Category Archives: single girl angst

The (triumphant?) return of Dude, Where’s My Boyfriend

I’m baa-aaaack!

Remember that time when I said I was going to be busy with moving and wouldn’t be able to post much but would return as soon as I could?  I’m sorry that that didn’t happen.

Here’s the thing: I love writing this blog, but sometimes it’s a little intimidating.  Given that this is a dating blog, I want my posts to share anecdotes, advice, and hilarities that are about, you know, dating.  This seemingly benign aspiration is somewhat complicated by the fact that sometimes I don’t do much dating.  I mean, I pretty much think about dating all the time, but those thoughts are often relegated to “Dating—now that’s something I’d really like to do again.  Where are all the men?”  I can’t help feeling kind of bad when I don’t have any romance-related occurrences to recount.  Of course, dry spells are a natural (well, at least for me…Bueller?  Bueller?) part of dating (or date-less) life.  Especially, I would add, during weird transition times like the one I’m currently in when you’re in a new place and don’t know many people and spend most nights re-watching Dawson’s Creek alone in bed with a big bowl of ice cream.  I haven’t gone on a date since this guy.

So here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to continue writing on this thing under the assumption that somehow, some way, someday soon I will have more actual dates to write about and less single-person angst.  (I met a few guys at a bar last weekend, so maybe this isn’t as far-fetched as I’ve been thinking…right?  Right.)  But I need your help.  WordPress has this handy feature that tells me how many people read my blog, and I am so happy to see that there has been consistent traffic while I’ve been away.  I know you’re out there!  And I am enlisting you to send me your funny “Dudes Say the Darndest Things” quotes, wise guest posts, stories, letters, questions, whatever.  I want to hear from you and I want Dude Where’s My Boyfriend to be more than just a place where I spill my thoughts—I want everyone who reads and comments to take part.  Because if I’ve learned anything from my dating life thus far, it’s that the friends who like to listen to your dating wins and woes are definitely keepers.  Stay tuned and get at me!

 

And now for something completely different…

Remember yesterday’s post?  Here’s a tone shift.

Last weekend I attended a cousin’s wedding on Cape Cod.  I haven’t reached the age when my friends are getting married yet, so I haven’t been to many and I’m no expert, but this one was everything a wedding should be, at least as I see it: the whole thing, the ceremony, the dinner, the dancing, reflected the couple’s personality perfectly.  The love between them was palpable; the bride screamed “Yay!” when it was all over and they were officially married.  It was moving and exuberant and everyone there felt it.

The thing about weddings that always surprises me—and perhaps this is particular to me because I’m single, though my hunch is that others must feel it too—is the strange blending of emotions.  This wasn’t the first wedding I’ve been to where the bride cried the whole way down the aisle, and both she and the groom cried during the vows and pronouncement.  Most of the guests cried, too; afterward, I think we all felt a little exhausted.  In a good way, I mean—it was a beautiful wedding, and the tears were for happiness, for the excitement of the newlyweds as they walked back down the aisle hand in hand.  And yet, I felt sadness, too.  Of course I’d feel sad—I can only aspire to the kind of love they have, and I felt shut out of something so singularly theirs.  I felt jealous.  I felt, suddenly, like my romantic future must be very bleak by comparison.  It sounds selfish, but I think I cried as much for my own sense of hurt, of left-out-ness, of disappointment, as for their touching declarations and promises.

The truth is, I have many details of my own wedding picked out already, including but not limited to the first dance and the flower arrangements.  Is that silly?  Maybe.  Sometimes when I think about the possibility that it all might happen I get just as choked up as I did at my cousin’s wedding.  [Insert readerly eyebrow-raises about my bizarre fantasy life and over-emotionality here.]  It’s hard for me to believe that I could ever find someone willing to put up with me forever, let alone proclaim me as the person he wants to be with publicly.  It seems far away and impossible.  I feel very worried that I’ll have to continue being the single one while everyone else gets married, when it’s eventually the right time for me to get married, that at every wedding I’ll have to keep changing the subject when my relatives ask why I don’t have a boyfriend.  I’d really like to meet someone, but I don’t want to rush and settle.  I feel unhappy about many of my past relationships, and it is hard to keep my chin up and continue chugging along, trying to enjoy as much of my single life as I can and hoping that one day I’ll have a partner.  It’s scary to embark on so many things alone.

