[“Somebody to Love” – Queen]
* I am just going to go ahead and put this p.s. at the beginning for all you lovely people. A pre, rather than post, script, as it were. One year ago, as of this past Monday, I started this blog and it has found its meandering way into my routine as an important outlet. Thank you for taking this emotionally intense trip with me. One year, man… That’s a big deal to me. I am being facetiously dramatic by saying that I’ve recently gone through a crisis of blog faith and I would like to thank a few lovely women who assured me that it’s not JUST self important aggrandizing (ha)… It can sometimes help others in terms of offering the scope they need in their own lives. I am honored to provide whatever assistance I can by sharing my experience; as others have done for me (maybe in a more justified and eloquent capacity but I do what I can). For all intents and purposes it really is my aim to Hamlet the hell out of life (the actual play, and not just my cat, in this instance) and “hold, as ’twere, the mirror up to nature.” But I digress.
As usual, it’s been a week, which is why I am (in my mind) late to this update but, rolling it back, on Tuesday I attended an absolutely spectacular Mac DeMarco concert (fair warning, if you look him up, he’s a weird dude). During this musical for the strange, Mac invited a couple on stage because the guy wanted to propose to his girlfriend. Watching this, simultaneously cringing and clapping, I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed with a sense of “awwww” (instead of my usual “awe,” I guess. See what I did there?).
I have to be honest. As painful as it can be. I fucking love, love.
There, I said it. This has always pretty solidly represented how I feel about the topic. Short shelf life but ultimately worthwhile.
Yeah, it’s true, most times my inherent insecurities and natural sarcasm make me doubt the intentions of others but I fully believe that humans can be entirely beautiful and share their lives together in a real and sustainable way. As we all know, I thought I had that. As we also know, I was wrong (I am continuing to work to get over that). But now, devoid of my outlet, I am finding myself with an excess of love to share. I am so used to the intense level of care and concern that I expended on another and now it’s just all bottled up inside (if anyone needs some care and concern directed their way, please let me know). I am aware that I can’t lose myself in a relationship again, and I have no intention of doing so, but that doesn’t mean I want to be alone forever.
Eventually I want a partner. A re-do on the whole forever concept… You know?
A Little Moulin Rouge to Start… Plus Some Extras
Love is like oxygen. Love lifts us up where we belong. All you need is love. (We are about to “Elephant Love Song” the hell out of this nonsense. No apologies, you know you love it.) Love is patient. Love is strange, and sometimes pretty gross. Love is just a game. Love all, trust few, and do wrong to none. Love love love…
The human race has worked for centuries to define a concept that is inherently ineffable. I am not going to come at you and try to define it with my measly capacity for words. Others way more talented than me have tried and I accept their conclusions (well, most of them). What I am going to talk to you about is the active seeking of love. Given my recent life changes, this time on the more positive end of the spectrum (whose life is this, now? I am confused.), my existence does not feel like it is in a holding pattern anymore. It feels vital and changeable and I think I am ready to fully embrace it again.
Ok, I have an inkling about my willingness to forge ahead and attempt to be a successful human.
So… masochist that I am, I am diving in head first and trying to date (blerg). All or nothing, right? It’s weird to say but this is really not something I have any experience in. That being said, my theory is, I am not allowed to be any kind of miserable if I am not actively trying to seek a better situation. Sound fair?
I may not be the readiest for anything intense or real but I also can’t hide in a corner for the rest of my life either so, here we go.
Why? Just Why?
As I sit here in an intensely reflective mood at home, kitten at my feet… with a face mask (the cleansing kind, not the Halloween kind, at least for tonight), wild hair, ancient sweats, typical band tee, and a glass of wine (definitely the most attractive I have ever been, in case you really are trying for the visual) there is a facet of modern culture that I need to discuss with you. So, picture me, swirling the wine in my glass, as we have this fun little fireside chat. Appropriate, no? As we move into a topic that, many times, is entirely about the external—I want you to “see” me this way because too often, now, we rely on the veneer of perfection, or at least some vague concept attractiveness, when thinking of others (I feel the need to self deprecate here and say I come up short in that department anyway—but nah, I am trying to actually be real with you, on all levels).
My friends, I am here to talk about online/app dating… I am going to take a first stab at a definitive statement and just say “it sucks.” Please keep in mind, this is not a diatribe against life, men, love, or even modern technology. All of those things are great. It’s not even a diatribe so much as an exploration of a topic which confuses the hell out of me, with as much levity as possible thrown in (oh GOOD! something new and different for me).
Ideally, we would all have “meet cute” stories with our partners. Real-life ways in which we met and connected. Shared humanity, in person, imagine that. But as an introverted individual with an already satisfying social life (just mostly consisting of couples) I am finding myself seeking this unsatisfactory option because it’s better than nothing. I know many of you have your own stories to share, I’ve bemoaned this topic with several individuals lately. Feel free to pipe in and, in the mean time, here goes:
For now, forever, and always it’s important to note that I am not going to ever claim to be some glorious prize, just a general human. Which is why I am trying to approach this fairly.
What I would like to bring you is a treatise on dating and humanity because, quite frankly, I have never felt more like Liz Lemon than I do when I am trying to put myself out there. At least she gives me hope that at one point I will find my James Marsden/Criss Chros to have an endearingly strange relationship with. In the mean time, “This is good alcoholics meeting,” and that is about all I can say.
