It's Not You, It's Me . . . No. Maybe it was Really You

In response to my 'Someone please explain' sob story post, I got two insightful emails. I didn't want to be greedy and keep the wisdom all to myself. Both emailers gave me permission to post their thoughts. So I have included them here.  This is somewhat of a mish-mashed guest post. (With some edits to their words, I hope they don't mind.)

I.  A long-time reader and blog friend, Ethesis (Stephen Marsh) has since posted this on his own blog.   He discusses reasons why someone can be over the age 30 or even 40, single, and not necessarily a hopeless human being.

Bottom line: It is very, very possible for someone to never find a match without it being their fault and without anything being wrong with them.

Finding a match.

I knew a guy, I’ll call him Jammin (Jam for short). He was strong and tall, but not quick (so he could not play basketball or football – not quick enough, trouble with powerlifting, too tall). He wasn’t as good looking as he thought, and not as smart as he needed to be. He had a thing about really pretty girls. Of course the only really pretty girls that would date him were ones with problems that off-set their being pretty. He couldn’t figure out why he was always dating girls with serious problems, how come he always ran into the ones that turned out to be scary.

It was simple. He wasn’t good looking enough to be a good match or fit for that group and did not have off-setting qualities (dating sites show that you can exchange money, education and other things for good looks if you are a guy).

I knew another guy, I’ll call him Loser (Lou for short). Lou liked really pretty girls. He liked pretty girls who could think. He invariably picked them up on the rebound after a bad break-up, he wasn’t pushy. They would drift away as they recovered. Mostly they remained friends, and interestingly enough, formed a group of ex-girlfriends of Lou’s that enjoyed each other, just not him. Lou couldn’t understand why he couldn’t hold on to the kind of girls he was dating. Now he is old enough that he is kind of skeevy vis a vis the girls he would like to date and has burned some bridges as well.

His problem is pretty simple. He has little to offer (less now that he is older) other than a non-threatening supportive ear and friend-style dating. But no one in their right emotional mind sees him as dating material for romantic dates.

Both of these guys were not matching what they were to what they were chasing. Both of them had long histories of failed relationships. Jam succeeded by breaking free of his blinders. Lou is, well, there is a reason I called him Loser.

We probably all know a Lou and a Jam.  This is kind of a harsh introduction. I knew a guy who told the same story, more or less, except it was about a girl who chased football players and another who chased drummers.

Too many people think that the moral of the stories is that you have to “settle” for less than you “deserve” or “want.” That’s wrong. What you have to do is find who you match.

Some things make it easier. If you are a guy, go to New York City. There is a surplus of single women in New York City. If you are a woman, go places where there is a surplus of men.

Next, go places where people are looking for people like you. I had a friend, Martha Muriel who was gorgeous and a dancer. She went to a ward full of short professional men and tall models. The men all wanted a short model (which, of course, wasn’t going to happen, there is a minimum height for models after all). The women were all looking for tall professionals (which group, it turns out, is mostly already married). None of them were looking for Hispanics, more their loss. Martha left after a couple visits, she was much too smart to waste more time there.

There are things that look like problems, but that are not. They are matters of fit. 

It is similar for both men and women. In some areas there are too many men, in others there are too many women. This is true of physical locations as it is of areas of interest (you trying to become a doctor’s spouse or snag an unmarried professional athlete? There are a lot of people in those areas). Some areas have huge pools (so the chance of someone in your sub-pool goes up) some have very tiny pools (if there are only three guys and three women in an area, the chance of a close match has probably gone way down).

Finally, what do you use as a filter? What things do you use to exclude? Every “hard” barrier will limit you. For example, my wife is taller than I am. If I had insisted on someone shorter than I was, I would not have married her (and vice versa – luckily we fell in love before we realized the height issue).

All of these matters taken together means that it is very, very possible for someone to never find a match without it being their fault and without anything being wrong with them.

Possible issues:

1. Geography. Sometimes it is just bad luck where you live or where your education goals take you.

2. Relationships. Not all relationships succeed. However, each time you invest time and effort in a relationship it puts you a few more years down the road.

3. Looking for the wrong solutions in seeking a match. Mostly that is idiot guys looking for physical attractiveness in women, but there are other things that come up.

4. Filter issues – excluding on the wrong things. Which does not mean you should ever, ever give way when you are filtering for the right things.

5. Other gap creators (there are things that make a match more difficult. Age, personal interests, political tastes, etc.).

