Saturday, April 7, 2012

My Hair Hurts (and Lesson One)

Though this post isn’t directly about Durham, it is certainly about dating and we can probably see ourselves or someone we’ve dated in here somewhere.

One of my dearest friends, Wendy*, lives in a picturesque northern city, complete with New England historical charm. Despite being beautiful, in excellent shape,  very smart (she has a master’s degree and a job that requires a high level of intelligence), and laugh-until-you-cry funny, Wendy is, like so many of us, trying to find a guy that she can form a real relationship with and becoming frustrated in the process.

I think a lot of us feel this way, particularly if we can identify with what Charlotte has to say:

(Honestly, I’ve only been dating since I was 16,
 but you get the idea.)

So Wendy and I have had daily a few talks about keeping the faith and believing in the process. We also talk about what my therapist says. (What? Like you don’t go to a therapist, or at least secretly suspect that maybe you need to? Or maybe that’s just me.) She says it’s largely a numbers game, and to a certain extent, I think that makes a lot of sense. And out of all those attempts at relationships, only one will really work out (for most of us). Accurate? I think so. Bolstering in times of frustration? Sometimes. Also a little depressing? Yes. One…out of what seems like hundreds? Sigh.

I am notoriously not sappy, so keeping positive and hopeful in the romantic sphere can be a tiny bit challenging. (For the record, I do not like Nicholas Sparks. Period. See also: the Hallmark channel.) I am generally not inspired by romantic comedies – they tend to make me feel as if they are making women everywhere false promises. So I try to focus more on the dating experience as a series of mini lessons learned. It makes the “numbers” less overwhelming, and lessons are a little more tangible than numbers to me. I was never very good at math, anyway.

Which brings me to lesson one.

While doing a little day-drinking with a friend (it was Good Friday, after all), Wendy received a text from a number she didn’t recognize. She asked who it was, and it turned out to be Al*, a guy she had gone on a date or two with, but who stopped responding to her texts two months or so ago. When he identified himself, she even told him she’d deleted his number (ballsy, and I like it!) and he responded by explaining that he had only just two months ago just a few minutes prior received her last text (“It’s really weird!”). Still, they made plans for him to meet up with her at a bar a little later in the evening. (So, not as ballsy, I guess, but I knew there had to be a good story coming out of this, so I refrained from protesting.)

(I know what you’re thinking – has she not seen or read He’s Just Not That Into You? Well, yeah, she has…but the numbers game can mess with your head sometimes.)

So Al meets up with Wendy and Bo* (Bo is a guy who is just Wendy’s “friend,” but sometimes they cuddle and make out. See previous explanation about Al.) After a while, Bo goes home. He was originally going to be her ride, and probably her place to   cuddle   make-out   get to second base   crash for the night. At the end of the evening, Wendy asks Al if she can go home with him, and he mumbles something about his brother (our dear friend whiskey impaired Wendy’s ability to sketch out what that situation was all about, but at least we can thank whiskey for a few laughs). The two wander around for some time, trying to find Bo’s house (which is of course one of many in blocks of identical town homes – damn you, numbers game, damn you!), and Wendy begins to cry and mumble incoherently, which is understandable given she was drunk and frustrated and worried about how to get home, though it admittedly doesn’t make for a great ending to a date. She also falls, creating gashes on her feet and hands that bleed profusely. (We hope the blood comes out of her shoes - they were really cute.) After they narrowly avoid her death by exsanguination, Al does the gentlemanly thing and gets her a cab. She hops in, but has to have the cab driver take her to an ATM on the way home because she doesn’t have any cash with which to pay him. When she gets home, she discovers that she also left her keys at home, so she has to bang loudly until her roommate comes and unlocks the door.

Then she sends incoherent drunken texts to several people in her phone and takes pictures of her bloody feet. That kind of story needs documentation.

So, after I was finished crying (from laughing so hard, because this story could truly only be told by Wendy, because this kind of thing happens to her), we discussed what we’ve learned. The morals of this story are as follows:
  1. Always have keys and cash.
  2. Don’t go out again with dudes who lie about not getting your texts have cell phones that deliver texts two months late.
  3. Despite being douches, some guys have a glimmer of potential in them (Al is certainly no catch, but he did keep her company through the debacle and made sure she had a safe way home.)
  4. We suspect that if you deleted someone’s phone number, you probably had a good reason to do so and should trust that instinct.
  5. One man (and temporarily one woman) down, a few more to go.
  6. Wendy has the best stories.
  7. Don’t day-drink without a trusted chaperon.
  8. Someone should probably invent a cell phone that comes with a breathalyzer to keep you from drunk-dialing and texting.
  9. Always wash your cuts with soap and water, especially if you got them on the street.
I don’t know if her story gives me hope that I will find my Mr. Right, but it definitely made me laugh and helps to keep me from taking this whole “numbers game” too seriously. There's always a point, even if he's not your dream man, no?

Plus, I will never again day-drink without a trusted chaperon. Also, I may become an entrepreneur with that breathalyzer phone idea. That’s pretty valuable, right?

*Names have been changed to keep me from being sued…I hope.

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