Wednesday, October 31, 2012

"There are plenty of rolls in the bakery, so stop pressing your nose against the window!"*

   It occurred to me for the 4000th time the other day that I’ve got a terrible dating track record. It came to me when I was cleaning out my inbox (a treasure trove, that) and found one of the many psychotic emails one of my ex’s sent me. What’s really unfortunate here is that the people I date seem to get WORSE as the years go on, not better. You’d think that as I got older my tastes would improve, become more refined. Maybe I’d start dating richer men or more educated ones. Maybe I’d date a guy who knew a lot about wine or loved to travel—even to places outside of California (that’s right, a trip to Joshua Tree doesn’t count, guy) or the immediate surrounding states (neither does Las Vegas). But I keep meeting tortured artist types who have no money and no real drive; who insist they’re cultured but have never been to a play let alone a foreign country; who brag about their accomplishments while managing to spend every night at home watching movies pirated from Netflix. (Is pirating DVD's an accomplishment? I'm pretty sure it's a crime.) But do you know what they all have in common? Me. They all dated me. I guess that makes me the crazy one.
   In the interest of taking a metaphorical deep breath and expunging some of the pent-up Ex Gunk from my lungs, I’ve decided to write a letter to an amalgam of all my boyfriends past. Not all of them were awful, but even some of the not-awful ones occasionally did insane and or annoying things. They could all stand to have a read, were I able to force them at gunpoint.

Dear Ex-Boyfriend/Guy I Dated for a While,
   Remember that time you got mad at me for being taller than you? That was a fun night! And what a useful, thought-provoking conversation that was.
   Or the time you cried on our second date? And then I kept going out with you anyway and you cried more? Yeah, cry in front of me once, shame on you. Cry in front of me dozens of times, shame on me.
   It was kind of annoying to listen to you complain about being an ethnic minority: not because you experienced racism but because you were embarrassed you weren’t white. Who exactly is the racist in that scenario?
   I’m pretty sure you were trying to make me fat so that no other guys would like me. Joke’s on you because LOTS of guys like chubsters. And there is a difference between “cooking” and “frying.”
   When you wore socks and sandals, I should’ve walked. That one’s definitely on me. I don’t care who you are or what you’re doing: you can’t ever do that. Ever. I know you say it was so you could take the garbage out without making your feet cold. I don't care. It's not okay. It's really not. I was equally upset that you cut your own hair. I didn’t say it then, but you looked like a freaking moron.
   You know how you never left a good tip anywhere? You’re a jackass. Please let me pay for my half. I offered, and if it means we won’t be screwing over the waitress, I’d rather pay for myself. Also it was getting difficult to secretely sneak money onto the table when your back was turned.
   You are ugly. Also you are fat. I thought you were funny and that kind of made up for it, but then you stopped being funny.
   You laugh like a girl. That would be okay if you weren't so ugly and fat.
   Remember how you begged me to be your girlfriend and I finally agreed (out of desperation, it would appear) and a month later you stopped taking my calls because you'd used your free time to get a new girlfriend? I thought that was kind of a jerk move.
   How about the time you took your rectal suppository while we were in the middle of an argument? That felt inappropriate of you, somehow.

   You know how you repeatedly let doors fall shut in my face? Any normal, self-respecting woman wouldn't have let that slide as long as I did. Just so you know. This may be another one that's totally my bad.
   Thanks for not mentioning your kid until our second date. That was a fun surprise!
   I don't care about the fact that you're bald, but maybe you should consider shaving your back. Even Wolverine can’t compare to you. And you don’t have Hugh Jackman’s body. If you did, we might still be together.

   Consider getting a job. I'm just saying. Your next girlfriend will appreciate it.
   I said your War Hammer figurines were cool. I was lying.
   I also didn’t appreciate having to watch VH1: Behind the Music’s Metallica episode every week because you were too stoned to remember you’d already seen it.
   You know how when I broke up with you, you told me no one would ever love me as much as you did, and even though we were breaking up I would always be your girl? Yeah well that ended up not being the case, just so you know.
   Thanks for the memories. Knowing you really taught me a lot.

   You know what? Now that I’ve been forced (albeit forced by myself) to dredge up memories of superbly ungentlemanly behavior, it doesn’t seem as bad as it did in my mind. I never dated any violent guys or any with severe drug problems. I never dated a guy who was secretly gay and sleeping with men behind my back (that I know of). I have a friend who dated a guy without a job, car or cell phone. And he would borrow her car and her cell phone and then complain about how well they did or did not perform. Hey, guy, get your own fucking cell phone!
   I'll meet my dream man one day. And he will be a cowboy/pirate who lassos and rides dragons. And instead of the dragon breathing fire, my boyfriend will breathe fire. And he will be grizzled and handsome in a sort of John Wayne kind of way: you know, attractive but not too attractive. Also he'll be rich and successful and have his own place. And he'll have a good name. Not "Chance" or "Preston" but something solid like "Benjamin" or "Horace." And he'll look like this:
Yeehaw! And also Arrrgghhh!
Disclaimer: I actually dated a couple really awesome guys that really didn’t do anything wrong. They were handsome, smart, and kind. They just weren’t right for me. Or they weren’t that into me. And based on the information above, I wouldn’t trust them much if they were.
*Quote from Pillow Talk (Michael Gordon, 1959). Rock Hudson says this to Doris Day with the implication being that there are plenty of other men out there so she should quit stalking him. I'd like to say the same to a few of my ex-boyfriends.

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