This post is inspired from not only my pristine procrastination abilities, but also the book, Bad Feminist, by Roxane Gay (add it to your list ASAP).
There she was, sitting in La Colombe. Typing away on her marble-skinned MacBook wearing thick, square glasses. Ray Bans, perhaps. Thick, dark hair pulled back in a messy ponytail with a wool gray scarf draped around her neck sipping on what seems to be a cappuccino. Or maybe a latte. Cafe au lait? I’m not sure. Every few seconds she looks up from her screen and purses her lips, perhaps thinking about what to say next. I wonder what she’s writing about. Me, perhaps?
I got a rather hilarious email from a reader last night. It was a strange combination unexpected and revolting yet charming to some degree? With his permission, he let me talk about it on here.
“Happy New Year, Beth :)” the text(s) read.
Does that happen to anyone else? As soon as Christmas or NYE hits, your inbox suddenly becomes flooded with messages from men you haven’t spoken to in months? It’s like, ah, I know I fucked up, but it’s the holidays! Happy Holidays! Let’s forget about everything I’ve ever done to you! Wishing you a very merry season!
He usually texts at around 2am. Sometimes I’ll receive a sober phone call in the afternoon to “say hi,” and other times it’s a 4am, “Hey, what’s up?” text. Never consistent, never expected, never sought after.
The last time I went on a date with an age gap, I was a sophomore in college. Blissfully unaware of decent vodkas, 401ks, and the tackiness of my fake Long Champ. He was 27, I was 20. At the time this age gap seemed astronomical. Like, 7 years?! Omg he was legally able to drink when I just got my period for the first time!!!! (This was my dead ass thought process). The date was OK, but my anxiety about the age difference trumped any attraction I felt towards him.
Fast forward 3.5 years later. I’ve upgraded to Tito’s, still don’t totally understand how a 401k works, and finally invested in a nice-ass Rebecca Minkoff tote. Up until last week, my Tinder age preferences were set between 23-28. Anyone over 28 was “too old.”
I bet they have a sweet 401k plan. I can’t commit to someone like that yet.
“You need to start dating older men,” he told me. Looking back at this conversation with my bar guest, this was probably an attempt to flirt, but we were so deep into this conversation about immature men that I disregarded the fact that he might have been referring to himself.
So I did it. I made the move. The big kahuna move from left to right on my Tinder age preference scale. 24-31.
31. Omg. 31?!?!!?! My palms started to sweat.
I then quickly shut the app as I realized I was sweating over Tinder. Get it together.
The next day I was casually swiping. You know, just your every day, is she swiping or Pokemon Go-ing? millennial past time.
It’s a match!
My first definitely-has-a-401k-plan- match (I’m not sure why I keep associating adulthood so in depth with 401ks but it just sounds right). We chatted and I knew it was a Tinder-match-made-in-heaven when he agreed with my argument about vanilla being the best flavor of ice cream.
I quote, “When God made ice cream, he made vanilla.”
Aight, cool, I feel you 401k-er.
We had a very brief conversation before he asked me out. Omg aggressive, I thought. Then I was like, oh wait, maybe this is how dating apps should be-not exhausting conversations before you meet IRL.
I agreed. He initially suggested drinks, then added dinner onto the deal. YES!!!!
Won’t give you the play by play of the evening (although I know y’all are DYING to hear it), but let’s just say the last leg of the date consisted of getting hammered playing Guess Who? at a board game bar. It was like the dream first date I never knew I wanted.
We talked about politics, jobs, and other “adult like” things. But the age gap didn’t matter. We were just two single people who enjoyed each other’s company.
I don’t know why 30-somethings frighten me. Maybe it’s because I don’t have a career set in place, or maybe it’s because I don’t match my socks (probs will never do that tbh). Not totally sure where the anxiety about dating them stemmed from.
Maybe the next 30-something I go out with will make me feel extremely 23. Not sure, but I’m down to find out.
Dating is weird and exhausting on so many levels, but you’re only making the process worse if you stick with what you know.
Like, I know the twenty-somethings I’ve “dated” here are kind of the worst. So, sticking to what I “know” hasn’t been working out. Perhaps it’s time to start adopting ~dat 401k way of life.~
I actually don’t know if he has a 401k plan. I never asked. Is that an appropriate first date question? But, I do promise I’ll stop overkilling metaphors in my blog posts.
“I’ll just have one more,” he promised. “I swear this is the last one.”
I laughed, knowing very well that this was definitely not the case. I pulled the Yuengling handle down and tipped the pint glass underneath.
“So, how many more beers is she worth?” I asked as I placed the beer in front of him.
