Category Archives: musings

Don’t leave me!

Dearest readers:

I’m sorry for my less-than-regular updating on this blog.  I am sure that you’re all tired of hearing about my immiment move, but given that said move is happening within the next 24 hours, life has and will continue to be quite hectic.  I also don’t have internet set up in my apartment, and likely won’t for the next two weeks, so my updates will be a bit sporadic.

But worry not!  I will resume posting ASAP, though please bear with me as I get my bearings in a new, internet-less place.  Thanks for your loyal readership, and please don’t forget about me in the interim.

xoxo,

DWMBF

 

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We’re all dating each other

My life has been consumed by lots of “real world” things lately: dealing with realtors, packing for a move, making a budget, shopping for business casual clothing, finding a roommate, and on and on.  In this weird lull when I’m living in between homes and my belongings are stuffed into suitcases and stacked in boxes, there isn’t much time for dating.  And yet, at the same time, dating is all that I seem to be doing.

Maybe this is an obvious observation to make, but it seems like dating—if not the act of going on a date, definitely the processes/emotions involved in dating—is a part of almost every human interaction.  The same behaviors predominate.  When we go to job interviews or meet a group of our colleagues, we think hard about how to make a good, lasting first impression.  There’s a distinct pouring on of charm—dare I say flirtation?—that goes along with any conversation, formal or informal, that we have with another person.  For a relationship to work—and here I mean any relationship, be it romantic, friendly, professional, whatever—there has to be the right element of chemistry to ensure that things progress smoothly.  Inside jokes, complementary talents, trust…it seems like, when it comes down to it, we’re all dating each other, all the time.

I’ve been thinking about this frequently given the fact that I’m trying to locate a roommate.  I never considered, before, how odd it is to live with someone totally platonically.  There’s a certain element of “making Our Home” that is part and parcel of moving in with someone, whether or not you happen to be newlyweds.  There’s an intimacy to letting someone else into your space, sharing a bathroom, buying milk together.  There’s compromise and coexistence and chores to divide.  And it’s hard to find people that you can do these things with without wanting to tear your hair out.  Screening the emails I get in response to my Craigslist ad feels strangely like being a contestant on The Bachelorette.

Okay, okay, that is a slight exaggeration.  But you know what I mean, right?  Networking = dating. Kind of, anyway.

But it’s not the same!  The butterflies I get in my stomach when I send out my résumé are not the same as the ones I get when the guy I care for grabs my hand when we’re walking home.  The giddiness of having a crush is completely different from the excitement of a promotion or good feedback on your job performance.  And I’ve heard that making out isn’t suitable for the workplace.

So while I’m getting all of this practice, I suppose, it’s nothing like the real thing.  Looks like my days on the prowl are only just starting…

In/On the market

This summer I’ll be moving back to a real city (with real men?  THAT is the question!), which means that I need to find a killer bachelorette pad on the double (really, anything better than a cardboard box will do).  I’ve been scrolling through hours’-worth of rental ads on Craigslist and the like, calling realtors like it’s my job, and just generally angst-ing about the whole process, which is long and tedious and very often feels futile.

Trying to find an apartment is just like trying to find a boyfriend.

I’m asking myself all the same questions: What am I looking for?  What things am I unwilling to go without?  What am I willing to compromise on?  How soon should I move in?  Why aren’t there more options that seem like the right ones for me?

It’s all very time-consuming and it feels scary and it feels exciting.  To quote Raymond Carver at the end of “Fat,” an excellent short story, “My life is going to change.  I feel it.”

A note on waiting

From an interview with the amazing Jean Valentine in an old issue of The American Poetry Review:

I want to live in today and in this hour and in this moment.  What have I waited for in my life?  I guess I’ve lived too much anywhere but in the present.  I’ve lived in the past and I’ve lived in the hope of the future, living with the thought of getting a book published, or being with the right man, or knowing that my children are happy.  This happens or that happens and then I’ll really have myself, be at home.

I think at one time I was waiting for things from the outside that could only come from the inside.  What am I waiting for now?  [Laughing.] Living in the hope of not waiting for anything.

This one is kind of depressing. But honest! (That counts for something, right?)

My last post was a lie, or at least it has become one.  An unintentional lie, but a lie nonetheless.  When I wrote it I felt it—the happiness, the okay-ness, even the freedom of being single—but those feelings disappeared almost as soon as I hit the “Publish” button on my WordPress dashboard and they have only vanished further since.