The posts I’ve been writing lately seem so bipolar to me: they celebrate being single, or they condemn it.  If they’re confusing and contradictory, it’s because that’s how my dating life feels—I want to be with someone, but there’s no one at hand.  I’m in this limbo, literally in-between homes, when I’m not dating at all—can’t, really, at this juncture.  And I’ve been holding myself back from romantic encounters, too—I go on dates, I have crushes, but I’m slow to act because so many times I haven’t been, and I want my relationships to be sure and deliberate from here on out.  It feels really good to know what I want and to be waiting for it.  It also feels really frustrating.

The upshot, I guess, is that with all these Feelings, I’m going to make a great bridezilla when the time comes.

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.

Dating philosophies (acoustic version)

Please excuse the short posts this week; as much as I wish I could devote myself entirely to this blog, the sad fact is that I am still a student (and will soon be a grad student) and it is midterms week.  In the meantime, here is a musical summary about my dating life at the moment…

How I feel now:

“I Do Not Hook Up”—Kelly Clarkson
Oh no, I do not hook up, up
I go slow
So if you want me
I don’t come cheap
Keep you hand in my hand
And your heart on your sleeve

How I wish I felt:

“Some Boys”—Dom
Some boys wanna hold my hand
Some boys wanna be my boyfriend
Other boys try to get in my pants
All they want is a one night stand

But it doesn’t really matter
’Cause there are just other boys

The bottom line:

“I Need a Lover”—John Mellencamp
I need a lover that won’t drive me crazy
I need a lover that won’t drive me crazy
I need a lover that won’t drive me crazy

The wait for the date

In the time since my last post, two things have happened:
1. Someone asked me out.
2. I asked someone out.

I haven’t gone on a date since December, and then it was with a dude who ended up squashing my heart into a pulpy ball of sadness.  After that, I had basically arrived at the conclusion that my college dating life was over—I had given it a good run, but this was surely the end of the road.  My job now was to wish fervently that there would be eligible bachelors just dying to take me out for a drink when I move back to the East Coast (to an actual city!) this summer—maybe I could will them into existence.  However, things were looking pretty bleak.  And then, in less than 24 hours, multiple prospects magically appeared.

That always happens, doesn’t it?  Just when you think you’ve lost hope, there it is, knocking persistently at your door.

The hard part is knowing what to do with it.  Although I was initially elated to realize that Guys! Are! Still! Interested! In! Me!, nerves were not far behind.  Because I know well—and have been recently reminded—that romantic entanglements can easily and quickly go wrong, I’m hesitant to give into my excitement.  I don’t want to set myself up to be disappointed yet again.  As a result, I’ve found myself dreading having to pick out an outfit, worry about whether there’s food in my teeth, and, worst of all, that awkward moment when he tries to pay and I insist that we split the bill.  (It’s a personal policy—most of the time.)  While I can recognize that I’m acting in the name of self-preservation, it kind of takes the fun out of having a date.  It becomes this big, scary, nerve-wracking thing with disaster seeming right around the corner—rather than just a fun way to spend a few hours while getting to know someone who could turn out to be really cool.

Ironically, the other thing I find myself doing is irrationally fantasizing.  (Okay, when do I ever not do that?  But still.)  Datiquette knows what I mean when she refers to herself as “the girl who has to constantly rein in her intensity and pretend that she hasn’t planned her wedding down to the smallest details shortly after the onset of a crush [peonies, lace dress, vanilla cake].”  Even though it’s totally in conflict with my nervousness, here I am, wondering how many kids these dudes will want to have and whether or not they’ll be down to buy a house near my parents.  I’m likely (read: definitely) making them into something they’re not.  In a way, it’s like I’m already setting myself up for the disappointment I want to avoid.  It’s pretty convoluted, but it keeps happening.

