Monday, May 24, 2010

Dating is Weird. Or Maybe I'm Weird.

I have this problem: In the past, I have often dated people who are exponentially more attractive than I am.

"Why is this a problem?" you're asking, & "Kate, calm down your ego," you're saying. But I'm serious.* I would show you a photo montage or something if it weren't a tooootally creepy Internet move.

Anyway, this is a thing I sometimes do, & it's a problem. Mostly it's a problem because it means my standards are irrationally & disproportionately high from the get-go, & let's not even talk personalities, because I've had some winners in that department, too, which sounds sarcastic but actually isn't at all. The fact that I have, in the past, dated individuals who are notably better looking than the majority of the population (myself certainly included) has had nothing to do with anything but luck & a shocking presence of mutual interest & did I mention a lot of luck?

Facebook isn't very helpful to me as I try to overcome this problem. It's always there, taunting me with photos of aforementioned attractive individuals, reminding me that I used to be involved with people who are only becoming increasingly better looking. And, for the most part, increasingly less available, because that's another problem I have - the dreaded "Good Luck Chuck" problem. My last two "serious" boyfriends (but please bear in mind that these relationships ended in 2004 and 2006, hence the quotations) are both bordering on engagement (& of course I don't check their Facebook pages in anticipation) & the only two guys I've even kind of dated in D.C. promptly entered into serious relationships following their dalliances (that sounds inappropriately casual but I like the word) with me. Yes, it appears as though being temporarily linked to me is some sort of fortuitous omen, some signal that better things are on the horizon - for them, not for me.

I always thought youth was a dress rehearsal for life, that high school & college relationships were precursors to real relationships, but here I am, halfway through my twenties with not a "real" relationship to be found. As we've discussed in the past, I don't often particularly mind - I'm a little bit of a hermit, a lot set in my ways, & fairly confident that you can't hurry love. Or whatever. But I'm still utterly perplexed by the difficulty that adults (young & otherwise) have in dating. If you didn't meet your significant other in college? Well, good luck. Because how are you supposed to meet people in the real world? When life is all go-to-work-&-home-&-back-again, with no "There's such a cute guy in my math class this semester," how on earth are you supposed to branch out? It's difficult enough to make friends, let alone find dates, especially in a city not known for it's favorable guy-to-girl ratios. Oh, & with a personality not known for its willingness to go out & meet new people.

In a combination move of fascination & fleeting hope, I tried the online thing, but there's something inherently uncomfortable about meeting someone with the sole intent of determining whether you could want to be with them. That's not how meeting people in supposed to work, is it? When I talk to a stranger at a grocery store, I'm not thinking, "Could I someday share a flat with this person?" But that's what online dating is: judging your potential future with a total stranger over the inevitably awkward drinks or coffee. No, thanks. I'd rather spend those two hours with my DVR, which is consistently reliable & certainly has a place in my future.

I've tried the friends-of-friends thing, too, but that sort of hits a wall when you realize that you & your friends have all the same friends. There are only so many peripheral individuals available, & how many times can you bear your friends' excited squeals of "You would LOVE ____!" when ____ turns out to be a jerk/weirdo/cretin who you then still have to bump into at house parties & grudgingly-but-cordially engage?

"I don't date," I say, but of course that's not true. What single girl wouldn't like to date? But I'm not willing to waste my time on people I'm not interested in - & it seems there's no shortage of people I'm not interested in. Similarly, not giving my time to people who aren't interested in me - & there are a lot of them, too! So what does this mean? Am I forever destined to refresh the Facebook pages of the good-looking-&-now-totally-taken ones who came before? Or am I missing some key piece of intel about dating? About adulthood? About... um... something else vital?

And more importantly, is this somewhat revealing post going to feel totally embarrassing tomorrow, when I realize that about half the people I know in real life are reading it? I hope not. So tell me, & please imagine the following question presented in a very Seinfeldian voice: What's the deal with dating?

*Not that serious. I mean, I think it's true, but it's not a problem, per se, & I am not that self-important or looks-conscious. It just felt like a catchy pseudo-related opener, eh?
Photo credit: WeHeartIt
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