carrie bradshaw i am not...
...i debated as to whether i wanted to post something about this, but i've decided that it's my blog and i can do what i want with it. it is risky, though, as there's a brilliant stalker tool out there called google, which makes this blog pretty easily findable for anyone with a little bit of time and some interest. with this in mind, i won't name names (except for those whose names have already been named in this blog), for whom it's too late anyway. but here goes...
this summer i delved a bit into the world of internet personal ads. it seemed like a decent experiment in trying to meet people who aren't law students, and it has, for the most part, been successful in that i've met some cool people, made a couple of good friends as a result, guys who, for whatever reason, weren't right for relationships (too bad for them), but whom i'm glad to have had occasion to know.
but last night i had a bad date. a really awkward date. i've had worse dates, but this one was uncomfortable and from the moment i opened the door when he came to pick me up i knew that it was not going to work out. not that what i want right now is someone who will "work out" in the long-term sense. i just kinda want to be in a relationship. there. i've admitted it. i want to take the ferry to boyfriend island (the commuter ferry, of course -- there's nothing more annoying than a girl who visits boyfriend island and forgets/neglects her life on the mainland). and i don't feel like my life is missing anything because i'm single -- that's definitely not what i'm saying. it would just be nice to have somebody around.
i'm not good at dating. maybe i'm too picky. maybe i'm too impatient. maybe i'm just like my mother -- she's never satisfied. (ugh, that last one was a bad joke.) i've never been one to recreationally date, and i really only have a peripheral interest in it now. but there's really nothing better than the early phase of relationships, the "consumption phase", as my lesbian hair stylist in philadelphia once referred to it -- the time when you're all giddy and lightheaded and you want to take in as much about your significant other as possible, i.e., "consume", all the time.
i want that. i haven't had that since my early days with stean. i knew right away with stean, too, before our first date, even. he and i had this amazing first kiss -- my favorite first kiss. it was the perfect mixture of hesitation and anticipation and determination and weak-kneed euphoria. and it was in the rain. at christmastime. and the first time he told me he loved me? it came out almost like an accident, as we were on our way home after being out with some of his friends from work. i didn't believe him -- i chalked it up to the beers. but the next day we were in new york city visiting a college friend of mine, and we went to the museum of modern art (which i absolutely adore), and standing in the middle of one of the galleries, he stopped me, looked me in the eyes, and told me again that he loved me. that moment appears like a snapshot in my mind, as if my heart stopped for just a second so that it could preserve the memory, keep it like a souvenir, before moving on.
god, i miss stuff like that.
i wonder, are my standards too high? am i hung up on the idea of somebody who's part david foster wallace, part tobey maguire, part stephen malkmus? i mean, all i want is a guy who is intelligent and well-spoken, who's unrelentingly funny and witty but who knows when to be serious, who doesn't waste his energy on things he can't control and who knows how to forgive, who's confident (even a little cocky), but who knows how to make fun of himself, who is kind and patient, who is nice to waitstaff, who reads good books and listens to good music, who appreciates william carlos williams and wallace stevens, who shares my politics, who doesn't freak out when i freak out, who likes my family and whose family i like, who likes his own family, who isn't allergic to cats, who can cook, who wouldn't be put off by the possibility that i could get sick again, who doesn't get annoyed when i take too long in scrabble games, who enjoys harry potter but who understands that there is much better children's literature out there, who knows the difference between a mountain bike and a road bike, who isn't afraid of getting lost, who is grown-up enough to admit when he's wrong, who is willing to put some effort into things that are important to him, who understands and does not find it threatening that i'm perfectly capable of changing a car tire on my own thankyouverymuch, who doesn't talk during movies, who doesn't drink fancy coffee beverages that cost more than three dollars, who doesn't forget that i take my coffee black, who has (at least) a college degree and a real job, who loves what he does for a living, who has interests outside of his career, and who doesn't live with his parents. oh, and i want him to be swoon-inducingly attractive, tall, wiry (i.e., skinny but not scrawny), with good hair, possibly a few tattoos, a defined sense of style, have nice hands and strong, sinewy forearms, and (of course) find me completely charming and fascinating and amusing. that's not too much, is it?
okay, maybe that's a bit too much. or not. is it selfish to be almost 29 years old and still want someone who turns me on? have i reached a point in my life where sex is secondary? where companionship and stability should take preference? because if the answer to those questions are yes, then, well, that's depressing as hell. because i still want adventure, spontaneity, creativity.
i can (but won't) name men from my past, some that have always only been friends, some that i let get away, some with whom i did a masterful job of screwing up my chances, who are truly incredible and amazing people. but for each of them, i could tell you why things would have never worked out... they were too self-absorbed, too oblivious, too emotionally inaccessible, too emotionally accessible, too eager, too distant... there's always something wrong. which brings me back to the whole maybe-my-standards-are-unreasonable idea...
but no -- i'm not going to settle. because those "too insert-imperfection-here"s are generally true. for example, the guy from last night (whom i'm only using for example's sake -- he doesn't come near making the cut for inclusion in the group i was thinking about in the above paragraph) was... too young, too self-conscious, too awkward, too different.
to be fair, i know i have my flaws, too. i know i can be... too neurotic, too smart-alecky, too judgmental, too hardheaded, too persistent, too hard-to-read, too much. and the list goes on and on...
it honestly baffles me that anybody manages to have a successful relationship.
but getting back to the personal ads, i've read a good amount of them in my down time this summer. some are really good, a lot more are really bad, several are just plain embarrassing. but among the good ones, the type of woman the guys claim to be looking for is almost always identical -- smart, funny, no drama, independent. but between you and me, i know what i want well enough to know that someone who is smart/funny/drama-free/independent, while necessary, is very rarely sufficient.
here's what my personal ad says i want:
in the market for a cute boy with a quirky sense of humor who doesn't get bent out of shape over small things. someone creative and energetic, someone intelligent and well-spoken.
and i'd also like someone who can, without hesitation, agree with each of the following:
1. grammar is cool.
2. stem cells are not babies.
3. bill murray is a genius.
now, compare that to the above near-dissertation description several paragraphs up. yeah. total bullshit.
maybe we're all just too clever to be too honest. if a guy comes right out and says that he wants a woman with a macarthur fellowship who looks like angelina jolie, he's not going to get anywhere. so we water down our requirements to what seems acceptable, to what casts us in the most attractive light to possible responders. we want to look open-minded, yet with the right set of priorities; inclusive, but not desperate.
so, in short, i think i'm done with the whole online dating thing. at least for now. i may return to it at some point. but for now, i'm tired of it. i'm tired of the getting-to-know-you e-mailing, the interview-esque phone calls, the weirdness that comes with meeting someone for the first time that you already know a fair amount about. i don't know that it's for me. i think i prefer the old-fashioned way -- a little liquid courage and friends-of-friends.