Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Why the hits just don't stop coming

I spent the weekend in New York City with some friends. It was sort of a mixed bag, as far as NYC visits go. On the one hand, there was shopping, and dim sum, and the Whitney biennial, and a showing of Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet at the Rubin. On the other hand there were torrential downpours, and walking around the city with soaking wet, squelching feet for 48 hours straight, and finding my first gray hair while trying on clothes in the dressing room of the teeny-bopper store Forever Twenty-One. Internet, I could not make up such poetic irony if I tried. Although this does perhaps answer the age-old question of when does one become too old to shop at Forever Twenty-One? Duly noted, Universe. I get it. I am old. Can you please stop fucking with me now?

The weekend was also spent entirely in the company of an ever-rotating cast of couples. Now, I know I am single--believe me, I know--but I am not usually as painfully aware of it as I was this weekend. And by a couple (heh) days in, it had really started to wear heavy on me. In a moment alone with my friend, I initiated an unsuccessful heart-to-heart talk on the subject. "You know," I told her, attempting a spirit of confession and emotional honesty, "this weekend has actually been really hard for me. I was never not surrounded by couples, and I constantly felt like the fifth wheel. It's like...I had a vision of my future, and it wasn't good."

Now, I don't know what kind of reaction I was expecting; maybe some nodding, an "I understand," or "I'm sorry, I didn't know you felt that way," or even a quietly sympathetic "Hmm..." In any case, I certainly wasn't expecting a chirpy, "Good! Maybe now you'll be less picky!" If ever I was worried about receiving blind platitudes and baseless reassurance of my own self-worth, I apparently needn't have bothered; not with my supposed best friend there to keep me in check. My jaw dropped; I was speechless. Without anything to say in response, I changed the subject. Even now, two days later, I still don't have anything to say in response; only a swirling montage of images and sense memories and sound bites of every guy I've ever met that keep swimming 'round and 'round inside my head. In my defense, I can only offer as evidence the entirety of this blog; nearly three years' worth of dating disasters, of rejection, of heartache and regret. I wish pickiness was my only problem.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
On the phone with my sister the next day, I recounted my weekend. But every time I paused for a reaction, there was only silence in response. "Um, hello?" I said.

"No, stop...drop it."

"What?"

"Sorry, the dog was trying to eat nail clippers."

"Umm, yeah. So anyway, then she said, 'Good! Maybe now you'll be less picky!'"

"...No, I already had one."

"What? Bec!"

"Bobby was offering me a juice box, but I told him I already had one."

"Becca! You're not listening! You're not even paying attention to me!"

"You have part of my attention, but Bobby's trying to get the other part."

"But I'm trying to talk to you..."

"He doesn't even get home until 8:00..."

"You--you're one of them! You're just another couple person! Gah! Why did you even call me then, if you were just going to ignore me?"

"Bobby was in the bathroom. I thought I had at least half an hour." This was followed by ten seconds of gleeful cackling. Figures. The one reaction out of her the entire conversation and she was laughing at her own joke.

"Well then why don't you just call me when you're not so distracted."

"Ok, bye."

One of the travesties of modern technology is the death of the dial tone. With the advent of cell phones, now when someone hangs up on you, there is only silence. "Bye," I said, but there was no one on the other end. And I thought technology was supposed to make it easier for people to communicate. But with no one on the other end to hear, I realized I was talking to a palm-sized piece of plastic.

If this is a vision of my future, it isn't good.

13 comments:

  1. I am sorry that you had a rough weekend. I know that I have probably unintentionally said hurtful stuff like that myself. I mean, I have always been an I-would-put-my-foot-in-my-mouth-if-I-weren't-so-damn-oblivious-to-the-way-I-come-across-most-of-the-time sort of person, but I think it probably gets worse when I am up on a happy cloud and forget that not everyone else is up there with me.

    None of that stuff I say really makes a damn bit of sense most of the time, does it? I guess what I'm saying is maybe she didn't mean it the way she said it, or maybe she said it in an uncharacteristically unempathetic moment. That is my hope, anyway.

    I found *three* gray hairs this weekend. In my right eyebrow. NOT AWESOME.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've always tried to avoid being the only single girl with a bunch of couples and I've always tried to make sure that when I am in a couple and a girlfriend arrives that I make my boyfriend the third wheel (is that weird?).

    I don't think this is what your future holds - I really don't.

