Sunday, February 03, 2008
  Dating is Hell
I tend to not talk about TOO personal stuff on this blog. I used to. But, uh, yeah, then people read it. People I knew. So I stepped back with exactly what I would write here, which probably makes it a little boring, but hey, what you gonna do…

I have this friend who is going through the whole dating thing.

As everyone knows, dating is hell. She just had another bad experience. She talked to a guy for a few weeks, as friends. Then the flirting started. They went out. He smitted her. (???) They made out. Went out again. Made out again. Then he emailed her and said that it “wasn’t there” for him as it seemed to be for her, and wished her well. She really liked him, and didn’t see this coming. On top of the fact that this was her first try at dating in over a year, she’s very hurt by this whole thing.

When I talked to her the other night, it’s like, well, yeah, dating sucks. Everyone knows dating sucks. Even had they gone on some more dates and started officially “dating” – it probably still would’ve sucked. Wondering if he’s going to call. Doing that thing like in the Sprint commercial where you spend a half-hour leaving a 1-minute message because you keep deleting and re-recording your message. Going to work with your mascara streaming down your face because your day started with yet another fight. But then hopefully, someday, you find someone that you get along with really well and then, yay! All that crap paid off! And, you know, you paid your dues. So even though you feel really lucky, you also feel like you deserve to feel happy.

So I gave my friend this whole thing. You know, get back on that horse. Try again, because, yeah, it sucks, but it’s what you have to go through. And then I pointed out to her that she only knew this guy through two dates. She had no idea what he was really like!

This is where I got to thinking about me, and how what I am saying to my friend isn’t just bullshit pep talk.

I dated a guy a few years back. He was an officer in the navy... I thought he looked real handsome in his uniform. We laughed a lot when we went out. I remember in particular it coming up that we thought it would be really funny to have a wedding (not ours, this was a hypothetical) and tell just one of the invitees that it was a theme wedding: Come dressed as your favorite food. So, you know, 48 people come dressed in formal clothes and 2 people show up as an apple and a banana. Ha!

Anyway, he traveled a lot for work. He was always out of town. I thought that’s why we didn’t see each other much. But I liked him a lot. So whatever, I saw him when he could. I thought that the feeling of liking a lot was mutual.

At some point, I started to wonder about the fact that I didn’t hear from him much, even if he was out of town. Hello, a phone call is nice. (I think I could’ve used a copy of He’s Just Not That Into You back then.) And I also knew that, just before we met, he had been dating some Colombian chick for a few years. Whose friends all hated him because he never paid for anything. And she showed up at his house the first time I visited him there, knocking on his window. ("I'm sorry," he said, as he went outside to make her go away. "This must look so bad!")

Anyway, so after I got to wondering, I asked him about it. It’s been a while now, so I don’t know the exact details, but I remember that he was frank with me, thankfully. He wasn’t really looking for anything serious. He hoped he didn’t give me that impression, etc.

He had left a coat at my house, which he got wet after we went swimming in the ocean when it was, uh, 65 degrees outside. I, the kind girl I am, offered to wash and dry it and give it to him the next time I saw him. Suede with faux sheepskin stuff on the inside. After we had that conversation, I remember that I was thinking how I should cut it up into little squares and, when I gave him his coat, it would be in 100 pieces in a plastic shopping bag. Sadly, I didn’t.

The strangest thing was that, when he showed up to get his coat, he was just like had been before. Still friendly, flirty. I remember being thoroughly confused as I stood with him by the elevator: he’s still acting like he likes me, but he doesn’t like me? I guess there are those people, who want to date, but don’t want to date anyone in particular. Whatever.

I was very hurt by this. Very hurt. I had had relationships end before, but not… Jeez, not because the guy wasn’t interested, or wasn't interested all that much, or whatever his story was. More like because I came home from a vacation in Mexico and found out my boyfriend had been doing coke the whole time I was gone... And it was my fault, since I left him for two whole weeks. (This is when I was 20, when I learned the lesson to never date a guy who spends more on his car stereo than he did on his car.) So it was, yeah… crushing. I literally snarled at every silver BMW I saw for months (obviously, what he drove), often telling them, out loud, to fuck off. Like it's the car's fault. Thankfully that phase passed. There are a lot of silver beemers down here.

Okay, so this is where this whole story becomes a revelation.

I have seen this guy twice since the night when he came to retrieve his luckily-in-one-piece coat.

Once, he came with me to a concert put on by my friend’s brother’s band. I was dating someone at the time, so whether or not he still liked me or I liked him was a moot point… I don’t know what he was expecting, but I’m a good girl, so we were just meeting up as friends. But I had thought that I would at least still think he was cute or charming or whatever I had at once thought he was.