As usually accompanies a love of fiction, I am a hopeless romantic which is why my brief forays into the dating world recently have been… largely disappointing. But, I don’t think my expectations are too high—I think modern standards are too low. People are afraid to be vulnerable and they, therefore, don’t allow their internal light to shine for others. They are afraid of the complications that arise from actually living. Really living and loving… Both take WORK. They take giving a damn.
To be fair, maybe don’t lay ALL the weird on the line from the get go. Save some of it for later on. But, there is something to be said for being thoughtful, sincere, and inquisitive.
Not Just Type A
I, like many others, have a type. For as long as I can remember, that type has been: tall-ish and emotionally unavailable (humor, har). That being said, I am now lowering my bar to someone who says more than “hey.” No one is impressed with that opening line, not even in person, much less on a site where we are all trying to figure one another out on some basic level. A site where we have provided content for one another to peruse and utilize so that we can foster some kind of connection. Therefore, times being what they are, I am consenting to modify my type to be someone with the capacity to say SOMETHING of substance. Punctuation is a bonus.
Come on people, I believe in you.
An Imperfect Guide, from an Admittedly (Wholly) Imperfect Person
Pro tip: This entire process is a farce. Please hear that on every level.
Accept it, own it, lean into it. Hell, take advantage of it. The human experience is now being determined based on a flick of a thumb in one direction or another. Overall, this is comically dystopian. Split second decisions accepting or rejecting another whole human being. We have been diagnosed as a lonely generation because much of our self worth is, unfortunately, determined by social media. How do we exist in a world where we find potential partners based on selfie taking ability (side note, my selfie game is NOT strong) or if we fit the (apparently, I have been told, now perceived as “basic”) interesting-ness quotient by having done things like visited Machu Picchu/gone skydiving (2 basic points for me! Entertaining but, given my unfortunate propensity toward sarcasm, doesn’t get me far)?
In a largely impersonal culture, showing a spark of humanity can be a boon.
Therefore, I have just a few notes, from me and pretty much every other girl I know:
- Be nice. This is just as awkward for me as it is for you.
- I do not want unsolicited inappropriate content.
- Stop lying about yourself. Be entirely you. Lying does nothing for anyone.
- Practice your in-person communication skills as much as your emoji/gif game.
- Ask. Fucking. Questions. (I have FEELINGS on this, seriously. It seems no one is capable of that these days, even outside of dating. But that’s a topic for another time.)
- Lastly, ghosting. Let’s end this as a cultural trend. If you have no interest, just say it. Then we can all move on.
Which brings me to my next point:
To avoid ghosts, I have taken it upon myself to draft a few rejections. I give full permission to any of my future dating prospects to use this content to reject me rather than simply disappearing from metaphorical view.
Don’t leave someone hanging or hope that they will get a basically non-existent hint in your messaging. Think of it as a much needed ending to our story, however brief it may have been:
- (Solid, classic) Liz, it’s not you, it’s me.
- (A variation on a classic) Liz, it’s not me, it’s you.
- (Likely) Liz, you talked too much about Shakespeare. I have no interest in Shakespeare, which I told you, yet you rambled on. You deserve a person with the same level of emotional investment. Best of luck with the Bard.
- (INCREDIBLY Likely) Liz, it was great meeting you and sharing a meal. However, your obliviousness to the giant wad of spinach that became lodged in your teeth midway through dinner was disconcerting. Best of luck with your future endeavors, particularly with regards to successfully consuming greenery.
- (To the point) Liz, thanks but no thanks.
- (A bit more brutal, but very to the point) Unsubscribe.
- (Mean Girls reference to ease the pain) Liz, stop trying to make “fetch” happen. It’s never going to happen.
- (Would be pretty cool, not gonna lie) Liz, my planet needs me and I must go. Goodbye forever. Remember me fondly when you look to the stars.
- (Paranormal puns are appreciated) Liz, I am being a respectful ghost as so many individuals are giving us a bad name. I am off to another dimensional plane. Woo…
- (Fair) Liz, you are uncomfortably tall and you find strange things amusing. Lets not speak again.
- (Definitely a possibility) Liz, your cat gave me the stink eye. I am pretty sure he wants to murder me. Sorry, but I value my life.
- (Creative, colloquial, and current) Liz, you ain’t a dime piece. At best you’re two nickles glued together. Quit frontin’. Peace.
- (Well researched and thorough) Liz, our date falls under the parameters of cruel and unusual punishment as outlined in the Geneva Convention. You will soon be hearing from the tribunal.
- (Ideal) Liz, I am not good enough for you. I could never measure up to your wonder and vitality. Never stop being awesome.
Variations on a theme are acceptable and even encouraged. The point is, at the end of the day, it’s better for everyone if you are just upfront.
Be nice. It’s not that hard.
Own your personality. You are awesome.
Commit to the bit. Half-assing this experience helps no one.
And, maybe, give the goofy looking girl in glasses—with decent punctuation, and minimal emoji usage—a chance. If nothing else, she bakes and has eclectic, if not great, taste in music.
P.P.S. I truly hope you read this in the spirit in which it was intended. Sardonic, but not entirely bitter, musings. A “rea-Liz-tic” view of the dating world.
Photo: E. Campbell (2017)
Eastern Market, D.C.