The difference a year can make

On the first night of my NYC trip I got some surprising news; Brandon proposed to his girlfriend, and she said yes. He sent me a text letting me know, which was a nice gesture except it sounds like he texted the majority of his phone’s contacts around the same time.

The person I spent five years with is marrying someone who isn’t me. Obviously I knew this would happen some day, but I have to admit I was a little shocked to realize it would be now. We broke up in February and now he is engaged. While the old me may have indignantly shrugged off anyone’s attempts to ask my feelings on this, the new me is not too proud to admit I am a little upset. I’ve had a lot of good conversations with friends and family about this and, while they may just be humoring me, they agree I have at least a little room to be feeling not great about all this.

Before you say anything, let me explain: It’s not that I am feeling regret or wondering if I made the right decision– I know I did, and really, he knows I did. I knew it the moment it was made, as horrible as I may have felt at the time. I have said before and stand by the belief that I want nothing but happiness for him, and I knew with everything I have that he would find it without me. We would be better off, even if it took a long time to believe.

Well, it turns out it took about six months for him to find just how better off he was. I didn’t want to marry him, but he found someone who wants nothing more. Trust me, this is a good thing. It’s just a shock, that’s all. I’ve never really had an ex-boyfriend get married before, and it’s a little jarring. Especially when, in this case, it’s someone who was a part of my life for so long.

I loved him; he’s the only person I ever loved. And I can’t tell you when I stopped loving him. All I know is that I did, and that it terrified me. It’s scary to think we can just wake up and not love someone anymore, especially if it happens before they’re done being in love with us. I loved him for the person he was, but I knew I didn’t feel the way about him I should have. The way my friends felt about their husbands and partners. I wanted it to come back so badly and it took me a long time to accept it simply wasn’t going to. I don’t want that to ever happen again, and I am hoping I am through the worst and the best is yet to come. Or some kind of cliche like that.

I wish him the best, and still believe he’d wish the same for me. I’ve been on my own for eight months now, which is the longest I’ve been single since I was 16. It was hard at first, but it got easier. And for the last several months I haven’t bothered looking because I knew I was on my way out the door. Who knows who’s in Chicago, but hopefully I’ll find someone for me there. And someday I hope I’ll know what I didn’t know then, and feel what I’m supposed to. Whatever that is. The timing of all this just really makes me feel stronger about this being the perfect time to get out of this city, this state. I don’t mean any offense to any of my friends or family; you have all really been there for me this year when I needed you. It just really feels like I’m due for a fresh start.

Going to the market

The most positive thing about Saturday night’s experience was that I kept thinking, this is going to make one interesting blog post.

My friend Stacey and I went to an event sponsored by a local radio station that night: WNCI’s Man Market. I realize how ridiculous that sounds, and I assure you it was, but it is still blog worthy.

At least we looked cute

I was telling Stacey about it last week and she suggested we go, and even if it was a total bust, it might be a fun people-watching opportunity. I had already kind of wanted to go, but didn’t want to admit it. I had an idea in my head of some perfect guy in Columbus thinking the event was a stupid, humiliating idea and that no self-respecting guy would subject himself to such treatment, but whose friends insisted on dragging him along. He’d be this good-looking-but-geeky guy who loves CD101 and only listens to WNCI on the way to work because it’s funnier than CD101’s morning show. Oh, and he’d have a lot of interesting things to say about “Inception” or something. Not that I got too specific. But yeah, this guy would almost back out of the Man Market at the last minute but ultimately go through with it, thinking what the heck? Maybe there will be a dorky girl there who’s obsessed with movies and indie music and can string together a coherent sentence. Naturally, this guy would have lower expectations of me than I would have of him in this scenario.

I met Stacey at Flannagan’s in Dublin for the event. We were handed a booklet containing brief surveys filled out by each guy who registered for Man Market, over 300 of them. The survey included inspired questions like “What’s your favorite type of lingerie?” and “Who is your dream celebrity date?” Any guy who answered the latter with Megan Fox or Angelina Jolie was a douche bag on principle in my book, so that made weeding people out easier. Eventually Stacey and I just started going by age and I eliminated anyone outside of the 23-27 range. Stacey had the sense to bring a pen, so we took the time to sit and mark down the number of any guy we thought sounded interesting, so we could just try to track down those guys, who were wearing their numbers on their shirts.

