Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Beautiful / Invisible Thing

I've been reading a favorite blog of mine, and ran across a post about beauty (http://www.fatshionista.com/cms/index.php?option=com_mojo&Itemid=69&p=272) that hit me at a pretty sensitive spot. You see, I am not beautiful. At least not by society's standards. Now, I'll have friends that will insist that I am beautiful, but they are conflating my personality, and the qualities that they love about me, with beauty. And I love them for it, but I am not physically beautiful. While I may have some attractive features, I have a skewed face, and more damning, I am very fat. A winky eye and crooked smile can be forgiven on a size 6 or 10 or 14. But I am a size 24, and there is no socially-acceptable beauty in that.

In this post, the author wrote that she was not beautiful, and what I found particularly disturbing was the fact that she loved the invisibility associated with someone not conventionally attractive, and was especially fond of the compounding effect of age. I am beginning to feel this invisibility, and while I wish I felt the same relief, I instead feel rejected and mildly panicked. As it turns out, invisible people have a pretty fucking hard time finding boyfriends if they didn't have them before they became invisible.

Oddly enough, I don't think not being beautiful makes me an unattractive person. I happen to love the way I look, and historically have felt very comfortable in my skin. I am generally attracted to people in my same range of looks and intelligence, so until recently I've not been as concerned with how I look. Lack of success in the dating world and my new sense of invisibility has changed this, and I hate the new uncertainty that has found its way into my psyche. It makes me feel anxious about prettying up and getting as close to the ideal as possible, foolish when attraction isn't returned, and angry when my efforts aren't even marginally matched in the dating world (see previous rant post). And that self-confidence that I pride myself in erodes just a little bit further. Dating is not as fun as advertised - for me it has been soul-crushing.

My point is this: I am thinking of giving into being invisible. You see, I gave up on dieting about 7 years ago, and it was a process that began with pure, unadulterated rage. I was mad about the unfairness of trying over and over again to lose the fucking weight, and then happened upon the concept of... not dieting. Giving up the good fight, and accepting my body as it is. So now, with righteous anger over the vagaries of dating and attraction, the concept of not being so invested in attracting other people is floating up like a bubble into my thoughts. My efforts are rarely met, so what if I stopped? What if I let that go? What if I simply gave up?

Complicating these thoughts are my feelings... or lack thereof, for N. I traveled to see him. I'm in his town now. And I have moved beyond "not attracted" to him. I am finding myself physically repulsed by him. He smokes, which is usually not an issue for me, but the combination of cigarette and pot smoke on him is, frankly, gross. Even after brushing his teeth and showering, his skin reeks of the stuff. Beyond that, he has terrible allergies and is a heaving, phlegming, coughing mess. And the cpap machine that he has to use (which would normally not bother me), is the straw.

Given my own concerns about attractiveness and invisibility, this judgment of N is incredibly uncomfortable to own up to. He's a sweet, talented, caring, affectionate man. Who I happen to find repulsive. Oy, the guilt. He has that look of someone falling, and I am seriously putting on the brakes, and it is a special kind of torture to know it's never gonna happen. And to imagine that this is perhaps how others - those that I've found attractive - have viewed me... ouch. This feels like some sort of karmic lesson of the universe, and it's making the hated 500 Days of Summer (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1022603/) make bitter sense.

So here's hoping I make it through the next 36 hours without screaming, "Stop touching me, you're grossing me out!!", and that I don't hate myself too much for thinking it. And that maybe I learn something about my heart.

ETA: Just realized that finding N unattractive doesn't complicate things, it simplifies them. I'm forced to acknowledge that attraction is completely organic - you can't really help it, or force it, for that matter. So maybe giving up on dating is not the solution, though maybe going in with fewer expectations is. I'm not talking about lowering my standards; rather, going in with less of an expectation that love should be so easy to find or figure out.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

There Are Standards, Dammit.

I want to first say that I feel WAAAY better after my little ranting episode. I don't hate men, I love men. I was mostly angry at myself for letting someone be so disrespectful to me - I'd called the whole situation, and could have prevented it by simply canceling and never seeing the guy again. That's not a guy thing, that's a Casey-should-have-stuck-to-her-guns thing. So, apologies for the man-hating in the rant - sexism from either side is a no-go in my book.

