Why I am Terrible, and Single

Ladies and gentlemen, I am here to tell you that I am a terrible, horrible, no-good very-bad person. I am fairly certain that what I am about to write makes me an even worse person, but–as things are so hopeless–I figured that I might as well try and be mildly entertaining while also being terrible, horrible, no-good and very-bad.

I received an email yesterday that brought me to this conclusion. It was an email from my Missed Connection: the one I wrote about in my recent Valentine’s Day essay. Specifically, I wrote that–despite my clinging to him for several months like honey on a sopapilla–I was not, actually, in love with him: I was in love with the story of him and of our highly improbable, highly romantic New York subway meeting. To add insult to injury, I added that when I saw him recently, I felt nothing: a sentiment I was fairly sure he did not share.

When I emailed this essay to Everyone I’ve Ever Met, I left him off the list. I knew he would be immediately recognizable to anyone who knew him, but figured I’d take the risk: how many people were really going to read that essay?

Well, I have no idea. But however many did, he was one of them.

I wrote that he was “so completely good-natured that, initially, my attraction vanished.” Scratch that. In fact, he is clearly the most good-natured man in the English speaking world.

First, I foolishly and misguidedly try my best to make him fall for me. Then, I humiliate him on the internet, and try to hide it from him. And what does he do? He gets in touch and tells me he liked the story. He tells me he knew it was coming (among the other good-natured things that made me not attracted to him on our first date, he admitted to googling my name and joked about looking forward to my “Missed Connection” essay). He tells me he wishes things could somehow have worked out, but–as I wrote, he said–perhaps it was for a reason. He signs off “with a smile and hug.” And then, of course, I go and blog about it.

If I had any sense, I would be emailing my old boss at NPR (before I moved to New Mexico, my Missed Connection moved to DC–where he is now living approximately 100 feet from my old apartment–how’s that for a story) and begging for my job back. I would be on the phone with writing programs in the mid-Atlantic and contemplating how, exactly, to propose marriage. I would be groveling at his cyber feet and begging him to try again.

Apparently, in addition to being horrible, terrible, no good and very bad, I am also senseless. Not only am I not calling him, I am more clear than ever that I don’t want to be with him. How could I, someone so fully absorbed in my own emotional life as to so recklessly mess with other peoples, possibly be with someone so kind, gracious and forgiving? It’s not possible: I would feel horrible about myself all the time.

And I wonder, friends, why I’m single.



Filed under Love Life

5 responses to “Why I am Terrible, and Single

  1. Heather

    oh please, lizzie. you deserve the best.

  2. Thanks Heath…can you keep reminding me of this? Until we are old and gray and I am still dating jerks? Just kidding…love ya! πŸ™‚

  3. Erin Penner

    Oh, E. The only thing I can think to say is, “oh puh-lease.” At least the kid in the “Terrible Horrible No-Good Very Bad Day” book got gum in his hair, or something. πŸ™‚ Don’t be so hard on yourself, darling.

  4. Jen

    I adored the essay on NPR about “our stories” and have been an avid reader since. I’m not single and I’m older than you (though mid thirties is not old or so I keep telling myself!). But honey, I’m with Erin on this. Alexander tripped on a skateboard, had a cavity AND he got gum in his hair. Don’t beat yourself up. You are entitled to not fall in love with every nice guy you know. I think we all have a story where a wonderful guy is in our life, but it doesn’t click. You said nothing horrid about this man; in fact you painted him as a very nice guy with whom you just did not fall in love. It happens. And it seems to me that you are single because you are not settling. That’s not evil in the least.

    • Thank you, Jen and Erin. Jen you’re so right that sometimes we just don’t fall in love with people. I guess it’s just hard for me to swallow when I’ve spent such a long time meeting guys who do not at all deserve to be fallen for, and then I meet one who truly does (in addition to being incredibly kind, successful and smart he is also incredibly handsome), and for various reasons things don’t work out. But: such is life! I will try not to feel so terrible and horrible next time…or at least get some gum in my hair πŸ™‚

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