Much as my friends keep telling me to relax, to go with the flow and just enjoy the ride, I can’t stop flip-flopping between these two emotions.  Is it worth it to go through all this angst just for an hour of conversation over coffee?  I guess that’s the consequence of having had your heart broken: you worry that it will break all over again, even as you yearn for the Mr. Right who will bring you back to that place where you feel deliciously vulnerable, where you feel things you never thought you could.  And that tiny sliver of possibility, the ever-intriguing maybe, is what’s keeping me here, teetering on the edge of potential nothing and potential something—for better or for worse.

Life lessons from The Bachelor

As a general rule, I do not watch TV.  Raised by parents who refused to buy cable, my only options were the Spanish channel, the Chinese channel, and My Wife and Kids.  Needless to say, I did a lot of reading instead.  Unless I’m at a hotel where I can rot my brain with shows like Engaged and Underage, How Do I Look, and Jersey Shore (everyone has her guilty pleasure, okay?), I usually opt for a good novel, magazine, or blog instead.

My one weekly indulgence is The Bachelor.  Laugh all you want, but I am just one of many, many Americans who loves this program.  (According to Entertainment Weekly, 15 million viewers tuned in for the season finale of The Bachelor: On the Wings of Love starring Jake, a hunky pilot, in 2010.)  My mom, aunt and uncle, and my cousin all watch on Monday night when it airs, I watch it online on Tuesday—because yes, you guessed it, I don’t own a TV—and we all email back and forth incessantly about it for the rest of the week.  It’s weird, but so is my family.  (In a good way.) There is something oddly addicting about watching one lucky guy or gal get the chance to pick a fiancé from among 25 eligible contestants, all while going on extravagant international dates and engaging in heavy make-out sessions.  I’m totally hooked.

Despite the fact that this show is, at its core, completely inane, there are a few important life lessons to be gleaned from its shiny cast of singletons.  Here is what I have learned over my long tenure as a fan:

1) Everyone has gone through that one excruciating heartbreak.  If you’ve ever felt like you are the only one who has experienced the pain of a bad break-up, rest assured that you are not alone.  Almost every bachelorette competing for the affections of our illustrious bachelor, Ben Flajnik, a winemaker from Sonoma, has her own sob-worthy tale of woe.  Lindzi, for example, got dumped after two years via text message.  Her ex broke the news with the words: “Welcome to Dumpsville, babe.  Population: you.”  (Seriously, people actually do stuff like that?  Yeesh.)  She claims that for the month after the split she felt like the world was ending, but that “You have to experience real old-fashioned hardcore heartbreak to know what love is.”  It sounds cheesy, I know—and seriously, she was only depressed for a month?  That girl should consider herself lucky—but I have to admit that I think there’s some validity to what she’s saying.  I know that my own heartbreaks have felt awful at the time (and for a long time afterward), but have ultimately allowed me to figure out what I’m really looking for.  Pothead jocks?  No.  Beer pong champions?  Definitely not.  Guys who prioritize honesty?  Yes please.

2) Everyone is afraid that they’ll never find “the one.”  After the rose ceremony when she was sent home Monica cried in the limo, wondering if love even exists—she’s starting to think it doesn’t because she still hasn’t found it.  Samantha tearfully wondered what was wrong with her—it hasn’t worked out with so many guys that there must be something.  It’s kind of pitiful to watch these ladies lose it when one dude—who is dating 25 other women, by the way—doesn’t like them, but I also understand where they’re coming from.  I’ve been in their shoes before (no, I haven’t been on a dating show; though come to think of it sometimes my life sort of feels like one), and boy is it unpleasant.  It hurts like hell.  And yet, there is something reassuring about knowing that other people feel this way too.  We all share the fear that we won’t meet the man of our dreams, that we’re doing something to repel him, that it will just never happen.  It would be hypocritical of me to write something about how it will all work out in the end, because I have the same anxieties.  But hey—if nothing else, misery loves company.

