Christina and I had an inside joke for a while about this guy I kept seeing downtown, mostly on the red line, and then one time outside my office building. I declared him the mysterious boy from the train, and he was frequently reading interesting things and had buttons of good bands on his backpack. I imagined him being a grad student at DePaul, maybe a graphics design student or an architect. Christina would coach me on actually saying something to him that would not make me seem like a crazy person approaching strangers on crowded trains, and finally I promised her the next time I saw him, I’d do it, no matter what I was wearing that day, or if he had headphones jammed in his ears, or any other uncontrollable circumstances.
Unfortunately, the next time I saw him was in the elevator at work, and he quickly went from being the mysterious boy from the train to the way-less-mysterious boy who works at my company. On my floor.
It was fun while it lasted, I suppose.
When I was in a long-term relationship I used to think about what I could have been doing if I was single; then, when I was single for the first time in five years (for more than a couple months, anyway) I did those things. A lot.
- Stay up late watching shows and movies any guy would abhor? Check.
- Live in an apartment by myself and be fine with it? Check.
- Stay out all night with my friends? Check.
- Drink an entire bottle of wine/eat half a box of donuts by myself with absolutely no shame? Check.
- Move to Chicago and not give up that dream like I thought I would? Check!
I have no intention of stopping said things (with the exception of moving out-of-state) but this has gone on a while now.
As much as I hate to admit it, I opened an online dating account a few months ago, even though I was unemployed and had no business trying to date anyone. I don’t want to put down online dating because at least one good friend met her perfect boyfriend through it and an acquaintance met her now-husband, but it’s not really the route I wanted to go. But there I was, post-New Year’s, fresh off a break up with my friend from back home, feeling sorry for myself. Maybe you know how that goes. Ugh.
Honestly, the best part of my online dating experience was filling out the profile questions, because I am so self-centered that I actually enjoy filling out questionnaires about myself. I tried really hard to make references to things that someone I would like would have to get, and basically re-created this post I once wrote about the listed qualities that would make up my version of the perfect guy (with the exception of the “Lost in Translation” put-down, as I’ve since come around to it).
I sat back and waited for the responses to pour in. The result was almost as humiliating as the time Stacey and I went to that radio station-sponsored man market last summer. The few messages I got were generic and boring, and when I went to the author’s profile page there would inevitably be something offensive, racist, perverted, and/or an affinity for John Mayer waiting for me to discover it. Deal-breakers abounding, to say the least. It was entertaining for a week, then quickly became discouraging.
I abandoned the site shortly after, although occasionally still would receive a hastily typed proposition from another poor sucker who can’t spell. This week I got one last piece of strung-together nonsense from another guy with another ridiculously cheesy user name and it sent me over the edge. I logged in for the first time since winter and deleted my account. Failed experiment officially over.
Aside from that brief relationship with the guy from back home that ended in December, I’ve been single since Brandon and I broke up. And, well, he’s marrying somebody else next month. I know it’s not fair to compare our completely different post-break-up lives, and I don’t regret what happened between us — but despite the fact that I’m the one who broke up with him, he’s got a lot more to show for it. His life is way more figured out.
May mine at least be more interesting. I don’t mean that as harshly as it sounds, it’s just that I know I don’t want to be the one getting married now at 25. That’s never been what I’ve wanted, and that’s why I’m not married to him today; I just want to meet someone interesting this summer, and not through an online dating site, or speed dating, or at a singles mixer.
Also, upon recent reflection, I’ve got a few requests to add to that list I made:
- I want someone who likes what they do. If he doesn’t like what he does, he should be instilled with the ambition to change his situation.
- I want someone who is a writer, and who appreciates, admires and is inspired by good writing.
- I want someone who loves music furiously. That said, I am hereby instating the Death Cab Rule*: my own take on my friend’s Social Distortion Rule, a guy can’t like Death Cab more than I do. If he does, he’s bound to be even more miserable than I am.
- I don’t want to date anyone who liked “(500) Days of Summer” a little too much. That’s got to be another sign of trauma that I can’t compete with.
- I want someone who’s nice to both kids and dogs. And waiters.
- I want someone who makes me laugh so hard sometimes I can hardly breathe.
- I want someone who’s a little bit of an asshole. This is a tricky one, but if I’m honest with myself, it’s true. To me, the appeal of Mr. Darcy is that he’s an asshole to nearly everyone except Elizabeth; I mean, he’s horrible to her at first, but she wins him over. I want someone who’s kind of an asshole to everyone but me. This is going to horrify Christina, who is already concerned about my preference of Jess over Dean and what this says about my psychological state.
- I want someone who’s in it to the exact extent that I am — no more, no less. That’s the delicate balance that always seems to mess things up. Someone always ends up falling a little too hard, a little too fast, and the other one gets scared. The whole thing unravels before half of the couple knows it. It’s not a good feeling to be on either end, but it happens, every time. Personally, I think it comes down to that old Woody Allen line about not wanting to be part of a club that would want someone like him for a member.
- And most crucially, I want someone who loves the pickles delis always serve you along with your sandwich, even though you didn’t ask for them because you hate pickles and you’re tired of throwing out piles of unwanted, revolting pickles every year.
I think that’s it for now. With the way this list keeps growing, I’m undoubtedly setting myself up for some major disappointment. But I guess that’s where compromise comes in, when it really comes down to it.
*I don’t think I need to add Rilo Kiley to this equation because I don’t think guys relate to Jenny Lewis’s particular brand of self-loathing the way we do. I could be wrong about that.