After going through the booklet, Stacey had about two dozen prospects; I had seven. Finding any of these numbers was hard, because it was insanely packed and not all the guys were wearing their numbers prominently. Out of the guys I’d picked, there was one I was especially hoping to find: Mr. 297. He said his favorite kind of lingerie was a pair of sweat pants and a hoodie and his dream date was Tina Fey. Be still my heart. Every time Stacey and I walked around the place, I kept looking for that number, but to no avail. After a while I decided he, much like my imaginary ideal guy, must have decided against the whole Man Market thing after all. It only made me like this elusive person even more. Too good for the Man Market!

Stacey talked to a few of the guys on her list of numbers but didn’t really feel a connection with any of them. We knew ahead of time that the kind of guy who frequents Flannagan’s and did this kind of thing would probably not be our types, so we weren’t too disappointed.

We went back toward the dance floor at one point and suddenly, there he was: Number 297, standing there drinking a beer. I saw the number before anything else and turned excitedly to Stacey. “There he is, 297!” I said over the music. Then I turned back to get a better look. Number 297 was a giant. This is probably why he indicated in his survey that he found tall women intriguing. Despite my being 5’6”,  Stacey convinced me to go up to him. We followed him out of the indoors part of the bar and up the stairs. He and his friends stopped at the top of the stairs, and Stacey ended up making my move for me. We sat down and talked with him, the only guy we’d actually done so with all night.

Unfortunately, it turns out I’ve basically already dated Mr. 297 and his name was Brandon. This guy looked nothing like Brandon, but at some point when he was talking I realized they sure seemed to have a lot of the same interests. And after I made that comparison I couldn’t stop making it. This guy liked the same movies, voted for McCain and said some of the same conversational phrases Brandon did. And when he said he wasn’t all that into music, I knew for sure it was a lost cause. We made a polite exit because both Stacey and I were pretty much over it by then, and as we got up to leave, 297 invited us to look him up on Facebook.

Not to get too Carrie Bradshaw on you, but is telling someone to look you up on Facebook the new phone number exchange? Is it? I am so out of the loop.

Anyway, he was a nice guy, but I am not going to add him after all. Hopefully he wasn’t counting on it and waiting for me (or Stacey) to contact him. I am not even sure we told him our names, but his was listed in the booklet we had.

Stacey left around 11, but when I walked back to my car from hers, I realized I was completely stuck. Two ass hats parked in the entrance to the lot, blocking everyone in. I took pictures of their plate numbers on my phone and had the event coordinators read them over the mic, but they said the wrong makes of the cars. Besides, no one was listening at that point. Fortunately, after making some friends in the long line for the bathroom, when I went back out to my car, someone else had left, leaving an opening.

Overall, it was a weird experience. I felt pretty judgmental and I am aware that carries over into this post; but I guess those guys were putting themselves up for that to begin with. Here’s the list of questions the Man Market guys were asked last week:

  • Age:
  • Occupation:
  • Hobbies:
  • Favorite feature on a woman:
  • Favorite kind of lingerie:
  • Dream celebrity date:
  • Best sexual move:

Alternatively, here’s a list I could have actually gotten behind:

  • Are you employed? Please explain.
  • Are you nice to your mother?
  • What movie are you most embarrassed to admit to seeing in theaters?
  • What was the best concert you’ve ever been to?
  • How many dogs do you own?
  • What is the funniest thing you’ve ever seen in your life?
  • Describe your last girlfriend. (If the first word that comes to your mind is “crazy,” and this word also describes all of your other exes, you need not apply.)
  • How many cups of coffee do you consider normal for a single day’s consumption?

Maybe I will host my own event, open to geeks, dorks and hipsters alike. Or maybe I’ll just try to meet someone the normal way.

Speaking of which, what is the normal way? How’d you meet your person?

Also, if you see these cars driving around Columbus, I very seriously considered keying them. Please give them the finger if they pass you going 90 on the interstate or something.

