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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Lori & the Three Vikings

Okay, well first, there are more than three, but still not enough to make me a floozy. Second, the Vikings are kicking my ass slightly less than my now 41 year old hormones are. Third, I believe I have a multiple personality disorder.

Let’s deal with each one of these things separately, shall we?

More than three, but less than floozy...
So the last year of my dating life has been filled with a Goldilocks metaphor. This one is too soft, this one too hard (I’m sensing a double-entendre here, do you sense it too?), this one too cold, this one too hot... I haven’t found the one that’s just right, quite yet. And at this point, I’m not sure I should keep sampling the porridge.

Here’s the thing... no matter their Goldilocks category, the Vikings have all been good guys, each in their own way. But this dating thing hurts. It hurts to be dumped. It's even painful to hurt someone else’s feelings. And they feel exactly the same way in both regards. I’ve heard that geese mate for life, I’ve often wondered if they hurt this much while they’re trying to find their mate. Note to self: Ask a goose for dating advice. Believe it or not, I will actually do this.

The reason that I’m considering not sampling any more porridge is that I don’t want to get hurt or hurt anyone else, again. My last few experiences have broken my heart even if I was the one saying goodbye. That’s the thing about relationships, I guess. You can’t guarantee anything to the other person. You just can’t. No matter how much you want to. You can believe you can with all your heart, but people, including myself (and that's a huge understatement), are unpredictable. Circumstances change, people grow or change, life changes in general and there we are back in Kansas stealing sparkly red slippers off a dead witch so that we can try again.

I’ve found that if I’m honest about this concept, Vikings interpret it one of three ways: They think I don’t want a relationship or want to be alone ("relationship" and "alone" as defined by them); They think I just want sex... Most of the time they’re perfectly fine with this, but they also think it means they can ask my massage therapist out for coffee after they leave my house; or they think I’m playing with them like a cat plays with a three-legged mouse. None of these are the case, but usually I don’t have an opportunity to explain why.

The case is, in fact, that I want to be happy. And if being with someone doesn’t make me happier than I am by myself, then I’ll stay by myself. I don't expect someone to be perfect. I don't expect them to change. I want to love them for who they are. I want to be able to see a future with them. I don’t want to be in a relationship so that I have someone to share half the expenses with. That’s not ethical, and it’s not love. But trust me, a lot of people do it. And if I’m really honest, I’ve thought about it. I also don’t want someone to take care of me in any sense. I want to take care of each other. But again, it would be nice not to feel like I’m holding up the world all by myself all the time. I can’t put into words what happy looks like. At least not specifically... But I think I’ll know it when I see it. Until then, I’m not going to pretend that I can guarantee anything at all.

The Vikings are winning...
Yes, the Vikings AND my hormones are kicking my ass. First I should tell you that I only started dating when I turned 40. Yep. I know, long story, one I’m saving for a book I’m writing. It’s completely true, with the exception of having a few movie or dance dates in high school and college. And by few I mean between five and eight. Pathetic, I know.

Here’s the problem with not dating until you’re 40:

You have no schema! In fact, you’re up a creek without a schema. You just don’t have a clue what to do. This puts you at an extreme disadvantage and means that you’re going to do a LOT wrong. You’re going to hurt yourself and others in the process. You’re going to feel one minute like the world is the most glorious place in the universe (this is an oxytocin rush, just so you know). And the next minute, you’re going to feel like you can’t do anything right.

Let me put this in perspective. I’ve spent 19 years, just shy of half my life span, living alone. I had one roommate for a short period and it was actually good (maybe not for the roommate, because I’m pretty sure I’m hard to live with).

The point of telling you this is that I haven’t done a lot of the relationship-y things that most people have. I haven’t shacked up with a guy. I haven’t had a guy spend the night. I’ve never had a morning after breakfast. Bear with me, the TMI will be over soon. I’ve never cuddled on the couch to watch a movie with my significant other. I’ve cooked dinner for a few people, but the only one I was dating, I wasn’t really dating. It’s complicated. I’ve never had a joint checking account. I’ve never had anyone pay my bills for me, but I helped the it’s complicated guy financially a couple of times. I’ve never rented an apartment, bought a house or a car or even a teddy bear on joint credit. Never adopted a dog with anyone. Never had a child. I’ve never said “Honey, pass me the ketchup.” to anyone.

