Sunday, July 31, 2016

IT’S NOT YOU, IT’S ME…REALLY

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It’s the copout line for dumping someone. There’s a reason—maybe a list of reasons—to reject the guy, but honesty can hurt or prolong things with denial and an argument. The easy way out is to say, It’s me.


I’m at a bad place in my 
              life right now.

I’m not a good enough person.

I’ve got to spend all my spare time   
cleaning the closet in the den.
(Something may have died there.)


In my last blog post, I turned down a guy after a second date that was no better than the first. Initally, I’d found his opinions too harsh. In his profile and on both dates, he’d acknowledged this as a common perception but dismissed the criticism with a Fuck that. Everyone is too intent on being politically correct. Maybe, maybe not. All I know is political correctness keeps my blood pressure on an even keel.

My gut had been to decline the second date. I’d had enough…heard enough. But occasionally—and, indeed, after the last post—a blog reader has the guts to raise an uncomfortable I Wonder.

I wonder if you’re being too picky.

Oh, how I brace at the comment. (It’s probably why only readers posit this while face-to-face friends and acquaintances keep mum.)

I’m not too picky. I’m not too picky. I’m not too picky.

As if repeating it makes it true. A three-year-old’s approach.

And then I hear Harry’s voice. Harry, aka Billy Crystal, talking to Sally, aka Meg Ryan in my favorite move, giftedly penned by the late great Nora Ephron:

                        HARRY:          There are two kinds of 
                                                 women: high maintenance
                                                 and low maintenance.
                        SALLY:            And Ingrid Bergman [in 
                                                 Casablanca] is low
                                                 maintenance?
                        HARRY:          …Definitely.
                        SALLY:            Which am I?
                        HARRY:          You’re the worst kind. 
                                                 You’re high maintenance,
                                                 but you think you’re low maintenance.

I would contend that I’m a low maintenance date. I have no list. All I ask is that a guy show up on time, dress in something slightly more fashion-forward than a favorite sports team jersey, put away his phone and engage in a genuine back-and-forth conversation. Okay, there’s a physical attraction piece, too, but that’s mostly out of our control. I’d say I’ve been passed over on looks just as many times as I’ve passed. Few of us are objectively, universally hot and by “us” I definitely, conclusively do not include myself.

It’s the conversation piece where things froth or fizzle. And based on all I’ve sat through, eighty percent of fizzled chats come from too much talking, not enough listening. A first date may feel like an interview but it’s not. You’re not trying to cram everything great about you—every trip, every detail of your last dinner party and every itty-bitty dimension of your job—into a roughly forty-minute sit-down.

Don’t forget there’s another guy who showed up, hoping to share an anecdote or a factoid about himself. If you don’t have Barbara Walters’ interviewing skills—for the record, I’d be an arbutus tree—then pause every two or three minutes and simply say, “And what about you?” Order a scone with your coffee so you have to stop and chew once in a while. (You don’t talk with your mouthful, do you? Maybe that’s another of my conditions.)

I should wrap up this post.

If I keep writing, I fear that more conditions will surface.

Too picky.

Am I more Sally than Ilsa? Does my blog leave a trail of damning evidence concerning my unrealistic expectations? Am I too quick to dismiss?

                        SALLY:            I don’t see that.
  
What if there are grounds for a class-action lawsuit against me, brought by the masses of single gay men in Vancouver who have been disparaged and dismissed in this blog without any counterpoint? Am I guilty of a pattern and practice of dating defamation?

Too picky? Me?! I have no reason to be, no right to be. But then I hear a certain movie character again.

SALLY:            Well, I just want it the way I want it.

And, as much as I could pick that apart, it sounds about right.

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