At least this will flow well with some of the other posts thematically. It’s not always something I plan – especially as I am through with retelling my own past adventures – but the writer in me always likes when there is a sense of flow. It is naturally a shame that events mentioned in previous installments seem to come to such logical conclusions.
Following up on “The More Things Change…” from November, I have an update about “Carrie”, a woman I discussed in that segment. As a famous swordsman once said, there’s too much to explain, so let’s sum up. Carrie is the ex of one of my friends who I had met a few times in passing (enough that I had an awkward memory involving her) who has become more familiar to me as we have connected online (via Facebook). We went from becoming “friends” to me sharing banter with her to private message chats where she would seek to vent about her own loneliness and woes with dating, and even seek advice. While I never revealed my terrible secret, I did say more than once that it was ironic for her to come to me (of all people) for advice about dating or relationships. Society puts a lot of pressure on women (far more than even virgin men like me) to the point that Carrie is over 30, has a Master’s degree, is into geeky stuff and is beautiful, but she was angst ridden because she was suffering from some flaky men and dating games from some of the dudes she wanted to date. She internalized it to the point that Carrie thought she was “too fat” because she is a size eight. Naturally, being a lovely woman with whom I shared many interests as well as a sense of ennui, I developed a crush on her. Back in November I lamented that I saw no “good way” out of this situation. If I admitted my feelings for her, it would cause Carrie to rethink all of our chats and my words to her, as well as add pressure to her life since it was something she likely didn’t expect. In fact, she directly stated how she likes to keep “friends” and “boyfriends” separate in her mind. If I kept silent, yet another potential romantic opportunity in my life – regardless of how slim – would pass me by.
Fortunately, Carrie’s turmoil over feeling so undesirable because a few men stood her up or dumped her immediately after pursuing her for ages is over. Unfortunately, I now have to see gushingly happy photos and status updates about her and her new boyfriend on an almost daily basis. And this puts me in a very mixed position. I am genuinely happy for her; I didn’t like seeing her feeling so down on her self (to the point that I was concerned for a few hours that she might hurt herself one day) and I am glad that she has found someone to enjoy life with – at least in the short term. I am not feeling envious or jealous, at least I don’t believe I am. Yet each status update from Carrie brings it a quiet sadness in addition to elation about her state. It seems like once again, fate has seemed to tease me with a situation that I am not allowed to fulfill. That my only options were to risk adding more angst to an already angst ridden person for no other purpose besides my own feelings, or to do nothing and await the inevitable – for another man to realize how damn lucky he is that Carrie likes him. That much like many of my past adventures throughout this blog, in terms of romance I never, ever, have had a genuine, honest chance with more than one or two women in my entire life. It is always trying to make the best or come out unscratched in a mess of a situation. It feels akin to being stuck in a pottery class where I am never given clay or technique, only broken glass and comparisons to everyone else.
I believe I have handled the situation fairly and maturely. I’ve congratulated her and wish her well online. I usually click “like” on those gushy photos, because I am genuinely glad she is happy. I haven’t felt even a twinge of anger or envy at the new dude in her life, as I have at times in the past. There were fleeting moments I got defensive about my “longest female friend” Sonia’s boyfriends or fiances, or when co-workers briefly flirted with her. Towards the end of college after meeting a woman dubbed “Scarlet” who I seemed to click with in every way for two weeks, I found out that she had a fiance; for a fleeting moment I genuinely felt the urge to attempt to compete with him for her regardless of Scarlett’s own desires. Not to say I harbored these negative feelings I just mentioned for very long, but they still existed for a moment or two. I can imagine if a situation such as this with Carrie had happened when I was still in my late teens or early 20’s, I would have wept at some point. It isn’t something I like admitting, because such feelings are a sign of weakness for men, but when I was in my late teens and early 20’s I would sporadically cry over my feelings of loneliness or despair. I would never do it in public or even often at home; I would literally go to my elementary school’s yard to do it in private. There have been no extreme depression lows over this. No anger, no resentment, no envy, not even for a single instant. And for that I am proud of myself. I try to be the best person I can be despite everything, and it isn’t good to be jealous of friends and so on.
Yet in the place of these “hot” emotions is a quiet sadness, a sort of weary acceptance of what was already estimated. It was inevitable; unless I was willing to risk putting Carrie in some sort of awkwardness or emotional confusion (which I wasn’t), I was never going to admit my feelings for her unless given some sort of obvious sign that it was okay (which wasn’t an extended conversation about how puzzled and dismayed she was to have another friend hit on her). This was the natural conclusion to this situation, and I am glad that it has worked in Carrie’s favor before long. It isn’t entirely healthy for her to put so much of her own esteem into her ability to succeed with men romantically, but she desires a long term relationship – and besides, I can certainly relate to feeling like one’s confidence can be destroyed by an endless train of romantic failures with others. It would probably have been asking too much for this situation to be “easy”, for her to be longing for some chum she knew who felt the same way or for her to just make a pass. Life doesn’t work out that way. Besides, Carrie’s looking for a long term end to her dating life, and I’ve hardly even begun; a fling might have left her worse off than me unless I was willing to just commit to the first person I seriously dated. Which I can’t say I am with 100% certainty. Is this wrong?
The fact that this all came to a head around Valentine’s Day was the extra icing on the 50% off candy. They’ve never been good holidays for me, why should they start looking up now? While I am a little proud of myself for taking this well, I am also disturbed by how well I am able to take this. This quiet sadness can feel just as disconcerting as passionate depression, even if doesn’t have the same energy. I am weary of all of this, weary of the feelings, weary of the loss and the tease of things which can never be. I want to be free of it, to shed it like a coat and move on with whatever the rest of my life will be. Because unless there is some other planet or dimension to go to where I will suddenly be seen as desirable by women due to some fluke in the sun’s rays or physics, I don’t see an end in sight the longer I exercise in futility. How the hell can I even consider diving into the gauntlet of OkCupid for one last time when I am handed reminder after reminder that I do not exist as a romantic being for anyone? How daft can I be for even considering it?
Random dude who is dating Carrie; treat her well, and realize how lucky you are. Some of us never get that chance with anyone even half as cool as her, not even once, ever. Some of us are just on the outskirts looking on, forever. And one of us is…the Dateless-Man. Whether I want to be or not.