I'd say that a lot of my anger came from fear, and that I haven't yet figured out the having-someone-love-me-back part. Actually, I haven't figured out the having-a-mutual-love-thingy-with-someone-I-think-is-awesome part. It's the awesome, you see, that gets me into trouble. I want awesome. I'm not talking perfect - fuck perfect. I want someone who is interesting to me, someone who is creating something great in their life. I'm really not into someone who has given up on being themselves - in a job they hate, in a life that's not theirs... do not want. Unfortunately, most of what is out there is not awesome, for me at least.

Going back to the fear for a moment: a lot of that comes from the fact that I know that I will pick single over not right, over boring, over unkind, over not awesome. I don't want to remain single, but I will fucking stay single if my only options are that and someone that I don't absolutely dig. And that scares the shit out of me. And I am confronted with that fear every time I put someone to the curb, because it reminds me how far I am from what I want.

Having said that, there are a few guys that I have been seeing, with varying degrees of seriousness. Most serious is N, a guy with many of the qualities I'm looking for - intelligence, humor, kindness, passion. He definitely makes me a priority, which feels pretty great. Unfortunately, I'm not super attracted to him. I suspect that if we'd met and gotten to know each other as friends (instead of on OKCupid), we'd be great friends where an attraction would build naturally. So, I'm hanging out with him to see if he grows on me.

This makes me wonder what standards I should set for myself as far as compromise is concerned. Should I consider seriously dating someone who would provide wonderful companionship, but with whom I don't have a lot of physical attraction? Should I hold off for being swept off my feet, or does that even really exist? At what point does loneliness outweigh the need to find that mythical unicorn, the perfect match? I have to get to sleep now, but will definitely be thinking about that over the next couple of days.

So, while I am feeling much better about myself and men, I think that balancing standards and natural attraction will be the theme of my dating life.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

... Sometimes You Feel Like Giving Up

I am sure one day the following, stream-of-conscious rant will not seem so painful to me, but this is how I felt when I woke up this morning:

I'm still mad as fuck this morning. I woke up with my fists clenched. I fucking hate every part of this. Do you hear me?? EVERY FUCKING PART OF THIS SUCKS. I hate men. I hate their fucking sensitive egos, and the fact that you either get an asshole or an idiot. There doesn't seem to be much in between. Seriously, I give the fuck up. I give up, I give up, I give up. I am so fucking sick and tired of expecting halfway decent behavior. I think that I am pretty up front with what is acceptable and what is not. I do not feel that I am some how attracting assholes - I think that's all there fucking is out there. Single at 35? Probably because you're a fucking asshole. Give up. I just want to smash someone's face in right now. I can't even get my fucking Wii remote to work, and I'm pissed, and I just want to hit something until it bleeds. I want to mangle the next man I see. I am fucking tired of being fair when I am not being treated fairly. It is not ok to make me wait. It is not ok to try to split your time. Focus on me when you are with me, dammit. I am so fucking done with this shit. And what pisses me off even more is the thought that some happily coupled person would simply coo that it's just a matter of time. Or worse, that a future happy self would look back at me now and smile at my being so upset. And you know what really sucks? I feel like I've brought this on myself. I hate everything right now. I am so upset and I am tired of feeling disappointed. I am tired of thinking that my expectations are so high - having someone show the fuck up on time is NOT a high expectation. It is NOT. I am so fucking tired of my own inability to articulate the truth in the moment. I knew this was going to turn out this way, and I didn't reschedule. Because I wanted him to have his shit together enough to be able to give me a fucking reasonable time. I wanted him to have his shit together and he did not, and he fucking wasted my time in the process, and I fucking let him. I am so mad at myself, at him, at every fucking man who thought it was ok to waste my time. I hate that the only ppl truly interested in me are men that I do not find attractive. What kind of fucking cosmic joke is that?? I am angry at the wind. I am angry at the atmosphere, at the sun, at happy people, at assholes, at everyone. I want to throw and break things, I want to pummel someone's face until it is a bloody mess. Mostly, I just wish it were right. I just wish I could have what I want - a guy that values me and whom I find interesting. Why is that so fucking difficult? It sounds so simple to my ears and I can't fathom for the life of me why it is so fucking difficult. WHY??? I know that I shouldn't let this upset me so much, but it really, really does. I hate crying over this shit. I just don't understand. I am so confused and hurt by this process... why the fuck is it so painful? Because I want something that I don't have, and I can't give it to myself, and I feel so pathetic that it upsets me.

