This weekend, I am mulling over three questions:
1) Why is it that so many soccer players are so extremely attractive?
2) What, exactly, is a dog looking for in a place to poop?
3) What are you supposed to do when you’re single and tired of being lonely?
All three of these questions mystify me. On the first two I’ve got nothing (comments welcome); on the third, years of experience still leaves me baffled. But at least, as you may have guessed, I’ve got some thoughts.
Yesterday I talked to one of my best friends from Washington, A. She is one of those friends, a few years older and invariably wiser, who always imparts valuable wisdom.
(She’s also the one who is Southern, and who is always counseling me not to call, not to make the first move, to play hard-to-get etc–I could hear her telephonically beam with pride when I told her about the guy whose texting I’d snarkily rebuffed last month. “But I never cared that much about him,” I confessed–minimizing the accomplishment. “It doesn’t matter, she assured. “It’s great practice!”)
In updating her on my summer, I told her that despite going out virtually every night with various friends, despite having a solid stable of girlfriends and even a few guys to hang out with, I still feel lonely without a partner to see movies and take weekend trips with.
I explained the thrust of my current romantic dilemma: that while I feel absolutely exhausted, consumed with my own projects and totally unmotivated to look for someone, I feel the desire for companionship as acutely as ever.
By way of response she told me a story about her time in graduate school. She was spending a summer in a small town where she knew some people but not tons; she was single; she was excruciatingly lonely. She had two friends, a couple, with whom she ended up spending most of her time. Tired of being alone at all, she took her sleeping bag and set it up on their living room floor. She stayed there for the summer.
“You just do whatever you have to do,” she counseled. “For me, that was it.”
I told her that my equivalent, this summer, is probably Bonita: she may not be able to join me at the movie theatre, but she’s certainly game for most any other activity. And, as I’ve described, she’s probably the best and most reliably reciprocating lover I will ever have.
But, to be blunt, a girl’s got certain needs that even the friendliest and most affectionate pup cannot fulfill.
Last night over a low-key dinner at my house, I confided to J that I’ve actually been contemplating online dating–and half-jokingly urged her to do the same.
Predictably, she laughed me off.
“You should do it,” she said. “Cause you like dating!”
To which I had to laugh.
“I hate dating!” I told her. “Everyone hates dating! It’s awful!”
This is mainly true. I mean, I like meeting people and talking to them and hearing their story, but the job-interview-like ritual that is first dates with people you don’t really know? When it’s great, it’s great. But when it’s not, it’s dreadful.
Which is why I am so reluctant to make the effort I know it takes to find someone. I want it to just happen, I don’t want to have to go look for it.
And isn’t that what everyone says? That you find someone when you’re not looking? Just after they tell you to go out to bars and parties and post an online profile because how are you ever going to meet someone if you don’t put yourself out there?
“I’m so torn between wanting to give up and hide out on my couch and really wanting to find somebody,” I said, again, to J. “I mean, I can’t give up. Giving up is what you do when you accept you’re never gonna meet someone. And I’m not doing that.”
“Maybe you should just take a break, she advised. “That’s not giving up.”
Like A, she had a good point. Giving up for now doesn’t mean giving up forever.
For now, I guess I’ve just got to take A’s advice and do whatever it is I’ve got to do: play with the pup, cook and drink beer with friends, and go out when I feel like going out. And, oh yeah, write things.
Which, after all, doesn’t sound so bad.