Thursday, February 28, 2008

noun. 1. the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best [Origin: bef. 900; ME; OE hopa; c. D hoop, G Hoffe]

I have had a number of people tell me that I've given them hope.

Seriously. I was at the allergist the other day, and the nurse said that I'd given her an immense amount of hope that even though she'd dated a ton of horrible men, she would find a good one.

Some people have been quick to explain that they don't mean it badly - it's not that they thought it was hopeless for me. But the fact that I found Nick gave them hope that they would find the person they wanted as well.

And I am not remotely offended. Because, listen, I'd gotten to the point where I was pretty sure I was never going to get married. Unless I decided to settle. This has given me romantic hope for the entire world.

The morning after Nick proposed, I woke up thinking about how completely amazing it was that I was engaged.

I turned to Nick and said, "You know, this is just incredible."

He smiled. "It really is."

"I mean, if I can get married, anyone can."

He gave me this shut-up-WTF look. "I happen to think you're an absolute treasure, and I feel very lucky."

He was about to be a little offended.

I had to explain that the fact is not that I have low self-esteem, or that I don't think that I'm worthwhile, or I that I see myself as so undesirable that nobody would ever want to be with me.

No - it's not anything like that.

It's more like this - a combination of things that had led me to believe that it was just going to be impossible. One, that I'd had this streak of dating such damaged men - men who just weren't remote possibilities for successful long-term relationships. Either because they were mean, or unable to commit, or just so numbed from traumatic upbringings that they didn't really feel much.

And when I sat down to examine all those guys? I had to admit that the only common denominator? Was ME.

So there was the choosing - over and over - of the wrong guys to contend with.

And then, there are a variety of particular things about me that I believe narrow my range of possibilities. I have this odd, goofy, slightly wicked sense of humor. Often, things I think are soo amusing are not what the general population finds hilarious. So I don't meet a lot of men I think are funny. And there are plenty of men who don't think I am.

Add to this the fact that I can bore easily, and if I get bored with you, I will start amusing myself. And if you don't think I'm funny? We really won't be having fun.

I don't know if you've ever told a guy he's amusing (or droll, or clever) but not funny? It really doesn't go over well.

And I need a lot of affection - a lot of I love yous. I need someone who will make me feel very loved and very safe. On top of this, I am really, really strong - in good ways and bad. So I need someone strong who won't let me push too far.

Plus there are at least 37 or 73 other quirks or wants that I won't mention here that made me think, you know, if there are 26 Ones for most of the world, I probably have, I dunno, 12 or 13. And how the fuck do you come across one of your 12 or 13 in the entire, wide world? I was thinking, "What if one of them lives in Idaho? I'll never meet him!"

Because I didn't want just someone, right? I wanted someone completely and utterly superamazingfantastichilarious. Who thought the same of me.

I don't know anyone who is like, oh, I just want a warm body. No, we all want someone we think is amazing, who thinks we're extraordinary as well.

So I think about it like this.

If I was able to find this person, all the more normal-ish people, with fewer particulars, or a less bizarre senses of humor, or more whatever and less whatever else - all the more normal people will absolutely, without question, find the right person without an extraordinary amount of difficulty.

And the people who fall more in my category? Will find the person as well. I believe this absolutely and truly.


  1. "I need someone strong who won't let me push too far."

    This is the best way of phrasing something that I have been thinking about for a long time, the fact that I push people and test people (regrettably) as much as they'll let me. Sometimes I feel like I'm so intense that people back down in the heat of it, when all I really want is for someone to get up in my face and push back.

    Oh, and the common denominator thing? I've definitely thought/blogged about that too. It's funny how it's such a simple concept, but one that a lot of people don't realize.

  2. Nicole - I do the exact same thing - push push push - and all you have to do is tell me to stop. And if you're not strong enough, I might like you but won't respect you.

    I've gotta say, you're ahead of me on that common denominator thing. I only realized it a year or so ago.

  3. When I posted that you gave me hope was exactly that -- I'm not insecure, and I think I'm a great person to be with, but it is so hard to find not just someone who agrees with it, but someone I find amazing too.

