Wherever you go, there you are

For the last week, I’ve been travelling through what I hope will be my future home province someday. I arrived with great hope and expectation about what I might discover, and nervousness that I wouldn’t discover anything at all. I was so thrilled to have an epiphany early on about what to do with my career that I started to think I could just relax on this trip, assuming everything was going to go well and life would all start to sort itself out into a state of clarity.

I spent 3 nights in a small town, renting a room in the home of a man the same age as me. We ended up spending a lot of time together as he showed me around town, took me on hikes and we stayed up late into the night sharing life stories. He talked about wanting to take me on his motorcycle someday, wanting to show me so many more things in the future, and about how his mother would be surprised to learn he’s dating again. By the time I was leaving, we were holding hands in the car and kissing goodbye. I didn’t think I was personally investing too much, it just felt nice to be connecting with someone in that way after what has felt like a long time of being single.

Of course now, two nights later, I just feel profound loss. In the light of day, I see how he is too much like every emotionally unavailable, narcissistic guy I’ve been involved with in the past. I see how I let myself get caught up in a ‘relationship’ for no reason other than it felt nice not to be alone. I see that everything he said and did was self-serving and insincere.

I thought I had left these old patterns behind and yet here they are, following me halfway across the country reminding me that wherever I go, there I’ll be. There I’ll be with all my history, all my old wounds that are still healing, all my vulnerability and weakness and fear. Just when I think I’ve left them all behind, there they are.

Man, what a crappy discovery to have on vacation.

Advertisements

Dating Efficiency

I love the movie “P.S. I Love You.” It can make me cry within 2 minutes – any scene, anytime. There is one aspect of it I used to not be too fond of, though, and that is the way the main character’s older sister Denise (played by Lisa Kudrow) screened out men for dating.

For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, you can watch the clip here. Basically, when Denise first met a man she would say the exact same things:

  • I like your [tie, chain, whatever].
  • Are you single?
  • Are you gay?
  • Are you working?

If they passed those three questions, the next test was a kiss to see if there was chemistry. If they failed any of the tests, she would literally just turn and walk away without another word.

I’ve always thought this was a callous way to try to determine if someone was dateable. I mean, shouldn’t there be more time to get to know him? Shouldn’t there at least be an attempt to gain context if he says he’s not working or if the kiss didn’t launch fireworks?

I’m not so sure anymore.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m 40, or if it’s because I’ve spent so much time getting to know myself that I no longer feel the need to win other people’s affection, but today I found myself behaving not that differently than Denise.

I was at a party that was also being attended by a guy my friends have been wanting to set me up with for over a year. For the first half of the party, I avoided him – I hate situations with that much pressure on them – until suddenly I found myself unexpectedly standing next to him. I looked over, smiled, and paid him a compliment. Within 4 minutes, I learned that he wants to have children (which I do not), after which I quickly wrapped up the conversation and went back to my friends.

As they all giddily raised their eyebrows and leaned in to find out if this handsome man had sparked my interest, I simply said, “He wants babies.” End of story. Nice guy, but I’m not interested in negotiating.

I suddenly felt like Denise. (Well, to be perfectly honest, I thought ‘Oh my god, I’m just like Phoebe’ because I still struggle to see Lisa Kudrow as any character other than Phoebe Buffay.) But this time I saw Denise from a different perspective. She’s a woman who knows what her dealbreakers are, who doesn’t care what people think of her, and who doesn’t want to waste her time on small talk because she has way more interesting things to do with her life.

I don’t think it needs to be done as directly or coldly as Denise does it, but at the end of the day isn’t this what all single people are trying to do when they’re in the dating pool – figure out who passes those minimum requirements for consideration?

As we get older and feel less of a need for validation and approval for others, I really don’t see too much of a point in extending a conversation far beyond its purpose just to try to be polite, especially when it’s unlikely we’ll ever see that person again. In fact, thinking back to earlier years of dating, I’m sure that politely extending the conversation is what got me into a lot of awkward situations and misunderstandings, which then required more long polite unwanted conversations to straighten out.

I think I’m at the age, or maybe just at the point in my life, where I know what I want and what I don’t want. I’ve learned my dealbreakers. I know how the dating game works, both with the good guys and with the bad guys. The good guys might find this approach a little cold but ultimately I believe they’ll appreciate not feeling misled and not having their time wasted. The bad guys don’t deserve one second longer of my time than they manage to steal, so no harm done by cutting those conversations short.

So, I guess I’m turning into that girl. Maybe that will make me seem a bit bitchy but I say it just makes me a much more efficient dater, and I’ve always been a fan of efficiency. 🙂

yes i'm single