I have a vastly different perspective on life than most people and it’s tough for anyone to put themselves in my shoes. I don't blame them, I'm kind of a weirdo. Imagine going nearly 15 years without a kiss of any kind. Fifteen years without someone ever holding your hand. I’m not telling you this to garner sympathy, I’m trying only to describe my perspective.

I woke up this morning with a huge epiphany. One I didn’t like very much. It was: I may never be capable of having a significant other. This is a relief in a lot of ways because let’s face it, dating is hell. It takes an enormous amount of time and effort. This isn’t bad. It should take an enormous amount of time and effort or it wouldn’t matter. It hurts like hell when something doesn’t work out. And again, it should. Without hurt, you wouldn’t have a context for joy. But the other edge of this double-edged epiphany is that there is a pretty good chance (not 100%, mind you, but so far that’s my track-record), that I’ll grow older and eventually die having never experienced the relationship-y things I referred to above. So, yes I’m relieved, the pressure’s off, I can get back to work. But, I am also deeply and profoundly saddened. That takes me to my third point.

I believe I have a multiple personality disorder:
Most of the last year has been maddening! Mad-Hatter maddening. Too many fairy tales in this blog? Well, anyway... When I meet someone, sometimes even before I physically meet them, let’s say we text or talk on the phone, I can usually tell if we’ll be mostly compatible or not. I say mostly because no two people are ever 100% compatible. It’s just not possible to agree on EVERYTHING, or like ALL the same things. That’s why we’re called individuals. But, we can be mostly compatible and in my observations, those seem to be the happiest relationships. I can usually get a sense for compatibility with someone pretty quickly. And on the flip-side I can generally sense when something’s off as well. I don’t believe I’m always right about these things, but I try and make the best decisions with the information I have when I have it. I’ve also learned to trust my Spidey-sense in the last year, because if I ignore it, I regret it. Where are the multiple personalities, you ask? Well...

I seem to vacillate between the realist, the epically horny teenager and the pink sparkly tutu clad princess looking for her prince charming.

The easiest one to explain is the epically horny teenager. Fifteen years of no dating. Nuff said!

The realist. This is the woman who knows things sometimes work out and sometimes they don’t She is too honest, too logical (Lori-logic is a little different than say... Einstein-logic), occasionally skeptical, and always has a plan, flexible though it might be. She tries to be honest with her potential mates because if she fails them, she wants them to be prepared. She wants to spare their feelings right off the bat. In a twisted way, she ends up hurting their feelings by being honest about her own shortcomings. The trouble with the realist is that she never wants to count her chickens before they hatch. In some respects, she robs herself of her own potential futures.

The sparkly pink princess has counted the 5th generation of hatch-lings and built little pink chicken condos with her prince charming. She wants the fairy tale. She believes in the fairy tale. She believes every “this one” might be THE ONE. And with every potential prince charming, she floats around to the beat of her own drum... heart... something. I kind of lost that metaphor somewhere in the middle, sorry. My point is, she wants to jump in with both feet, tutu flying up over her head laughing all the way.

As you can imagine, the realist and the sparkly pink princess don’t get along all that well. For me, that means I’ve got a constant war going on in my head. Take a chance! No, wait and see. TAKE A CHANCE! No, I already know he’s not the one. TAKE A CHANCE, DAMMIT! But what if I do and it doesn’t work out and I hurt him? Argh!!!! Throw in the teenage harlot and I’m ready for meds and a comfy padded room.

Meanwhile, the Vikings end up hating me or dumping me.

At the end of the day, here we all are... Me, the realist, the sparkly pink princess, the teenage harlot and some Vikings, all special in our own way. I don’t know where we’ll all end up, but I know this. Eventually, we’ll get where we need to go. It might hurt, it might never work out. It might be happily ever after. Who knows? None of us. And fate has a funny way of making it happen  although she beats the hell out of you along the way.