    (once my best friend, made me tell the following story to one of her close friends - see once when facebook was just invented, my college boyfriend made me join so that he could send me messages and stuff. Whatevs. One day we had plans to go to the movies over the weekend but no times or anything and I hadn't heard from him so i checked facebook. And i noticed that he had changed his status from in a relationship to single and looking...ouch, broken up by facebook. My best friend followed this story with "Well, it's not like you were making a lot of time to see him or anything" - sometimes, people just don't quite think before they speak, you know?)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Aw, I'm single and from the NYC area. Should have joined you to balance things out. :)

    Also, recently I was hanging out with several people, and they had a long conversation about their respective weddings. It was entertaining to listen to, but I had nothing to contribute!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've always thought that deprivation was one of the easiest ways to experience happiness. A man his first day out of jail. A teenage girl who was never allowed to date or even go out, finally escaping to a distant college town where she can finally let loose and try drugs and make terrible decisions that will, looking back, be the only ones that were really worth making. What is a thousand dollars to a rich man? What is it to a bum? Maybe this is overly simplistic, but who says life should always have to be so complex.

    The struggle defines us. Defines the world. From the molecular level to the heavens. And where would we be without it. What stories would there be to tell if Romeo and Juliet had been allowed to love and marry right in the beginning. The struggle is what makes our lives worth it, is what makes us appreciate it. And that is priceless. And I do not envy the rich sons and daughters who were fed silver spooned and without a care.

    Everything I say has been said before and better. It seems that we tend to want what we cannot have and take for granted what we do. Life is a matter of polarities and the path inbetween. What would day be without night, summer without the winter, love without heartbreak.

    And in some strange way, our loneliness and fears and our pain is what makes the opposite. And in some strange way, maybe someday we'll look back, and be grateful.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Easy girls are a turn-off for me. I like my women difficult. And it seems that the harder that we have to work for something, the more we appreciate it. I crave damage, and difficulty, and complexity. But at same time, we can mistake something that is difficult and out of reach as being better than something right under our noses. Though maybe in a sense, that's the difficulty. I only came close to love months after she was gone. Realizing my mistakes and of what could have been and possibly should've.

    You are not an easy girl Rachel. You are damaged and difficult and complex. And it is the difficulties that give us things that easiness cannot. 29 is still so goddamn young. Enjoy yourself. Life is but a dream. And also I recommend hookers.

    JackC.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I believe the proper reaction to your friend telling you not to be so picky would have been "good point, would you be willing to give me some tips because you seem to have done such a good job at it" :) I'm sorry to hear you had a tough weekend I know what it's like to be the third, fifth, or seventh wheel, but it won't be forever, and when you find the right guy it will be worth it.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Sorry to hear you've had a rough weekend. I hate when my souple friends or friends with families call me (sometimes long distances) and spend more time talking to whomever at the other end then me.

    I usually cut to the chase and do what you did, tell them to call me when they can actually talk. I get more pissy when it's my dime they're wasting.

    There is not one thing wrong with being PICKY. Who the hell is anyone to tell you who is good enough and who isnt, for you.
    They dont have to date them as you do.

    So whislt you may be being "picky" I prefer to say particular. Its your life, your chemistry, your connection. If it doesnt fit well then, what's the point of continuing? That doesnt make you picky, it makes you smart enough to know there isnt enough to move foward with that person.

    So to all those out there that say "you're too picky, you should give him a chance" my response to you is, YOU DATE HIM THEN! And for those "friends" out there that wouldn't date whatever guy you've rejected, turned down, just didnt like, ask them why, then tell them they're being too picky.

    (This is based on experience of having 5 older siblings who look down on me, even to this day, like I'm less of a woman or person cos I'm not married)

    This is your life. Do not let anyone make you feel like you do not derserve better, or are not entitled to the quailty or standards you've set for youself and your romantic life.

    Standards are what you preceive you want. Respect is what you want and need. The rest will fall into place. Quality over substance.

    Not everyone is meant to find love until later in life.

    Chin up luv, you'll get through this.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I say...I don't know what to say. I am the worst person to give relationship advice like, ever. For awhile I settled for the guys that showed interest in me, the ones that weren't very smart or funny, who weren't even a little bit cute, who couldn't hold a conversation other than just saying "I've never met anyone like you" over and over again, no common interests, no common anything other than we both liked ME.