I’m not sure exactly what sparked this complete change of heart.  On Friday at happy hour at the only good bar in this one-horse town I saw someone I formerly dated (hooked up with? I don’t know what we were) for some time a few years ago, and even though we passed within several feet of each other several times we mutually ignored each other except for some very, very fleeting eye contact.  On Saturday I saw a more recent heartbreak walking somewhere with a girl, and although I knew walking didn’t necessarily mean anything, I couldn’t stop the thoughts: who was that girl and was that his sweatshirt she was wearing (that looks like his sweatshirt!) and how come he has managed to find someone else while I have not and does he touch her the way he touched me?  And on top of all this, I turned in my thesis last week, and despite the fact that that was a real milestone for me, something I’m proud of, I feel bereft, in a way—like the one thing I have been working on all this time, the one thing I’ve really poured my heart into this year, the one dependable thing, is over.  My project was quite a convenient distraction.  Now there is no excuse, nothing to hide behind when I don’t want to think about all the other stuff.  The other stuff being a lack of other stuff, if you get my drift.

There are lots of different kinds of love.  I know—and I feel—that I have a lot of love in my life.  And yet, I still find myself wanting, time and time again.  Sometimes it’s a physical want, and sometimes, like now, it’s a heaviness, a deepness somewhere, a weight I can’t place but feel just the same.

In some ways, I can’t imagine a man falling in love with me.  I see couples and I can’t fathom being a part of one in a way that feels right (whatever “right” means).  And I can, too, but it often feels impossible, too far away to reach.  Does that make sense?  In high school I hoped I’d find it in college, and now I’m hoping I’ll find it post-graduation.  There’s a lot of hope involved, really.  I’m banking on it not running out before something good comes of it.

State of the (non)union

As a reader of this dating blog, you may be wondering: where is all the dating?

I go on dates!  I swear!  I ask people out, people ask me out—this is a thing that happens!  Just not recently.  Before I started this blog I’d been thinking about starting this blog for a very, very long time, and during that time I had lots of crushes, dates, non-relationships that were still kind of things.  Now I have none of those things.  There’s not even anyone that I’m interested in.  Okay, there are a few guys who I like as vague objects of fantasy, but no one who I really want to pursue.  And because I’m in that weird place of being about to graduate and move somewhere new, any remote feelings I do have immediately send me into a downward spiral of “but what about when I leave?” thoughts.  Although I have been relentlessly hopeful all year that I will somehow meet a great guy who will be worth staying with after my four-year stint here is through, I’m beginning to realize the cold hard truth, which is that that will not be happening.

And, oddly, I feel okay about it.  None of my college relationships panned out the way I wanted them to, and while there’s a definite sense of disappointment that goes along with that, as I’ve read many times on Captain Awkward, every relationship fails until you find the one that doesn’t.  Some might end better than others, but until you find the person you want to be with for the rest of your life—assuming that’s what you’re looking for—they do always end (as romantic relationships, anyway—maybe they continue on as friendships).  What I’m trying to say is that even though things haven’t worked out as planned, that’s because they weren’t supposed to.  I haven’t met the right guy yet, and that is not something that I feel upset about, because I’m only 22 and, to quote Bye Bye Birdie, “I got a lot of livin’ to do.”  (Did I really just quote Bye Bye Birdie?  Yes I did.)

Of course, there are also moments when I don’t feel okay about it, when I think that my dating experiences have been one disaster after another and wonder why the reality of my romantic situation never matches the imagined version, which is so, SO much better.  Every once and a while I can’t help thinking of that part in The Woman Warrior where Maxine Hong Kingston writes: “No husband of mine will say, ‘I could have been a drummer, but I had to think about the wife and kids.  You know how it is.’  Nobody supports me at the expense of his own adventure.  Then I get bitter: no one supports me; I am not loved enough to be supported.  That I am not a burden has to compensate for the sad envy when I look at women loved enough to be supported.”  That’s a tad dramatic, of course, because I am supported, even if not by a lover, but those instances of “sad envy” are real.

I have a lot of practice being single, and it’s practice that I’m grateful for because it has given me a much clearer idea of what I’m looking for.  It’s funny—most of the time when I’m in the midst of a dry spell I feel antsy, aggravated, like I’ll burst if I have to wait another second longer to find a new boy intrigue.  Right now, though, I’m experiencing a calm along with this waiting.  It’s one of those rare times when I don’t feel like I’m in a rush.  There’s even a kind of excitement about it, because of that whole “good things come to those who wait” business.  I can’t help feeling like there are good things on the horizon; I wouldn’t mind, though, if that horizon didn’t seem quite so distant.

