Sunday, November 3, 2013

Some Things Just Never Change

Recently I decided I was ready to put myself back into the dating pool.  Why?  Who knows.  I guess perhaps I thought that with my newfound confidence and the expanded options an "average" body type classification might attract, that maybe I was ready to give it another go.  I thought perhaps this go-around would be different somehow, that maybe I wouldn't get recycled messages from the same fucking people I'd been getting messages from since I moved here ten years ago.

Dating, to which anyone who's known me for any length of time can attest, has never been an easy thing for me.  Out of the past 20 years, only a collective six or so years has been spent in an active relationship - and most of those collective years happened more than ten years ago.  So, you know - I'm not all that hip on how this shit works.  And after I moved back to Buffalo in 2003, I realized that being older and child-free was a definite disadvantage to meeting anyone of quality - or at the very least someone who was on the same page as me.   I go back and forth with this - sometimes I feel ready to meet someone so I put myself out there, but I give up pretty quickly and pull my profiles down after I get messages from the first half-dozen clueless jerks who clearly haven't bothered to read my profile.

This time I got a message from someone who seemed to really understand what I was looking for.  What I am looking for, in so many words, is attachment without commitment.  I'm looking for someone to date.  Not marry, not glue myself to, but someone who can be my friend, my lover, and my activity partner on a number of different levels while still maintaining our respective independence.  I'm in no hurry to move in with someone or move someone in with me.  I'm very protective of my personal space, and I need someone in my life who will have his own place to land if I'm not in the mood for his company.  I'm in no rush to walk down the aisle.  I'm not even really all that gung-ho about exclusivity - at least not right away.  If after a few dates it looks like we're compatible and we want to exclude anyone else from the equation, well...we cross that bridge when we get to it.  In other words, I just want to date.  Too many people misunderstand my intentions and think I'm looking for a husband.  I'm not.  I'm 42 years old, for Christ's sake.  What's the point?

Anyway, like I said, I met someone who was almost frighteningly compatible.  He answered my ad because my adamancy about independence caught his eye, among other things.  He, too, had the same requirement and seemed very enthused that he'd found someone who felt the same way.  He was terrifically attractive, smart, talented, creative, and cultured.  He was in theatre! He liked coffee!  You'd not BELIEVE how many men I meet who don't drink coffee.  And not only was he handsome, smart, talented, creative, cultured, and a coffee drinker, but he was also a WLS patient.  I mean...really?!  We had MAD stuff in common.  I felt like I'd hit the jackpot.

After writing and texting for a couple of weeks, we finally found time to meet.  We spent the entire afternoon together, and then got back together and picked up where we left off later that same night.  It went great.  I was like, "wow!  I think I met someone I really, actually, honestly get along with!"  He was polite, clean, and had wonderful manners, was quirky and odd in a number of good ways, and I felt comfortable with him.  We made arrangements for another date - Halloween.  Everyone knows how much I love Halloween, so this was extra exciting to me.  He was going to come over and help me hand out candy, and then we were potentially going to hit my friends' show later in the evening.   All week long we texted and Facebooked, and by the time Thursday came I couldn't wait to see him.  He even promised to wear a kilt.  Hot.

I spent all day Thursday running around getting ready.  He had just quit smoking, so I wanted to put together a little "Quit Kit" for him; things that had helped me quit that I thought would benefit him, too.  I had gotten him some tea, but I wanted to put more in there.  So I hit the road and went to about seven different stores trying to find exactly the right stuff - and the right vessel to put it in.  When all was said and done I had a nice little gift bag stuffed with silly shit - tea, rubberbands, suckers, candy, a squeezie ball, and a card.  My house was a mess from having moved everything in my studio to accommodate Christopher's move (my best friend, who moved into that space earlier this week), so I then had to bust my ass to get that taken care of, all while answering the droves of trick-or-treaters that kept arriving at my door.  An hour before Kilt Guy arrived, I texted Chris in a panic.  "He'll be here in an hour and the kitchen is fucked." Chris texted back, "Don't worry.  I'll come clean it while you get ready."  Did I mention that this guy is my best friend?  Well, now you know why.

While I showered and primped (yeah, I shaved my legs, even), Chris cleaned my kitchen.  I was just finishing getting dressed when Kilty arrived.  I let him in and he looked weird.  Hot, as usual, but weird. I was flitting about, lighting candles and trying to calm my nerves, so I told him to have a seat on the couch and I'd be there as soon as I could.  I got him a glass of water and sat down next to him.  I started chatting about my day and my upcoming events and whatnot, and suddenly he interrupted me.  He said, "Hey, I need to talk to you about a few things."

Uh-oh.

Right in the middle of this, I got a bunch of trick-or-treaters at my door - nice timing.  I literally threw the bowl of candy onto the porch at them and then turned off my porch light before stalking back into the house.  I have a promising career in the Bitter Old Neighbor Lady business, that's for sure. I went back to the couch, and he grabbed my leg and started rubbing it.

