Thursday, October 26, 2006

If I were the kind of person who watches Talladega Nights, maybe I'd be married and living in Arlington

I understand that Will Ferrell may be a comic genius. I have nothing against him personally. I just don't think he's funny and I hate his movies.

My best friend and I agreed that we'd rather be tied to a chair and burned with cigarettes than have to sit through three Will Ferrell movies in a row. I don't imagine I will ever have to choose.

Here's the thing. I was set up on a date last night. He is bright, funny, athletic. We have a couple things in common, which is more than some of the guys I've fallen madly in love with. He is a perfectly nice human being and a seemingly normal person.

I didn't ask him if he likes Will Ferrell movies, but he might. Which is and is not the point.

The point is, maybe if I were a more normal person, I might like those movies, and I might really like this guy, or one of the plethora of others I've gone out with. The Will Ferrellers are out there, meeting each other, getting married, settling down with children and two car garages in the suburbs.

I can't be one of them; I think I'd rather spoon my eyes out than live that life. But I wish that weren't the case. I wish I could.

Last night, as Erin and I did the post-date debrief, I said to her that he was a lovely person, but it is not, as one of our (guy) friends says, TLF (or True Love Forever, if you don't remember this term from grade school). The truth is, I can't even remember what TLF feels like. I can remember what I looked like when I was in it, I can remember what I was wearing and what I was doing when I knew, but I can't remember how it felt.

I remember thinking after two weeks with B that I knew, that it actually was true what people say - when you meet The One you just know. Which I thought was ridiculous until I knew, or thought I knew. I said to her, clearly I didn't know, because look where we are now, but Erin said, maybe I knew, and it was, but love is not enough. It was TL but not TLF.

Of course I'd like a boyfriend, but not any boyfriend - one that I can be wild about. I think it wouldn't be so hard if I were a checklist person. If you have a checklist, no matter how particular - red hair, 6'5", Harvard law, Buddhist, speaks 3 languages, cooks like a gourmet chef, wants to have 4 male children and name them all Steve. . .even if you have a combination that seems unlikely - you can find it.

If you have a list of concrete things that you can check off one by one, you can find that person.

What I want, however, is a particular sparkle, and that visceral reaction, and that intense connection. I have tried to talk myself into people that I don't have that with, and I never manage to do so. I have sat myself down and said: he's attractive, he's stable, he's well-traveled, he's accomplished. . .and I just don't care.

I'm not in a rush to get married, and I don't categorically like children. Actually, I don't categorically like people. Or rather, most people I don't find all that compelling. But the ones I do, the ones who are important to me, them I love like crazy.

I have gone around and around on this with Christine. Why am I so upset? Because I don't want to be alone. Am I actually alone? Well, no - rarely. Most weeks I have every night filled, with activities and people I like. Or dates, who most of the time fall under the category of people I'm ambivalent about.

Now is fine. But eventually, eventually everyone else will get married and I will be alone. In 30 years I will be the little old lady who doesn't have cats, all alone. She questions the logic of this. I've never gone very long without dating someone. There are plenty of men around. If I really want to be with someone, I can be.

And this is what gets me back to being upset. There are men around. And I try to like them, I really do. But it's so easy not to. If I don't like someone's voice, I can't get past it. It turns out I'm picky about teeth.

I had no idea, but it's true. How unhelpful is this?

I met a guy at a party, a very funny, bright, interesting guy. He asked me out, and I accepted, and I had fun. Christine thought this new guy was good news. She encouraged me to go out with him again, but I just didn't want to. Why not?

"The thing is, I just don't like his teeth."

“What,” she inquired, “is wrong with his teeth? Are they crooked? Yellow? Missing?”

“No, they're fine; it's just something about the shape. I just don't like the shape of his teeth.”

“His teeth? So,” she said, “are you repulsed by him?”

“Of course not! He's smart, attractive, funny - a great guy!”

“I think unless you're repulsed, you should give him a chance.”

I thought this was setting the bar pretty low. She clearly thought I was being ridiculous.

The next week I came in and said "So, Teeth..." She raised her eyebrows. "I'm just never going to kiss him. No point in going out again."

These men are not the reason I am alone. I am the reason. I just have to figure out how not to be.

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