3) Wearing too much concealer makes your face look orange.  Seriously ladies, don’t do it.  In this arena, less is more.

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Be mine?

There’s no occasion more fitting for the inauguration of this blog than Valentine’s Day.  No other holiday throws into such sharp relief the plight of the perpetually single.  Nothing punctuates our misery like watching everyone else receive roses and chocolates and decide what to wear to the expensive dinners their significant others are paying for.  None of us can plan on anything more exciting than a million replays of “Fuck and Run” by Liz Phair, a good cry, and a hangover.

Don’t get me wrong—I am not the type to go around on V-Day pretending there isn’t anything special going on while simultaneously wearing all black as a sign of mourning.  (Oh wait, I TOTALLY AM.)  But honestly, there is something kind of satisfying about it.  I can’t think of a better excuse to relive crushes, relationships, and dates good and bad while reading really, really depressing love poetry in the dark.  And if you’re like me, and did get a heart-shaped candy sampler from someone (thanks, Mom), you can even do it while stuffing your face with mini KitKat bars and handfuls of pretzel M&Ms.

I’m all for spending today reflecting on (grieving over) the loves of years past, and maybe even celebrating my personal highlight reel of Most Romantic Moments.  That time over spring break when we spent a week apart and he told me he missed me?  He didn’t exactly phrase it that way and he did tell me via text message, but still—SO ROMANTIC.  The night when we sat in the coffee shop and talked for three hours without running out of things to say?  THAT WAS THE BEST DATE EVER.  You get my point.

I’m a little bit perplexed, though, by this piece I came across recently, Mary Louise Parker’s “A Thank-You Note to Men” for Esquire.  (Sorry you have to browse through all those naked pictures of her to see the letter; but damn do I wish I looked like that in an apron.)  At first, I thought it was sweet, even kind of moving.  “To the ones who destroyed me, even if for a minute, and to the ones who grew me, consumed me, gave me my heart back times ten.”  I’ve so been there.  Right on, MLP.  Then I started feeling angry.  How unrealistic!  Where is the part where we talk about how annoying men are, how they leave the seat up and always forget your birthday?  I have taken it upon myself to do a re-write.

To the boys I love(d):

To the assholes who slept in my bed for weeks on end and never once offered to take me to a movie; to the douchebags who said they would call and never spoke to me again; to the idiots who only wanted to take off my clothes; to the cowards who didn’t have the nerve to kiss me in front of their friends; to the sensitive ones who wanted to cuddle but conveniently forgot to tell me that they “weren’t ready” until it was too late; to the players who thought that making out was a suitable contribution to a serious relationship talk; to the jerks who used to text me all day long and now won’t look me in the eye—someday I’m going to forget about you.  Someday I will forget about you, how you broke my heart and didn’t look back.  But I hope I never forget what you taught me, things you didn’t even know you were teaching.  Things I don’t want to unlearn.  How when you called me some dumb petname like “babygirl,” or told me I was pretty, that I was sexy, I really felt that way.  How waking up next to you never ceased to thrill me, was almost holy, even though we both had bad breath and my eye make-up was smeared down my face.  How if I was lucky the pillow would still smell like you the next night.  How when we held hands I never wanted to let go, how certain songs reminded me of you.  Your gray t-shirt, so soft to sleep in.  What it felt like just to know that I had you, that I would see you again, that it was possible to care so much.  What it felt like to lose you and to realize, eventually, that even without you all was not lost.  If I am thankful for anything, it’s that because of you I am capable of waiting.  I am capable of hoping that next year on Valentine’s Day I won’t be thinking of you at all.

On that note, happy wallowing!