Silver Altima

Silver Jeep

A dime a dozen

A couple months ago I posted a quote from Liz Lemon about her ideal man. I recently wrote my own arbitrary list of qualities I hope to someday find existing in one person:

  • I want someone who won’t judge me for watching the entire second season of “The Office” in a one weekend. Again.
  • I want someone who will pick me up at the airport at 4 a.m. without complaining, coffee in hand.
  • I want someone who will take the trouble to save their leftovers from a restaurant because they think I might like them for lunch the next day.
  • I want someone who accepts my insecurities while genuinely laughing at my terrible jokes.
  • I want someone who hates doing laundry but loves some other chore I can’t stand the very thought of.
  • I want someone who disagrees with me but is civil in doing so and won’t just shrug off my opinion.
  • I want someone who didn’t think “The Royal Tenenbaums” was humorless and weird and who didn’t totally ‘get’ “Lost In Translation,” either.
  • I want someone who likes the quirky movies that I am fully aware are geared toward making money off of my quirky taste, and who readily accepts that business model as well.
  • I want someone who is as intelligent as I am but in different ways.
  • I want someone who likes going to baseball games in the summer but whose life doesn’t revolve around sports.
  • I want someone who will leave me alone once in a while so I can eat junk food while watching “The Biggest Loser” in peace.
  • I want someone who doesn’t want anyone else.
  • I want someone who makes me a better person.

Some words from Liz Lemon

Like Astronaut Mike Dexter

I want someone who will be monogamous and nice to his mother. And I want someone who likes musicals, but knows to just shut his mouth when I’m watching ‘Lost.’ And I want someone who thinks being really into cars is lame and strip clubs are gross. I want someone who will actually empty the dishwasher instead of just taking out forks as needed like I do. I want someone with clean hands and feet and beefy forearms like a damn Disney prince! And I want him to genuinely like me, even when I’m old.”

-Tina Fey’s Liz Lemon, on “30 Rock”

Thanks to Meredith for bringing this quote to my attention.

One step down a rocky road

Brandon sent me an e-mail Thursday morning letting me know he’d starting seeing someone. An hour later, it was live on Facebook, meaning it’s o-fficial. I’m not gonna lie, it was a surprise. And not the fun kind, like a birthday party with all your friends hiding behind your couch– more like a dagger to stomach? Surprise! But after thinking it over for a couple days, I know what I sort of knew the moment I read it; this is a good thing.

We broke up three months ago, and we are still friends, or at least friendly. There’s not much more I could ask for in the aftermath of the dissolving of a five year relationship. I want him to be happy; he wants the same for me. We are adults now. I was 18 when we started dating and now that I am 24 and we aren’t together anymore, a lot has changed. We were not right for each other. We were, at the very least, okay together, and he was my best friend. I spent most of my waking (non-working) hours with him, laughed with him, shared with him. But that isn’t enough. That’s not the glue that holds you together, it’s only part of it. And I want him to find the element(s) missing from our relationship with someone else, even though it doesn’t feel great to type or think that belief.

There was only one other person I ever considered being in a relationship with other than Brandon, and he found someone else just weeks before Brandon and I broke up. I’d foolishly convinced myself he’d always be there, but the timing of all this leaves me without a doubt that we were never intended to be together. We will also never be friends again.

Brandon’s announcement is part of my process of moving on, even though it’s a difficult milestone. I was so afraid of being alone and I thought for sure being with my dear, wonderful friend was better than being without him. But as we know, that wasn’t fair to either of us. For the first time in a LONG time I am realizing that maybe the person out there for me is someone I’ve not yet met. How frustrating it is to think that! This, the plight of the single person, I suppose. As my dad told me when Brandon and I broke up the first time, nearly three years ago, “You need to go find yourself a nice, non-Muskingum boy and settle down.”

At the time, my Muskie bubble was the only reality I knew and his idea seemed like a fate worse than death; how on earth are you supposed to meet someone AFTER college, I thought. College is an ideal dating setting, but we become different people post graduation. We grow up. College relationships only work if two people are able to grow together. In most of my friends’ cases, this seems to be possible. But as someone who went through some pretty big life changes my last semester of school, I think I needed some time to hash through those changes and move forward before I could be selfless enough to let someone else into my life. I never gave myself that time, so that time is now.

Wish me luck, will you?