I plopped down on my couch, threw my arm around the shoulders of the man I had been dating for two months, and playfully said with a wag of my eyebrows “Hey, come here often?”
He was confused. His english, while excellent, may not include knowledge of this phrase, so I explained that it was just a cheesy pick-up line. One might think this was an opportunity to look at the special person in your life and give them a wink in response to their playfulness, or maybe some coy retort. What I got was a deadpan “I can see why you were single for so long”
Aware that I can be a very sensitive person, I tried not to show that this comment hurt me. I don’t want to be a downer when someone’s just trying to be…funny? As far as I could tell, he felt this was a perfectly fine thing to say to me despite it being delivered with no lightness in his tone.
It had been a lonely 3.5 years since I’d had someone in my life who I was dating exclusively. I’ve had countless dates, but finding someone with whom I had a real connection was elusive for a long time.
It’s demoralizing, the fact that not finding someone you connect with results in feeling less-than. I am an accomplished, kind, compassionate, thoughtful, funny, intelligent person, and yet I still put a chunk of my self-worth into whether or not someone I care about is effectively showing me the feeling is mutual.
I understand why women have sworn off dating entirely. I found that when I turned 40, I felt invisible to men. My evidence of my decreased value came from online dating. My age changed to “40” on my profile (and then 41, and so on), and I no longer fell within the desired search criteria most men typed in..
Bummer. Men are valued at nearly any age, and women should always be young. Message recieved.
You can see now why my date’s comment stung so hard when he delivered it. What could have been a playful jab, landed on my ears as You say stupid things and that’s why no one liked you for 3.5 years. He may not have known this comment would get such a reaction and I do recognize that. He is good company, smart, interesting, and affectionate, but there was a bit more struggle to get on the same page than was ideal, and unfortunately this zinger, along with a few others I got that same evening, had me feeling pretty unappreciated and deciding that I’m best on my own.
So now I am. Again.
Although I will never be ready (because I am weary and wary), I will eventually try again. Perhaps I am a glutton for punishment, but I believe I have a lot to offer someone, and maybe I’ll actually find a guy who doesn’t find unkindness cool, and who will find my lame pick-up lines charming, and be cognizant of my oversensitivity.
Weirder shit has happened.