Note that the most common issues do not require anything to be wrong with someone. Being “squirrely beyond belief” and is not something that keeps people from being married (would that it were so – I know lots of people in that category, some who have been married multiple times).


First, know what real things you want and what the real deal killers are? Then, list why they are what you want and why they are deal killers. Then re-think a focus.

II.  Another reader and friend, Notes from the Glass Ceiling, wrote the following. He has the benefit of knowing more details of my specific situations.

I believe that we pretty much are who we are. We can improve on what we are, but we cannot be who we are not. In other words, whether you are intense or not really doesn't matter. If you are not intense, you probably will not be. If  you are now, you probably will be.

And as far as intense goes, it is no sin. Artists and writers often are. If you find your intensity is hard on yourself, then that is a sign that you can improve it for yourself.

More importantly, I believe that people grow into love based on their personality. I think that people who are basically simple-minded do really well marrying young, because there is a good chance that they will meet someone just like themselves. However, for people who are very smart, very observant, very witty...this is a whole different game.  For someone such as this, it is harder for them to find a good match when they are in their 20s. They need someone who matches their personality and intellect. That can take time and luck.  I believe that you will find someone before long, but he may be 5-7 years older than you are, (or he may be your age or younger, but he will be very emotionally mature.)

As far as the sex thing, I disagree with the other bloggers who said that it does not play a part. It absolutely plays a part! People want to test drive a relationship before they marry. Anyone who says different is clueless or lying. You need more men to date who will appreciate your standards,and you are living in a very bad part of the country to do that.

Time to stop guessing. Men are not that complicated. We are sexually and emotionally driven, and we get scared when our ego is challenged. Then we grow up. Maybe.

This is not the time for you to give up on love. But maybe it is time that you look at other types of men that you did in the past.

Thank you both for this. 


Procession of Ghouls at St. John the Divine Cathedral

Here's a video of the event. This was last year's. 

I love New York.


Halloween on 68th and Lex

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. Especially in NYC, it's crazy fun. Last year's Halloween was epic. And, at an event on the 30th-- a showing of Nosferatu accompanied by the organ at St. John the Divine followed by a parade of ghouls-- I met my last ex-boyfriend. He happened to be a successful horror novelist, and the poetry of our meeting was not lost on either of us. After the event,  he went with me and two of my best friends to eat in the village. He asked me out at the end of the night, near 3 a.m.  The next night, the 31st, I went to the Halloween Parade with my two friends. We dressed up, looked fabulous and marched in the parade. We topped off the night with a midnight  meal of Thai food near Washington Square.  Our costumes were so good that a dozen or so people stopped us to take our picture. 

Back to this year. I needed to keep things low key because I haven't been feeling well. My friends came up from Philadelphia again on the 29th to attend the event at St. John's.  We had dinner at the 2nd Avenue Deli which is no longer on 2nd Avenue.  At the cathedral, they showed the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.  It's a  truly creepy and fun experience.  It was also good for me to get past the one year anniversary of meeting my ex-boyfriend.  There was the possibility of running into him, but it didn't happen.  It feels good to get past this milestone. 

Saturday, my friends went to DC for the John Stuart rally. I went to a costume party.  I had a fun.  Spent a lot of time flirting. Mostly with the guy dressed as a lesbian zombie Puerto Rican drag queen. I asked him for a lap dance and got one for free. An odd, but cute, geek boy followed me around most of the night. He dressed as the Cobra from G.I. Joe.  You gotta love horror movie fans.  The winners of the costume contest were the girl dressed as the Shark-topus, the drag queen, and a girl dressed as the heroine from Audition (a Japanese horror film). 

The real excitement came after the party. I wanted to leave about 1:30.  I walked outside and dug into my bag for my car keys.  They were not there.  I frantically dug and dug in the bottom of the bag. No keys. I must have locked them in my car! Crap!  This is not a rare thing for me. I keep an extra key in my purse for that reason. But I had switched purses for the party. And my AAA membership expired a month ago.  This left me with two options: Call a locksmith and pay about $100 that I didn't have. Or, go home on the bus, get my extra key at home and come back to the upper east side the next day to retrieve my car. I chose B.

I walked to my car, then realized that my apartment keys were also locked inside. This meant that if I went home, 'd be locked out of my building and my apartment. At this time of night,  I couldn't get the old lady landlord to let me in. option B was no good.  I stayed calm. I walked into a nearby parking garage and asked the attendant if he had a slimjim. Of course he said 'No', whether he had one or not. I saw a cop across the street and asked him if he had a slimjim. He was sympathetic and flirty.  That meant my zombie makeup wasn't as effective as I thought. He went to check his car.  He returned to say none of the police carried slimjims anymore.  He offered to let me use his phone.  But I didn't have anyone to call. 