ETA: OK, after like, the 5th time I read this, I started cracking up. I mean - this shit is so real, it's funny.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

... Sometimes There Are No Good Choices

Casey here, continuing the story from my last post:

Both J and M apologized profusely after the Sunday dating fiasco, which made me feel good, and made me feel like maybe they were nice guys with kids and bad schedules. Still, I realized that I was really stressing out with seeing multiple guys. Since I’d been wanting to see just M for a while, I thought – just get off the merry-go-round and see M. I could sense that he was really sweet on me, and his slow pace with the physical stuff was refreshing.

M came over on Friday, and we talked and made out, which was seriously delicious. Hello second base! With gusto! Damn, he'd be a good lover... We parted ways when things started getting a little too hot, and decided to get together again Tuesday night. He wanted to make sure that we had time to talk and not just make out, so he wanted us to meet at a coffee shop by his place.

Due to a minor issue with how we'd planned things, some bad directions, and the fact that the coffee shop was closed, I started out the date pretty annoyed. But, we decided to press on and look for another place. Climbing into the seat next to him, seeing that he was truly mortified at how this was all starting out - I just couldn't stay mad. On top of that, he was wearing an argyle sweater vest - how do you stay mad when there's a sweater vest in play? Within a few minutes we were cracking up and joking about how a) that was some sweater vest, and b) this had to be the worst date, ever. After striking out at a couple of other places, we ended up at a book store, just walking around, talking, holding hands, touching one another... so sweet. We talked about all sorts of things, including unrequited love. I tended to be the one loving, and he tended to be the one not loving back.

We talked for a while at his truck, and drove and talked some more - he really had things to say. He talked about wanting to have the kind of love that he sees in movies (not blockbusters, but dorky, awkward indie flicks, with flawed but sweet characters). He wants to know that there's love out there that truly lasts forever, because that's what he wants in his life. After a while though, he talked about how difficult it was for him to remain interested in someone, especially after they’d become intimate, and the woman had developed feelings for him. He even spoke specifically of the moment in bed, when a woman looks into his eyes and says that she’s really crazy about him. Something about that moment loses it for him, and he doesn’t feel anything anymore.

It’s easy to paint him as the asshole here, and from at least one perspective, he is. But the more he talked about it, the more I could see that it really hurt him to not be able to maintain and return those feelings. He’d been with wonderful women, really loved them, and really wanted to continue to love them. But he couldn’t. Once established, the feeling just went away, and from the look in his eyes, I could tell that it haunted him. He explained that he knew this about himself, and that he wanted to be honest with me because he really trying to work it out, which is why he was so keen on holding off on the physical stuff.

I appreciated his honesty – sitting there, talking to him... it explained so much, especially with regards to another man that I'd loved with pretty tragic results. It reminded me of what a good friend once told me – some people are not meant to be in your life forever, you’re just meant to learn something from them and move on. Sitting in his truck, I knew that this was probably M’s reason for being in my life. To explain the confusion and hurt caused by someone that I'd loved, someone that was simply unable to love me back.

At the end of our conversation, I asked M if he was asking me to be his guinea pig, to see if he could overcome his issues with staying in love, and to his credit he looked a little horrified – no, of course not, he just wanted to be honest with me. Damn, I hate that so much about him feels so right, that his sweetness and awkwardness are so endearing, that his honesty is so very appealing, and I especially hate the little fantasy that my love would turn things around for him. Because when someone tells you who they really are, you should believe them. We would very likely fall in love with one another. And he would very likely and very quickly fall out of love, and not have any explanation, other than the excuse that he’d warned me.

So, it comes down to this… if I am smart, I walk away, even though I don’t want to. I fucking hate these fucking lose-lose choices. I really do.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

...Sometimes You Need Two Bloggers Just To Write It All Down

Hey there, I'm Anonymous Single Lady 2, but you can call me Casey. I've been friends with ASL for a while now, and we've shared many stories of love and broken hearts, and she's invited me (OK, I invited myself) to guest post from time to time on this here blog. I have a few stories already queued up, but thought I'd introduce myself.

