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lessons in dating.

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).

well, 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.


eerily-on-point-posts from years long gone
 (suggesting i'm slow to learn, or slow to put into practice):


Shawnee said...

yes yes yes, over and over again. the girlfriend bit is spot on. also, i'm a single one in the sea as well.

Shawnee said...

okay and that video IS brilliant.

mollyashlie said...

so so so so so spot on! love it; i'm also not one for caring if it's "his turn" and just going for it. going to watch the video now and get a good laugh. :)

leah ruth said...

this post, including that video, are right-on. i am a married-lady now, but went through a divorce a while back, and during that the time between dating the first time around, and then being mid-twenties and being single again, the rules of dating changed. i was left at the cusp of the modern-day-dating-scene. the texting drove me crazy. and talking to girlfriends turned out to be disastrous...

other than the time i realized, as i was telling a girlfriend about a first date i had the night before, that it is not okay for a man compliment you by saying he wants to chop your head off and put it in the freezer.

Catherine M. said...

I'm comin up to 18 months with my boyfriend and sometimes 'forget' that we're in a silly, happy, healthy relationship. I am so conditioned to do non-functioning relationships and unhealthy dating that I sometimes pick fights because I feel like it's unhealthy for us to be so happy all the time. That sounds messed up (okay, it IS messed up) but sometimes I regress back to my early twenties just to relive that wonderful, yearning angst that only unhealthy trysts and unrequited love can bring.

Anonymous said...

Oh my. That video is golden. I totally want to start calling out moments like that ("fine, you're uninvited to the pizza party!") Maybe we could start a revolution, us ladies, and stop letting boys try to date us via texting. I'd be okay with that. Thanks for you ever-insightful look into life. You make me want to pour my heart out in the comment section, and I think that's a beautiful thing.

BookCat said...

I made a pact with one of my closest girlfriends last night that we would NOT discuss men anymore, especially not the most recently discarded men. We're both trying to figure out dating, and in London, where the concept is still very much considered American and therefore slightly suspicious. We have an inherent distrust of any man who asks us on a Date, instead of just aimlessly hanging around and casually mentioning where he may or may not be and that maybe we may or may not like to possibly also maybe be there, perhaps. Then, BOOM, you're in a relationship. I have heard this is not the American way. Luckily, a lot of long term relationships have died recently (sad trombone) so we are all in the same boat. But I'm pretty sure there's a tiger called Crazy in the boat with us. Life is hard.

Kiersten said...

I love reading what you have to write on here...although I think I'm a little disheartened to know that texting as a form of relationship does not end after college.
And just so you know you're not alone, I feel inundated by the relationships on here sometimes, too. But there are others of us who are single!
<3 Kiersten

Alyssa said...

Tom sounds like my best guy-that's-not-my-boyfriend-friend who manages to take my up in the clouds musings and rants and fears and plants them firmly on this earth.

Diana Amy said...

Meg, I jumped over to your blog recently from "Love Taza" because I am a single girl who reads a bunch of blogs written by married women and it is SO SO refreshing to hear you voice so many of the things I feel and have felt - always so beautifully and articulately - and I am now obsessed with your blog. Thank you for sharing!

Lib said...

I'm so glad you're another single girl in the married/coupled-up blogger sea! Ps thanks for the advice for women who overthink- my counsellor isn't as good at dating advice as yours obviously!

Krissa said...

oh this is why i love you.... you put into words what i have no way of expressing...at least not that well!
Its all so true... i have learned the hard way not to talk to girlfriends about guys and especially learned to do my own thing...there is NO rule book to dating and you really just have to do what YOU want to do and what you feel is the right way....
thanks Meg darling! i love you're words!
and maybe there is a sea of married bloggers but i guarantee your voice is being heard and related too.

Amanda Blair said...

Preach, honey. I feel like dating is complicated anyway but throw in dating in New York and its like, really complicated. But I've come to the similar conclusions as you; I don't need to talk endlessly the guy I'm seeing to friends because I need to learn how to not only listen but trust (And follow through) on my gut as it's always right. I also go about things differently than a lot of people because I don't have any interest in the game and you know what? The man I end up with won't either. I have strong faith in that belief. Keep doing you girl!

marian rose said...

I like that you're putting out what you want (your own Tom). I'm saying an extra prayer for you, in case it may work, because I know what it's like to be a pot looking for it's lid (a bright, slender, stainless-steel pot, of course).

Alice said...

Yeeah. I love your dating advice because I too am a singleton in this sea of married/ coupley bloggers. It's like it's a prerequisite or something.
And despite what you say you do seem to have your head pretty tightly on your shoulders. I certainly don't! And I can also not talk to my girlfriends about relationships- I just feel awkward, and like it's mean to the guy involved. But that might just be me. x

Mary said...

Meg, thank you.

Beloved of God said...

I am single and I give DAYUM good dating advice! My friends come to me for my wise-lady perspective (I am an actual therapist as well and have talked many a friend off a ledge - figuratively, ha). The sad part is that allll of that goes out the window when it's ME in the dating relationship. Then, I can't find my way out of a paper bag. It's crazy girl all the way. It's usually a pretty good test of the guy's mettle though. I've been lucky to be in relationships with a few good ones, just haven't been ready to let one of the good guys stick. Hopefully I'm really ready now :) So glad I'm not the only crazy girl out there!

Alissa said...

I just found you. I'm glad I did. I might have read this 8 times. I might be crazy like that.

1. Trusting what men say in general is not my idea of a smart move. I try my best to only trust what they do...and not just what they say.

2. Are there pills that can cure girl crazy? I think I need them.

3. Not taking stuff personally is HARD. But it's something I'm slowly learning how to do.

I'm going to stick around. I hope that's okay with you!

Ashley said...

Have you read "the mastery of love"? It is so amazing... And so good for learning about not taking anything personal, and always being your authentic self... I highly recommend it.

Allie said...

this post feels like you stuck your hand into my brain and put it all into words. so many things make so much more sense. and i love reading about the trials and tribulations of serial singledom. its nice to be able to relate (though im a sucker for cute couple bloggers as well).