This post is dedicated to my best friend Laura. Not because she hates dating, but because she listens to me talk about how I hate dating.
1. First, the word “dating.” It rings of all the wrong things, its ultra-unromantic homonyms– wrinkled fruits, Filofaxes; they might as well be antonyms– haunting it, giving it a desperate, hollow sort of sound, til its sharp t clicks at its center like the manicured nails of a suburban office park secretary against the keyboard of her Dell computer, the winter twilight outside dimming down the unadventurous landscaping, the midpriced Japanese sedans, and the four-story, shiny-glassed, vaguely-parallelogram-shaped buildings, til in the darkness loneliness blooms inside her like a fluorescent light coming on.
1a. “Dating” is what they did on Sex and the City (which I loved). “Dating” is what they did on 90210 (which I loved). “Dating” is what they did in Sweet Valley High books (which I did not love). I do not want to date. I love the characters from these shows but I do not want to be these women. I want to “see” someone. Because you know who “sees” someone? Lauren Bacall in To Have and Have Not. Have you seen this movie? You have not? You have to. Go– run. Lauren Bacall in this movie is my hero:
I love her! (Also: Humphrey Bogart, take me now. Look at those eyes. He’s like if George Clooney were part basset hound. Which is actually kind of gross but whatever.) She’s throaty and mysterious and smokes long cigarettes and wears a checked blazer with shoulder pads. I want shoulder pads. I want mystery, any mystery I can get in this churning apocalypse world of blogs (hypocrisy, thy name is turkeycurrybuffet) and Facebook and dumb fucking television shows I can’t stop watching. And I want us all to agree to say “see” instead of “date”.
2. Getting on with it now: I hate waiting for someone to text me back. You know, when you text a boy you like, and he doesn’t respond, and every time you hear your phone go off, you get a little rush, a little heat of excitement behind the ears, and you pick up your phone, and you look and oh it’s just your dumb fucking friend reminding you to give to her charity run for ass cancer in Canadian geese with HPV or some DUMB FUCKING THING. And you throw, literally throw, your phone back in your purse and think STOP FUCKING EMAILING ME WITH THE CHARITY APPEAL REMINDERS. I HAVE $80,000 IN STUDENT LOANS AND $42 IN MY SAVINGS ACCOUNT AND I CHARGED TO A CREDIT CARD THE $3.50 MICROWAVE NOODLE BOWL I BOUGHT AT CVS FOR DINNER LAST NIGHT WHILE GETTING MY BIRTH CONTROL WHICH I CLEARLY DON’T FUCKING NEED BECAUSE I’M NOT DATING ANY FUCKING ONE and then you’re like, wait, why am I so angry?
3. I hate being disappointed.
4. I hate that when I think I might like someone, I literally start– within the first five minutes of me discovering I might like them– thinking about what it would be like if we fell in love and got married and what he would be like as a father and what our starter home would look like, how I would decorate it, all white for the living room maybe? But if we had a baby, that wouldn’t work, and will he mind that I listen to rap music? And I hope he doesn’t like guns, I can’t have a gun in the house, and I hope he cooks, either that, or he better like the Domino’s Pizza Tracker. I try to stop but it’s the mental equivalent of doodling someone’s initials on your notebook in middle school shop class. It’s harmless, but you look like a psycho if you get caught.
4a. Which brings me to my next point: I hate that I feel like I can’t even whisper number 4 in a dark empty room without cursing myself to an eternity of singleness. EVERY GIRL in the world does this, but we can’t admit to it. Jane Austen admitted to it in Pride and Prejudice (“A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.”) but guess what? She never got married. She never even had a vibrator. It’s all just very sad.
5. I hate when you stop seeing someone but you still like them and you see their name everywhere and every time you see their name it feels like someone just branded it on your eyeball and then for like three minutes afterward you get a little melancholy. Like for example if you dated someone named “Sunoco” and every time your drove by a Sunoco gas station you got sad. I know this is very Tai in Clueless of me (“Awright, do you remember when we were at the Val party at the clog knocked me out, and Elton ran and got a towel of ice to cure me? Well, I didn’t tell you at the time, but I took the towel home as a souvenir. And then, do you remember that song that was playing while we danced? Remember that? You know, the rollin’ with the homies? Anyways, so I got the tape right? And I listened to it like every single night.”)– but am I the only toe-up bitch that experiences this?
6. I hate experiencing something nice, like a pretty sunset, and thinking to myself, Wouldn’t this be so nice to share with someone? Isn’t that the cheesiest thing you’ve ever heard? It’s like I want to live inside a Hallmark card. And I know that if I ever get married and have kids and they are running around screaming in diapers with mac and cheese smeared all over their faces (Can you eat solid foods when you are still in diapers? I don’t know; early childhood development is not my forte. It’s like I always said in high school, there are only two things I don’t do: babysitting, and salad-tossing.) with not a second to spare for myself, not even to wash my hair, I will RUE THE DAY I wished I had less alone time.
7. I hate Facebook stalking.
8. I hate The Cringe. Do you know what I’m talking about? If you don’t, I’m not going to tell you. I hate it so much I don’t even want to talk about it.
9. I hate the feeling of jealousy. It’s an ugly hot sad angry indignant feeling that really is only a voice in the deepest darkest part of your mind saying “I am less than that other thing.” Which is a terrible thing to feel about yourself.
10. I hate when people ask me “Hey, why don’t you have a boyfriend?” Hey, if I fucking knew, I’d be dating someone. The feeling I get when someone asks me this question is the same feeling I get when someone tells me to smile. I feel like getting out my yellow bodysuit and my samurai swords and saying “Why don’t you give me something to smile about, asshole?” (And PS I’m sorry the natural resting state of my face is “rage” and not “Jon Benet Ramsey”.) (Which is maybe why I don’t have a boyfriend?) But when someone asks “why don’t you have a boyfriend” (to which I ought to say “why don’t you date me, asshole”, but the thing is, I never want to date the guys who ask this question, and I’m not saying that in a shrill, convincing-myself-Mike-Dexter-is-an-ASShole kind of way– I really mean that), it sends me into a mini shame spiral of whydon’tIhaveaboyfriend? Do I need to go to therapy for my “issues”? I don’t even think I HAVE issues, compared to most people. I had the most incredibly happy, blessed childhood. I’ve had, in fact, the most incredibly happy, blessed life. My issues amount to 1. being attracted to unavailable men, and I mean seriously now– one time I waited on a guy who told me that I would “die of a bullet to the heart from a jealous wife”. Um, thanks? and 2. sometimes I wear glitter makeup? Is that an issue? I used to not be confident in myself but that ended. I mean, I know I’m not perfect, but it doesn’t seem like all the other imperfect people I know who have significant others needed to meet that requirement before they found some lovin’. Do I have to be this perfect person? Is there no one out there who will not only let me be, but also love me for being, neurotic and crazy and moody and gross-looking sometimes? Or maybe am I hugely annoying or ugly in a way I’ve never recognized, and for which people snicker about me behind my back? TELL ME RIGHT NOW IF I HAVE A TERTIARY NIPPLE ON THE BACK OF MY NECK THAT I’VE NEVER NOTICED. Seriously though, I really am starting to believe that most annoying people have NO IDEA how much shit people talk on them. I mean:
So just do me another solid and tell me, if you know what it is, whatever it is that I’m doing “wrong”. Because most of the time I feel like I’m doing right. And one thing I don’t ever want to be– besides boring– is delusional.