I'm a professional in my mid-30's, I've had one moderately successful open marriage (until we stopped loving one another, that is), and couple of pretty badly broken hearts since. I may detail these things later, but let's just say that I plan on avoiding Oklahoma City from now until the end of time.

I'm sort of to the point where I'd really rather learn from my past mistakes, instead of finding new ones to make. Most of all, I'd really just like to stop running into walls, because that shit hurts. Anyways, I have a few historical posts that I'll copy here, but why don't we jump right in with my latest drama (copied for now from my private blog, regarding the weekend before last):

I was really disappointed by this weekend. I guess what I am destined to learn next is that I should shelve all expectations. Dates showing up on time? Whoa, girl – don’t be unrealistic. Dates showing up at all? Probably setting your sights too high.

A little history. The thing with the guy I was crushing on didn’t work out (huge surprise there), fizzled before it even began. So, on a whim, I joined OKCupid. I won’t go through the entire roll now, but there have been several viable prospects, and two in particular (we'll call them M and J). Both have shown proactive interest in me – texting, emailing, video chat, etc. I should know better than to get my hopes up, but I guess I’m stupid. I assume that when a guy says he wants to see me, he’s telling the truth. Come time for the date, I further assume that he’s made plans to be on time, or absent that, at least fucking show up.

My travel schedule has been difficult, and I make it known that my schedule is tight. I make sure that people know this up front, and explain that I need specific dates and times so that I can fit everything in. No one has ever had a problem with this in theory; execution, on the other hand, is a different matter entirely.

That brings us to this weekend. I had 3 dates scheduled between Saturday and Sunday, plus a housewarming party with friends. Ambitious, yes, but I’d planned it pretty well and gotten enthusiastic confirmations from all three parties that all plans were a go. All I'm going to say about Saturday night’s date is that he was 30 minutes late, and while I half-heartedly agreed to another date, I anticipate that I will develop some crippling life situation which will make dating impossible. Here’s hoping for shingles.

Honestly though, I was really looking forward to Sunday. I’d seen M several times, and was seriously considering dating him exclusively. I’d seen J once, but he was incredibly charming, and did a very good job of making my dating choices difficult ones.

So, Sunday rolls around, and I'm anticipating a fun, full day ahead of me. I text M to see where he wants to meet for brunch, but didn't receive a response until 1:30 (when we were actually supposed to meet). Turns out, he was still in bed, hungover from partying all night long. He didn’t seem particularly apologetic, and more than that, didn’t seem overly anxious about rescheduling. Not a great feeling to see so many “maybe”s on the texts coming back my way, if I’m telling the truth.

Still, I had a fun housewarming to look forward to, and I text J to firm up our dinner plans. He gets back to me around 2:45, says that some stuff changed in his schedule and wants to know if we can meet at 3:00. He knew that I was at a friend's house across town, so I'm curious if he thought that I was going to drop everything and meet him. I decline his generous 15-minute window, and he says he'd call back later so that we could do something for dinner. I didn’t hear back from him until 8:00 pm, when he said he could meet me in half an hour. Seriously?

It’s at this time that I have to admit – I don’t know what to do in a situation like that. Does being flaky with the scheduling mean he doesn’t respect me, or that he just had some shit come up? Does me being understanding with all the schedule changes make me a fool, or a sweetheart? I was definitely frustrated and feeling more than a bit chaffed by the double date elimination. So I played the ignoring game. I played the defer response game. I played the games that supposedly say, “Hey there, buddy – take me and my time seriously!”. And I still feel like a fool, and a disingenuous one at that.

Every move I make at this point feels foolish, wrong, or contrary to my nature. And I’m not winning it, from either angle. I don’t like games, I like honesty. I don’t like coyness, I like directness. And this whole situation is starting to feel like an itchy wool coat, and it feels like my goals for love and togetherness are slipping to a dot on the horizon, barely registering on the visual scale. Who knows, maybe some sleep will give me perspective.

ETA: This post was imported to my own blog, along with several other historical posts.