The Choice Was Mine All Along

You all know that I have made many comments in the past about my fear that I would never find someone who loved me again. I worried that no one would ever find me attractive, would want to sleep with me, would want to have long drawn out conversations with me. As you can see, I can be quite clueless sometimes.

Yesterday, I drove a friend to pick up her car from the dealership. She has her car in there pretty much every other month it seems, but this was the first time that she asked me to give her a ride, rather than take the shuttle. Once we got there, she told em that she wanted to introduce me to the service manager, who was a good friend of her’s. This guy came out of the service office, gave my friend a hug, and turned to me, and –

Wow. We’re going to call him Beautiful Eyes (BE), although we could also call him Great Smile, or Nice Arms. It wasn’t just the way he looked, though; it was his eye contact, his quick and genuine smile when we introduced ourselves, his ease with my friend and me.  I was pretty instantly smitten. Alas, since I was just dropping my girl off (and since BE was at work), we could only talk for a minute, but my friend did suggest that I come along the next time they went out for some drinks.

It was only today, when I was pondering my instant attraction to BE (sure, I notice when a guy is cute, or has a nice smile, but this was much more than that), that I realized that the fear I had been holding this whole time wasn’t that someone wouldn’t find *me* lovable – it was that *I* would never find anyone that I loved again. I think there has been a part of myself that was so badly wounded, from Ex, from Tripp, and yes, even from Jay, that I erected walls between myself and the dating world. I dabbled with online dating; I don’t go out to meet people, in any setting; even with Jay, I barely put myself out there – “See, he screwed up again, just like I knew he would, therefore I was right not to let on that I might love him.” Add to that the turmoil that I was going through with J when Jay and I started dating (anyone seeing the connection there?!?!). With J it was “Hey, we’re best friends! We have an instant connection! Let’s move in together! Oh, now that you’ve moved in with me, I’m going to start acting in a completely different fashion, and not behave at all like I was when we were friends only, as opposed to roommates. Oh, and yeah, now that you’ve lived with me for three months, and you made the horrible decision to mention that you might, in a year or so, want to look for your own place, now I’m going to kick you out and destroy our friendship. Bye!!!!!” (Am I still a little bitter about that??) So yeah, obviously, opening myself up to people and letting them know how much I love them hasn’t really been a top priority.

But maybe now it can be. This could all turn out to be nothing; BE might just become a fun new drinking companion to pal around with. And yet, there was something about him that I recognized, something that spoke to me in that first glance. Maybe it was just The Universe’s way of opening me up enough to hear this message. I don’t have to wait for someone to decide to love me. I will love again, and I will be loved again, and those two things will happen at the right time, in the right context, and with the right person. And I will no longer live my life believing that I must simply fall in line with other peoples’ emotions and desires.

– Finch

Advertisements

What Your Favorite Love Story Might Say About You

Twice a day, a group of work friends and I go for a walk of about 1.5 miles. During this time, we talk about literally everything from Socialism, the French Revolution, to current real estate trends, fashion, and Sherlock. We’re a diverse group of ages, races, and backgrounds, yet we all work in a pretty small universe. Today, we were discussing our favorite movie love stories, and about halfway through our walk, it occurred to me that you could tell a lot about each of these women by the love story that was most important to them.

For one woman, her favorite was An Officer and A Gentleman. Easy enough to see, she wants to be swept off her feet. Another woman liked Only Lovers Left Alive. Again, I could totally see how it related to her – she and her husband love each other dearly, but they live pretty separate lives and each pursue their own hobbies separately. However, when my turn came, I couldn’t see the connection with my love story as clearly. Or, at least, I could see it, but it didn’t seem as romantic to me.

My favorite love story in a movie is Before Sunset. Quick synopsis – a guy and girl meet in Vienna and spend a wonderful evening together. The next morning, the guy is flying back to America, and they agree to meet on the exact same spot in six months (actually that’s the synopsis for Before Sunrise, the prequel to Before Sunset). Nine years later, the two meet accidentally in Paris, and spend 90 minutes walking around the city catching up and wondering at the outcome of their lives. There’s a lot of talk about destiny/fate, what happiness really is and if people are capable of being truly happy, missed connections, growing up. The movie takes place in real time, so you follow the two around from the moment they see each other through without any breaks. The movie asks if true love and soul mates are really possible, and if it is possible to fall back in love with someone – or maybe it questions whether these two ever stopped loving each other.

So for me, obviously there’s the connection between overthinking/overanalyzing, talking about a myriad of subjects, and always wondering what if. I think part of the reason I love it so much is because the female character, Celine, thinks very similarly to me. At one point, she talks about why she doesn’t have one-night stands – because she cannot be intimate with someone, and not connect to them on some deeper level. She talks about how after a relationship is over, she is completely wrecked, and how everyone she has been with has meant so much to her, and she can’t just let that go. I’m also a pretty big believer in fate, and so the question of “was this always meant to happen in just this way?” really gets to me. Can you screw up your life accidentally? Can you miss out on true love because of some fluke accident? That just feels too random and scary. It would be bad enough knowing that I could miss out on a chance for love and happiness because of my own stupidity, but to miss out because someone’s uncle passed away, or because some car wrecked (ala An Affair to Remember), that idea is absolutely too much for me to bear. I need to believe that everything is fated to happen the way that it happens, that every decision I have ever made was already written down somewhere, was already known to some higher being. I need to know that everything will work out in the end.

