The Deep End Of The Dating Pool

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:
nothing you did
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:
unstable.png
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.

Cheers friends,
-a damsel & her dog-

 

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Auld Lang Mine

Here it is, 16 days into the New Year. I am a month & a few days shy of my 31st birthday & I feel like this might be the year I do something besides add 27 new shows to my Netflix queue. So far though, I haven’t strayed too far from my normal habits. Coffee at bedtime, naps in the evening & falling asleep 3 times before I make it through a Downton Abbey episode. Not because I dislike it, it’s because I still cannot function above the level of a toddler.
2013 was good. It wasn’t spectacular & it didn’t suck. I donated lots of clothes, diagnosed & treated my allergy ridden dog & got a few steps closer to inventing something good enough to get myself on Shark Tank. I’d tell you what it is but I’d have to punch you in the kidney.
I recently had to look up the meaning of Auld Lang Syne because I forget it every year. It translates, or so the internet says, to ‘times gone by.’ We should remember our past friends & stuff I guess. To me it kind of translates to this: stop losing yer damn self.
Do you remember in that movie with Richard Gere & Julia Roberts, the second one, where she likes her eggs the same way that all of her lovers like their eggs? This is how I have often reacted in relationships. I am so eager to please my sig other that I lose all the things I love. Mainly naps. And eating.
I have had a lot of single time to dwell in independence. It is lonely, but it is liberating. And I will argue with any married person about it. I can see the joy one can get being married, but I can tell you why it is great to be alone. And with this understanding has come the willingness to finally, maybe, consider dipping my cankle into the pool of dating men who aren’t right for me.
A week or so ago 2 of my best girl friends and 1 of my best guy ones sat down, drank roughly 4 bottles of wine & discussed his current relationship problems. We all got intellectual via fermented grapes, I drew a timeline & we told the poor guy that ‘she’s just not that into you.’ If you could see my drawings & witty remarks on said timeline I think you’d probably agree with me. It’s so easy when you’re on this side. Talking to someone who is meddling in heartbreak is like telling yourself not to get the deep fried cheesecake after your 7 course meal for $20 at Applebees. You know you shouldn’t get it but you’re going to try to fit it all in your stomach hanging over your pants anyway.
I know this because I have found myself to be the queen of rationalizing. On my 30th birthday I wrote a blog that said something in the end about meeting a handsome stranger. Well on December 7th, 2013 I did. I went on a blind date that I thought went nothing short of perfect. It lasted for hours, he was wearing flannel, sported a beard & told me that he just wants to live in the middle of nowhere, etc. I didn’t even hear my panties dissolving.  Let’s do like a VHS & fast forward a week. I texted him to casually ask if he wanted to go to a concert coming up in January. No response. That’s cool I said. I waited until Christmas & asked him to go to drinks ‘next year,’ BECAUSE THAT IS SO FUNNY & CLEVER. No response again. I beat myself up for days about what I did wrong. Maybe it was because I got kind of drunk on our date & it didn’t go as good as I remember? Maybe it’s because he had to drive me home & I hadn’t cleaned my house because let’s face it I haven’t had man company in a while? Maybe he dropped his cell phone in the lake while ice fishing?  Maybe he fell in the lake while ice fishing? I did it until I realized that I was being a total knob. I had let all of my current comfort & happiness fall to the wayside because I was swayed by a potential lover. A whole lot of me wishes it had never happened because I wouldn’t have been distracted & inevitably sad that I once again did something wrong. But it is one more thing I have now been able to blog about. One more ‘time gone by.’ I don’t know if Robert Burns would be okay with my analogies but art is open to interpretation.
So here we all are in a brand new year. If you’re married that’s cool, please don’t write me any letters. I’m happy for you. But remember, I have to do all of the chores myself. Garbage, softener salt, the dishwasher. Give thanks for that the next time you cold shoulder your husband for not commenting on your sweet new bangs.

Here’s to 2014. The year of big things. Here’s to my dog who just licked the Shop-Vac. Here’s to all of the things.

Cheers friends,
A damsel & her dog.

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My Favorite Ex-Boyfriend

My favorite ex-boyfriend got engaged recently. My heart jumped out of a 17 story building & has been bleeding out on the sidewalk below ever since.
I knew the day was inevitably coming. He talked about her in our circle of friends while I pretended to check my phone & wished that I smoked so I could exit the conversation I wasn’t even in. I saw the announcement on Facebook, that place where all news is given these days. I didn’t even ‘like’ it or leave a ‘congratulations’ comment because, well, I’m too selfish.
I’m surprised we ever happened in the first place judging by the ass-headed way I went about it. A mutual friend of ours said he was interested in my sweet highlights & Lisa Loeb glasses so using my mad stalking skills I found his e-mail address & sent him a little electronic letter.
He called. Come again right? And then began some of the most exciting times of my twenties. We would drive around & listen to music, the smell of his cigarettes dinting the air. I helped him pick out jeans & was invited to work parties. I didn’t say much then, he intimidated me. After all, he dated a dancer & had lived in New York. I obsessively watched You’ve Got Mail & ate broccoli cheese soup like it was going out of style. We dated 3 times over a number of years. In those years I learned how to tip properly, how to match my socks to my outfit & that it’s not that big of a deal to go to the big city to catch some shows.
The first 2 times we were together, he dumped me. After the second time, I packed up my bags & moved to Alaska. A few days into my journey to the biggest state in the land, we were together again. He came to visit me. Everything was sunshine & rainbows shitting more sunshine & rainbow babies. The bliss lasted for a few months. Then I made friends & a 3 hour time difference was starting to meddle in the way of being in love. And then I did what any person does in a perfectly perfect relationship: I dumped him & started dating a total nozzle.
Since that day I have wondered if I made the right decision. I still don’t know. The only thing I do know is that I got my giant-hippopotamus-sometimes-asshole-but-i-love-him-so-much-dog out of the situation & I can’t trade him for anything. Not even beef jerky.
When I moved back within a mile of MFEB we hung out sometimes. This was after my train-wreck of a near 4 year period with the nozzle ended. We would drink in his garage or he would watch me bake cupcakes. I wanted to do it all over again, but I couldn’t. I have now turned into the man of every relationship & all boys to me seem to act like huge vaginas. He wanted to take me out on a date & I liked being alone. For the first time in the length of a DMV line, I was doing what I actually felt was appropriate. I was hoping he’d wait but I knew he wouldn’t, he wasn’t the waiting kind.
I thought about writing him, to tell him I was happy he was happy. I haven’t done that yet. But I did this. This is my attempt at saying a total adios to the boy who taught me the beginnings of everything. Though I know I will do as I always do, & never fully commit.
Here, have a sad song, sung by one of our favorite road-trip companions.

Cheers friends,
-a damsel & her dog-

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