I’m Not so Smart and Other News

I woke up this morning and realized that a.) I hadn’t posted in a while and b.) that Ryan and I had been dating more than a  year*.

Old News: In case you missed the story of how I tried in vain to dump Ryan, you can read it here. If you want just the summary it goes like this:

1.) We go on a date.  And then another.

2.) I tell him I don’t feel the spark.

3.) He requests a do over.

4.)I look like an idiot because I’ve moved into his house and we’ve now been dating somewhere in the neighborhood of a year.

 

Sort of New News :

I am a know-it-all. Well, that’s not really new, but it’s at least not me just recapping a previous post. See, not only do I know everything, but I know everything about the future**.  I didn’t actually think I was psychic.*** I did think that if I planned carefully and weighed the options with the utmost care, I could effectively predict the path I should follow. This meant that I went into my dates with an idea about what it was I wanted and a very clear idea of exactly wouldn’t work.  I would never admit to this while I was still practicing rapid-fire dating™ In fact, I had even convinced myself that I was no longer applying these standards. I lied. Because that’s the first thing you do when you go on a date, you lie–both to yourself and the person you are with. In both cases, you are saying you are giving them a fair chance, when you aren’t. Oh, I know you think you are, but in the back of your mind you have a secret list…a list of requirements, which is much less cool or useful than the room of requirement.

All too often these requirements are…well…dumb. Even more often they are self-destructive.  To demonstrate, I give you my list.

  • must not be blonde
  • must have a college degree
  • must not think that a college degree is a waste of time
  • must be liberal
  • does not own firearms
  • needs to be taken care of in some weird way
  • must like the Muppets
  • must like The Princess Bride
  • must think that books are pretty much the awesomest form of entertainment in existence, or at least must put books in the top 5 ways to spend an evening
  • must not argue that awesomest is not a word
  • must not be boring
  • must be taller than me
  • must not be too tall
  • must not be afraid of food
  • must not dominate the conversation
  • must not just stare at me while I talk
  • must like eating out
  • must not be opposed to eating in
  • must not be into outdoor things or if is into outdoor things must not require that I participate if it involves running, heat, or pain
  • must like movies, particularly “good” movies
  • must not have tiny hands
  • must not have a tiny mouth
  • must not be afflicted with halitosis
  • must not be a player
  • must not sound like a player
  • must be nerdy
  • must not be too nerdy that he can’t socialize

If you ask Rosewater Jump, this list was probably much longer when I was in the throes**** of dating. But these rules were meant to protect me from dating my father, dating my douchey high school boyfriend, dating my friend’s no-good-lying-sack-of-shit boyfriend, and dating…well…let’s face it, just about anyone. So, I would go on date after date upset that these men didn’t meet my standards. I would not see this one again because he didn’t have a degree. This one was just too boring, and that one…he sounded like a player. There were 9,000 excuses on why I couldn’t date someone. But the truth? The truth is that sometimes you can’t actually put your finger on it.  Or you just aren’t ready to date. Or you just don’t feel special. Of the 4 of you who read this blog, two of you may be up in arms about this. Screaming, “I knew what I wanted!!” Did you? I mean, could you  have made a list? Or did you just know when it happened? Like, seeing this dress when you claimed you were looking for something fancy to wear to your hairdresser’s wedding this weekend and knowing in that moment that you must have this delightful polka-dotted frock

because it was the perfect compliment to the items in your wardrobe and you could even wear it to work. And you would share a beautiful life together. It was worth your investment. This was not the dress that you were looking for. But somehow it would work. Likewise, it is rarely the relationship that you are looking for. Instead, it is the relationship that sneaks up on you and ignores items on your precious list of requirements. Let’s review my list in light of my current relationship, shall we?

  • must not be blonde  Is strawberry technically blonde? Does is count that he was a red-head as a kid? Yeah. I didn’t think so.
  • must have a college degree  He’s still smarter than me.
  • must not think that a college degree is a waste of time
  • must be liberal He told me a couple of weeks ago he was considering voting for Newt Gingrich. My soul died a little.
  • does not own firearms he owns 6. Yep. 6.
  • needs to be taken care of in some weird way he’s happy to let me cook or be domestic, but he is a self-sufficient, nonwhiner. He apologized that his vomiting awoke me.
  • must like the Muppets
  • must like The Princess Bride
  • must think that books are pretty much the awesomest form of entertainment in existence, or at least must put books in the top 5 ways to spend an evening
  • must not argue that awesomest is not a word
  • must not be boring dumb requirement. Turns out, I’m really boring and together we are the apex of boring.
  • must be taller than me
  • must not be too tall
  • must not be afraid of food
  • must not dominate the conversation
  • must not just stare at me while I talk he does that, but mostly in a “the fact that you are so worked up about this is really funny to me” kind of way
  • must like eating out
  • must not be opposed to eating in
  • must not be into outdoor things or if is into outdoor things must not require that I participate if it involves running, heat, or pain
  • must like movies, particularly “good” movies We see a lot of movies. But we disagree on some qualities. I don’t think that revenge makes a movie an instant watch. He doesn’t think that Meryl Streep is a all that watchable. We both agree that mock horror films are hilarious.
  • must not have tiny hands
  • must not have a tiny mouth
  • must not be afflicted with halitosis
  • must not be a player
  • must not sound like a player
  • must be nerdy
  • must not be too nerdy that he can’t socialize

Conclusive News:

I still met the majority of the items on my list, sure. But in past dating experiences, I would have discounted him immediately for violating the first several rules…not to mention owning guns. Turns out, I’m not so smart about these things.

