Dating Update: The Common Denominator

Posted on August 5, 2010


Right now the sky is dark and ominous, the air heavy and torpid, and if this were a novel I’d be using that as a device to let you know what my mood is like, but this is just another inane blog so I’ll be blunt: This is not a happy post.  I am not a happy girl.

I have a few rules that I try to remember.  One that I have stated here many times, If he wants to see you, he will, has helped me clarify things during several romantic entanglements.  Another of my favorites has helped me boil down many external situations: What’s the common denominator?

Surrounded by assholes?  Keep getting fired for no reason you can ascertain?  Friends drift away, leaving you bewildered?  Ask yourself this: what do all of these situations have in common?  YOU.  Maybe people don’t treat you well because you’re a dick. Maybe you keep getting fired because you are a rotten worker.  Maybe your friends have had a bellyful of your narcissistic bullshit.  Look inward, angel.  The life you save could be your own.

I can’t help but think that in the midst of a string of dismal and sometimes humiliating and yes, despite what I said earlier, hurtful dating experiences, there is only one common denominator, and she looks at me balefully in the mirror every morning.  What have you done with the life I’m supposed to be leading?

Right now, my job sucks.  My apartment kind of sucks.  My weekend plans–to work at my sucky job and sit alone in my sucky apartment–suck.  My dating life is on a plane beyond suck, somewhere Craigslist goes to semi-consensually hate-fuck OKCupid after three too many shots of tequila. Even the items in my refrigerator suck.

For a long time I was a woman who professed not to care that much about relationships and love.  I made the appropriate noises, but I was profoundly annoyed with friends who whined about being lonely. I thought there was something wrong with people who couldn’t be happy with their own company, and that everything would fall into place when it was meant to.

I am sorry for that attitude now.  I was wrong.  Having had the barest glimpse of something good with Lieu, I don’t want to ever be without it again.  I want daily emails from someone that make me smile.  I want inside jokes.  I want, god help my sappy pathetic ass, to be held.  I want to know that my next orgasm is not coming from a device I store in my bedside table.  I want weekends away together.  I want someone to cook dinner for.  I want a quiet stretch of time home alone to be a welcome chance to re-charge, not a frequent ordeal that must be gutted out.  And as long as I have totally lost my ability to self-edit here, I want at least one chubby, precocious baby with a vaguely hipster name  in my not-so-distant future.

I’ve never been much of a striver.  I don’t tout this as an attribute, but I have spent my while life avoiding competitions I am not highly likely to win. I’ve almost made peace with how that has limited my professional life, because wealth and status aren’t things I really value, and I’m okay with getting respect and making an impact in other ways.  But this dating thing…I have tried, I really have.  I’ve treated it like a demanding part-time job. I’ve been upbeat, and realistic, and pushed beyond my comfort zone, and hoped against hope for the best.  I’ve made lemons out of lemonade, figuring that if I had a good time with the flakes who’ve disappeared, it was still a mark in the good column. I’ve made allowances for other people’s situations, and given the benefit of the doubt freely.

But I am tired.  Tired enough of the whole circus to finally ask myself, What’s the common denominator? Could it really be true that the fault lies with all of the men I have talked to and emailed and met for drinks? Factoring in people I have exchanged at least several emails with all the way to the Lieu extreme, this is a easily a few dozen people over the past year.  Could something really be catastrophically wrong with all of them, or is it, simply, me? Perhaps I actually am that ugly, or that unlovable, or that dull.  I never thought I was a Rhodes scholar or runway model, but nor did I think I was someone from whom the villagers would automatically flee in horror.  Now…I just don’t know.  The common denominator is kind of irrefutable; it is the one variable that remains constant.  If it is flawed, the entire equation is doomed.

So, I might be giving up, or at least drastically scaling back for the sake of self-preservation.  Dreaming up a plan B.  Admitting that math has never been my strong suit.  Something, somewhere, has gotta give.