He had been sitting at the bar for a while, chatting with me about this particular woman whom he had been sort-of seeing for the past month or so. I didn’t mind as I was debriefing about my guy frustrations as well. Read More
I’ll never forget the first night we met. A salmon summer dress, cheap strappy sandals. He, plaid shorts and and collared Ralph Lauren polo.
Clear vodka in a clear Poland Springs bottle. Sticky fraternity floors and strobe lights against the graffiti-filled basement wall.
An early September night, sweat dripping down my neck. A promise that you were the luckiest man in the room.
A promise I held onto for the rest of the night, for the rest of the semester, for the rest of the 7 months we were together.
Study dates that turned into late nights back in your dorm room. Love notes that turned any fight into a minuscule thing of the past.
“I love you.” It was a love that was intoxicating, something that I had never felt before. A love that made me so high that I’d always want another hit to avoid withdrawal. A withdrawal that left me alone on the cold tile of my dorm room floor crying, wondering how I could fix what I had broken.
How I could pick up the broken pieces that cut my fingers open every time I tried. “Don’t do that,” I told myself. Stop mending something that makes you bleed.
I love you, Beth.
I love you too.
A face in the mirror became someone I didn’t recognize. The only mirror that mattered was you. Tell me I’m pretty. Tell me I’m losing weight. Tell me that you always want me.
“Only eat a half cup of ice cream tonight at dinner tonight, you’ll thank me later.”
Tell me that I’m good enough. Because if I’m not good enough for you, then I can’t be good enough for anyone. You told me that, and you were right. You were always right.
I love you, Beth.
I love you too.
Dinner dates. Love notes. Teddy bears. “You look beautiful today”s.
A love that was promised for forever. A forever that had no light at the end. Instead, replaced with darkness, incontestable holes and sharp edges.
A darkness that was once thrilling, now destructive.
Although not taller, you were stronger than me. Pinned wrists to the pillow. A demand for an apology, one that I refused to give. My eyes swollen shut from the tears, although I couldn’t look you in the eye. Looking you in the eye was my weakness. Your eyes were the promise you made me the very first night we met.
Your eyes were the “you’re good enough.”
Minor bruises, but never major physical ailments. But, you were the shards of glass that scraped my skin. Over and over. Leaving scars that will never be erased, despite the years that have passed.
I want to blame you for things about myself that I am not particularly proud of. Questionable decisions I make, people I waste too much time dwelling on. Pathetic drunk texts to non-interested men. Perhaps it’s my self-esteem to blame, much of it that was destroyed by you.
I want to hate you. I wish I could live my life free of you, free of your memory, free of your entire existence. You make me sick. You make me bleed even 5 years later. You are still shards of glass sitting in my memory. Although, I know longer want you piece you back together.
Fool me once, fool me twice. Fool me three times, I am not a fool.
You, are a fool.
A fool who I want to forget, but I cannot. A fool who I can only hope is no longer a fool.
A fool who I hope is a man. A man free of empty promises. A man who is gentle, kind, and who makes every woman feel the way you made me did on my first night out with you.
Beautiful and wanted, all of the time.
I want to bring light to relationship violence in colleges. I want to be a voice, be someone who knows what it’s like for your friends to roll their eyes at your desperate attempt that “it will be different this time.”
You are not a fool. You are not desperate, pathetic, or needy of self-recognition. It’s important to educate people on emotional abuse, what it’s really like to be addicted to an intoxicating kind of love with potential withdrawal effects.
I went to a 4 year university. I was not a math or science major, I took classes on social constructs, communication patterns, rhetoric theories. Although, my freshman year revolved around fulfilling general education requirements, none of which prepared me for the social scene outside of the classroom.
Watching Hozier’s music video to Cherry Wine, a song that I had always felt attached to, inspired me to write this. You can outsmart people. People will believe you when you tell them “he’s different.” That “he changed for you.”
Maybe they won’t, but they grow tired of telling you otherwise.
I don’t have the solution to stop this problem. I can only hope this reaches the right people. That this gives a voice to the voiceless, that it makes you feel something. Makes you feel enough to speak, and perhaps even reach out.
Just know, you are not a fool. He or she does not make you foolish. He or she makes you high.
A high that always makes you want to take another hit.
You are not a fool.
I woke up yesterday morning, my head was pounding. I could feel the mascara stuck to my eyelashes from the night before.
I rolled out of bed, hopped in the shower. Pulled a black tank over my head and managed to put on my skinny jeans without feeling like I needed to vomit.
Sunday regrets from Saturday night festivities, we’ve all been there.
Serving brunch was less than ideal, I would much have rather been tucked in my bed wondering what I could make for breakfast that would take the least amount of effort.
