You guys already know about my human breakup. So let me pause for a brief moment and talk about my book breakup. We all know that I’ve been in a (mostly) monogamous relationship with The Book this month, spending two or more hours of quality time with him (her?) daily. It hasn’t been pretty at times, but you know I truly love you when I wake up at seven in the morning to entertain you before my classes. But guess what? We’re almost broken up! I thought it was going to end when NaNoWriMo ended (yesterday), because we had an agreement that after 100,000 words together, we would part. Yet The Book seems to want to spend a bit more time with me, say 10,000 words more, so we’ll stick it out a few more weeks before ending our relationship. We’ve had a good run together and I wish The Book all the luck in the hands of future partners, but holy effing hell am I glad to be breaking up. Who wants to party with me when we do? Hit me up. I am going to need a long time — and hopefully a paycheck — before getting into another book relationship.
Alright, enough about books. Wanna know how my human single life is going? Well, navigating the single waters is damned hard. I’ve been in a relationship consistently since I was 17 and I never really dated before that either. Though I’m enjoying my newfound freedom, being single is like taking a class. A senior-level seminar on you. Your likes and dislikes, your goals and dreams, your preferences and dealbreakers. Every date is like an exam of both the other person and yourself. It’s certainly not a black and white world in which you instantly know if someone is doing it for you. A guy who would be a great friend isn’t necessarily a great lover. A guy who would be boyfriend material wouldn’t necessarily be good in bed. You could meet a guy who is perfect on paper, and then you don’t have chemistry with him. Some people may be lucky never to have to settle, but I would guess the majority settles in some way. In the best partnerships, both people feel like they hit the jackpot.
Although I’m not sure about a long-term relationship right now, I’m dating to figure out what exactly I do and don’t care for. I’m dating to see if I would be able to sustain a casual or short-term relationship, which requires great mental maturity despite what most college-aged people would think. It’s a precarious balance of respecting the person enough to “spend time” with them (ahem, cough, euphemism), not liking them enough to catch feelings (which is generally unrequited), and being attracted to them enough so that you don’t feel gross afterwards. Friends with benefits aren’t for everyone and I’m still trying to decide if it’s for me. I already know that I don’t do one-night stands ‘cuz I actually need to like a person as a human being to consider anything further.
Let’s do an analysis of my last three dates, shall we? The first one, Ben, was the only one who had intentions of a serious relationship. He seemed like an awesome guy, so I had dinner with him. A third-year law student, he hailed from Kentucky and he liked one of my favorite authors, Antoine de Saint-Exupery (he of The Little Prince fame). We got along great over text and he had a similar sense of humor. If I noticed anything off, it was the fact that he seemed to do this a lot — dating, I mean. That’s not really a problem for me, but if a guy is going on tons of dates and not finding anyone compatible for a relationship, isn’t that a bit strange? During our meal, though, I just didn’t feel a great connection. He reminded me a lot of one of my exes, and not in a good way. But because he said he had a great time and wanted to see me again, I had a miserable time turning him down.
The second dude, John, was too young for bars. Meaning he’s 20 years old, which isn’t a dealbreaker in of itself, but it’s weird to go out with someone who can’t drink legally, though I just recently gained that right. I actually had the most fun with John and I liked him enough as a person. He was fairly mature for a 20-year-old, but definitely didn’t have the level of maturity I would want in a long-term relationship. But this was casual, so I didn’t mind that much. While on our date, his roommates kept on texting him about the fact that they were all fighting over the weed brownies one of them had baked. He told me that they were annoying and this was normal. I just wanted to laugh so hard — in what universe is that normal?! Like the 420-friendly, liberal person that I am, I asked genuinely, “Well, whose pot is it?” I don’t think I’ll see John again, but it was fun for a night.
The third dude, Chris, was the worst. Of all the dudes that had asked me out, he was the most enthusiastic by far. He had to re-ask me out three times because I kept delaying the coffee date and I didn’t understand why he was so interested. In any case, the date happened and I had a sense from my first impression of him that I was not going to like it. As soon as I told him that I lived at home, he started making comments about how it wasn’t worth it and if my parents nagged me. Of course, my mother nags me. She’s a mother. But honestly? I like living at home now better than I liked living in an apartment on campus last year. To each their own. Chris gave me the impression that he would cringe if his mother called him and the dude is 30 years old. Please, if you’re 30 and you still act like a teenager who needs “freedom”, do not ask me out. When I told Chris about my novel, he kept suggesting that I self-publish and get my followers to buy it. He did not understand that I’m a writer not to make money, but to impact the world in a significant way and a traditional publishing contract is the best way to go about it. Not hating on self-publishing at all, but it’s my last resort. When he asked if we could see each other again, for something more “official” (what the hell does that mean?), I only felt a little bad when I said no.
Anyway, I’m done ranting for now. I don’t think I’m going on a date for awhile. I’ve decided that I hate the concept of dating anyway, and maybe the drunken hookups by way of bar are the way to go. Are you single and dating? Do you think it’s tiresome and not worth it, or do you think you’re learning about yourself and people in general along the way? Do casual relationships work for you? Tell me some of your stories!