I sat in an airport recently, after a long day with little sleep the night before. To be specific, I sat in the bar part of the airport. Completely unsatisfied with how things had been going lately, and inevitably delayed after a stressful day, and a long couple of weeks, I hit rock bottom. I stopped giving a fuck. I mean, I thought I’d hit the “fuck it all wall” long ago, but it felt fresh that night.
Feeling brave, and like I had nothing to lose, I joined a dating app, OkCupid. Sitting belly-up at an African themed safari place whose food identified in no way with any African country’s cuisine, my second caramel apple cider-tini in gave me just enough wherewithal to pull a sloppy, bare-bones profile together with scotch tape. Slap in a few selfies from my Europe trip this summer and voilà: “You’ve got an aesthetically pleasing configuration of hair that humans go nuts over.”
Brilliant. Up and running. Immediately, people were viewing my profile, and literally minutes in, someone decent chatted me up. Lo and behold, she could hold a conversation. She was actually funny. She was real. Spoiler alert: she just deleted or blocked me from contacting her or viewing her profile on OkCupid, and she blocked me on Facebook, too. Me. Me?! What the actual fuck. To claim the default 5 year old response: she started it.
I’m no stranger to heartache, and have been nursing some wounds which feel fresh but now carry an expiration date long past due. I had to keep reminding myself to be cool, and withhold most emotion, keep it easy, and not be too intense. With being a klutz in real life, I also have mastered the relationship klutziness. There is no ill will or intention. I just really suck at this. Multiply it times a thousand for being lesbian, and trying to get to know a woman. In my favorite words of Socrates, “The only thing that I know is that I know nothing at all.”
What makes one woman hot makes another one just as cold. No two are the same, so all you can do is be true to yourself. I’ve noted the following in this brief interlude which leaves me with a bad case of the feels on New Years Eve. If they couldn’t help me, maybe they can help you. Or maybe you can just laugh at my tragedy/comedy of errors.
1) Be intense.
I don’t know what it is but people cannot handle my intensity. It’s not on purpose. I’m honest, blunt to a point where it actually hurts. Usually I withhold, or ask questions to deflect. But when I get caught in the headlights, in the throes of an interrogation, it gets ugly. I love hard. I feel hard. I burn bright when someone ignites a flame.
2) Be honest.
Surefire way to lose a girl – when she asks you about what you’re looking for – be honest. Share those lofty dreams of a relationship tall and strong like a redwood tree, around for centuries. Go big or go home. Don’t bog her down with details like you know you have to plant a seed and water it/nurture it for many days in a row before it becomes that tree.
Tell her about the feeling unhappy with your current work situation, but at least being proactive in trying to change it. Share with her the real reason you’re sitting in an airport in the first place – taking a leap at trying to make things better for yourself. Chat to her on the good days, when you’re cupcaking hard and on a roll. Then, chat to her on a down day, when your dark side has floated to the surface, when, as John Steinbeck put it so well in East of Eden, “Sometimes I think the world tests us most sharply then, and we turn inward and watch ourselves with horror. But that’s not the worst. We think everybody is seeing into us. The dirt is very dirty and purity is shining white.” Seeing your dark side will chase her away, probably because she thinks hers is big enough for the both of you, and is equally, if not more, worried about you seeing her own dark side.
3) Answer the question first of what you’re looking for.
And when you expose yourself and what you want first, instead of reciprocation from the girl you’re talking to, instead of a thoughtful response telling you where she is in her life, and what she wants, here’s what you can expect instead: silence. She’s performing a background analysis during this silence, matching it against what she has in her head of her response. She won’t share it with you. She’ll make decisions with this information you’ve provided, and make a call right then and there – well, she will if she’s the smart, no-stranger-to-love type of girl. She’s cautious, calculating, and if you’re lucky she has enough guts to follow through when she tells you she just doesn’t think a romantic connection is a good idea at this time because of your current state of unknowing flux and inner conflict. She won’t string you along, at least.
4) Be human. In fact, be vulnerable.
She hates it when she discovers you’re a real person with feelings. Reveal those life experiences, best and worst, that have significantly impacted your life. Give her insight to who you are as a person. And when you’ve already gone and done #3, she’s already made up in her mind how it’s going to end. Maybe she sees you getting hurt and knows you’d be just pitiful so she doesn’t want to break your heart.
If she sees herself getting hurt, you’re in for a real treat. She’ll spin it around, take her power back, if she was any kind of good woman to begin with, and hurt you before you can hurt her. Keep in mind: you don’t know this is happening.
Even if, like me, you have no intention of hurting them. You’re not a cheater, you’re not a hurter, you don’t want it to move too fast, you never had any power to hurt them. Yet, you still get the kick to the gut. Nice people finish last. Write that down.
In 10 days, I did all of these things. Despite the pain I’d experienced in previous relationships, and the fear of it happening again, I opened myself up to a connection. It wasn’t hard. I’d do it every time for the chance at something real. In the end, it got me a brief “Dear John” note of why at the most inopportune time, even though to me, it was completely premature to cut it before even meeting in person. I did the dance of desperation, trying to contact her to at least talk about her concerns/thoughts, and was frozen out. I tried.
Minus 5 points for stupid me actually smiling and entertaining the thought of new love when chatting to her. Minus another 5 points for believing her when she said she wasn’t judgmental and it was safe to come out, when I indicated I was a bit gun shy. Minus 10,000 points for taking it personally in the end.
It’s not about you, though. She had something going on in the first place and the light on her taxicab shouldn’t have been on in the first place. Or, the last one hurt her so bad, she had no threshold or time to let it evolve naturally. Second verse, same as the first.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one: dating is like being the only cab on the road. I’ve got an empty ride now; I can take a fare. So I turn my light on. There’s no telling when anyone’s light will go on, but the first person to get in makes a big difference in all the ones that come after it. To take the metaphor even further, you get people who don’t tip, pukers, and flat out rude people that force you into a mood of impatience until they vacate your cab. This one got out before we made it to the destination – the ride we never got to finish, that’ll possibly always leave me wondering. I’ll never know. And that possibly hurts more than she thought. Dead in the water, didn’t even have a chance. At any given time, there are so many out there looking for a fare at the same time. It’s blind luck. It’s throwing darts at a dart board, blindfolded.
This time, after she told me I could come out, I was Anna from Frozen, asking if her if she wanted to build a snowman, making contact, reaching out. I sent her little notes, not expecting her to have time for me, but hoping still that she did. She was Elsa, ultimately rejecting me because of her own fear of hurting me, if I give her any credit at all, or at the very least, her having her own shit happening that she was struggling to get a hold of. Either way, I hardly think it warrants deleting accounts and unfriending. When all I did was try. Let it go, let it goooooooooo…
With dating, we all have baggage. The question is whether her baggage goes with mine. I guess I’ll never know with this one. It’s sad because something told me that if she’d gotten to know me a little better, and wasn’t so quick to make a decision, maybe it could have been something good. I don’t get that feeling about many. Luckily it’s New Year’s Eve and I have a pretty damn good excuse to leave this one in 2015. Bye Felicia.
As a side note, it is ok to fart in a taxi if they stop for a yellow light. But I digress…