lessons in dating

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this last time i saw Tom he asked me to enumerate the many things i had learned from my-last-failed-attempt-at-romance/my-last-failed-attempt-at-a-relationship/last-failed-attempt-at-a-foray-into-modern-day-dating (which is really modern-day-texting).


in smart-ass-fashion i replied,


even if i do everything you tell me to... it doesn't always work. which means sometimes even the extreme rationale of Tom is no match for the blustery-winds of romance. damningly capricious romance. (which says more about the blustery-winds of capricious romance than it does about Tom. this alone makes me want to give up on it altogether and hide under my covers only to emerge when pre-arranged marriages have come back into fashion).


tom is my life-spirit-guide.


which means tom is also my relationship and romance and love spirit-guide.


he is not, however, my modern-day-texting spirit guide, but only because tom does not approve of modern-day-texting-as-a-relationship. (point of fact, tom has made it clear that he is very thankful to have just-missed-the-modern-day-texting that now serves as both relationship initiation and bedrock).


this is depressing on many levels because tom is all of like three years older than me--or some ridiculously small number (which is depressing enough, usually, without the added insult of having just missed missing modern-day-texting).


cruel twist of fate and time.


after managing to smooth out my smirk i gave Tom's questions some actual thought. (which to remind you, because i got so far off topic, was about what i had learned from this last romantic venture).


i mostly learned things i already knew. but had to be reminded of. and will have to be reminded of again and again, i'm sure.


1. never trust what a man says on the first date. many men will say a lot of things to get one particular thing...sneaky creatures, these men. 


2. my girl crazy can accelerate from totally sane to frighteningly unintelligible in an disproportionately short amount of time. 


and i mostly have my head on my shoulders. and yet. and still. 

i once said to tom that i'd need to end up with a man like him. and no, this is not the story of a girl falling in love with her therapist. rather it's that...i go to see him and my feet are ten feet off the ground and he's so gosh darn rational and honest and direct that i leave and my feet are suddenly on solid ground. he's ever so gently reached up and pulled me down. and i'm gonna need a life-partner who understands that i can over-think myself into or out-of any of many (many, many) ridiculous scenarios. and i just need a gentle tug on the hand. solid ground.


so, regarding this last attempt at affection-taking-flight, i felt sane. i felt good. i had my wits about me. and i could sense when the girl-crazy reared its head and i'd give it a sort of sideways look and put it away. but it kept coming back and eventually it won out. and i was aware of what was happening. unable to stop it, but aware nonetheless. and awareness is the first bit on the road to something else, no?


what i realized this go round is this...


and this is the tough bit.


i have the best girlfriends in the world. i really, really do. but i absolutely cannot talk to them all about men (some of them, not all). we girls love to gab, don't we? and nothing is more exciting, more intoxicating than rehashing every last bit of last night's romance.


but here's the thing (and i concede this might be particular to my circle, but i have a suspicion that's it's slightly more universal), unless the girl i'm speaking to is in a solid, steady, long-term, not-on-the-rocks-relationship, it is not to be discussed. I REPEAT, NOT TO BE DISCUSSED. because those girls in the solid, steady, long-term, not-on-the-rocks relationships listen and actually hear what you're saying and can offer counsel.


otherwise, the girlfriend listening is dissecting her own tumultuous this-week-tryst as she listens. she then attempts to speak to you through her own distorted lens about her own situation, all the while saying its not about her. but it is about her.


i've also learned the hard way that when i'm pretty nuts about a guy my girlfriends will have none of him and when i'm absolutely-out-of-my-mind-bored-by-someone they think he's the cat's pajamas.


tom says this all happens because as woman we're expected to play certain roles. and that gossip and all this girl chat provides a certain purpose and there is science for all this and yada, yada, yada.


which is to say, tom agreed. discussing fledgling romantic relationships with my girlfriends is not good. it encourages the girl crazy. and then accelerates it.

and finally,


3. i have to go just as far as i need to go in pursuit of a man (which is to say i always end up texting long after some of my friends are like, meg, it is his turn). i can't follow anyone else's rules or guidelines--i have to honor what i think is best. and then i have to sort of throw up my hands and trust that the winds of change and fate and a little bit of luck will either come out in favor of the thing or not. and if not, it is not a reflection on me or my worth. (IN OTHER WORDS, I CAN'T TAKE IT ALL SO SERIOUSLY, OR PERSONALLY--which is--yes, you guessed it--sort of, quite a bit, hard for me).  


have i ever told you how very much in a sea of married and coupled-up bloggers i hate being single? but it does put me in a unique position to offer up dating advice for anyone reading who is not married or in one of those long-sought-after long-term relationships. and someone's got to do it.