In my early 20’s, after my first serious relationship had breathed its last, I marathon watched a whole lot of episodes of Sex & The City. I lived vicariously through the 30-something ladies who trudged their way through dating in New York City, all while I continued writing tortured poetry in the upstairs bedroom of my tiny town.
Back then, I never imagined I’d make it past 25 without a husband & babies & a cul-de-sac. But now, binge watching every episode of SATC while I’m basically their age, it’s suddenly a little more like real life. Just maybe with less Cosmopolitans.
Back at 23, it was less about finding my 50-year anniversary partner & more about which local I might make out with in the parking lot later. Afterwards, I’d come home & eat leftover hotdish, leave the remnants in my parents’ sink & wake up with no hangover sometime the next morning. At 33, it’s about weeding through insecurities. Many mine, many his. It’s a constant filter of wondering why he’s still single. Him wondering why I’m still single. Puking the next day after only just a minimal 3 drinks the night before. And deciding if it’s really so bad just being a bachelorette living by just one set of rules; my own.
What nobody tells you about dating well into your adult life is just how hard it is out here. Sometimes there is such a dry spell between lovers that you actually don’t even know where to begin again. Options drastically narrow & there is an influx of baggage dragging on the ground with that guy you’re internet dating. There might be ex-wives. Ex-girlfriends. CHILDREN. I mean, children are fine. Except when they’re not.
People try to set us singles up every chance they can find. ‘Oh, you’re single? I have this guy for you who’s simply got nothing in common with you but hey, we’re running out of time.’ Or sometimes they match us with the perfect specimen & panic sets in. The date goes well, so what next? Text him ‘Good morning!’ A response, but 3 hours later. Maybe that was too much. But we had a good time so it can’t possibly be already pushing him away. Maybe I should set up another date. Or should I wait for him to set up a date with me? Maybe I’ll text him on a Holiday, like Christmas Eve because who doesn’t respond to someone on such a magical night. Maybe he didn’t get that text because he’s having a dinner with his family because he’s a genuine human. Shit. I will have to meet his family. I hope they’ll like me. They’ll definitely like me. But he hasn’t set up another time to hash out our future. Maybe he’s overwhelmed by eggnog & peanut brittle & he’ll definitely want to go out with me in January, once things have settled. They’re going to hate me. Maybe he’ll never text me again until this:
So you don’t respond, because how do you respond to that. You just have to pretend like you don’t mind exhausting yourself with how to do this. But everyone else does this & you’re not crazy. Right? And then a couple months later he’s in a relationship & they break up 37 times over the next year & a half. There’s definitely some satisfaction in that & a little bit of what the fuckery.
And then sometimes we re-connect with loves of our past. Someone it never quite worked out with but you always wonder if it should have.
This happened to me recently. There was a guy that was always the ‘what if’ of my life. But while I questioned why it never worked, I also felt a nagging like it never would. I entertained the idea anyway. We were pretty compatible as we had known each other since we were young. I enjoyed his company but he lived a state away & often sent dramatic texts. (‘What, no text back?’) It was a tiny battle I was always fighting. I felt an obligation to try it. It might be a great love. Should I or shouldn’t I? If it’s meant to be, would I be questioning any of it? I finally got the finale I had waited for, via a text to a friend. This one:
There’s a lot of back-story here but in a salted nut-shell, he called me unstable (or potentially crazy via those parentheses). And that thing he didn’t know how I’d feel about? He was trying to boink my friend. So that was that.
When I’m with single friends, I’m inclined to give them advice on how to be courageous. To go for love with gusto like I know anything about it. Secretly, I’m smuggle checking my phone to make sure my love has not written me off yet, probably via text. To tell me he doesn’t think long distance is going to work because when does it ever work.
Speaking of LD, I have fallen for someone 3,000 miles away from me. It happened just like they say it does. When you’re not looking. When you’re happy, just the way things are. We were casually Facebook introduced in a comment thread & we exchanged pleasantries. I’d been in the same room as him before & never known it.
Holy shit this was romantic. He was terribly funny which is one of my weakest spots, but he was far away so it caused no immediate distress. But then he kept making me laugh. And then he sent a Christmas present. And then the Earth tumbled out from under me because I fell, how do you say, ass over teakettle in like with him.
Since I needed to know what it was like to lay next to him, I flew there. It was the hardest trip I’ve ever had to come back from.
And then everybody asked, ‘Now what?’ Well hell, if I knew I would have done it. I’d be doing it. I have sat so many nights now, eating alcohol & hovering my mouse over the ‘relationship status’ radial. I haven’t been here in so long I feel like I’m starting Kindergarten again. Homesick feelings for a boy who makes every day complete. A feeling I haven’t visited in many moons. But as much as happiness resides, I can’t kick out the insecure girl who lives in here. We fight a lot.
So while I generally write about the un-doing of my heart, finally I can see the words on the screen I’ve been wishing for. That someone has fit into a spot in my heart I wasn’t sure was open anymore. But have some open minded-ness for your single friends. It gets harder & swampier every single year. Just don’t take them on a date with your significant other. Third wheeling sucks balls, yo.
Oh and, I listened to this as I wrote. It’s actually kind of a sad song but it’s also delicious & so it balances out.
-a damsel & her dog-