Last night I stopped at my favorite Pho restaurant to pick up a late dinner.
Andrea first introduced the hidden gem to me a few years ago, and I have been a frequent customer ever since. When I walked through the door, the owner was happy to see me. He flashed a big, crooked-tooth smile, patted my arm and took me aside.
“When you going to get a man?” His face showed genuine, deep concern.
I threw my head back and laughed, heartily.
“I really don’t know!”
His eyes narrowed. “Why you have problem?” He then waved his hand towards my figure. “You look good enough.”
I smiled and shrugged.
“No dates,” I offered, truthfully.
“Aha!” He wagged his finger in my face. “You too picky!”
As I curled up on the couch with my hot pho and the next episode of “The Walking Dead” (I’m addicted!), I chuckled to myself.
It felt good to know my singlehood / lack of an active dating life was disconcerting to someone other than me. At the same time, I wanted to protest and assure the Vietnamese restaurant owner I don’t need a man in order to be happy, fulfilled or whole. In fact, I ceremoniously quit online dating for my birthday, and life has been much more peaceful. I got tired of sorting through tacky, suggestive or grossly misspelled messages from men I didn’t find intellectually stimulating, or even the slightest bit physically attractive.
Over the past two years, I’ve been a member of eHarmony, Match.com and Ok Cupid! (My sisters and I prefer to call it “Stupid Cupid”.) I’ve met a handful of nice guys, but ultimately, I’m done with it all. It just wasn’t working for me. Call me old-fashioned, but I much prefer meeting people in person.
I added extra Sriracha sauce to the salty broth and pondered the restaurant owner’s words.
What if I am too picky? What if I do need a man in my life? I certainly wouldn’t complain if a good one came along, but the whole process of not trying to find one is exhausting.
The truth is, I’m probably trying too hard. Admittedly, I think about it too much. For crying out loud, I’m spending my Friday evening writing out my frustrations instead of making out with a hot date. (Isn’t that what we all would rather be doing?)
And, yes, I’m picky, because I want to date good men; guys that I think are amazing. Recently, however, the good men I find amazing don’t look at me twice. It just is what it is.
So I keep convincing myself that I’m OK with all of this. Then, I go into “fix it” mode: I really should keep my mouth shut because I’m not going to attract the “right” person, or, worse: I’ll drive a good man away because I look and act like I don’t have it all together. It’s bad enough having Divorce and Reckless Driving on my record. Nobody wants a drama queen.
I know the negative thoughts are untrue, but sometimes I need an explanation as to why the good, available men are so scarce.
My ex-boyfriend was absolutely amazing when he boldly pursued me. I had no idea things could be that good, or easy, with a man. He set the bar high in the relationship department until his fear of love, confusion and emotional withdrawal lead to the ultimate ending of our very brief relationship. Twice.
Besides a sprinkling of a few dates with my busy ex-boyfriend, I have been on one other date this year. I met the guy on Stupid Cupid, and he immediately asked me out. We enjoyed good conversation over beer a few Fridays ago. I liked him from the minute I met him. We laughed, flirted, exchanged semi-vulnerable stories and he seemed to genuinely have a good time. Afterwards, he drove me home, kissed me on the cheek and said he’d call me.
He never did.
And that’s it. That is the extent of my dating experience this year.
I paused the television just as zombies violently began tearing into the flesh of an unfortunate, terrified new character. I crossed my arms, sat in silence, and continued to process my situation. I was reminded of something my therapist recently told me.
“You’ll have to go through a few good men, Leslie, until you find one with whom you are most compatible,” she said, gently.
I have about six weeks left in Los Angeles, and then I will tour the United States with the Brian Setzer Orchestra until the end of 2012. I have never looked forward to anything more. In a way, my leaving will serve as an escape from the blank canvas that is my love life. I will not have time to sit and wonder why no one has the balls to ask me on a date. I will be too busy to think, or care, about any of it.
Yet, suddenly, I am encouraged. There isn’t just one good man out there. There can be a few. Or even more. I had a pretty serious relationship with one already. We didn’t work out, but I’m so glad I dated him. It was worth it. He was a good man. And, I went on a first date with another good man.
I’m not giving up, just yet. Surely there are a few good men in my future.
Perhaps good men are like flesh-eating zombies. They’re everywhere, coming for you (although some drag their feet), and you’ll never know what hit you until they find you.