It’s in my genes, I swear…

Each time I come home I feel thankful that I was never so desirable to the male population in high school to have the unpleasant pleasure of trying to squeeze into my childhood bed with a boy.  Even though I spent practically every night of my adolescence wishing that there was someone else under the covers with me, I now see that what I then believed to be misfortune actually made for many a good night’s sleep.  I can’t imagine sharing my tiny twin with anyone, let alone someone I’d want to look good for in the morning.  Those twin XL beds in college were bad enough: after all, how many mornings did I wake up pressed against the cinder block wall while a hulk of a baseball player hogged all but my small sliver of mattress?

I love being home.  I love that my mom does my laundry for me, and that the refrigerator is always fully stocked, and that there’s no danger of running out of toilet paper because my roommates and I forgot to buy more the last time we went to the market.  But there’s also something odd about being back in a neighborhood filled with the sites of my former pining.  The guy who gave me my first kiss lives (or used to) only a few blocks away.  I’ll never pass his street without remembering that this is the very place where I swapped spit with someone after so many years of waiting and wondering when it would happen.  There’s the Starbucks where I went on my first date, the playground where I used to chase my kindergarten crush, and the hot neighbor dad who I totally thought wanted me when I was seventeen.

There are also the dozens of notebooks where I’ve faithfully recorded my romantic interests and pursuits since age eight, selections of which I will now reproduce for your entertainment.  In second grade, I was enthralled with “Jared” (all names have been changed).

I used to not be friends with Jared I was just thinking he was cute.  But now we have started a friendship.  P.S. Jared is still cute.  I wonder if he is the one who I will marry.

***

It is almost summer.  Me and Jared plan to call each other.

***

It is summer now.  I plan to call Jared tonight.

 

At this point in my journal I entered the third grade and abandoned Jared—who knows what happened on that phone call—in favor of another boy, Aidan.

Aidan is so cute and I mean “really” cute.  I fall head over heels for him.  I’m not sure this one is a crush.  Aidan is really my kind of guy.  He gets in trouble a lot but he is so so nice. 

Hair: Dirty blonde.

Face: Cute, non-freckel, smiles a lot.  [While my inability to spell “freckled” concerns me, my concurrent knowledge that “a lot” is two words kind of makes up for it. –Ed.]

Skin: Fair white.

Good Parts: Likes sports, is nice, tells jokes.

Bad Parts: Gets in trouble.

I wish he would try harder at things.

A few pages later I had taped in the valentines Aidan gave me, store-bought ones with animals wearing sunglasses on them.  One says “You are a cool cat,” and the other “You are a hot dog.”

It’s funny how little things change.  I haven’t gotten a paper valentine from a guy since elementary school, but I still meticulously record text message exchanges in my journal, I still find myself making the first move a lot of the time (like calling Jared), and I still end up dating dudes who are wrong for me (“I wish he would try harder”?  I didn’t know at nine years old that this would be just the first of many, many times I would say these words).

It’s kind of depressing that I haven’t made much progress over a decade later.

Then again, it also makes me really glad.  Is it weird that I’ve always been so obsessed with finding the right guy?  Maybe.  But I’ve been lucky enough to grow up surrounded by happy couples who have modeled love at its deepest, strongest, most honest.  My greatest hope is to find a love like the one my parents have, like the one my grandparents have (they met when my grandmother was 16 and my grandfather was 20, and have been together for over 60 years).  I have seen firsthand that love like this exists, that it is not only something that happens in books or movies.  In short, I’ve been brought up to be boy crazy.

I know, I know, I’m getting a little sentimental, so I’ll leave it at that.  It must be something in the water here.  But, er (one more!)—there’s no place like home.

Attack of the boyfiend

Sometimes when I log in on the WordPress homepage I accidentally type in the username “dudewheresmyboyfiend.”

I have a hunch that there is a very important subliminal meaning to this, most likely that I’ve dated enough disappointing dudes to subconsciously associate the boyfriend with something you’d meet in the third circle of hell, the smooth-talking, never-calling, loud-snoring boyfiend.

According to Urban Dictionary, the word boyfiend has two meanings, the second of which is spot-on:

Male who refuses to accept the idea that he could/should play the role of “boyfriend” in a relationship.  This refusal commonly results in the male exhibiting negative behaviors.  These behaviors may include lying, cheating, or refusal to “grow up” and accept the basic responsibilities involved with being in a relationship.  Boyfiends are quite often immature and narcissistic men.

Hmmm.  I have definitely dated many of those.  Maybe my typos are less subliminal than I think…