People are crazy. People are weird. People are silly. People are funny. People are nosy. People are cautious. People are worried. People are happy. People are hidden. People are open. People have hope. People are GIFTS.

I met a friend and his friend for drinks last night. Not only to conduct some research, but also to let my hair down a little and decompress some of the heaviness from the week. Enter scene: dark lit wine bar. Perfect. The boys were already alcoholically primed by the time I showed up, so the conversation flowed and my great material columns were filling up with ease. I had a 28-year-old attorney on my left and a 25-year-old attorney on my right. Two completely different men, with two almost completely different views on certain aspects of relationships.

Of the quotes from last night, let me shine the spotlight:

“The way I look at relationships goes back to Anthropology. Women want the guy to go out and kill the saber tooth tiger and bring it back to provide for her. Men want to go out and kill the saber tooth tiger to feel like a man. And also to be a badass.” – I don’t remember the question I posed to K, but here he was describing the basic fundamentals on his views of men and women and how we behave in relationships and how it correlates to caveman days.  High five, K. He went on further to say:

“Women are better communicators because the women were able to talk while they were out collecting nuts and berries and were able to express their feelings because they didn’t have to be quiet. Men on the other hand were out in the wild, stalking their prey, armed with spears. We had one shot to kill. That was the main focus. We had to stay quiet. So, men in general are bad at communicating about our feelings because it’s not natural.” – I loved this analogy. It set a very primal basis for the research that night, but also made me see things in a way that I never really have before.

Then we drank more alcohol and I asked if the friend zone existed.

“I can be friends with a girl after I have sex with her.” said my friend, M.

Then K chimed in, “For sure. I have plenty of friends that are women and the relationship is strictly platonic. I respect them and think of them as sisters. But, just because I’m friends with her and can hang out doesn’t mean that I won’t have sex with her if the opportunity presented itself.”

A, the bartender, was whizzing past so I stopped him and posed the same question to him, “No. It just depends on how ugly the girl is.” He had been eavesdropping the entire time and already had an answer for the question before I even asked it.

This comment shifted the topic to attractiveness and how it corresponds to being a factor on whether or not a guy is going to be friends with you. K made the observation that people generally hang out with people of equal attractiveness.

K: “This might sound bad, but I don’t hang out with ugly people.”

Me: “So would you agree that within 5 seconds of seeing a girl, you decide whether or not you just want to have sex with her or you want to get to know her.”

M chuckled a little and said, “Less than that. Like 1 second.”

Me: “Really? You can give a once over and go in for the kill in a split second?” I said.

“When you first meet a girl at the bar, no part of you is thinking, yeah, we’re just going to be really great friends.” M said as he took a sip of his whiskey.”

K: “I can’t have sex with a girl that I don’t have an emotional connection with. M on the other hand bases the initial encounter on looks alone.” (Age difference: M/25 K/28)

*Theory: The game changes depending on the age of the male. There was only a 3 year age difference between two men in the same profession, with similar upbringings. I’m sure I don’t need to point out the obvious.”

We took the show on the road and ended up downtown for more drinks and conversation.  I came to a couple realizations: One, if you preface a very blunt question with “I’m doing research for an article”, people will tell you anything. Two, If you fully engage yourself in the conversation, validate the words coming out of their mouth and genuinely take an interest in their story, they will purge things from their soul. Which is what happened in a conversation at bar #2. I’m sure the alcohol was a little bit of a factor but someone decided to share something with me that I doubt they would have had we not spent the last couple hours talking about relationships and sex.

And at that moment things shifted for me. I realized how much I care about what other people have to say. I care so very much about the things that bring them happiness, sadness or indifference. I care about “the friend zone” and why women tend to lose themselves in a relationship and why guys “hit it and quit it” and I’m nothing but intrigued and overwhelmed at how incredibly intricate people are. I also am humbled to my core when a stranger feels comfortable enough with me to share something personal that goes way beyond how we behave in relationships.

The topic of my research may be obnoxious to some, may even borderline inappropriate. But I can tell you one thing: It’s fucking real. And the people in the middle of it are real. They could be an intelligent and tail-chasing, 25-year-old attorney who literally has the world at his fingertips. Or they could be the struggling college student who has no idea how talented, beautiful and deserving she is, she just has made some really bad choices in men. I see the things that others choose not to acknowledge or maybe can’t even see. I see people with stories that should be told, dreams that need to be realized, egos that need to be boosted, egos that probably should be knocked down a few notches and simply astoundingly intriguing individuals.

I see a crazy mess of sheer beauty. It’s people. And what I want more than anything is to tell your stories, coupled with mine. I have heard some of the most absolute shocking, crazy, courageous and heart warming things since I started this little project. But it has allowed me to see people in a way I never have before, appreciate the lessons that everyone I come across can teach me and live out my passions.

You kids blow my mind sometimes. Thank you.