But, duty calls.
Uber-pooled it to Dupont with a young guy who seemed to be in the same boat that I was. The glossiness in his eyes paired with the slouching “I’d rather be anywhere but here” position matched mine perfectly. No words exchanged, but the struggle was apparent.
To my surprise, a busy brunch shift was just what I needed. At first paranoia struck…”Do you think they can tell I feel like I got hit by a train?” Hm, probably. Just smile anyways.
Three guacamole stains and roughly 30 checks later, an email popped up on my phone. Domino’s Pizza. Classic.
“Domino’s Pizza loves you. Will you be my Valentine?”
Oh shit, that’s today?
I was aware of Galentine’s Day on the 13th. I even marked an event in the calendar at work for a group of 30 women celebrating the Leslie Knope holiday. I knew the holiday was coming; I wasn’t actively trying to not think about it. Perhaps my deadly hangover was too distracting.
I have never celebrated Valentine’s Day with a significant other. Last year, it was a Friday. I was probably at Stacker’s Pub drinking a cheap vodka soda–R.I.P $4.50 rail drinks, I miss you. The year before that I was in Africa petting lions. And the year before that my first article was published in my college newspaper titled, “How to celebrate Valentine’s Day alone.” I even distinctly remember telling my then hook-up buddy-turned-boyfriend that I was writing it. I was never good at being subtle.
Needless to say, Valentine’s Day has never been more romantic to me than a card in the mail from mom (or an email from Domino’s Pizza).
Ah, maybe this year I’ll get a bouquet of flowers waiting for me at my doorstep. No? Ok, maybe next year.
I can list a million and one reasons why I’m single. I could literally rant all day. I wouldn’t consider my self “undateable” because frankly I think that term is arbitrary. What exactly do people mean with the deem themselves as “undateable?”
I received a handful of “Happy Valentine’s Day” texts, one being from a previous fling back in Boston (odd, but whatever). Thought it would bother me, it didn’t. The rose-packed Instagram posts didn’t make me cringe, and I genuinely enjoyed serving the couple at work who held hands at the table. I don’t hate this holiday, I don’t call it Single Awareness Day. I really don’t see the point because I am literally aware that I am single…every day. And I have the blog posts to remind me of it too…like now.
Last night I got dinner with a friend. A guy friend. I paid, he Venmoed. I bought a Canon Rebel camera off of him. We talked photography, shared Instagram feeds we enjoyed, laughed about exes.
I bought a present for myself. A $300 one. The only alcohol I consumed was not wine, it was a watered down margarita after work that had been made by mistake. I went to a fancy-ish restaurant with guacamole stains on my black work shirt with one of my first DC friends. I don’t really like chocolate, so I didn’t buy any. I was debating on dessert at dinner, but then I remembered my entree cost $25.
I didn’t celebrate being single. I was wearing black, but not in spite of the holiday. I didn’t try to avoid thinking about the holiday, because after all, it’s just a day.
Perhaps someday it will be more than “just a day” but for now, I can deal with receiving an e-Valentine’s Day card from a sub-par pizza chain. That’s enough for me.
And it should be enough for you too.
Since I have moved to a new city, my blog has taken a bit of a backseat; a fault that I can only place on myself.
I wondered why my hands were incapable of writing something up; inspiration isn’t hard to find as a writer. I tried to blame it on my lack of time, which is partially true, but it didn’t really seem to feel right. My brain wondered off to thinking “oh, there haven’t been any stories worth writing about recently.” But then I quickly shut that thought down because there have been plenty, trust me.
My recent posts have been lacking the emotion that I have been avoiding for reasons I was afraid to publish. I’ve been in a weird state of forgetting why I started this blog in the first place. It used to encompass fearlessness; personal stories published to provide a greater purpose, to provide meaning.
Somewhere along the way, I lost that, and trying to regain it has been rather difficult.
I have pushed feelings aside to focus on myself, to thrive in a new city alone, to be who I want to be without having to invest myself in someone else.
I have come to find the casual dating scene to be quite exhausting when I have limited time on my hands. A man who wants to meet for drinks downtown isn’t a very far walk, but on my only night off, I don’t really want to make the time.
They leave their numbers on my receipt at work, with a short and sweet note that reads something like, “You were great! Would love to go out sometime.” It makes me smile, but I stuff it away with the rest of my checks and continue on with my shift.
Swiping right and reading “It’s a match!” boosts my confidence for a moment, then it stagnates once again. The countless “hey what’s up?” messages all become meshed into one, and I couldn’t be bothered.
