

2. If you refuse to pause “Scandal” to listen to how his boring un-Scandal-like day went.

3. If your hairdresser/nail tech/neighborhood malt liquor store owner doesn’t know him by any name other than “the new boy.”

4. If he doesn’t know your secret baby name because you don’t want him to steal it.

5. If you never discovered his weird stuff collection — whether it’s a box of plastic disembodied He-man dolls or love poems written to Ayn Rand — and thought, “I can work with this.”

6. If while on a sexy vacay somewhere romantical, like anywhere with a flat surface to be used as a bed, all you can think about is how much more fun you would’ve had with your friends.

7. If you untag yourself from every Facebook picture with him in it, you know, just in case.

8. If you’ve given up trying to teach him all the words to “Top That” or explain “Teen Witch.”

9. If you’ve never let him borrow your laptop to check his email “really quick,” even if you’re sitting across from him on the couch, because hislaptop is “like right there.”

10. If you’ve read a list of arbitrary musings to figure out how you feel about somebody.

Obviously all this is my version of the facts. Funny thing is most of these came from actual relationships I was in and the precise moment when I thought, “You know what? I could’ve had a V-8.” Those unsung moments are just as important as the ones everybody won’t shut up about.

This post originally appeared on XOJane. Republished with permission. Click here for more Helena Andrews on XOJane! 

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  • well this is stupid, incoherent and hard to understand. I feel like I’m reading the thoughts of a blonde girl who is just randomly blabbing.

    • Señorita


    • mEE

      I was trying so hard to understand the first paragraph I actually had to mute the television so I could focus lol

    • agrl

      I die!

    • Downsouth Transplant

      LMAO I was wondering what was wrong with me, I re read it three times & decided I will give it another stub after dinner, still nothing is coming through!

    • Yvette

      Lol. Oddly enough I understood what she meant. There are probably waaay too many pop culture/movie references though.

    • Pseudonym

      “It ain’t fiction, boo!”

    • Crystal

      But why did the writer have to be dissed just because YOU didn’t “get it”?

    • bijoux

      She wasn’t dissed…we just didn’t understand…….anything

  • Christa

    I thought I was the only one who didn’t really get what was going on.

  • Echi

    Wow – I wasn’t going to admit it either, but I had to re-read some parts of the article thrice before I fully understood what was going on. On the third reading, I gave a muted chuckle in that I thought it was funny, but wasn’t sure if I fully understood it.
    With a little more editing, this article would be fantastic.

  • Crystal

    I get it! Knowing real love when in the past you have identified what was not love at all. It’s a comparison of being in love with a guy versus just liking them a lot. At some point, everyone has spent time with someone we liked but really wasn’t that interested in. Some would call them a placeholder of time. But when you find love, you know it.

    Great article!

  • Rosettastone

    Lolololol, loved this article. Too true. I too love…lamp!