"I like you," he said.  "I really like you a LOT.  And I really want you in my life.  We have SO much in common, and I feel like we have even more in common than we realize and have yet to explore..."

I'm thinking, "okay...so...but..."

He went on, "but I need to tell you that I am currently involved in a committed, polyamorous relationship..."

I tuned him out after that.  I don't know who he said he was in said committed polyamorous relationship with, if it was a couple or two other women or what, but what did it matter?  I was being dumped.  I didn't need to know any more than that.

I tuned back in.  "Okay, so...I thought the whole attraction here was that we were not looking for exclusivity or whatever, so what's the problem?"

"The problem is that I can't be intimate outside that circle."

"So...you're friend-zoning me."

"For now, yes. Because I really want you in my life on some level."

For now?  For NOW?  No.  I am nobody's fucking CONTINGENCY.   I sat silent for a minute while I struggled to maintain my composure.  My first impulse was to kick him in the head.  I pulled my foot out of his hand and curled up as far away from him as I could.   "You drove all the way from Lockport to tell me this? Why?"

"Because I like you, and you deserved to be told face to face.  I want you in my life,  and I respect you enough to tell you this in person."

That's gotta be the most self-serving line of bullshit anyone's ever handed me, for real. After a few minutes of stone silence and him staring at me, I lifted my head, looked him in the eye, and said, "You need to go away."

He stood up and walked into the dining room to retrieve his coat.  As he walked back toward me, I asked, "why didn't you tell me this before?"  He said, "I didn't know."  So...sometime in the last five days this had all come to be, but he waited until now to tell me?  A text or a phone call or an email the day or two before could have saved me a SHIT TON of time, energy, and money.  I drove all over town putting together a gift for him.  I busted my ass cleaning my house.  I inconvenienced Christopher, who interrupted HIS activities to come and clean my kitchen so I could get ready for Kilty.   I SHAVED. MY. FUCKING. LEGS.

I stood up and walked Kilty to the front door.  "Lose my number," I said to him as I opened the door, "And thanks so much for being just like everyone else."  I slammed the door behind him so hard the house shook.  I turned around, stomped into my dining room and unleashed a noise that was somewhere between a growl and a screech.  My phone beeped with a text from Chris.  "Everything okay?"

"NO!" I screamed.  "PLEASE COME DOWN HERE!!!"

I picked up the glass that Kilty had been drinking from and hurled it against the wall.   Glass and water flew everywhere.  Then I kicked an armchair.  "WHY!?!?!?!" I screamed.  "WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH ME!?!?!?!?!?!?!"

I was almost blind with rage that this individual felt it was acceptable to treat me like this, and that once again I was on the receiving end of someone's fucking BULLSHIT.

Chris, having been my dearest friend for the last quarter-century, knew to just wait outside the front door 'til it was over.  When I finally collapsed into a heap on the chair, he came inside and sat on the sofa.  "What happened?" he asked.  I told him and we spent the next hour or so trying to help me work through it all.   At one point the anger gave way to waves of sadness and I sobbed.   I just let it all out.

I'm a good person.  I'm not without my issues, my baggage, or my quirks.  But I'm real, and I'm genuine, and I care about other people and their feelings.  Christopher pointed out that these are very good qualities to have, and that I shouldn't stop being that way because of stuff like this.  But it's very difficult to not become bitter or jaded after shit like this happens again and again and again.  It's very difficult to meet someone new and not expect that they'll pull some shit like this.  How can I trust anyone?  And how can I trust all my well-meaning friends who insist I'm too fabulous to not meet someone worthy of me, now that I'm hurtling mercilessly into middle age still floundering in the dating pool?

Oh, and then there's the guy I've been crushing on forever - a customer at work who I finally gave my number to last week.  Guess who hasn't called?  Now THERE's a big surprise, huh?

Dating is fucked up.  The advice people give you is fucked up.  You get told all at once, "Stop looking, put yourself out there, take chances, be careful, men suck, there's someone out there for you."  None of it makes any sense, and too many people misinterpret my frustration.  I'm not frustrated because I can't find someone.  If my primary objective was simply to find someone, I'm sure it wouldn't be that difficult to find a willing partner.  My frustration lies with the fact that I have a nearly impossible time finding someone who understands what I'm after, who's compatible with me in the right areas, and then when I do find someone who seems to be what I'm looking for, he turns out to be an asshole just like all the rest of them.  It's like...when is it MY turn to be happy?  When do I get to be in a mutually satisfying arrangement with a person who cares and isn't an abusive dick?  What did I do to deserve this shit?  I don't mean to play victim, but for fuck's sake - when does it get better?  When does it work out for ME?

Maybe it doesn't.  Maybe it never will.  And maybe that's what I should work on - accepting that even after losing 100 pounds, some things will just stay the same.  It might bring me more peace than I realize.