You know that guy you like at work? He always wears a crisp blue shirt and smells like the men’s department at Macy’s. Dreamy McDreamboat. You crush hard. Weaving his face into your dreams and your fantasies. Conning to sit next to him in staff meetings. Waiting to catch the elevator with him for the ride down to the parking garage. Then it happens. You both drink too much at happy hour. He flirts, you smile and the evening ends in a tangle of bedsheets. Now you’re sheepishly avoiding each other in the hallway at work. You can’t go back and undo what you’ve done, so now what?
Too much too soon. You desire something so much, for so long, that as soon as it’s available you gobble it down whole. Not even savoring the intricacies of it. Much like that batch of vegan, double chocolate donuts I baked, it’s done and over with before it was enjoyed.
It’s hard to slow yourself down though. When you’re left wanting, it’s natural to give in when the temptation stands before you. Ready and willing. I’m trying to slow myself down and savor the taste of the rainbow. But, dammit it’s hard. After a certain point, you get tired of waiting and you’re ready to skip ahead to the having. I would like to think that the next relationship I have can be a slow burn. A flicker of mutual like that slowly grows into a crackling fire of lust, and then becomes a sustaining flame of love. Something I wouldn’t worry about discarding with the changing of the seasons. Sometimes waiting makes it worth it. If it’s too quickly consumed then it loses its appeal. Something that anyone can have. My next relationship will not be the red Starbucks cups that come out before the Halloween candy has even been digested. It will not be the Christmas muzak that no one can stand a mere two weeks later. No, it will be the special edition, gold plated coffee mug that sits high on a shelf. Waiting to be picked up and given a home.
This time of year everyone is all about the “Best of 2013” and what resolutions they’re going to make. But, even better than those lists, are the “Things You Should No Longer Be Doing” lists because you’re a woman, a man, a twenty-something, or a woman in her 30’s. Everyone seems to know everything now that the year’s over. Where were they on April 16th when you were sitting on your kitchen counter eating a whole tub of cookie dough because that dick from accounting didn’t call you back? They were off composing those lists of course.
I could join in the ranks and talk about how I’ve got all the answers and the key to how to make your 2014, THE BEST YEAR EVER! This year will be the year you find the slimmest you! You’re going to be so slim, no one will see you! This year everyone you know is going to knock down your door because you’re going to master these 10 recipes that every 28 year old needs to know by heart. Not only are you going to be skinny and strong and a master chef, but- wait for it- this year you’ll also find your dream guy!
That’s right folks. Everything in your life means nothing if you aren’t your slimmest you! That master’s degree program you’re in is bollocks if you don’t master a signature dish this year. Next Christmas, you’ll be the girl shoving her ring finger into the camera while your bitter single friend (so sad) plots your slow death. And all you have to do in order to have the perfect life is stop doing these stupid things you’re doing and start doing the stupid things that [ insert random website name here] tells you that you need to do this year.
Well, my resolution is to not make any resolutions. I’m not worried about 2014 being the best year ever. 2014 can just be straight up mediocre for all I care. I’m already a great cook. My body is just fine the way the it is; although I do plan to get back into exercising more. I don’t want 2014 to be the year I keel over from a heart attack because of all the burgers, cheese, and beer I consume. I guess I should run or something.
My one goal for 2014 is to make it through it alive. My bar is so low, it’s a line on the crappy linoleum floor in my mother’s kitchen. Meeting my dream guy online has nothing to do with that goal. 2014 is the year I refuse to try online dating EVER AGAIN. My dream guy is not on OKcupid or Plenty of Fish, asking me how much I like sneakers.
Dreamboat: Hey, your hot
Dreamboat: what r u doin?
Me: Nothing. What are you doing?
Dreamboat: just got back from the mall. got some new sneakers.
Me: Sneakers are cool.
Dreamboat: yea wanna make out?
Me: no [delete]
2013 was the year I found all the places my dream guy is not located. Here’s a comprehensive list:
Plenty of Fish
Baltimore County libraries
Baltimore City libraries
Barnes & Noble (though I did get hit on my an older fellow who told me I looked “Good”)
Local gas stations
Random chain restaurants
Local liquor stores
Now, while I am obviously super bummed I didn’t meet my dream guy at any of the above listed destinations of love, the farmer’s market kinda stung. I figured my dream guy would go to the farmer’s market and get cool sausages and fresh peppers to cook. I was so wrong. So horribly wrong. You know what kind of guy hangs out at the farmer’s market? Guys with girlfriends. Or guys with wives and 2.5 kids in huge strollers that take up all the available space and are blocking my access to Zeke’s coffee. Can I just get a pound of Tell Tale Dark and an iced coffee without having to give your kid the stink eye?
So, I’m declaring 2014 to be the year I go to the farmer’s market without pretenses. 2014 will be the year I will stop rolling my eyes at the cute couples with their adorable interracial babies. No sarcasm here folks. Just a girl trying to get some kale and maybe a crepe. 2014 will be just another year, where things will either happen or not happen. I’ll just be along for the ride.