Also, these characters were 32 in the movie, the same age I am now. So if my true love could hurry and show up and we could be together forever, that would be great.

  • Finch

Reruns of shows and love

I’ve been rewatching the first three seasons of Vikings (great show, go watch it now). As with most second (or third or fourth) viewings, I’ve noticed things this time around that I missed the first time. With some of the clues I’ve caught, I really had to know what happened later to see how it paid off. With others, I just missed some pretty obvious foreshadowing.

I realized that it works the same way when you revisit old relationships. As you know, I went back and dated Jay THREE more times after we initially broke up in the fall of 2013 (what can I say, I’m a masochist). Each time that we got together afterwards, I would find myself discovering new things about him, but I would also find myself being forced to acknowledge things that I had glossed over previously. Just like with the show, some of the things I figured out I could’ve only realized because I had already seen our ending once (or twice, etc); other things, I couldn’t believe how much I had been deceiving myself to not have seen it before.

I’ve written in the past about euphoric recall, that phase we find ourselves in when we can only remember the good things about a relationship (or job, living situation, what have you), and we wish that we could reclaim what is, in reality, only a fantasy. Then, if we do get that relationship back, we are struck with how it does not mesh at all with what we remembered. In a way, I feel this rewtaching/reliving is similar – we only remember certain aspects of things, and when we have to go through them again, we find ourselves confronted with ideas or thoughts that we blinded ourselves to before.

I write all this to say, some things are worth rewatching. Watch The West Wing until you can recite every line. Listen to Frank Sinatra until you know every beat. Make your favorite dish until it feels as regular as scrambled eggs. But maybe leave relationships in the past. We never remember them clearly anyway, we will never be able to recapture whatever it was that we loved then, and that’s okay. It ended because it was time to end.

– Finch

Mr. Creepy and Bait & Switch – My experiences with eHarmony

As I mentioned previously, I recently joined eHarmony. I decided that it was time to go after a higher caliber of person, someone who was also looking for love as opposed to a roll in the hay (which is all well and good, but not what I’m going for long-term). I quickly found many eligible suitors, and less than five days after I had joined the site, I had my first date. And since it started off with him being creepy, let’s just bestow that moniker now – Mr. Creepy.

I met up with Mr. Creepy after work over at Austin Java. I was a few minutes late (in reality, I was planning on bailing, but then I felt bad about standing him up, so I drove back downtown to meet up). When I got there, he stood up and gave me perhaps the creepiest first hug ever. It was one of those where he was holding me, and I actually kind of patted his back, like “okay, you can let go now.” Let me just say too, we hadn’t really talked much before we met. We went through the basics on eHarmony, and then on the first email, he asked me out, so there really wasn’t any conversation before hand to establish a rapport or flirtation. We went inside to grab a drink, and I offered to pay since I had been late. He didn’t acknowledge it at all (at least not until after the date), and then he ordered a $6 smoothie! And seriously, a smoothie? He had stated on his age that he drank socially, and I had ordered a beer. If you don’t want something alcoholic, that’s fine, but get a tea or an Arnold Palmer – a smoothie is just a little too weird for me. Anyway, we go back to sit at the table and wait for our drinks (also, you never have to wait when you order a beer. A smoothie though, you have to wait for that.) So we begin talking, and it is pretty obvious pretty quickly that there is no chemistry here. Or, at least, that’s what I thought was obvious. Clearly he missed the memo, because he kept holding my hand, and even when I would pull it away, he would wait perhaps 90 seconds before he would reach for it again. Finally, citing errands, I made my escape, but not before he planted two of the creepiest, soft-mouthed kisses ever. Less than 30 minutes after I had left, and a mere five minutes after I had made it home, there was a message waiting for me – “I had such a great time. Thanks for the smoothie. Let’s do that again soon.” Um, no – you had tiny hands, you moved way too quickly, and you were just creepy. Pass.

