Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Romances - Real Life

I'm kind of pretty, and pretty damn smart
I like romantic things like music and art
And as you know I have a gigantic heart
So why... don't I have a boyfriend?
Fuck! It sucks to be me!
-Avenue Q

You said it, Kate Monster. Today is Valentine's Day, a day for couples to get romantic and for singles to feel sorry for themselves. I know, there are plenty of other single 23-year-olds out there, and we're still young, we have plenty of time, plus there are lots of good things about being single right now. So I have no business feeling sorry for myself, right? Well, what if I said that I have never had a boyfriend? (Or any significant other, for that matter--I don't go for girls, I'm just trying to cover all my bases.) Yes, I could have left this post which I've entitled "My Romances - Real Life" blank. It would have saved you and me both some time. But this is a blog--it's not supposed to save time.

Before you go jumping to conclusions about how unlikeable a person I must be, I'd like to make it clear that my lack of boyfriends is not for a lack of suitors. Here's the rundown of guys who have asked me out (note: I don't think all of them had broken hearts, but it makes for a catchy label):

Broken Heart #1, 7th grade: He wasn't exactly the coolest kid in the class (granted I wasn't either), so you have to give him credit for having the confidence to ask. And you have to give me credit for letting him down very nicely (one can usually expect insecurity and meanness from a 7th grader). But the story doesn't end there. Before Valentine's Day, a rumor spread like wildfire across the 7th grade: this boy had purchased me 40 red carnations from the student council fundraiser (that's $40--an unspeakable amount of money at age 12). It is my understanding that a friend of mine spoke to him and convinced him not to bother, so luckily, the flowers never came (and he saved his money). Follow-up facts: He was in the high school drama club, so when I joined the drama club sophomore year, as luck would have it, my role in the opening number of my first show placed me next to him and demanded that I kiss him (just a peck on the cheek, at least). The tiniest bit awkward, but he had grown into a really nice, funny kid, and being in drama we both ended up hanging out with the same crowd of friends through high school.

Broken Heart #2, freshman year in college: In my first semester at college, I quickly found a good group of friends, and I started to develop a crush on one of them. And he clearly was developing a crush on me. On the night before his birthday, he asked me out. Now, this is proof that something's not quite right with my brain: I said no. I was too worried about it making things weird in our new circle of friends. And by the time three days had passed, I was 100% over him, and couldn't imagine why I had a crush on him in the first place. We remained friends through college, and I still find him very easy to talk to.

Broken Heart #3, freshman year in college: He was an acquaintance of mine who first asked me out to coffee via email, but then realized how lame that was and asked me in person. The answer was the same, though. I wasn't interested.

Broken Heart #4, junior year in college: He was a good friend, and I'd been getting a vibe from him for a while, but I was not interested so I tried my best to send anti-vibes or something. Didn't work. He asked me out, I turned him down.

Broken Heart #5, senior year in college: He was a very good friend, we had a lot in common, and he was so sweet that junior year he had slipped an anonymous Valentine he'd made out of pink and red construction paper under my door (his identity would have remained a secret if another one of my friends hadn't happened to pass through my dorm courtyard at the same time he was there and mention to me offhand the next day that he'd seen him). But, yet again, I didn't return the guy's feelings. The worst thing--he's probably long since gotten over this, but I will never be able to think about it without having visions of putting a gun in my mouth--is that, in spite of knowing that he had a crush on me, I was totally unprepared when he asked me out. Him: "I was wondering if you'd like to go out with me." Me: "Not really..." I did follow it up with more thoughtful words, but the fact is that the first words out of my mouth were, irrevocably, "Not really." Excuse me while I go stab myself in the eye, I still can't believe myself...

Broken Heart #6, first year post-baccalaureate: A coworker of mine sent me an email asking me out to lunch. He was, at that moment, working in the same office room that I was in, about 40 feet from me. Not in direct eyeshot, but if he had moved his chair three feet to the right, I could have seen him. Yeah. I rejected him via email.

Now, lest ye think I'm just a cold heartbreaker, I will add that I too have had my little heart broken. Here's the most relevant story:

Heartbreaker #1: A month or so after Broken heart #2, I started crushing on another close friend. But this time, my flirting--perhaps not so subtle as I thought--made him uncomfortable and drove him away. We made up before long, since I'd finally taken the hint that he wasn't interested, but I didn't totally give up my crush until the next year when he got a girlfriend, whom he is still with and who may actually be a closer friend of mine now than he is. Our close friendship never fully recovered, though there were other factors involved, with him growing further apart from my group of friends as a whole.

So there's the full disclosure on my non-love life. Hope you don't think I'm totally pathetic now. Maybe I am. How did I wind up this way? Have I just had bad luck, or have I been responsible for sabotaging my own chances at romance? Being someone who makes a habit of self-psychoanalysis, one of the things I've decided about myself is that, in many types of situations, I am either blessed or cursed with abnormally strong inhibitions. In some cases this makes me a very sensible person. But in other cases, does it just make me a coward?

Conjecture about my predispositions aside, this is the situation in which I find myself. Devoid of romance. To a certain extent, there is something cool and admirable about being a single, independent woman. I don't need a man. I took pride in making it through high school without a boyfriend (I mean, really, what high school guy is worth any girl's time?). When I finished college, it was like I was a member of an exclusive club. Each year makes me an increasingly exotic breed. A part of me is proud to be such an independent woman. But as my 24th Valentine's Day rolls around and I still find myself perpetually date-less, another part of me can't help but ask, What's wrong with me?


Sebastian said...

I guess you are fully aware, more than most, that the internet is for porn...

Eleni said...

The internet is really, really great.
I've got a fast connection so I don't have to wait...

Sebastian said...

Just thinking ahead, before we get into trouble... What word could possibly rhyme with 'toris'?