Sunday, July 22, 2012

Boys Are Stupid...And So Was I

It was March 2011 and Yoda (my shrink) was proud of me.

She said that I was approaching my dating life as if I were looking for a new job... sending out resumes, going on interviews, getting rejected and dealing with it, and ultimately learning to reject as well.  I was playing my dating life like a numbers game. 

My coworkers were certainly enjoying it-- we actually whiteboarded my prospects like they were in a sales funnel... and each post-date weekday morning found me giving them the hysterical play-by-play of the previous night's disaster.  Other people in the building that I hardly knew would stop by to see if one of their favorites had moved up in the standings or had been sunsetted.

But after eight months of it, I was playing the game without much joy.

I had been out with architects, TV reporters, pilots, entrepreneurs, dabblers/zombie aficionados, interventionists, executives, plumbers, log home salesmen, general contractors, and people whose careers were so mind-numbingly boring that I can't remember what they did.  Seriously, throw in an Indian and it was like I had dated the freaking Village People. I had wasted countless gallons of hair goop and eyeliner on dates that couldn't end quickly enough to please me.  I had shaved my legs almost raw and purchased copious amounts of new lingerie in the event I felt anyone was worth "greenlighting." I had more scoop-necked clingy sweaters, pencil skirts and stilettos than good sense. 

But I hadn't met "the one."

I had thirty-one phone numbers programmed into my phone with the last name "Match." There was both a Brian and a Bryan, a Greg and a Gregg, a Mike and a Mikael; a Rich and a Rick. I had been out with a man who was beyond morbidly obese (and had both a pronounced limp and facial warts), a man who may have actually weighed less than me, a six-foot-fiver and a five-foot-fourer.  I'd briefly dated a man 12 years my junior and had gone out with several who were at least 10 years my senior. I had made out with and been subsequently drenched by a man who apparently sweats when he's nervous. I'd been out with both a Quinn and a Duke.  I occasionally had more than one date a day.  I met for coffee, for cocktails, for wine-tasting, for sushi, for appetizers, for whitewater rafting and for football watching. I once even met a guy for a first date at a grocery store.

Where was he?

I provided small talk for hours on end, laughed at jokes that weren't funny, feigned interest in stories that were mind-numbing.  I texted and sexted and tried to remain my charming best at all times. I had been stalked. I waxed, I plucked, I shaved.  I colored my hair, did my nails, kept my feet free of dead skin.  I flossed obsessively. I had my teeth whitened and used ridiculously expensive creams on my "dark spots" and wrinkles. I counted calories like my life depended on it and went to bed hungry so often it was almost Dickensian. I constantly re-applied lipstick and powder throughout my work day in the event that a single guy would stumble into the building and notice me.

I was fucking exhausted.

And yet, I was still alone.

With Yoda's help, I had made the very important self-esteem journey between wondering what was wrong with me to wondering what was wrong with everyone else.  One night I found myself on the phone with a friend, ranting and raving about how stupid men were for not noticing what an amazing catch I was. While I wish I had an actual transcript of the conversation because I was clearly having a remarkable moment of high self-esteem that I'd like to roll out for myself from time to time (like when my "fat jeans" are too tight), here's what I remember:

"I'm a green-eyed redhead with a six-figure income and double Ds.  I own my own home.  I am debt-free.  I'm a college-educated award-winning marketer with a great career.  I play the piano.  I'm a classically-trained vocalist, an excellent writer.  I have an IQ of 146. I have a family that loves me and a wide circle of friends who adore me.  I'm quick-witted and highly creative.  I like football, for God's sake. I'm pretty, damn it. I'm well-traveled, well-read and a great conversationalist.  I'm the thinnest I've been in a decade and I'm fucking funny. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH MEN?  WHY CAN'T THEY SEE ME?"

And I was so lonely and focused on that sense of being alone that I couldn't see that what had been missing all along was finally here.  I didn't need a man to tell me I was wonderful-- I needed to know I was wonderful.  I finally had an appreciation for who I was, for what I had accomplished in my life and for all I had overcome.  If I could travel back in time, I'd smack myself. 

And that's when I stopped looking...and the greatest cliche of all played itself out right in the middle of my life:  It found me.

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