With Bait & Switch, I was really excited to meet him. Unlike Mr. Creepy, Bait & Switch and I had been talking online for several days, and had even had a 40 minute long phone conversation. We had tons in common, he repeatedly told me how awesome he thought I was (showing that he had good taste), and I really liked a lot of the details I was learning. In fact, after our first phone conversation, I actually called M and told her to mark the time and date, because I was pretty sure that I had just talked to my future husband. So we met up over at Cenote the night after I met Mr. Creepy. We had seen pictures on the site (he was VERY cute), but, as I got there first, I sent him a text telling him that I was in the back wearing my sunglasses on my head. Please imagine my surprise when a guy who bears little, if any, resemblance to the pictures on the site shows up and sits down. I almost told him, “I’m sorry, I’m waiting for someone,” thinking that this was some random guy. NOPE! It was Bait & Switch. The guy in real life looked about 40 pounds thinner (and not in a good way), had some crazy teeth, his hair was completely different, and even the shape of his head was not the same. I am not joking, I seriously think that the picture was of his brother – certainly related, but no way is that the same guy. Okay, I tried to look past the physical, since we did have all of these other thing sin common. But the conversation just wasn’t really flowing, and I wasn’t really feeling much. So then this happened – we were discussing Star Wars, and he kind of laughed, and said, “It is so cool that you like Star Wars. My ex was the complete opposite. She was such a spiteful bitch, she would never watch the movies with me.” Um, okay… Look, I recognize that Ex and I had one of the more amicable divorces that exist, and I also recognize that divorce can be a wretched, horrid thing to go through. But I’ve known you for approximately 30 minutes in real life, and less than a week by any definition, so I don’t really think you need to unload your hostility about your ex right now. If that had been all he said, I still would have been a bit offended, but I would’ve let it go. But no, he kept up his tirade throughout the rest of our date, at various interludes. That, coupled with his obvious use of either a super old picture, or a snapshot of someone else, completely soured me on him.

Just in talking to a lot of people about their eHarmony experiences, it seems that there are many people on the site who are jaded or cynical, who have tried everything else, and this is their last resort, so they’re pretty sour about it. If that’s the case, I’ll just bow out now. There’s no way that this is my last chance at happiness and I am not that desperate for companionship. These guys can keep each other!

– Finch

I’m sort of the opposite of a serial-monogamist

Another Sunday, another OKcupid date. This one didn’t leave me wanting to dig my eyes out with a sharp stick, although I did go home and pass out for two hours. Let me explain…

We met up at two, but the bar he had picked was closed. We convened at another bar, got some drinks, and proceeded to start talking. We actually had a lot of fun. So much fun, in fact, that I had four beers on an empty stomach (I wanted to look extra thin for the date – no judging!!), all in the course of about two and a half hours. I literally lost track of the time. When I got back to my car and saw that it was 5 (and I had previously told this guy that I had other plans at 6), I was shocked. I had not thought that we had hung out that long. So yes, I stopped at Maudie’s, got some insanely good breakfast tacos, and then went home and passed out until about 8. I’m too old for this!

The date was certainly fun, and even if I never hear from him again, he gave me a great piece of information. We were talking about our past OKC experiences, and he said, “I’m sort of the opposite of a serial-monogamist. You know, so many of my friends can’t go five minutes without dating someone, but I’ve only had one serious relationship in my adult life. The rest of the time, I date a little here and there, but mostly, I’m happier when I’m single.” PEOPLE! This is literally me!!! I’ve only had one serious relationship in my adult life (okay, or maybe two – Tripp and Ex). I will date for a couple of months here and there and then be single for a year or more. I stated all of this to him, and told him, “I thought I was the only one.” He replied that nope, there were plenty of us out there.

And here’s why that is so important to me. I live under a constant fear that I will never be with anyone ever again, that I will never fall in love again, and that there is something seriously wrong with me because I don’t constantly have a boyfriend. However, this guy gave me this nugget of truth that I am not terminally unique, and that it is perfectly normal to find more happiness and contentment in your own company rather than in a relationship. Don’t get me wrong, I love being unique and one of a kind, but it truly sways my fears to know that there are other people out there like me in this regard.

As for the guy himself – I don’t know. That’s not true – I do know, but it’s a scary feeling. He was cute, incredibly smart, had similar interests, and was really great. But I just can’t picture anything with him. Okay, yes, I can picture some drunken sex with him, but that’s not exactly the basis of a relationship. I think there’s someone out there who is a better fit, and it will be difficult to find him if I spend my time with someone I’m not crazy about (and sure, feelings could grow, but there are other factors there that I don’t want to get into of why I won’t be pursuing this). So, my Sunday Date, thank you for a lovely time, and showing me that four beers is way past my limit when I haven’t eaten anything, but most especially for showing me that I am not damaged and that there is hope for me yet.

– Finch

Quick thought: OKcupid is the Forever21 of dating

It is!! Picture it – Forever 21 (which I have loved since I was 16) is chock-full of cheap pieces, in a variety of colors and styles. Like that shirt, but wish that it came in blue? No problem, it’s over there. Think that skirt would be cuter with an exposed zipper? Yeah, that’s over in that section at the front of the store. Inevitably you end up with an overflowing pile of clothes to take back into the dressing room with you, wondering how on earth you are going to afford everything, only to discover that not one thing looks good on you. It’s either too big, too small, too sheer, too short, too much! And you leave the store wondering how you could have spent 90 minutes in there with absolutely nothing to show for it. But you know what? A few months later, that same store will lure you in with a promise of new styles, only for you to discover it’s the same old crap with new zippers.

They might as well rename OKcupid “Cupid21.” It leaves you with exactly the same emptiness.

– Finch