  4. Hooray, LG is engaged! The news is still so exciting.

    You do provide hope. For me, it was never about hope of finding The Guy rather finding happiness or willingness to search for it. You know who you are and what you want and for some of us, at least professionally, we are at times, hopeless.

    Sometimes hope means not giving up.

  5. I'm one of the people to whom you've provided hope and exactly for the reasons you mentioned, although I couldn't have put it in writing this well!

  6. And the people who fall more in my category? Will find the person as well. I believe this absolutely and truly.

    I hope so... I really, really hope so.

  7. It is a wonderful thing to realize that yes, you too can find true love. The prospects always seem dimmer as we get into our mid-30s, but the truth is, that's when we're really coming into our own. I was too stupid and immature when I was in my 20s to know how to be happy in a relationship, and too shallow to have given a guy like my husband a chance -- someone who, on paper, looked like we had nothing in common, but who was actually perfect for me in temperament, values, and sense of humor.

    With age and experience should come hope, always, because that's when you're smart enough to recognize real opportunity.

  8. I view myself as similarly quirk-ridden but also quite eligible and loveable, and thus am duly inspired by your turn of events. Congrats! I don't know if you ever read Kate Lilac's Salon (blog) before she scrapped it and started a new one; her love/marriage (and baby) story unfolded similarly - and at a comparable pace to yours. I'm glad I have the blog world to turn to for such inspiration as my real life friends and peers all seem to have lived more conventional stories - i.e. all married to their best friend by age 32, had their kids well before their late 30's, etc.

  9. Beach Bum - You are exactly right - it's not that there's anything wrong with any of us, it's that it's hard to find that amazing person. You will, no question!

    HKW - Big hugs to you! I am definitely struggling with the WTFs professionally, but I feel like there's always hope in that arena as well. I just can't focus there right now. You are so right, though - hope is not giving up!

    Alexandra - I'm really glad to hear that. Thank you!

    VVK - You WILL! You absolutely will find someone who loves you for the beautiful, smart, caring, incredible person you are.

    Wendy - That's a really excellent way to put it. I ranted about getting married in your 20s so you don't deal with the dating in your 30s bullshit, but I do think there's so much to be said for knowing yourself.

    Anon - "similarly quirk-ridden but also quite eligible and loveable" -I like this description! I've never read her blog but will look it up. I feel lucky that most of my real life DC friends are still single. I'd have felt really alone otherwise.

  10. Lisa - I am so hoping you will read and comment on the article from the March Atlantic (Marry Him!) that makes the case for settling. I just posted it on my blog because it was so f'in shocking to read - and I thought of you immediately - and how you've waited, and aren't remotely settling. So ya, hope - it's a great word for what you and Nick's relationship represents. I'm definitely not at that phase where hope is all I have - but I know many are, and it's definitely been a big theme for me this year (see Christmas CD :). Anyway- look forward to your comments.

  11. I hated that article too MI. I understand what they're trying to say but honestly, I think that it sends out the wrong message, that women don't deserve to be loved and cherished, and that if they really want to get married they should marry someone who is less than what the were expecting.

  12. Hi Lisa,

    This is the second post you've written about your engagement that has made me cry real tears of understanding and happiness for you. It's funny, since for me lately news of other peoples' engagements sometimes comes with an unwelcome side order of envy, and I don't even know you, but all I want for you is this kind of happiness. And you're right. It does give me hope that someday I'll find it, too. Don't be shy about thinking Nick is the greatest, because, damn, sister, he must be. We don't live to be this old and single if we are willing to settle for anything less.


  13. MI - I printed it out and am partway through. At first glance, my thought is that of course she thinks people should settle - she's struggling with a kid all by herself! But will read more and comment on your blog.

    SD - I think this is the conclusion I will come to as well, but need to read.

    Alex - Oh, you are so lovely! You WILL find the person. When I would hear of someone getting engaged, I'd be really happy for them, but I would also get a little bit of panic, like, maybe I'll be the last person left on the planet all by myself. Which is not realistic, but panic often isn't. You are right - we've waited a long time because we want something that feels really right. And you will meet the guy you think is amazing who thinks you're amazing too. You just will.


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