    If relationships were metaphoric cubicles, I would rather be unemployed.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Here's a bit of dark comedy to brighten our days. Medicine-y.

    http://www.madatoms.com/site/blog/ladies-excuses-for-being-single

    Hardest person to see is ourselves. Sweet sweet hilarity.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I really like your blog. That is all.

    ReplyDelete
  11. i'm sorry you had a rough weekend. wait, but that seems to be the opening line that is favored in this comment log. but it doesn't seem like a rough weekend to me at all. shopping, great art, and dim sum... that sounds pretty ok to me. i understand in printed form that comment might appear hurtful, but i love how quick everyone is to judge the person who made the comment. no offense but after reading your blog, i think the friend has a point. so much time is spent on reflection, and wallowing, and whining. if the first thing you see in a guy is "what can i say about him in my blog? how will he entice readers? what are his negative qualities that i can write about for the world to see, so that i can be still alone and unhappy, but with a following of devoted people writing back each week about how great i am?"

    who are we, in cyberland, to know how picky are unpicky u are. we can’t judge u or your friend. lets take it from the angle that she is right. what if u and her have sat down in the past and had conversations, like we all do about saying things like “oh he’s too short, oh he is too into work, oh he isn’t into work enough, he’s too fat, he’s too thin, etc” there are examples of this in past entries on the site. It seems to me, and even in your description of using the word “chirpy” your friend meant no harm and was truly trying to get you out of a rut. I think it’s HILARIOUS that your readers immediately went to the “she wants you to be easy” theory of “don’t be so picky.” What in that statement was it even implied, oh Rachel, you should go sleep around, date assholes, throw yourself at every man who walks by. No. I don’t’ believe that is what your friend meant and I think it’s a ridiculous leap for those responding to assume that.

    At this point, I feel I need to make the statement….. I am not “the supposed best friend” which even saying “supposed” is hurtful to whoever is that friend. I am someone who read this blog entry and the comments attached and feel that overwhelming sympathy and devotion is not what is warranted or needed in this situation. Sometimes we need to be checked. Sometimes we need someone to say, (someone close to us) u might be looking at things the wrong way. You might not be right.

    Aww the hate comments im sure I will be from devoted commenter’s. But im sorry. I am in the exact same situation right now with numerous friends being engaged, numerous others dating and in committed relationships, and me single. But I would never let my being single take away from someone else’s happiness. I am so thrilled that my friends have found people they love, and while I feel lonely sometimes, it is not their fault, and I only wish to find that same happiness, but I will not find it wallowing in other peoples relationships and abandoning what seemed to be strong friendships.

    I think those of you who wrote negatively about the “supposed best friend’ really needs to think about how distant you are from the situation. Rachel, if this was a person who was close to you, you would not have put them in the blog in the first place, allowing for comment vultures to feast on their character without a chance for the friend to share their side, or even the validity of the incident. If this person was a best friend, im sure u would think they read your blog so how insensitive is it of you to allow strangers to judge your friendship.

    Maybe we all need to stop spending time blogging, commenting, hating, and get off our ass and find that person who will make us happy. Cause self pity was is not an attractive look on anyone.

    Let the hate comments begin….

    ReplyDelete
  12. I think the moral of this story is sometimes people say things without thinking first, and sometimes other people blog without thinking first. In the end I hurt myself the most, because I lost a friend (and going by the last comment, it looks like probably two?) because of it.

    Obviously I knew she would read it. For some reason I didn't think it would be hurtful, or at least, any more hurtful than what she had already said. Clearly, I was wrong. This entry wasn't about villainizing anyone or or opening anyone up to criticism, or I didn't think it was. It was supposed to be about me and my interpretation of what someone told me about myself. I didn't agree with her at the time, but hell, maybe she was right. Anyway, last commenter, I read through all the comments and I really don't see anyone any comment vultures here, and I think everyone was pretty nice and respectful (except for JackC, who is neither nice nor respectful, really, but I love his comments anyway).

    As far as the rest, I love that love exists, that it is out there. I love that there are people who have found it and are happy. I love when it happens to my friends. I would never try to take away from anyone's happiness, and the only person's relationship status I was commenting on in this post was my own.

    I didn't abandon this friendship. I made a mistake and I'm sorry that things ended the way they did. I don't feel good about it.

    And, anonymous last commenter, I love that you stick up for your friends. You've always done that. That anonymous letter to the school paper in high school on my behalf! You're a good friend and I miss you. I miss both of you.

    No hate comments here. Nothing but love.

    ReplyDelete