At this point, I began to get upset and felt sorry for myself. I am 34 years old and still getting into stupid messes like this.  I was sick of it.  I should have had someone to call.  No roommates, no boyfriend, no family.  It was pathetic.  What kind of a life was  this?  I decided to walk back to the party.  I might as well wait there as wait inside the vestibule of my building.  And maybe someone would let me crash at their place. 

I returned to find 3 men at the doorway.  They cheered that I had come back. (aww). I told them what happened and they all went into action.  Inside they asked if anyone had a slimjim or could help me by breaking into my car.  Everyone was worried.  That's when I stopped feeling sorry for myself,  it was very touching.  I picked up a donut and sat at the bar as my rescuers worked the crowd.  A few minutes later, they told me the guy in the butcher costume had AAA and would let me use it.  YAY!!!  I called them and spent 45 minutes on hold, then they told me they'd send someone within an hour.  So I would had to wait by my car.

Off I went out into the cold again.  My car was parked on 68th and Lex.  There's the Hunter College subway station on that corner with a nice bench so I plopped myself down.  I spent most of that hour plotting my future.  I was not going to be alone like this anymore.  I was not going to keep getting into problems like this.  I was done being single and sorry.  From now on, I would have someone to call. 

The temperature was in the 50s and I had on a nightgown wrapped in a thin pashmina.  The night was clear and very crispy.  A lot of Halloween revelers passed by on their way in and out of the subway.  Mostly couples, of course. Most of the women were in slutty costumes with very high heels and very short skirts.  At about 10 minutes to 4,  two guys walked up the street. They gave each other a hug and said goodbye with some jeering.  One came ambling over to the station stairs but he stopped.  He turned to the bench and sat down on the other end from me.   I was on the phone to AAA asking why they hadn't come yet since it had been an hour.  The truck was on it's way.  The guy played with his iphone.

When I hung up, he said my shawl looked cozy.  I replied that it wasn't as warm as it looked. He continued to chat me up.  He was very charming.  We exchanged names.  He asked about my costume, and said it was poetic. (I was undead Ophelia post-drowning).  He asked why I was sitting there.  He said he was  contemplating his ride back to Brooklyn and enjoying the night air.  Then he said I had a very nice smile, it was so warm. He beamed at me. "You know, if we had known each other for a week already, and were sitting on this bench like this, I would kiss you.  This would be my moment, here, on this night."  I was surprised. Then he said, "But, we don't know each other, so it would be weird."  I said, "Yes, it would be weird.  But romantic."  he agreed.  "Very romantic."  

He was encouraged. I looked at him.  He was good-looking, light brown hair, blue eyes and a beautiful smile with good teeth.  He said, "Maybe some day we'll be able to kiss."  I smiled, realizing that  I might actually get a date out of this conversation.  Hussy that I am,  I encouraged him some more. "That would be nice."   We smiled at each other for a minute.  He slid over to me, closed his eyes and puckered up an inch from my mouth.  Why not?  I puckered up and leaned into him.  He had big, soft lips.  It was a sweet kiss  Then he slid away again.  I asked him if he wanted my number. Yes. He slid back over and we kissed some more.  We cuddled up against the cold. When he picked me up and put me on his lap I told him that he owed me dinner.  He said he'd cook for me. 

Then he asked if I really wanted to see him again. I said yes, we'd have dinner if he called me.  "If, if?  What, you don't trust me? "  "No, I don't know you." "You're right."  Then we kissed until the Tow truck came.  He held my hand.  I didn't let things get too crazy because I didn't know him and I had to keep an eye out for the truck. When it came, he didn't want me to leave.  But it was after 4 and I had waited for 2 hours.  He said he felt used.  I told him he'd get over it and he should call me.  We had a nice goodbye hug.  I went home elated.  It was a lovely end to a dramatic evening.  

The parallel with last year is odd, that I met a man at the same date and time as I did last year.  

Only in New York City would something like this happen.  Making out with a hot stranger on the street corner at 4 a.m.  It was exactly what I  needed.  I don't know if he'll call me, probably not.  Which is fine.  But it'd be nice if he did. Not an epic Halloween, I let my friends go to the parade without me on Sunday.  Most definitely a very nice and very New York Halloween.