As a single gal, I have participated in what has been known as “online dating“. Fun stuff, right! I’ve tried them all: eHarmony, Match, okCupid, Plenty of Fish, How About We, and most recently, Tinder. Do I ever go out with anyone? No. Do I ever wink, nudge, flirt with anyone? Sure, sometimes. But for the most part I am indifferent. I really don’t think I am ready for dating. Or maybe I was ready about a year ago and now that I’ve surpassed the 2 year mark, I’ve become comfortable being single. There’s an ease to being single. I don’t have to think about anyone else. I don’t have to ask or seek confirmation before making plans. If I get a last minute text to do something or go somewhere, I just go. It’s pretty freaking awesome. But, I do miss the companionship. Sometimes.
About two years ago I was working at a non profit in Baltimore city and I had just stopped seeing a guy. We were still friends, but we no longer talked online during the workday. I understood why he didn’t want to do it anymore, but I was left trying to fill a void that was not being filled with work. My job was severely boring and just lacking in daily tasks and responsibilities. I had to find something to do that would occupy my mind while my body became petrified in my cubicle. So, I decided to venture onto Craigslist and post an ad in the Strictly Platonic section. I crafted a funny, witty ad that described myself and my job and what I was looking for out of this adventure. I repeated that I was not interested in sex and that I was not interested in sex. However, even the best laid plans….blah blah blah. I genuinely wanted to find someone I could have a few good conversations with. I wasn’t interested in exchanging photos (I stated that in my ad) and I wasn’t interested in meeting up right away. I did hint at the possibility of maybe going to a happy hour at some point way, way, way down the road. I hit send and I held my breath, waiting for a response. What happened?
I have never seen so many pictures of shirtless guys.
I was not impressed. Why so many bathroom photos? I mean, really? Besides not even being able to follow simple instructions, I was irritated that instead of wanting to engage in witty banter, they only wanted to know what I was wearing and why I hadn’t sent them a picture of me as well. Sigh
There were a few outliers that made my day- and inbox. I wish I had saved some of them and the ad to look back on when I’m elderly and trying to remember the good old days. I got the chance to be completely me without worrying about anything. I was able to be funny and smart and not really care if I said the wrong thing. I had weeks of great email exchanges with a varied selection of professional guys with interesting jobs. My favorites always opened with a compliment: Your ad was hilarious! Yep, that will do it. That will definitely make me change my email spam filters. I talked with a great guy from New York who worked as a graphic designer and sent me a picture of the rainy day view from his office window. He was a long time Craigslist peruser. When I asked him why he decided to check out Baltimore, he replied that a lot of the ads he responded to in New York turned out to thinly guised ads for soliciting sex. What is it about Strictly Platonic that people don’t understand? We exchanged a decent amount of emails and let it slowly fade away. I spoke to a number of other interesting dudes who shared great bands to check out, movies to see, and happy hour bars to try. All in all, it was a great experiment. And I learned something about myself. I learned that I can be me and not worry about what he thinks- whoever he happens to be at the time. I learned that there are plenty of great guys who will not send me photos of themselves, topless, posing in front of the bathroom mirror. I also learned that Craigslist’s Strictly Platonic message board means the exact opposite of platonic and people will proposition you for sex. Often. But, most importantly, I learned that I don’t need to force something to happen. Whenever the guy I’m supposed to meet is ready to show his face (no pressure), then we’ll randomly run into each other in the Whole Foods baked goods aisle. It’ll be lust at first reach for the dark chocolate walnut cookies. Browsing through Tinder can be a fun time killer, but I’ll probably delete the app after a few more days. I am still indifferent and I am honestly not planning to stay in the Baltimore area past this year, so why even bother? Now, what I will do is head over to Whole Foods, because now all I can think about are cookies.
You know what I haven’t missed out on since ending my 5 year relationship/engagement? Awesome opportunities. There was a time when I was truly worried that as soon as I ended my relationship, I would be tossed aside by everyone I knew. The majority of my friends were his friends. I was scared that as soon as I decided to finally say to hell with it all, I would truly be alone. Luckily (happily) my friends showed me that over the past five years I wasn’t just in a relationship with him, I was building lasting friendships with them too. I realized that I had spent way too much time worrying about whether or not my friends would be there for me when I should have just trusted that they wouldn’t let me fall. It’s been over two years since I ended my engagement and I couldn’t be happier. Sike, I could totally be happier if I were to win the Mega Millions, but that’s beside the point. The point it that I am at a place in my life when I feel I can truly be myself. I can say whatever I want –when my mom is not around. I can do whatever I want- within the confines of the law. I can go wherever I want- granted I have enough gas money and the proper travel documents. Life is good! I had a recent conversation with a fellow single friend and we both talked about how often people ask us if we’re tired of being the third, fifth or seventh (?) wheel. I don’t know whose friends are going around making them feel awkward and out of place, but our friends rule. I’m the easy plus one that can always be added. I’m the buffer for awkward situations. I’m the seat filler extraordinaire. I have been able to go and do more things single, than I ever would have been able to do while in my former relationship. Last minute invites are never shirked off by this girl. I have no qualms being your last call. I made up my mind when things ended that I would devote this single-lady-time that I have to experiencing everything that I want to experience as it comes my way. I’ll never be this age and single again and I refuse to hide in my room and read crappy erotica novels.
E.L. James does not interest me. Laters, baby!