Friday, July 27, 2012

Dating and The "Happy" Medium

We have all heard the story of "Goldilocks and The Three Bears".  I will honestly admit that I never really understood what this fable was trying to teach us. As a child, I guess it taught me that breaking and entering would more often than not result in three carnivores trying to make me their lean cuisine.

Looking back, I'm beginning to think that whomever first began telling this story was trying to teach their children the beauty of moderation. However, kids usually want a thriller so the adult eventually decided to add in some scary bears that would bust the naive young trespasser, therein derailing children from the original moral of the story.

Now, stick with me here.

In theory, could we apply Goldilocks' attempts to find perfection to say, our lives or even... dating? I think so.

The media and marketers tell us that we either want things to be bigger, better, faster, stronger... or... smaller, slimmer, shinier, smarter. But is this false advertising? When applied to the dating world, how many of us have no idea what we are looking for because of the conflicting advice we receive from friends, family, and society? Do we want someone who is mysterious, sexy, and bold? Or do we go for someone who is kind, caring, and low key? Do we play the damsel in distress? Or do we actively become the heroine of the story?

Let's go with the females perspective, since... SURPRISE! I am not a man and have no freaking idea what men want or think, as much as I may put on otherwise.

So, as women, many of us grow up thinking that some prince charming will come into our lives, looking all Brawny Man-esque, sweep us off our feet, and then provide for us and our family for the rest of our life. Then we get a little bit older, and our elders tell us to "Be smart.", "Forget men.", "Find a career and make a living of our own.", then worry about romance once we have all of our ducks in a row. We take this advice, but struggle to come to terms with the life we choose, because we are still hanging on to the idea that we could have had a man slaving in the work force for us and all we would have had to do was pop out a few babies, whip up a few batches of Kraft Mac N Cheese, and after that we'd be smooth sailing; eating Bon-Bon's and watching "All My Children" on our velvet pink chaise lounge, coming down from a Shiraz buzz.

The fact of the matter is, we all want that happy medium. That porridge, that chair, that bed, that man, that life, that is just right. As much as we are told we need to hold out for the best... the best is boring. A man without flaws is not a man that I want, nor a man that could provide me with eternal bliss. So how do we snag this "not-so-perfect" perfect guy?

Here's the part where I, personally, lose sleep at night.

Recently (Who am I kidding?) My entire adult life, I have been traveling first class on The Dating Struggle Bus. I'd like to think this is mostly because everyone has a soulmate and I just haven't stumbled upon mine yet, but I'm pretty sure there is no scientific research supporting that there is a "soulmate" out there for everyone. 

Behavioral Decision Making is my dating road block. I can't decide whether it's better to throw my crazy, koo-koo side completely out there for all the men to see, or just to give them small samplings over an extended period of time. Because let's face it, the man I end up with is either going to be the most kind and patient man alive, or a complete and total lunatic. Cross your fingers, I'm hoping he's a little bit of both.

Actually, in the dating scene, I never really know what I'm doing, how I should properly go about doing it, or how to behave afterwards. And I've tried tackling it from every angle. I have played the "shy girl", I have been outgoing and loud, I've been a lady, I've belched, I've been nonchalant, I've been the guys gal (my personal favorite), I've been the unattainable bitch, I've been a bookworm, I've been a matronly mommy babysitter figure. It all ends the same... me in much confusion and a loose pair of sweatpants with a full package of Oreos, a tall glass of milk, and Sleepless in Seattle in my DVD player. Wow, that sounds just plain old pathetic. But hell, the only reason I'm ok with disclosing that information is because I know for a fact (Hey there single friends!) that I am not the only one who does this.

The truth is, I enjoy being alone. ALOT. Probably more often than most people. I really enjoy my own company because HELL, I'm a catch! I'm fun, witty, outgoing, free-spirited, optimistic, and light hearted.  And I bet you'd never guess that my vice is my lack of modesty. I mean, seriously, who wouldn't want to hang out with me?! Everyone should want that! Right? Right! But as confident and independent as I am, and as often as I make jokes about it, I would love to be able to meet someone that I like a little more than myself, so that I don't end up an old crazy hag who cracks jokes that no one, but herself, understands. And honestly, I'm starting to think my life is leaning towards that scenario becoming a reality.

Being that I'd like to have a companion that I can, at the bare minimum, tolerate... and who in-turn tolerates me, I often make attempts to be proactive in the dating scene, asking friends and family for dating tidbits. 


Friend A's advice = "If it's meant to be, it will happen. Don't push too hard for anything from him. Play hard to get. Act like you don't care. Never make the first move."

Friend B's advice = "If you want someone to be in your life, then make it happen. You'll never know until you try. Never be afraid to share how you feel. Go for it."

Friend C's advice = "Be mean to him."

Friend D's advice = "Be nice to him."

Dad's advice = "Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Have fun."

Mom's advice = "Focus on one relationship. Don't be a floozy."

Dr. Phil's advice = "Communication is crucial."

Maury's advice = "You are not the father."

In the end, I mostly rely on my heart, or my gut, or whatever the hell it is that tells me how or what to make my next move in my relationships. Granted, I know that part of the reason for my unluckiness in love can be chalked up to the fact that I am attracted to complete buttholes (pardon my french), but even as I am learning to broaden my horizons (aka steer clear of guys who know they are tall, dark, and handsome), the fact remains that men (even the nice ones) and dating are an utter mystery to me. I just can't figure them, or it, out.

So, I pose these questions to my readers... Is there a happy dating medium? How do we know where to draw the lines in order to create a steady, normal, healthy relationship? How much is too much? Do you actively seek out relationships, knowing the majority of them will fail due to incompatibility? Or do you sit back, live your life, and wait patiently for Mr. Right?

I realize much of this is circumstantial, but I think it would be a GRAND idea for all of you to congregate, ask yourselves these questions, formulate some solid, concrete answers and then get back to me. These conflicting words of wisdom are really starting to make me feel like a schizophrenic.

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