 

—-

*I said this to a friend, and she spent 15 minutes arguing with me. Her point? I refused to call him my boyfriend for several months after we were dating. Well, just until he took me to meet his parents. At that point, I figured it couldn’t be undone. It really can’t be undone now. I vomited in his parents’ car. On his mom. On her birthday. No I was not drunk. If anything, I feel this has brought us all closer: they now have a really embarrassing story to tell about me at holiday parties. That’s how you know they consider you part of the family: they are excited to embarrass you.

**If and when I  ever have kids, I’m sure they will LOVE this about me.

***Well most of the time. Since I was fairly young, I have had vivid dreams that would play out every-day scenarios: scenes from school, conversations at work, unusual events while I was driving, etc. Most of the time I don’t remember these dreams until something in my regular life happens that mirrors one of these episodes.  This gives me the creepy-crawly sense of deja-vu.  Do I think I’m psychic?  Not really.  I think my anxiety-ridden brain has hundreds of these dreams every night–like a computer running possible reaction scenarios. I only remember their existence as they play out and then feel uneasy and as if I have done this before.  Yes, I know.  I should probably up my dosage. It really is a marvel that I function in the normal world.

**** I chose this word carefully. I think online dating is sort of like convulsions. And anyone who has had first date sex will vouch for this. Personally,  I wouldn’t know. Because in addition to being a know-it-all, I’m kind of a prude. Well, cautious; I call myself cautious. Ryan and I had been “dating” (as in going out on dates) since mid December and we didn’t even kiss until mid February. See, when I was in high school, my boyfriend told me and everyone I knew that I was a bad kisser. And despite the fact that I know that guy is a driveless douche, I couldn’t help but worry that if I kissed a boy he would run screaming in the opposite direction. This is why all future initial  kissing has happened when I was inebriated or dehydrated. In both cases, you aren’t thinking straight and you have the artificial confidence of a person lacking a few brain cells. Yeah, I know I’m a dork.

™ Ok.  So, I have NOT filed for a trademark on that. But I should. It will all be part of my dating success book, co-written with Rosewater Jump and titled You Have No Soulmate and Other Dating Truths. The fact that “rapid-fire dating” sounds as if you are subjecting yourself to an early twentieth century Texan firing squad is no mistake.  Because dating is a lot like early firing squads: shitty on the aim and yet seemingly boundless on the ammo. In both scenarios, you leave the field damaged, limping, and yet running for your life because anywhere has got to be better than there.

 UPDATE: I just found this article which discusses how online dating makes us pickier. While some might argue that is from the scope of selection, I worry (as seen in the above list) that we set ourselves up for failure. Also, we set ourselves up for listmaking, which is really a fruitless and frustrating task.

 

Regarding Vomit

Here’s the thing. I’ve been puzzled for years by the volume of men vomiting. No, not the number of men who’ve developed eating disorders and are subsequently rushing to the public restrooms at malls immediately following lunch–but the actual decibel measurable sound they expel when throwing up.

As a recovering anxious person, I am practiced in the art of vomit. I used to do so every day before school. I’d wake up and the nervous wave would hit. I would reluctantly choke down breakfast as I tried to convince my mother that I was actually sick enough to stay home from school.

It should be noted that my mother is not a masochist.

But she is also not a fan of whining or repetition or repetitious whining. So, I’d eat and she would send me to “walk the plank.” This meant pacing up and down the long narrow hallway between the kitchen and the bathroom until I vomited and could then be taken to school. I’m not really sure why I didn’t want to go to school. Maybe it was a fear of stretch pants and Chinese jump ropes. It was, after all, the 80s. Maybe I was just a weird kid. This frequent vomiting continued until my mother figured out that one could not simultaneously ride a bike and vomit. Well, one can, but it’s really hard when you are concentrating on breathing and pedaling to also concentrate on not spewing on yourself before you arrive on school grounds. More importantly, at least I wasn’t in the house begging her to save me from the evils of school.

But I digress.

My point is, as a practiced vomiter, I know that no extraneous sound is required to vomit. Sure it sucks, but making noise while you vomit actually exposes your vocal chords to burning bile that actually scorches the surface of those speaking implements and leaves you sounding like a chain-smoking prostitute. In my case, a chain-smoking child prostitute, which is just nasty on a number of levels better left unexplored.

But men yell. I was first aware of this several years ago on New Year’s Eve. My dear friend was turning 30, and we made the ill-advised decision to let my 22-year-old brother take us out drinking. So, my friend drinks, and drinks some more. Then he pees in a bush and drinks some more.

We stumble back to my brother’s apartment, where poor drunk friend proceeds to puke his guts out…so loudly we can hear him in the living room: “BLAAAAARRRGGHHH!!!!” heave, heave “GRAAAAAWWWWWGH!!” Horrible, yelling noises. I swear he is murdering another man in there. I ask him, “are you murdering another man in there?” And I hear “MMGLAAAAAWGH!” Standing next to the bathroom door, my ears are now ringing from the volume of the noise.

He comes out, looking terrible, hoarse from the effort of vomiting and yelling. And he is not alone.

Several weeks ago on Mad Men, Don Draper, over come by a panic attack, vomits into a sink, yelling as he does so. Rewatching Catch Me If You Can last night, I watched as Leonardo DiCaprio vomits into a janitorial closet while practically screaming. And I think any explanation of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is totally unneeded here.

I asked my brother about this. Why the noise? Why the extra effort? His response?

I groan the way people groan when they have really violent diarrhea. Going up or down it all sounds the same.”

Words of wisdom.