I had an epiphany on Friday night. After a scrumptious dinner at my friends’ gastropub The Yard in Santa Monica, I went with some friends to see a girlfriend of mine sing Jazz at El Cid in Los Feliz. I rarely have moments of self-doubt, possibly to my detriment, but on this particular occasion I was starting to wonder if my dating issues were just me issues. In this era of perpetual self-scrutiny, we all know what our own shortcomings are. You know if you’re shy in social situations, or you don’t know when to end a thought so you’re continually talking, or you look mean when you’re really just nervous. We all have these self-diagnosable issues and in our moments of vulnerability, we blame our lives on them. I am no exception. I start to kick myself for being too outspoken, or a snob, or too career oriented and blame my dating history on my own peccadilloes.
So Friday night, despite a lovely evening of great food, and company and ambiance, I’m spiraling into verbal self-flagellation. The bouncer didn’t let us in for free (cause it was for charity blah blah). My friend Ted (despite all odds, a close plutonic male friend of mine) and I were engrossed in conversation at the bar, when this woman behind me starts eyeing Ted. Of course, Ted proceeds to hit on this woman while still trying to carry on a conversation with me and even though we’re just friends, I was still grossly offended and perhaps jealous that he would do this mid-conversation with me. My friend Devon admitted that he thinks my parents are cooler than me. And finally, out of sheer and utter desperation I turned back to Ted and said “why didn’t that guy from New Year’s Eve call me?”
Even though Ted and I were at the same Hollywood party, he had no idea what I was talking about at first. I had met a guy I thought I might be interested in that night – and while this may not sound like a ringing endorsement, I probably don’t say that more than two or three times a year, so for me to admit that I might possibly like someone was a huge deal. Nothing happened, more than we talked for hours and at the end of the night he went to kiss me and I turned it into a kiss on the cheek but I really thought we connected – or at least that he would call me. And yet, nothing. So naturally, I’ve been blaming myself. If only I hadn’t mentioned the law school thing, I wouldn’t have come off overly ambitious. If only I hadn’t I teased him about his summer camp. If only I had been better at beer pong. If only I had made out with him. Etc. etc. So finally, I let it out. I verbalized my own insecurities and I begged Ted to tell me the truth. What is it about me? Do I come off too strong? Did I insult his manhood? I was desperate for the truth. For the answer. Finally, I was able to jog Ted’s memory and he remembered whom I was talking about.
“Oh, that guy? He was a total player. He would have gone home with anything that moved that night.”
“What? No way!”
“Oh yeah, he was just looking to get laid that night and that was it.”
I was shocked. Could it really be that simple? He just wanted sex? So my witty subtly sexual banter was not being taken as the intellectual titillation of a budding relationship, but rather, he thought I was dropping hints about being slutty. Interesting. I HAD NO IDEA. How could I have missed this? And yet, it made so much sense. It wasn’t me. It was just that guy on that night wasn’t looking for anything more than sex. Ok, I can accept that and I don’t feel bad about it at all. Timing’s important and knowing what you’re ready for in life is a huge part of having a successful relationship. Beer pong boy was looking for a girl to pong. I was looking for a permanent beer pong partner. It wouldn’t matter how compatible we were on some official compatibility test. Our timing was off and that’s always a recipe for a losing game.
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