However, I met up with him.. I forget where… and as I sat in the car waiting for him to finish some asinine conversation outside on his phone, and I remembered how he would always talk on his phone whenever we were in the car going somewhere, instead of talking to me, and how I had always really thought that was rude, considering how rarely we saw one another. I’m thinking, “Wait, THIS is the guy I was heartbroken about?” And then he about had a heart attack when the bartender didn’t give him the change from his $10 bill for the $8 tab. Apparently he only wanted to leave a $1 tip, not $2. Jesus. Let’s make a scene over $1! And that reminded me how he hardly ever paid for anything, since it was against his principles – remember, the Colombian girlfriend hated that. And how I would end up paying for stuff because, when the bill arrived, he would just sit there, and I felt weird about it, and felt weirder too about offering to go Dutch, so I would just pay for the whole thing and he’d go, “Cool, thanks,” and always let me. And I just think if you were decent, you'd offer to pay HALF the time, since you're eating HALF the food (the more expensive half at that; I didn't even eat shrimp back then!).

Not that a relationship is made or built on rude car manners or who pays for dinner, but it just goes to show that once the rose-colored glasses are taken off...

Second time, he was in my neighborhood, which at the time was Hollywood. He was there to see his accountant; did I want to get together after? We went out for Mexican food, as I took all visitors to my fine city. He was still a funny guy, but it in no way made him appealing in the way it had before. It just made him, well, a funny guy. I didn’t even find him cute anymore, and I had the suspicion that it really didn't have to do with the 20 pounds he had gained, although that was the feather in his cap. At this time, I wasn’t dating anyone. And he still... sparked nothing of interest. I waved goodbye to him, after saying goodbye with no plans for the future, not even the polite, we-don’t-mean-it ones and thought, “Wow, I harbor absolutely no hope that he is going to call me. Awesome.”

So this reminds me of my friend’s dilemma. Here I was so certain that I liked this guy, that I was crazy about him. And I guess I was at the time. But I was only crazy about what I knew of him. I even was overlooking things I knew I didn’t like… Because he was cute and funny and this was new and I wanted it to be love.

I think that I just assumed that everything else about him would be as good as the little I did know about him that I liked. But, after the veil of.. I dunno.. new infatuation or something.. then I got the real picture. And it wasn’t as peachy as I had wanted it to be. I mean, man... I just plain ol' didn't like him anymore, and didn't really get why I did so much to begin with. What does that say about the future of any potential relationship he very thankfully put to a halt?

This got really long and I want to close it up and go to bed, so I guess all I’m saying is that… Yeah, dating sucks. Sucks bad. But you gotta take consolation in the relationships that end because, well, they end for a reason. You don’t want to be dating some cheap, rude guy who might still be dating his ex-girlfriend, do you? Right.

Honestly... Two dates in, or one month in... You don't KNOW someone well enough to know that they were someone worth crying over. Really.

Okay, I'm just going to be rehashing from here on out, because I'm tired and words are beginning to fail me, but you get my point. Maybe I'll edit this tomorrow. :)
*high five*


Unfortunately it is only hindsight that is 20/20. Right now complete avoidance is working for me. Avoiding relationships so I don't have to go through all that crap again.

It's hard to listen to friends (who usually have 20/20 vision when they look at someone you're dating) when you're smitten and infatuated.

This was well written and you made your point. Again *high five*.
thanks, jen.

and yeah, it's really hard to listen to friends. but sometimes it helps when they try. i had an older, wiser friend that consoled me when i was upset over a guy thing when i was 20 or so. and then she said, "this won't be the last time you cry over a guy." and i'm like, "don't say that!!" but, deep down, i knew what she was saying was true - and it hit home. and it hit home that it was just a process we go through. nothing so bad i wouldn't get over it and move on. and, quite obviously, i did.

i'll refrain from making too many personal comments on anyone's situation, but i do think you have to be honest with yourself in what you want. i did the total-avoidance thing for a year+, myself. but you gotta risk it when you want it, and *you have to be honest with yourself* when you want it. you can only shut yourself off for so long.
*high five again*

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I'm Stacey. I'm a 31(!)-year-old Wisconsin girl living in sunny South Florida. The highlights in my life are my lovely boyfriend, my aloof cats, my adorable/adoring stepdogs, my two lumbering tortoises, select family members, being outside, being underwater, taking pictures, yadda yadda. Stay tuned for lots of babbling!

Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States


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Making a difference

A small boy lived by the ocean. He loved the creatures of the sea, especially the starfish, and he spent much of his time exploring the seashore.

One day the boy learned there would be a minus tide that would leave the starfish stranded on the sand.

When the tide went out, he went down to the beach, began picking up the stranded starfish, and tossing them back into the ocean.

An elderly man who lived next door came down to the beach to see what the boy was doing. Seeing the man's quizzical expression, the boy paused as he approached. "I'm saving the starfish!" the boy proudly declared.

When the neighbor saw all of the stranded starfish he shook his head and said: "I'm sorry to disappoint you, young man, but if you look down the beach, there are stranded starfish as far as the eye can see. And if you look up the beach the other way, it's the same. One little boy like you isn't going to make much of a difference."

The boy thought about this for a moment. Then he reached his small hand down to the sand, picked up another starfish, tossed it out into the ocean, and said: "Well, I sure made a difference for that one!"

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