I enjoy talking to them at the bar as I’m enjoying my after-shift vodka soda cran, and we exchange good conversation for a brief ten-or-so minutes. I provide a false promise to grab drinks and text them. Although my interest has been heightened in the words we have exchanged, I can’t get myself to have it go any further than that ten minute window.
The truth is, I have already labeled you as a disappointment.
To some I may sound like a bitter single 20-something, maybe to some I’m lazy. Some say you have to go out and search for what you want, others say wait for the unexpected.
However, I’ve done both. They haven’t worked. My love life isn’t “boring” by any means but it has been a constant disappointment and I’ve teetered between the ideas of placing the blame on the men I’ve encountered and shitty timing. But when do the excuses run out?
I try not to blame it on myself because let’s face it, you never want to put the blame on yourself.
It’s like staring at a mirror and watching it crack before your eyes. Unequivocally painful and indisputably harsh. The failures in my love life aren’t unnatural, I’m sure you have shared in some of these sentiments with me. They say “you have to kiss a lot of frogs before finding your Prince Charming,” or whatever.
Well, what if I don’t want to kiss anymore frogs?
In a world full of people, how offset is this ratio and how come everyone else seems to be figuring it out besides me? The dating culture encourages kissing frogs with the hopes of them someday turning them into something less grotesque, usually after several months and drunk texts. I know the system, but perhaps I’m doing it all wrong.
Or, maybe I’m the frog.
I don’t know. It’s an odd reality to face: knowing that you’re good enough, but trying to find why you weren’t good enough for them. It’s somber, it’s disappointing, it’s inexplicably exhausting. It’s tough staying optimistic when you’re track record steers you in the other direction.
I have waited for the text after sleeping together, deciding on whether you’re just too busy. A day passes, and my brain has been wired to lose interest after day 2. I refuse to lower my standards just to see if your interested. If you don’t care enough, then I won’t.
I have been the girl to continually go back to her ex, although every time I knew I was the one who would be made a fool. Fool me once, fool me twice, fool me ten times, what the f*ck am I thinking?
I fell for a guy abroad, I promised myself we would always stay in touch. I held onto the idea that we would cross paths again and be happy in the same place. We exchanged letters, filled with romantic words scratched on paper that are tucked away in my nightstand. Every so often I carefully unfold the delicate college-ruled paper and read them, as a reminder of the love that never was. As a reminder of something that could have been, but wasn’t.
I allowed a guy to stay with me for the weekend. A guy I wasn’t all too sure about, but decided to take a chance anyways. I didn’t want to be his girlfriend, but the entire weekend I was thinking, “Can you at least pretend?” The weekend ended on a sour note and I, again, was not good enough.
I bounce back from disappointments quite quickly, simply because I’ve been wired to do so. When I say, “I’m over it,” I really am. But how many times can you truly force yourself to be over something before it catches up to you? As humans, are we really supposed to continually not give a sh*t?
Am I really supposed to not care?
I’ve waited, I’ve been the chaser rather than the one who is chased. I’ve set myself up, knowing I’d only be let down. I wanted to be the girl who changed you, even though I knew the entire time you never wanted to change for me. I’ve pretended to walk away, with the hopes that you’d follow me.
I’m not surprised when people leave, I’m more surprised when they stay.
Being single is fun and exciting. It ~liberates the mind and frees the soul~…right? There are days where I couldn’t imagine myself with someone seriously, but other days, I wonder why no one has given any effort to take me seriously.
I have liked guys, have thoroughly enjoyed first dates, some of whom wish to pursue me further. But, like I said, I have already categorized you as a disappointment. I have already told myself that I won’t be good enough for you, so I focus on being good enough for myself.
I don’t really want to put myself out there. I don’t have the time, I don’t have the desire I once did. You can tell me how much you enjoyed our conversation, but I’ll always be thinking “Well, this won’t last for long.” So, I force myself to end it before it goes anywhere.
“That’s your problem, you’re doing it to yourself.” Maybe I am, but at this point, what other option do I have? I’m not saying I hate being single, I’m not saying I hate the entire male race. I don’t really know what I’m saying.
I guess this post was written to attempt to explain the mind of a young woman who is continually asked, “How’s your love life?” A question I usually answer with something superficial and empty rather than being honest and replying with, “disappointing and exhausting.”
It’s taboo to admit defeat in the dating scene. With the rise of dating apps and seemingly endless options, it’s like we no longer have an excuse. Finding someone is supposed to be easy. You have a pool of men in your hands at all times, so what the hell is your problem? Why haven’t you found anyone yet?
I’m tired of being disappointed. I’m tired of trying proving myself to someone else when the world is constantly challenging me to believe that I’m good enough for myself.